This week’s topic is set in the mid 20th century, after the increase in American involvement in Latin American affairs. We focus on the efforts of three leaders in their respective countries (Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina) to unify their country and garner support for themselves.

We see the role that technology played in their pursuit of unification. Brand new technologies such as the radio, enabled leaders to reach out to more civilians than ever before, without having to do much traveling. Their attempts of building a sense of community while garnering support had varying effects. However, the radio did seem to provide a “fictive kinship” to listeners who could now hear songs and other art forms from their country, which enabled them to create a national identity (it’s also interesting to note that the working and middle class were a driving force in forming this culture, although they were looked down upon by the elites) A range of people now felt an alliance to being Brazilian or Mexican, not just the elites, and they had their own unique cultural aspects that they could share in. Unfortunately, that this newfound comradery could not erase the past conflicts between classes.

Some of the most prominent leaders at this time recognized this and aimed to appease the working class, who were the majority.  It seems that many Latin American countries flipped back and forth from Caudillo-type leaders who appealed to the poor and indigenous communities, military dictators who pleased the elites. Cardenas, Lacerada, and Peron seem to represent the turn back to Caudillismo.

I loved reading about Evita Peron who, despite the circumstances she was born into, managed to become a beloved an prominent leader. She had so many things going against her, being from an “improper” family, being working class, not fitting into the role of a “good woman”, and the limitations that women faced at the time. Despite all this she managed to become revered, even more so than her husband it seems. One thing I found interesting about her though, is that she plays into the stereotypes about women. She frequently refers to herself as weak, and frail (although this may be due to her illness at the time), as she simultaneously holds the attention of a million people. And is being requested to take the 2nd highest political position in the country.

My question this week is: do you believe that Latin American Countries today have managed to solve that tension/rift between the working class and the elites? And if not, do you think they ever will?