Week four

When thinking of what constitutes acceptable political representation, I like to begin on a personal level.  For example, would I like it if anyone could directly dictate all of my actions without input from me? Most likely not… And as such, I sympathize with the motivation of those who wanted to abandon the control of colonial powers, especially in the case of many Latin American countries where the ruling powers were so unbelievably awful. Another factor in the situation that leads me to lend support to the revolutionaries is that the colonizing powers had no intention of supporting the colonies over a long period.  Like we talked about briefly last class many of the colonies in Latin America were exploitation colonies, not settler colonies like those in North America. So the ruling powers were interested in only the natural resources they could plunder from the colony, not in the well-being of its inhabitants. This leads to tactics such as widespread use of slavery, prioritization of wealth over health, and a general disregard for the lives- after all, people come and go, but diamonds are forever. (Yes, I know that they mostly were after silver & gold). In such a case, it seems to me unreasonable to not expect revolution. However, a revolution is no good if it doesn’t change, or worsens, the prior conditions. Simon Bolívar touches on this in his text. Even as he foretells the success of his cause, he speaks to the uncertainty and unrest that will follow the revolution, especially in the sphere of politics. It seems to me that Bolívar’s revolution is much like a question that needed to be asked, but that no one has the exact answer to. We see the ambiguity that surrounds Latin America repeated again in the figure of José Martí. Like the lecture says, his legacy is still being debated. And yet, in Martí we see someone who was called for a unified Latin America, one that could withstand foreign influences, particularly those of the United States of America . Central to the idea of unity is having a common cause to rally around, but Martí’s contested legacy would suggest that perhaps there was no point within Our America specific enough to act as a thesis. Or it could be that there is one, only it’s so buried under various metaphors and allusions that it can be hard for any reader to justify their interpretation over anothers. All par for Latin America, I suppose.

1 thought on “Week four

  1. Matilda

    I also agree with you that revolution was bound to happen due to the way colonies in the Americas were being treated by the European powers, it also explains some of the resentment that is still left over today. They wanted freedom but there wass a lot of uncertainty about hhow things would turn out after the end of colonization, as Bolivar expressed.

    I wonder what is needed to fix the issues we see in Latin American politics today. I doubt a unified Latin America is anywhere in the near future, but what can be done within the different countries? I think as Marti said, whatever the ssolution is, it has to be made specifically to fit with Latin America’s culture. It has to take into account the unique history and social issues, and has to do its best at appeasing each of the different social groups. This is of couse not an easy objective, but it seems to be necessary.


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