This week’s lecture topic focuses mainly on the violence that erupted within Latin America during the 1960s, through to the 80s. One of the things I found most interesting after reading about this period, is the level of blurriness that was clearly evident in politics and society at that time. Whilst it is easier to point towards the level of violence coming from one direction or the other, in this case, there seemed to be violence and chaos protruding from all different directions. I think an aspect of this that Dawson touches on that I find really compelling, is the influence that the Cold War had on the region and how this global context was the backdrop for the violence and chaos that ensued in Latin America. As Dawson himself points out in the chapter, Latin America was the region most used as a proxy for the Cold War. Following the Cuban revolution, the United States was irrationally fearful of further communist revolutions in the region, and so they subsequently tried to repress further revolutions in places like Uruguay, Guatemala, and El Salvador, amongst others. This is also something that has come across consistently in my research for my group’s video project, with many people seemingly blaming America’s anti-communist intervention for creating an environment that led to the drug epidemic across Latin America.
Reading when Dawson states that “Latin Americans typically believed their governments were exceptionally corrupt”, brought my thoughts to the current socio-political climate in Latin America. Would it be fair enough to say that many Latin Americans would still stand by that same belief today? I think it’s an interesting question to ask, particularly seeing as this course has seen many moments of evidence when history seems to repeat itself. Specifically, the violence and chaos of this time is being replicated in the form of the war on drugs and gang violence.
Thanks for reading,