It was interesting to read about how the crisis affected the rural poor. This section in the book provided a much deeper insight on the feelings and actions that arose during this time period. I was surprised to learn about some of the tactics that were used to ensure “order” when tensions were rising in the countryside. It seems rural people were handled in a different, more aggressive manner than those rebelling in other areas.
One of the situations that shocked me the most was the level of political and government involvement in these efforts of maintaining control. The actions of political thugs were put in quotations in the text, suggesting unfair practices went into the “recruitment” of labor and the “buying” of land in rural areas, further increasing rural tension. All the while the police and the military were aware and an important part of these pushes for order. Their social roles placed them in a position to legitimize the wrongdoings placed upon rural peasants. Political parties were also highlighted and displayed in a different perspective than they were in the previous chapter. In this section, the idea that order must occur before progress, which will then lead to democracy was seen as superficial promise for equality and an excuse to enforce order upon the people. This demonstrates the major differences in ideas and practices during the time that produced aggravation for many groups of people.
The impact the progress Latin America wanted to achieve was also not in favor of the rural people. Advancements in railroad systems and forms of communication made rural areas more accessible than ever before, disturbing rural peasants’ way of life. These people were accustomed to anonymity and separation from things like national and global markets. Their systems were beneficial to their needs and were comfortable to rural populations, so when “capitalist penetration” entered the regions, rural life became more difficult. Once again, I was shocked by how the government responded to the rural peasants’ conflict with the drastic changes in their systems. It is sad elites genuinely believe they were the more superior of the two groups and viewed a decline in the rural population as an opportunity for Latin America to be more productive with more “civil” people. It makes me think of how these beliefs have been proven to exist in many places outside of Latin American and how they still circulate today.