Week 4

This week we have learned about independence in Latin America. From the very first line,”the idea of Latin America destabilizes geography, history and identity” this video made me reflection what I know about Latin America. Growing up in Mexico, I learned about independence through school. I always thought independence was something that was inevitable. I figured that no nation would want to be a part of political representation if they could avoid it. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before people would take up arms and fight to get rid of the Spanish. It seemed to me that by overthrowing the invaders from their land, the natives had achieved freedom. However it was only until recently that I began to think about what being a free, independent nation really meant. My parents are very interested in politics in Mexico and the Mexican government is a constant topic of conversation at our house. Recently, they made a comment about how Mexico is not a free nation. In Mexico, we have been ruled by the same political party for many decades now that is known to have committed fraud for most of its rule. I won’t go into too much detail but generally, it is believed they have benefitted and exploited the working class for their own benefit. While watching this week’s video a quote from Simon Bolivar came up, “a people is enslaved, when the government infringes on and usurps the rights of the citizen or subject.” This really stood out for me because I could relate it to my own country. I strongly feel that the role of a government is to protect its people and that everyone should have a say in the country’s decisions. Simon Bolivar mentions the “world balance of power” that was needed at the time and the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was about the people’s need for independence and getting rid of Spanish rule. What really surprised me though, was that people who were not of Spanish descent such as the Indigenous people would ever oppose this movement. I understand that they were given many benefits however, they were often seen as less important than the Spanish.  If this was the case, why would they not want to support a movement that would potentially give them a higher social standing as well as a voice in terms of how their country is ruled?

6 Thoughts.

  1. Hi Carolina!
    Great post! Bolivar’s quote also stuck out to me, as it was a such a broad and encompassing definition of what it means to be enslaved. It definitely made me widen my understanding of what it means to be a slave of one’s country and government. Unlike the simplified labourer-slave definition, Bolivar’s definition made me rethink my own home country’s (the Philippines) policies and how, much like the Mexican government it seems, they have been doing everything but protecting their citizens.

  2. It’s quite remarkable isn’t it—the notion of independence. The readings of this week, as well as the discussion session have really made me think about what independence really is…and I have no clue, yet everyone seems to claim they have it but they don’t really. I agree with you, if something could happen to rid the injustice of those who are without…why doesn’t it? Often though, those who do have fear they will lose what they have if there is equality for everyone.

  3. Hi Carolina! Although I have never traveled to Mexico myself, I always had the misguided belief that Mexico was an independent (and therefore free) country. That is until I read your post. If you look up the definition for the word “independence” in the dictionary, you will find that it is synonymous with “self-sustaining” or “self-government”, which is tantamount to “freedom from outside control”. What about inside control? From your post I understand that not only is Mexico still enslaved to the Northern countries, but the Mexican people is also restrained by its own government. I believe the case of Mexico is very much relevant to Bolívar’s attempt to differentiate the notion of freedom from the concept of independence. Now your post has left me wondering how come there is so much corruption and fraud taking place in the countries of Latin America as opposed to those of Europe?

  4. I also grew up in a Mexican household; However, I grew up in Canada so I must admit my knowledge of Mexican politics is much more limited. I must say I agree with the idea that Mexico is not really a free country. In some ways it is far from being the country ruled by the Spanish but it continues to have some of the same underlining problems. Namely inequalities between social and economic classes. That being the case your comment about it being inevitable for people to fight for their freedom is frightening. I would like to believe that there is other options to obtain freedom, but in the case of the Latin American countries I believe fighting was the only way to have their voices heard.

  5. Yea awesome that Bolivar’s quote resonated with you so well. I think its really interesting how your’e so in tuned with your home political goings on. Me being from the states, I try to avoid politics as much as possible haha.

  6. Great read. I was drawn into your blog post because of the kind of personal connection you had with it. Its interesting to see what somebody from Latin America has to say about their own history. You post really made me weary about the whole concept of independence and what it means for different people. Also makes me think about what is going right now with
    Catalonia trying to get it’s own independence- you would’ve thought that by now everyone is free.

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