In this week’s reading, we pass over the revolution in Cuba to what was going on the the Latin American region between the years of 1960-2000. This time was noted but the extreme violence in that region of the world by parties that were both leftists and right-wing radicals. In the first part of this post, I will mainly be talking about leftist politics and governance rising in the region and how the countries in those regions reacted to them. Second part of this post I would like to look at Peru and some comments made by Max Cameron about Peru during this time.
First off, this was during the height of the Cold War and Cuba missile crisis of 63 just fell through. The US wanted Latin America to not have any more Soviet influence in the region and that they did not want another Cuba on their hands. The US during this time supported what was called the Dirty War. Where countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile were at the time controlled by harsh military government fighting against leftist extremism personified by figures like Che and other idealists. Hell, it is noted in the textbook that a democratically elected socialist government in Chile was overthrown in a US backed coup in 73. But unlike in Chile, left learning radicals in countries like Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, and others had violent and radical left leaning guerrilla soldiers. This is especially the case with Peru with the Maoist group Shining Path.
As the textbook and Max Cameron points out, the Peruvian elections in 1980 was the first democratic elections in over a decade in that country, but polling booths were attacked by the Shining Path as way of violently protesting the elections. The origins of this group dates back to the 1920’s were the reformist at the time wanted to change the set up of land redistribution in the country side, these reform finally happened in the 1960’s. Max notes that this revolutionary group is interesting because it emerged during a time of land reform, a very uncommon thing when compared to other revolutionary groups and they started to change a few things. They got rid of landlords who controlled towns within the country side and they started to run things for themselves when also working as a terrorist militia. They even managed to attack Lima in the mid 1980’s. This changed when Fujimori got into power and how he collapsed the party system in that country, suspended the constitution, and started to really battle back this group. Not only did Fujimori succeed with having support from the people and military, he successfully beat back the Shining Path to a point where they are not a threat any more. In 2000 however, Fujimori was overthrown and left the country for Japan leaving behind him more then 70,000 dead, billion spent, and a constitution that was more authoritarian and neoliberal as it was noted by Max.