Week 11 Response

This week, we covered the violent wave of terror that swept through Latin America during the late nineteenth-century. Despite this being a very sad and tragic period for Latin America, I was interested in learning why and how these events occurred. Anyways, these are my thoughts on the subject, and what I understood from the reading:

I feel that every time I write my blog post, I begin by saying how unaware I am about the topic covered during the week. This tells me it was a very good idea to take this course. Anyways, as you can probably guess, I had absolutely no idea of the violence experienced by Latin America between the 1960s and 1990s. I was utterly shocked when I read the death tolls in the reading. It seems insane to me that over 69,000 people lost their lives in Peru (and more all over Latin America), and I had no idea this was even going on. In addition, civil wars broke out in countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador, which made for countless casualties and lost lives. This made me wonder why we usually associate the US with civil war, even though there have been many civil wars in the Americas. The violence unleashed on these countries were mostly from military/authoritarian governments on what they saw as a communist threat.

It is difficult to pin down exactly why these dirty wars occurred in Latin America. Once again, we are forced to question Latin America (referring to week 1). Some argue that Latin America is historically violent, and never fully became modern. Economic challenges such as expanding debt and increased inflations also could have played a big role. Others say that these acts were simply a follow-up to the Cold War, or it was from young idealists attacking the government. Personally, I was a bit confused about the American effect on this violence, and hope to learn more through the class discussion next week.

Sendero’s War was also interesting to read about. As I understand it, Sendero Luminos were basically a military group with communist views. They burned ballot boxes during Peru’s first democratic vote in quite a few a longtime. When I read that many peasants saw this group as an opportunity for a strategic alliance, it immediately reminded me of the caudillos that we saw several weeks ago.

My question for the class next week is the following:

The reading states that “modern death machines,” which I assume consists of military firearms and explosives, were used during these attacks. Therefore, was the modernization of Latin America a driving force for the terrors that ensued? In other words, would these disputes have occurred without rapid modernization?






3 thoughts on “Week 11 Response

  1. FrancesPerry

    Hi thanks for your blog post! I agreed with a lot of your sentiments but I think all of this was in the twentieth century not the 19th! You do bring up an interesting question though in terms of the impact of “modern” weapons on things like terrorism. I think you’re right to think that this changed what terrorism was/is. For example, The Shining Path was able to instil so much fear because they used things like machine guns and car bombs etc that weren’t available in the other historical eras of political instability and violence.

  2. Brendan Bayer

    I also was surprised by the massive death tolls of the Dirty Wars in these nations. I think the book explained a motive for the dirty wars when it discussed the want to suppress dissent in these right-wing military dictatorships states. It was easy to persecute these leftist groups by utilizing the military power and ability they had. Also, in response to your question, I do not think modernization had to do with the modern death techniques. Since the disputes were mostly related to land reform, this would have occurred anyway.

  3. Sabeeha Manji

    I share similar sentiments with you, I do not know much about this aspect of Latin America and it was extremely interesting to read up about it. You raise an interesting question about weapons, if you think about it even in today’s world weaponry is associated with some sort of progression and simultaneously instills fear within people. I feel as though it was definitely a driving force for the terrors.


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