We’ve already seen glimpses throughout past chapters but in this week’s topic, we take a more focused look at the relationship between the United States and Latin America. I was surprised by Dawson’s referral to the cultural and the positive aspects of the US’s imperialism. I’ve known about how the CIA has intervened in many Latin American countries out of fear of left-governments and capitalistic interests, but I never really thought about the collaboration that took place. I tended to see the American presence as a domineering unwanted force in Latin America but Dawson highlights the cultural and monetary exchange that happened. I think this is due to our tendency to see things as black and white. We like to paint the US as. I still think that they’re presence probably did more harm than good and that they could have had a more helpful relationship. Also, for a country that seems to love the idea of self-determination, they interfered in a lot of situations in which the people had already chosen their own leaders. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the connections they had did help some countries modernize quickly and become more competitive.
One thing I found particularly interesting in the documentary Journey to Bananaland is the focus on the commodity. Yes, they do spend some time patronizingly describing life in Guatemala, but they spend most of the time talking about bananas. We see the hard work and tough conditions the workers have to go through in order for North Americans to get bananas, but we’re just told to think about how efficient UFCO and how modern the technology the use. It’s also interesting to see the racial changes we see in the hands that prepare the bananas and those who actually consume it. It kind of reminds me how now when we buy clothes, we’re only brought to think about the product and not the people that struggle to produce them. The Silent War starts off with the statement, “Our battlefield is the world.” This catchphrase, as well as the general message of the documentary, is used in the beginning of the propaganda. With this type of mentality being pushed on them, it’s easy to see how the average American, would love the idea of American interventionism and see it as a charitable thing.
To me it feels as if most of these efforts are to gain the approval and support of Middle White America. They build a sense of nationalism and pride in how advanced and better off their country is, and tells them to just focus on the products they consume and not what goes into it. My question this week is do you see this type of advertisement today in Canada and the US? And if so, in what forms?