I feel like this week’s material was sort of like a reality check.
Latin American is repeatedly described as being countries that are CURRENTLY infused with instability, poverty, crimes etc. So I guess what I found surprising was the reminder that not only have these situations existed for years but also the raging violence people went through. We learned that many nations went through coups that were perpetrated by right political groups in an attempt to overthrow socialist leaders, resulting in immense brutality.
In Dawson’s “Latin America Since Independence: A History with Primary Sources” it reads something along the lines that it was common to see the oppression of groups from authoritarian regimes throughout Latin America.
- An example being the coup in 1973 committed by Pinochet where the country was put under military control.
- Or the massacre that occurred in 1968 where shot a gathering of unarmed student protesters
Though there were attempts to seize controls of governments by socialist revolutionaries as well, I find it interesting to learn about the motivations of some of the coups from rightists. Particularly how the United States encouraged such actions, with a common reason, the fear of communism.
On another note, maybe it’s because my family is from Venezuela, but I find it interesting how despite Marcos Perez Jimenez being a dictator known because of the forced oppression, his time in power also was a time of immense modernity. It was during his rule that Venezuela became modernized, building highways and cities. After Perez Jimenez there was a time of peace and democracy until the coup in 1992 by Hugo Chavez. He was a military Bolivarian revolutionist with socialist ideals that took power of Venezuela, and his government still holds power, now referred to as the Venezuelan crisis. Anyways, I mention this because I noticed that many of the processes of oppression that were mentioned were from the right, not including the guerrillas and Sendero Luminoso, and I thought this example provides a good contrast, though it is fairly more recent in comparison.
On ANOTHER note, learning about guerrillas reminded me of the EDUCATIONAL AND AWESOME Colombian tv show La Niña, a true story based on the Colombian guerilla and military corruption. The series can be found on Netflix. Here’s a link to a short trailer I found on youtube, but I recommend the complete trailer on Netflix if you have access to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta92Bsr_6u0
Discussion Question: It seems like guerrillas were originally meant to benefit the marginalized people, but instead turned out to be increasingly violent against everyone. How did that initial intent get lost?
November 17, 2020 — 1:10 pm
I’m not sure if this is the correct answer to your question, but I think it was Professor Jon who mentioned in the lecture, that the enemy became hard to identify during the time of terror. There were not two clear opponents fighting each other, but different ideologies imposing violence onto whoever they thought was opposing them. I think this was highlighted in this week’s documents when the eight journalists were killed by the Indigenous. They thought the journalists were Sendistas who came to attack them. As far as I understood, the Indigenous weren’t even the primary source of violence, but after some unpleasant encounters with the Sendistas (which they thought the journalist were), they started protecting themselves through violence. In conclusion, I think there are many reasons as to why the violence got so widespread, from misunderstandings to different ideologies.
November 17, 2020 — 2:56 pm
The TV series you mentioned seems really interesting and I’ll be sure to check it out!
I think that guerillas appear to be for(and are actually at first) for the marginalized people because they need to attract support to achieve their cause and people who are not satisfied with the status quo are probably the ones who these radical reforms appeal to. However, after the basis of support is established, the guerilla no longer needs to appeal to the people. They could pursue their ideals even further and silence anyone who would even partially disagree with their cause. The communities close to these organizations would also have to use violence as a defense mechanism which would result in a cycle of violence. I think there are many more reasons why a guerilla becomes extremely violent towards all its surrounding but I think what I just mentioned is one factor.
November 18, 2020 — 1:25 pm
Reading your question I thought of one my favourite quotes from One Hundred Years of Solitude:
Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?” “What other reason could there be?” Colonel Gerineldo Marquez answered. “For the great Liberal party.” “You’re lucky because you know why,” he answered. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve come to realize only just now that I’m fighting because of pride.” “That’s bad,” Colonel Gerineldo Marquez said. Colonel Aureliano Buendia was amused at his alarm. “Naturally,” he said. “But in any case, it’s better than not knowing why you’re fighting.” He looked him in the eyes and added with a smile: “Or fighting, like you, for something that doesn’t have any meaning for anyone”
I think this ties directly into the question of intention, and how it is lost. These conflicts are complicated, they involve various groups of people over long stretches of time. Meanings can be easily lost in that.
I say this as a Colombian, La Nina is well done, it is interesting and entertaining. But it is a telenovela, and Caracol TV is known to be right-wing quite biased, so personally I would not describe it as “educational”. Still a great TV show and recommendation.
November 19, 2020 — 7:28 am
Hi Maiya! Thanks so much for sharing this quote with us. One part that stood out to me was when Colonel Gerineldo Marquez says, “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve come to realize only just now that I’m fighting because of pride”. I honestly think that it always comes back to the idea of pride. I also like how you talk about intention. When conflicts become complicated, the people involved also become complicated, and I think this is when intentions and meanings become “lost” as you say.
November 22, 2020 — 5:17 pm
to answer your question on how that initial intent got lost with the guerrillas. I think it got lost the same as it does with everyone who gets some form of power. The power always gets to peoples head and start to clouds their judgement. People may start with good intentions but things become blurred when all these benefits that come with power flood your view.