There is little historical evidence to support the thesis that deteriorating terms of trade hindered Cuban and Latin American economic growth, at precisely the time when large international disparities in income began to emerge (1820s to 1870s). For Cuba at least, it was resurgent Spanish imperialism in the form of new tariffs, taxes, and outright prohibitions that distorted patterns of trade, particularly with the United States. Likewise for Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru, the terms of trade do not appear to have contributed significantly, if at all, to underdevelopment.

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