This week, we learned about populism, politics, and how the introduction of media influenced Latin America. The reading this week was very interesting to me. It mainly focused on a more relatable era, with the use of radio and communication, which definitely appealed to me. It also covered a new political group which I had never heard. All of this tied together makes for an exciting period to cover for this course.
I really enjoyed learning about how the implementation of radio helped shape whole countries in Latin America, such as Mexico and Brazil. Broadcasting allowed working people to insert themselves politically, which forced some governments to moderate radio stations. Some of these stations were even attacked by different groups trying to get their message out. This really shocked me, as it is definitely not as much the case today. With the radio came a new force that brought together entire communities: sound. I found it interesting how many politicians were able to make their listeners feel like active members if the national community, simply through effective media. Music also played a big role in radio: popular culture began to rise. Music also connected social classes. It seems crazy to me how about one hundred years ago, radio was such an impactful tool. I feel that today, the radio is on the verge of dying out. It seems that music has overtaken news and politics for the newer generation. However, music is listened through phones and music applications, instead of an actual radio station. Anyways, I am just in awe about how big of a role radio-communication used to play compared to now.
I also learned about populist leaders who used broadcasting to their advantage. The word “populist” signifies a political view that cannot easily fit under the common “left vs right” context. These leaders include Vargas, Cárdenas, and last but not least Perón. Though the other leaders are definitely worth looking into, the most interesting for me was Juan Perón. Perón wanted to end the strong presence of the oligarchy in the Argentinian system, and create a new society. What surprised me was how he was imprisoned as he had too strong of a political influence, and then was later released and elected soon after. Perón created an economic boom during his term. His wife took advantage of the radio, and promoted peronism.
Ultimately, I learned a lot of new things this week. Who knew how much of an impact the radio truly had on society.
My question for the class is the following: what are other populist leaders in history that are not from Latin America? I’m interested in knowing other figures outside of our studies who share this political view, as I’ve never heard of the term ‘”populist” before taking this course.