Week Four – Independence in Latin America

This week’s topic, Independence, is a huge topic to tackle. Especially when we are covering the independence of such a huge geographical area that is Latin America. I found the narrative of José Martí incredibly beautiful and poetic; the way in which he describes the struggle of the people of the New World against the Spanish colonizers is absolutely stunning and it left an impact on me. His use of metaphors and descriptive language creates a very vivid image, and makes me think that he was quite an effective and influential figure in the struggle for independence. However, some of his ideas were a little bit hard to follow due to the way he chose to write his piece, with some of the metaphors creating a bit of an issue in my understanding of what he was trying to say.

Bolivar’s narrative however, is descriptive in a less poetic way but yet still highly effective and seemingly influential. He highlights the facts of the rebellions happening throughout Latin America and explains what is happening with these uprisings and why. I found Bolivar’s writing a lot easier to follow than Martí’s, just because it was written in a more straightforward and “straight to the facts” kind of way. A particularly powerful line from this piece of writing for me was, “we are threatened with the fear of death, dishonor, and every harm; there is nothing we have not suffered at the hands of that unnatural stepmother-Spain”. The idea of the stepmother in this sense is excellent; someone that comes into a family from a completely different place. Someone that does things differently to what you are used to, and this can go very well, or it can go extremely wrong. In the case of Latin America, the relationship that it had with Spain was obviously a bad one.

The question I have after this week’s plethora of information about independence is this: When do people decided that enough is enough and start the spark of revolution? How long can people put up with being ruled by a crown that does not have the best interests of you in mind? And who says when its time to start fighting back?

The bravery of these people that we’ve learned about this week, and of course many other people who we have not heard about, is absolutely astounding and sparks a common theme: what will you do when you’ve decided that enough is enough?

4 thoughts on “Week Four – Independence in Latin America

  1. Isak Parker

    Really enjoyed reading your blog! I too had a bit of a hard time understanding Martí’s work, but his metaphors were really interesting. Your question at the end is also very interesting: when is enough enough? I guess it would depend on a lot of circumstances, like the state of surroundings or environment. That’s just one example, but there are way more. Great blog

  2. Frances

    Hi thanks for your thoughtful post. I was also thinking about your question as I went through this week’s material. In terms of Bolivar in particular, who was a criollo himself, I think that people decide “enough is enough” when the people with some power are affected. For example, when the criollos (a pretty powerful group although not as powerful as the Spanish peninsulares) find that their political and economic power is threatened they initiate rebellions. Where as the lower-class Indians or slaves may have felt this since the early days of colonization/slavery they didn’t have the power to initiate something as radical. Those were just my thoughts and observations 🙂

  3. Christine Joy Ganase

    Hi Maddie!

    With regards to the quote your drew from the Bolivar reading, the one about Spain as Latin America’s stepmother, I think there may be more that can be said about this. I think Bolivar may have also been attempting to induce the highly negative notion of the evil stepmother. Typical in fictional literature, the evil stepmother often connotes a sense of distrust and destruction, which may be what Bolivar feels with regards to Spain as a ruling power. Overall, awesome post!

  4. ruze guvenc

    I really loved your analysis of both Martí and Bolivar, I definitely agree that Bolivar’s writing was much easier to follow. In regards to your question about when do people decide enough is enough and who says it is time to start fighting back, I think it is a very situation dependant but I think there is a similar pattern. I think that people decide to take action when they notice there is a better situation or option available for them. For instance, people may not know they want democracy if they do not know what democracy is, or have never seen it in action before. Which is why I think it takes a revolutionary, someone who can suggest this extreme change in societal/political organization, to create this uprising and anger in the people to incite change.


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