Russell Crandall & Savannah Haeger (2016) Latin America’s Invisible War, Survival, 58:5, 159-166, DOI: 10.1080/00396338.2016.1231537.
For our group project, we decided to concentrate on the way that Latin American activist groups are portrayed in the media, and how this contributes to the overall outlook on activism in Latin America today. Together we chose to focus our scope of research on three specific examples of activism related to this topic. The particular topic that I am concentrating on is the activist opposition to the drugs and violence that escalated within Latin America into the early 21st century.
The first source that I found on this topic is a scholarly article written by Russell Crandall and Savannah Haeger titled, “Latin America’s Invisible War”. This source is very useful for the research of this topic because it focuses on the context of the evolution of Latin American criminal gangs and drug-related violence. The main argument made by the source is that Latin American crime has become more organised than ever before, having been able to take advantage, either through extortion or corruption, of weak states and their inability to control violence and criminal activity. I think this source is incredibly important to this topic because it gives a lot of background knowledge on how the drug wars were allowed to come about in Latin America, as well as how the drug war has been combated and opposed by activist groups and the United States. Furthermore, I also believe that this source is valuable because it will allow for a stronger argument to be made when discussing the evolution of activism in Latin America, from the Madres all the way to the drug war portrayed in the media today.
Interestingly, this source also discusses how activist efforts in relation to the drug war only began to gain real traction after the fall of Pablo Escobar. In other words, it describes how much of a relatively new group it is in comparison to the activist groups that stood up to political leaders or female inclusion from the 1970s. I think this is a good perspective for our overall argument, precisely because it provides a logical pathway to the media portrayal of activist groups in Latin America has possibly changed over time as well. Lastly, I think this source offers much in the way of its interesting statements made about the drug war in Latin America. One of the arguments put forward is that the attempts to democratize the region of Latin America only helped to further the unstable atmosphere that created the intense drug war that we know today. This is an interesting perspective because it collides with the often-held association between democracy and activism and freedom of speech, instead suggesting that the attempts to infuse this into Latin America resulted in helping the drug war come about.