Week 12 – Speaking Truth to Power

This week’s lecture is also the main subject my groups video project, so there have been several main aspects that we’ve looked at together that I found to be particularly interesting. The first one which I found to be really compelling was history of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. The story in itself is an amazing one of the mothers of kidnapped children coming together to protest the violence that had swept through in the 1960s and 70s. However, perhaps even more interestingly, was the international attention that this captured. It pointed towards a future trend of the globalization of inter-regional protests that took place later in Latin America, including the likes of the ‘No’ campaign in Chile. The story of the Madres is an important one also because it brings up the question of whether change is only really accessible when there is a real worldwide focus towards that subject, bringing global attention to topics such as the drug wars in Mexico has certainly enhanced the number of efforts to combat it.

Personally, I found that the most shocking aspect of the corruption and violence that erupted from the 1960s in large parts of Latin America to be the involvement of state governments and political individuals. As Dawson highlights in this chapter, there were many examples of the government being involved in killing and kidnapping their own citizens.  Moreover, it certainly makes sense as to how all of this was able to be kept under wraps to an extent, and it was not until major events like the Madres protests would come up that the government was forced to face these questions. Its one thing to fight against corruption and violence in the form of separate groups, but when the country’s own government is the one behind these acts, its an entirely different prospect altogether.

I think the subject of the war on drugs is one that can be related to the aforementioned role of the government in corruption and violence. This is because there has been a huge disillusionment with the way that the war on drugs is being combated, particularly on the part of the USA and their huge intervention in Mexico. Whilst one could commend the nation for giving seemingly generous amounts of money to combat the war, and helping the government to stop the huge rise in killings and kidnappings, it is also very easy to question their methods and intentions. Is it to end the production of dangerous drugs? Why would the USA want to end an affair that has been so profitable for them? They have and continue to make tons of profit from lending Latin American countries money in exchange for them using this to buy US made weaponry! Moreover, the role of the Mexican government has been called into question on numerous occasions in the last 20 years. How deep does this corruption go? And is it even plausible that the war on drugs can reach a suitable conclusion? These are just some of the questions that arise in my mind when thinking about this subject.

Thanks for reading,


3 thoughts on “Week 12 – Speaking Truth to Power

  1. Stephanie Steevie

    Do you think that Latin American governments have attempted to acknowledge their predecessors cruel actions and make things better? Do you think that there are still instances of dirty wars today?

  2. ConnorMcCabe

    In order to conclude the war on drugs, I think the only real solution is repealing the prohibition of drugs. At the end of the day, people are going to do drugs, and by making it more difficult to access those drugs, those who do the work of producing and smuggling are able to reap massive profits, profits that, as we have seen, are more than enough to fund long, drawn out wars. As it stands, the war on drugs is really ripping societies apart from top to bottom. From the massive civilian casualties and traumas in gang and cartel controlled areas, to the mass incarceration of drug users and dealers in regions with a strong central government. Legalization, or at least decriminalization, would not only dis-empower (often violent) drug producing organizations, and save huge amounts of public funds that would have otherwise gone to incarceration…but it also eliminates a certain mystique surrounding drugs: it’s a lot easier to take away the romance of drug use if we deal with drug use in an honest fashion.

  3. Christiana Tse

    I think it’s interesting that you brought up raising questions about the intentions of American intervention within Latin America. There hasn’t really been any examples (that I can think of at least) where the U.S. has intervened in the affairs of another nation without having ulterior motives. This is not to say that intervention is always a negative thing, but much of the time it definitely seems to bring more bad than good. I don’t really have any answers to the questions you ask, but I definitely think that they should be a point of discussion.


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