Week Eleven (De Nuevo): Terror

This is another period in which Latin America seems to be involved in conflict; this week’s chapter says that between 1960 and 1990, Latin America had one of its bloodiest periods since independence. And this got me thinking, has it this being happening since Christopher Columbus discovered America, I mean, the taken over, used other against their will, and treat them like peasants of an inferior class are direct consequences of the colonial period translated into post-colonial applications. The books also mentions that, during this period, authoritarian governments and their military allies carried unprecedented levels of violence against the civil population in what they called: a communist threat. From my point of view, it seems that every time a government wants to fight against a new opposition force (eg. Labour workers, teachers, syndicates, students, etc.), they always find ways to label them as the enemy which would in turn get the public’s support.

This period is called, the dirty wars but also has other names depending of the context in which this violent attacks took place. But the main ‘problem’ for Latin American countries was the creation all across different countries of guerrilla groups which in which their new members (students, middle class people) had heroic figures such as Che Guevara, a romantic figure which they could use to promote their fight, but which in the end were crushed by their authoritarian right-wind governments. The 20th century in Latin America is remember for being a period in which a series of holocausts, cruel acts of violence created an atmosphere of violence which welcomed new technologies of war. The participants of this cruel and violent period came from a variety of different fronts, such as radical and authoritarian governments which saw in any defiant acts the enemy, also in the formation of guerrilla groups whose base in Marxist’s theories saw to implements change throw any means necessary, included armed conflict and civilian deaths. In other cases, the racialized enemy, members of African descendants and indigenous people were the enemy just because they seemed different by their colour of their skin or because they were on the wrong side of the social scale. In general terms, the problem with having collective paranoia, when trying to identify the enemy was that, the enemy could be anyone.

Torture, random killings, and kidnappings, were at the centre of Latin America past, and in a way, the reason they became such a big deal during the 90’s and after, was because they increasingly more public and mass media published them for everyone to see. Latin America then, becomes a region where corruption in the state can be seen at all levels, where modernity was never at the centre of politicians interest, and where it populations where destined to be second-class citizens. At least this is what books such as “The Open Vains “(Las Venas Abiertas), tells us; however, I more inclined to think that explanations of such level of corruption and violence has much more complex origins and cannot all be traced to one source. In one thing I agree with this week’s reading is that, the everyday struggles of the poor, and the need for a more egalitarian future for all, where inclusion, justice, and wealth fare were policies of the state, was what caused people and students to protest fiercely in public. Hence, the consequence of the repression of such protest like the one that took place in Mexico City on October 2, 1968, caused the Tlatelolco Massacre where several hundreds of students were killed by government officials and covered up by the Mexican President of the time.

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