Short Research and Writing Assignment (1)

The segment “Walt Disney’s Latino Cartoon Characters” within the larger text of Pop Culture Latin America!: Media, Arts, and Lifestyle, written by Lisa Shaw and Stephanie Dennison, gives more insight to Walt Disney’s perception of Latin America and what exactly he wanted to accomplish. Hollywood’s depiction of Latin American identity relied heavily on the cartoon representations Disney had developed. With the use of cartoons, Disney enforced the “Good Neighbor Policy,” which had been implemented by President Franklin Roosevelt and his administration in United States’ foreign policy towards Latin America. In short, the Good Neighbor Policy had been developed to potentially create new economic opportunities “in the form of reciprocal trade agreements,” although it did not convince many Latin American countries. The policy also promised “non-intervention and non-interference” in Latin America’s domestic affairs. Feeling the need to protect the west from Soviet influence, the Good Neighbor Policy came to an end in the rise of the Cold War.

Disney had created two films in the 1940s: “The Three Caballeros” and “Saludos Amigos,” with characters from Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, and the United States. “Saludos Amigos” represented the travels of Walt Disney to South America in 1941 in attempt to capture authenticity of characters in which he believed would be a “principle feature of his ‘Good Neighbor’ projects.” The character Donald Duck would represent the tourist from the United States visiting the Andes. The film, “The Three Caballeros,” captured live action with animation, which was viewed as a “remarkable technical achievement” in the motion picture press. “The Three Caballeros” incorporated real human figures, such as Aurora Miranda (Carmen Miranda’s younger sister) dancing alongside the character Joe Carioca, a Brazilian parrot, who stood as a primary figure in the films. Author, Lisa Shaw, states that Joe Carioca epitomizes his country, Brazil, “more than any other nation depicted.” She also finds that the “essence of Hollywood’s version of Latin America in the 1940s as a source of pure spectacle, rhythmic exuberance, and carnal spontaneity,” a way in which many people around the world view Latin America as of today. Like seen in these cartoons, music videos, full-length films, and many other forms of pop culture depict the same personalities.

As partners, Nayid and I are doing our video project on Week 9: Commerce, Coercion, and America’s Empire. One of our main focuses is going to show how pop culture has influenced the United States’ view of Latin America as well as the implementation of the Roosevelt Administration’s “Good Neighbor Policy” in foreign policy among Latin America.

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