Week 12 Thoughts

This chapter made me aware of the American-centeredness of Latin American politics. I wonder if there is so much focus put on the U.S.’s response to events in Latin America because they held a prominent role or because this text is written from a Canadian-American perspective.

It was interesting reading about Raegan. I have always heard bad things about him: he cut taxes for the rich, built up the military, demonized foreigners, and pushed for trickle down economics. Mindful that this is from the perspective of a liberal American and these principles can be seen as positive, depending on the perspective. His role in Latin America seems to support this view; he supported the Contras in Nicaragua, who where known for committing human rights violations. Anti-communist sentiments dominated the U.S. during the Cold War. But these bias’ did not cease at the end of the cold war. American students are often blindly lead to believe in liberalism and capitalism.

The U.S.’s war on drugs seems to be perpetually disoriented. You can see it today in the debate whether full legalization or strict bans will end drug violence/use. You can also see it in the 90s when they shifted their focus from internal treatment to active foreign intervention. I think this ignores American’s craving for massive amounts of drugs. Clearly these foreign interventions were not effective in the case of Columbia in the 90s, when money given to the Columbian government was put towards the military to establish order at the cost of innocent people. Dawson talks about the need for peasant workers to be involved in the drug trade to support themselves. This suggests an underlying force in the drug trade: one that cannot be resolved with military equipment.

I liked the song from document 10.3. It shows the power of media and technology for the promotion of revolutionary ideas globally. We also see in document 10.2 the importance of technology. This video was able to reveal the brutality of the police and bring a certain degree of justice to the peasants. This hits close to home and resembles the events that are happening in Minneapolis right now. Hundreds of protestors, many of them are my friends, are demanding justice to Jamar Clark by the release of the video tape of the murder.

Document 10.6, the video of the 2011 Chilean student protests, shows the use of social media to gain global support for local causes. I agree that social media generates large numbers of superficial supports, but I think that movements gain power in numbers, no matter what kind of support is given.

2 Thoughts.

  1. I like that you focused on the role of the US in Latin America. I think that it’s always so hard to determine what state’s are truly wanting to gain from intervening in foreign affairs. We know, for example, that the US’ so-called “war on drugs” or “war on terror” have been used as excuses to get into foreign countries, for reasons other than drugs or terror.

  2. I like your statements towards the beginning of this blog regarding the focus of the American role in Latin America. Because we are learning from a textbook, we often forget that there are many different perspectives to a historical event. Well said!

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