Week 11 – The Terror

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,


5 thoughts on “Week 11 – The Terror

  1. Lourdes Kletas

    I also found it very interesting how Dawson spoke about the Cold War being a backdrop for the violence that ensued in Latin America. The US’s irrational fear of communism definitely led to their attempt at repressing revolutions throughout Latin America. It was very intriguing to see the links between the Cold War, Latin America, and the United States’ actions.

  2. Dorsa Lotfazar

    Great Post! I also thought it was interesting that Latin Americans usually thought their governments were corrupt and perhaps some may still think the same today and that is not even specific to Latin America. Regardless of what people think, some countries actually end up with one corrupt dictator after another. You also brought up a great point about the blurriness and the chaos that existed then as well as the violence in this period.

  3. kmhurley

    I was also very intrigued this week by the connections to the Cold War. In middle school, we learned that there was no physical fighting from the cold war. In high school, were learned about the Vietnam and Korean wars that were connected to the cold war. I wonder why I never learned about the millions of lives lost in Latin America and the enduring trauma caused by the cold war there. This was an absolutely devastating week of reading.

  4. Sophie Chevalier

    Hi nice post! Along with the comments above, I also found the connections with the Cold War very interesting. I didn’t know there was such a big relation in between the two until this week and was surprised by it. I also find your question very thought provoking. I don’t think it would be fair to say that many Latin Americans would still stand by that same belief today simply because things and opinions may have changed over time, but I would be very interested in an actual answer to this.

  5. silas latchem

    Hey! Great post. I like that you brought up South America being used as a proxy war front. I wonder what the politics would look like there now if the if there had been no foreign military intervention (direct/indirect) during the 20th century.


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