Abstract South America exhibits some of the higher rates of antimicrobial resistance in Enterobactericeae worldwide. This continent includes 12 independent countries with huge socioeconomic differences, where the ample access to antimicrobials, including counterfeit ones, coexists with ineffective health systems and sanitation problems, favoring the emergence and dissemination of resistant strains. This work presents a literature review concerning the evolution and current status of antimicrobial resistance threats found among Enterobacteriaceae in South America. Resistance to β-lactams, fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides was emphasized along with description of key epidemiological studies that highlight the success of specific resistance determinants in different parts of the continent. In addition, a discussion regarding political and socioeconomic factors possibly related to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant strains in clinical settings and at the community is presented. Finally, in order to assess the possible sources of resistant bacteria, we compile the current knowledge about the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in isolates in South American’ food, food-producing animals and off-hospitals environments. By addressing that intensive intercontinental commerce and tourism neutralizes the protective effect of geographic barriers, we provide arguments reinforcing that globally integrated efforts are needed to decelerate the emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistant strains.