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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - On December 2nd, 1823, US President James Monroe delivered a speech to Congress on the State of the Union. Two years earlier, Mexico had declared its independence from Spain and in South America, the military defeat of the Iberian colonial power was looming on the horizon.

Monroe warned the European states against trying to regain the lost colonies or interfere in the affairs of the new states south of the US border. The principles he formulated and later supplemented, have been known as the Monroe Doctrine since 1853.

For almost 200 years they have been a . . .

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