The idea of the Americas is shaped by a tension - both creative and disruptive - between what pulls together and what divides social, political, economic and cultural space.
On the one hand, the trends towards continental integration, as well as national development projects, inclusive citizenship, and democratic consolidation, call for unity: a common history, a cohesive citizenry, a shared vision. But the quest for equality and justice, as well as the recognition that identities – even those anchored in history – are fluid and multiple, increasingly highlights the disagreements, asymmetries and gaps that exist in the region. The present time seems to be one of pluralism in all forms, sometimes even at the cost of fragmentation, to the extent that the idea of freedom has become closely intertwined with that of withdrawal into oneself. Yet cohesion, solidarity and a sense of belonging remain strong principles of collective action.