Towards an Uncertain Future

In concluding this course, I feel like it has been a very sad course. At the beginning of the course we see the white superiority of colonization over indigenous peoples, the era of Lieutenant Nun, and the low class lives of most of the non-elitists in Latin America. There never seemed to be a happy part f this course, which is kind of surprising because many times we think of current day Latin America to be happy. The sunny weather and vacation spots that scatter this region, seems to glare over the true identity of the region; geographically and culturally. This chapter seemed to be a fitting end because there are uncertainties within the region.

In an increasing world of globalization, I believe we are going to see further inequality between the Global North and the Global South, which doesn’t bode well for many Latin American countries. These countries are not the typical periphery countries when applying migration theories because of the amount of natural resources within the countries. It makes sense for many of these people to try to make a living within their homeland, however because of global powers they are still stuck in developing economies as developing countries.

Through much of the violence and civil wars and the episodes of hard realities, the people of Latin America have become socialized into a culture where government can not always be counted upon, and politics, most definitely is not the answer. Dawson uses Mexico as an example with the earthquake, and how people had already given up on the government to make any sort of response useful. A lack of a government direction to this incident has had lasting impressions because of the economic butt-kicking/crisis the country faced at the time, and how it has affected the future generation.

Critical question…Why? Many countries face war and violence and democratic issues, but WHY has many Latin American countries still not have been able to recover?

How will these countries recover; can they fully?

Speaking Truth to Power

I have always thought about the various era’s of life that we (Canadian public school students K-12) are taught in school and wonder what kind of era we are currently living in today. The Industrial Revolution, followed by two episodes of war stand are 3 time periods that we are taught extensively. But in the decade before September 11, 2001 and the years after and which we are present in, I think about a “Technologic Revolution.” I firmly believe that the actions of 9/11 altered technology extensively, as the way we think of logistics and terror needed to be revamped. Because of this incident, I believe that society needed to rely on technology more so than ever before, and the rapid growth of technology trying to be bigger and better has not stopped, and will never, ever stop. The beginning of this chapter expresses how technology was crucial in the building of a nation in the 20th century, and the involvement of states with technology. Radio, television and newspapers were all results of the Industrial Revolution, however it seems the implications of these technologies have helped form a new revolution. Not only have they built nations, but they have steadied the nations.

When reading about the slaughter done by the Argentinian government, I was truly shocked. ‘The Slaughterhouse’ document we had read earlier in the semester seemed to have more meaning, even though it had nothing to do with these events, at all, coming from two very different time periods. However it was sort of anecdotal to have it relate these many years later. In response to this slaughter, it brought up a feminist movement, of these mothers in protest. Feminist theory has so many layers and is so very much complex, yet this protest brought power to mothers, and women for the future. Throughout this whole chapter I was surprised about the treatment of women, girls and young people in Latin America.

Oh, the United States, thinking they are so powerful, always.

The war on drugs will never be won. Either states need to somehow decriminalize or legalize the ‘process’ of drugs, or need to stop investing billions of dollars into the drug war. As I mentioned earlier about technology and finding new ways to enhance technology, creating a war on drugs is exactly what drug producers want because it offers them new resources to evade the government, and still somehow find ways the get drugs to their destination.

Critical question…DO you think the treatment of women and children is an issue of cultural appropriation or Spanish identity?

Critical question…Do you agree or disagree with my statement that the war on drugs will never be won?

Cultural Independence of Cuba: Marti and Castro

Jose Marti and Fidel Castro were two men who loved their country very much, that can not be denied. That country was Cuba. Though these men come at different very different eras of Cuba, Marti in the back half of the 19th century, and Castro in the back half of the 20th century. And even though these two men may not have been aligned politically or socially, they both had a vision for Cuban identity and culture which included liberation. As well, how has Castro continued a legacy of Marti; is there even a legacy? As some scholars have pointed out, it may only be Castro that puts himself on the same hierarchy as Marti, in terms of great Cuban patriotic leaders. Jose Marti dedicated his life to make Cuba a free entity uncontrolled by Spanish rule. For Marti, Cuba needed to be liberated from the Spanish because Cubans had their own identity, that was not Spanish. For Marti it was unnecessary for Cuba to be at the behest of the Spanish government because Cuba was a different entity. Marti’s life goal was “to secure the complete liberation of Cuba and Puerto Rico from Spain, prevent [Cuba’s and Puerto Rico’s] annexation by the United States, and establish democratic and free republics” (Lacuona 1991: 55). This is obviously in stark contrast to Castro’s idea of his Cuba. Marti advocated for the democratic stability of Cuba, and Castro took to “total domination” (Lacuona 1991: 55) of Cuba through communism. Castro believed that liberating the Cuban people meant for equality of man, and turned Cubans into “slaves of the [state]” (Lacuona 1991: 56). In 1962, Castro delivered the Second Declaration of Havana which sought to uprise the people of Cuba, much like Marti’s Nuestra America. Castro reports on the economic instability of Latin America as a whole, comparative to the United States; it’s an anti-American sentiment that both leaders share in common. Castro compares the Cuba he is speaking of to the times of the Middle-Ages, where a new social class is about to be created, yet it will only weaken society (World Sourcebook 1997). In conclusion, there are two men at different stages of a developing countries life, in which they think that their assertion of power is better than someone else’s. Marti will definitely be held to a better place in Cuban society than Castro because of his promotion of democracy. Without a democratic framework, there would be no Castro to try and revolutionize this work. I can agree that Marti was first-class in creating a Cuba for everybody, and without Marti, Castro and communism would have never been given the chance to survive in Cuba.


Lecuona, Rafael A. March 1991. “Jose Marti and Fidel Castro.” International Journal on World Peace 8(1): 45-61.

Modern History Sourcebook. 1997. From Fidel Castro’s Personal Revolution in Cuba: 1959­           1973, by James Nelson Goodsell (New York: Knopf, 1975), pp. 264-268. Retrieved November 11, 2017 (

Power to the People

Document 7.1: At first I thought this was somewhat undemocratic. It felt that by having a husband and wife run for president and vice-president, that it would not serve a country’s interest. Yet, this group of people of Argentina were so fully pressed for it, it seemed odd, but maybe a sign of the times. General Peron was the leader of a left-leaning political party, and this notion of undermining democracy which came to my mind, sort of escalated, however as the chapter is titled, “Power to the People,” the two leaders really did just give the power to the people.

Document 7.2 and 7.3: General Peron is viewed as a hero for the people in his own words but also from the views of the people. He as able to get rid of slavery, enhance education, etc. blah-blah-blah, and still manage to be contentful to a large group of people. To some extent it is the opposite of present-day USA. The president is not listening to the people of his country, yet only to the vanguard and his own associates. Trump is running a nation like a business, and pissing off a lot of people and a lot of people of his nation. The speech is extremely sarcastic, and has the same tone as some of the other documents and speeches that we have read. There is an arrogance, and a dramatizing of ideals that is entailed in this document, much alike what we have read before.

Document 7.4: This document outlines what the wife of General Peron had much to do with the running of presidency. She cries her attentions and to why she felt the power of the Argentinian people. This was a short document that just decries her intention because of her love for her husband and being a ‘Peronista.” All 4 documents include the term descamisados which is a Spanish term for “shirtless one” but also a term that the Peron’s used to call their followers. But a shirtless one, it is meant as one who is impoverished and struggling with their everyday life. Peron was a left leaning socialist and used this term to identify his followers, in a smart way, to group these people into one, and give them an identity, apart from being Argentinian.

Who actually asserts more power over the other one: people or the government?

Commerce, Coercion and America’s Empire

Firstly, I laughed at the inclusion of the line, “white man that makes the chicken,” included by Dawson in reference to Colonel Sanders. Alright next…

This chapter goes on to recognize the influence in which the United States played on constructing Latin America. If a country is on the good side of the USA, it is quite inevitable that they would have had and still have influence in helping construct their nation. It is an easy comparison for Canada, because we share the same border, and the two competing nations were inseparable in forming the other.

It is difficult to label Latin America as an empire, because there was not one specific conquering nation. Haiti is a French Republic; Spain had a stranglehold of some nations but not dominant; many nations still had strong native cultural ties that they were unwilling of letting go. To classify Latin America as an empire is to be wrong, but undoubted that it could be explored.

The United States was also going through a transition as a materialistic society. After the Industrial Revolution, materialism seem to dominate and a new era of capitalism has emerged. This is a competing interest of Latin American nations because of strong cultural ties to their natives and to their native homeland. If the United States tried to influence Latin American nations, a conflicting view of society and the way ideas of how to run society could not be mere, they would be drastic. The commodities of Latin America were so native to their land, that they could not fully recognize the exchange value of such ‘stuff.’ This proved to be a problem, and still can be a problem in the low standards of living.

Dawson titles his document section as “Contesting Hegemony” with signifies the backlash of Latin America to the United States. The first document testifies to this anti-hegemony and anti-imperialism that could flourish in Latin America. However because of this Latin America struggles.

The Export Boom as Modernity

The first thing I noticed while watching the Dawson video, was the amount of occasions he used the word ‘ethos.’ I like this word. Ethos is a Greek term that defines the characteristics of a group, and in this case is being used to characterize Mexico modernity. Before watching this video, I struggled with the term ‘modernity’ because I had never really heard it been used much, in my academic studies or in my everyday life. Modernity isn’t a term used on the daily, and I so struggled to remember to think of a time where a teacher of mine used it outside of history class. Because of this, I focussed on this chapter in it’s historical terms, rather than a social backdrop in which I usually examine these readings.

What struck me when I turned my attention to the reading was the line that mentioned, “people of African and indigenous origins were most often the victims of Latin American modernization.”

The people of African origins were mostly slaves, which in any historical context, never would have had a say in the way things were to supposed to go through anyways. This can be argued however, if we take a look at Hegel’s “master and slave,” in literal terms, one can argue that Latin American modernization did have influence from the slaves. working with natural resource extraction, Latin American economies could only export to what the slave could provide the states/colonies. The resource extraction and selling of goods, had impacted modernization, and that was done at the hands of the slaves.

Throughout any historical timeline, it seems that indigenous people’s often get left out of the conversation. They partake in their own practices, beliefs and religious exercises, and often seen as ‘voodoo’ to the white man. It has been systemic genocide over indigenous peoples in many era’s and geographical aspects of time, that it should not be surprising that things were not different. The Industrial Revolution might be the biggest demise to indigenous peoples and contact with giant political figures because of the role that religion played during the revolt.

By being able to mass produce such commodities like a Bible, religious figures with a lot of political influence, were able to thrust their ‘right’ onto others ‘wrong’ and take hold of the moment. Religion has it’s social affect on politics, while resources have it’s physical affect on politics, and the everyday culture, or…wait…ETHOS of the group seems to get lost.

Question: What aspect of society should have the greatest influence when constructing independence: religion, economics, or ethos?

Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics

The first topic I want to dis cuss is slavery and this abnormal timeline in Latin America. In 1793, due to the Haitian Revolution, slavery was abolished in Haiti. Chile abolished slavery in 1823, the United States in 1865, Cuba in 1886 and Brazil in 1888. I suggest this timeline because modern-day Haiti would be seen as the most impoverished out of these countries in the Americas, yet they were the first to abolish slavery. The Revolution might have expedited the process, yet the relationship between independence and slavery in Haiti is a lot closer than say that of the United States, where almost a year after declaring independence, the United States abolished slavery. Is the United States the thriving country economically today because of their abuse of power with slavery? Strong words, an extremely stretching assumption, however in a relation to Haiti, that assumption could be theoreticized.

Another concept that seems to linger this whole course is religion. de Sagasta’s religious view on women and women’s rights, put her in the majority of her time. It also shows the power of the Church. Was she exercising full agency in her opinions or the agency of the Church? “Women…should never even in thought surpass the limits that God, in when making them…gave them as their pass on earth” (99). What struck me about this quote is that ‘in our opinion’ was also included in that quote, which I admitted to add a more dramatic effect to the quote. Was it really her opinion? It was the opinion of the Church and of the dominant classes of the era, not just in Latin America but throughout the globe. I feel like looking at this period of feminism in Latin America would be a strong group presentation topic to explore further. Using Karl Marx’s principle of Capitalism, with topics such as commodities, use-value, exchange value and his definition of ‘labour,’ exploring a Marxian critique of feminism in early Latin American history would be an extremely interesting topic. Other quotes that struck this feminist accord:

“Woman…is the poetry of God.” (99)

“She is a slave!…but a companion, man’s other half, slave perhaps to her children.” (99-100)

“As if her rights as a woman were not enough to be happy and to make other happy.” (100)


Discussion question: Is there a certain cultured ‘woman’ that de Sagasta is defining, or does her description of ‘woman’ apply to all cultures of Latin America in this time period?

Caudillos vs. the Nation State

I have drawn parallels of the fight for independence of these countries to that of Quebec and Canada, and once again this chapter reminds me of such links. Dawson talks about the caudillos and that they are strongmen, charismatic, and leaders who fought for their people. In the case of Santa Anna, and him being a caudillo and Mexican ruler for many years, he was backed by a Catholic society. This is in such a case the same situation that French fighters in Quebec were in when they were fighting for independence from Britain reign. They also had the religious aspect, as Quebecers for the most part belonged to the Catholic Church, and the Ontarians belonged to the Protestant church. There were a few select figures in Quebec, who saw French nationalism as a good thing and who wanted their needs to be met. Unfortunately for the Quebecers, France had not cared about their colony because they lacked sufficient resources that the France of Europe could benefit from. Instead France focussed on areas such as Haiti, because there they had the resource of sugar. I draw this conclusion because we see some of these Latin American countries striving for independence to be under the same issue as not wanting to be backed by Spain, for various reasons. Dawson explained how the cultural and ethnic divisions were “too vast,” and [Spain’s] idea of being connected by patriotism and blood, among other things, could not work,

“The Slaughterhouse” was an interesting read because we read into the early history of Latin America and the strive of independence from the charismatic leaders of the colonies. The caudillo is fictionalized into groups of people that ultimately relay a message of good or bad: this idea of socially constructed ideas depending on what side you’re on. Going back to the last couple weeks and talking about who benefitted from revolts, independence and liberation. Some of these people were viewed as bad, and some were viewed as good. There are figures, like Santa Ana or Che Guevara, figures who are viewed as both good and bad, depending on which side you’re on and how you viewed the situation. Mostly these views were war based or politically segregated: ‘I didn’t benefit from his leadership’ or ‘I benefitted from his leadership.’

Though the caudillo is viewed as either hero or enemy, how did the idea of a caudillo leadership reform Latin American independence?

Independence Past and Present

The Dawson textbook exert gave minimal descriptions of the various Latin American colonies struggle and entrance into independence. Each country could be course in itself at UBC for reasons of independence and other ideas, which made it difficult for me to soak in all the information. This exert also seemed to be the first if I recall to include Haiti into this discussion. Most of the talk in the previous weeks included mostly Spanish-speaking, or presently Spanish-Speaking colonies and geographic areas, and Haiti is a French speaking country. Also, Dawson references Latin America and Haiti in the context of the 18th century, seeming to suggest this socially constructed term of Latin America shouldn’t have a definite time table as to when it begins or when we should start studying it. It was interesting to identify the role that slavery played in independence of these countries as well, which has parallels to other countries in the Americas, like Canada. Canada was built on slavery and the slaves leaving United States to come up North, even though they still occupied as slaves and used as free labour. Another interesting parallel that I drew from the independence movements of Latin America and Canada, is the role of the Church. The struggle between liberals, conservatives and even further traditionalists or independents for what they want to believe as the best way to confederate a colony. These comparisons of slavery and church helped me further deepen my understanding of independence because of the surface info introduced in this reading.


What other parallels can we draw from Latin American independence and the independence of Canada and the United States?

The Colonial Experience

I first clicked the Lieutenant Nun reading link on our LAST website and stared into the eyes of this man in this portrait. I thought nothing of it and continued reading the introduction to the story or article, whatever you want to call it. I finished reading the introduction and forgot about the portrait by the end of it, until I scrolled to the top of the page, for a reason I do now forget. And then that’s when I saw the portrait again and did a double take. I was staring into the eyes of a ‘woman’ yet I was so blown away by the way this figure as presented. This figure was presented as a war hero, just in this photo as at this point I had yet to continue onto the diary of this woman. For this to be the case, this woman cross dressing and acting like a war hero in the 1600’s is barely comprehensible and seems to burn every idea I had about gender roles in the many centuries of the past. Sure this was not the norm, I do recognize that fact, but if we look at the way history is presented to us there could be an answer. Because most history in pop culture  is presented from the perspective of a white-British or American or French man, sometimes there must be ideas that go against that belief. For a Spanish female to cross dress as a man and take on the life of a man, does seem quite extraordinary, however we should not be in a position to the this as a one off. Maybe some of these European societies and middle-Eastern societies did more role playing than what we know, or what I know (it would be nice if a history trivial could help me out and maybe prove me wrong!). When reading it caught my attention that this woman was raised by nuns and raised around other woman, and then it was unsurprising to me that she may have made that choice because of her personal experiences.

When I started the video about Casta, the first thing that really caught my attention was when the presenter told us that these paintings were popular in Mexico. We are just in week 3 and have yet to construct what ‘Latin America’ is but I keep getting clues as to what it might be. I have always had my own thoughts about what/where Latin America is, but because I am not an expert I still do not want to make conclusions. Though it still seems like an easy answer , these hints help me prepare for when I come to class. I also thought it was interesting to see how much of a role racism and sexism payed in Casta’s paintings. I just finished reading about a woman portraying a man for her whole life, and then there is this artist who used racism and sexism as the focal point for his work. Quite interesting to see the two sides of the times.

If Catalina de Erauso was an American or British figure who took on the transition role in one of those respected countries (for the purpose of the question being really simple lets use the term ‘country’) during the same time period, do you believe the Church would have shown the same leniency?

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