Week Thirteen: Towards an Uncertain Future


Coming into this class, I was a bit apprehensive because I had no prior knowledge about Latin America. However, I can now say I’ve learned a lot and I hope to take more courses like this at UBC. Gaining insight on another area’s history and culture takes you out of your bubble. I remember during the first class, the three words I used to describe South America had to do with beaches and tourism. The answer I have at the end of the semester is drastically different. I would say diversity, perseverance and darkness With so much rich history belonging to each country, every week was significant in its own way.My goal was to learn something new. I’ve gone beyond that. There is a new level understanding, eagerness to learn and exposure to another side of the world. I hope to keep up with current issue and complete independent research on topics I find interesting.This week’s lecture was titled “Towards an Uncertain Future” could not be a more accurate way to describe the state of Latin America as of right now. Looking back at prior chapters of this course, we saw the negative effects of colonialism, outside intervention, modernity, independence and more. Yet, the people of Latin America are able to endure hardships and obstacles in their way. No one can guess what the future holds especially considering all that is going on in the world. To end off with, I’ve really enjoyed this course and will really miss everything about it.


Discussion Questions:

Can you make any inferences about the future of Latin America?

Out of each chapter of the syllabus, what was the most interesting week for you?


Week Twelve – Speaking Truth to Power

Forms of technology and media have taken over our lives in many situations including education, politics, personal lives and careers. As beneficial as it may be, there are certain negative impacts. In Document 10.3 “Aguas Blancas Masacre”, 17 peasants were brutally killed by Guerrero police officers while on their way to a demonstration. The state was able to manipulate evidence and the public by using  photographs and the opposing sides reputation. They were able to plant various weapons on the dead and alive showcasing the officers acted in self defence. On top of this, the belief that the “radical peasant group” wanted to overthrow government further supported what was being depicted. With a thorough investigation, media clips and footage were able to prove the police shot at unarmed men and faked evidence. The new era of digital technology is so powerful but can be mishandled leading to detrimental consequences. I think people can’t always trust the things shown to us because there is a chance of foul play. Checking multiple resources, asking questions and withholding preconceived notions/bias are temporary solutions but how far can that go.

Moving on, Document 10.2 “Revolutionary Womens’ Law” showcased the demands of the EZLN for women’s rights. While I was reading it, they seemed so straightforward and I was shocked that people didn’t have access to simple things such as “the right to choose their partner: no forced marriage”, “not be beaten or physically mistreated by their family mem- bers or by strangers”, rights to education and working, etc. Speaking from a place of privilege, I haven’t had to worry about the following or even have basic rights taken away from me. There are a lot of situations where women face horrible issues and have to fight for something that should already be guaranteed.


Discussion Question:

Can you think of other examples of the misuse of evidence and media during tragedies?

Disadvantages of modern day technology?

Video Project: Writing Assignment #2

Victims of Femicide in Latin America: Legal and Criminal Justice Responses

I chose “Victims of Femicide in Latin America: Legal and Criminal Justice Responses” as a second source for the video project. The research paper focuses on reasons for high rates of femicide and the legal/criminal justice  responses. I believe it very important to look at how the judicial system is confronting cases revolving around violence and femicide. Justice is served through trial, conviction and sentencing. With a range of information, our video project can talk about how systemic discrimination plays a role in dismissing the severity of femicide as well as how some countries choose to tackle it throughout Latin America. Femicide in South America can be dated back to several cvil wars where death squads brutally murdered citizens leaving a legacy of “violence, intimidation and ongoing impunity.” A patriarchal society where men were favoured over women is another probable cause. Incidents of vengeance where loan sharks would kill females of the family as a form of retaliation. The article mentioned there is an unequal level of power between both genders leaving women vulnerable to horrible circumstances. Organized crimes has become one of the leading factors of femicide due to revenge killings, human trafficking or involvement within gangs. For example, 50% of the murdered Guatemalan women in 2015 were linked to gang related reasons. Many countries have taken the step to criminalize femicide as a criminal offence with prison time. However, there were flaws found in this ruling like in Argentina where femicide was deemed as “aggravated type of homicide of a relative, spouse or former spouse, or a person with whom he has or has had an intimate relationship, even if they were not living together at the time of the crime” but since has been changed. At the time, the government failed to recognize cases where the parties involved didn’t know each other. but their punishment is life imprisonment. Penalties for the crime of femicide rage from 20 to 40 years typically. Even with adequate laws put in place, the actual trial is where we can see difficulties. Impunity and lack of investigation led to a rising numbers of unsolved cases. There were only 3658 convictions in Colombia of a total of 34571 cases throughout ten years. Corruption has taken control of the legal system where judges are bribed or threatened, unwillingness on the authority’s side and lack of resources/policy to address gender violence. While searching for resources, I found this paper the most useful. A background look at why and how femcides have increased can allow our group to depict a larger view of the issue on a systemic level.





Video Project: Writing Assignment #1

Violence Against Women in Mexico

The report “Violence Against Women in Mexico” focuses on recent trends in three regions of the country (Baja California, Sinaloa and Veracruz). There are several accounts of the atrocities throughout the paper going into detail about the victim, the incident and similar cases. It will allow for a personal connection and accounts from real events depicting the larger scale of how severe these cases are. Most of them contain brutal force and violence.  Some were related to organized crime, relatives, significant others or random perpetuators. One specific event that really was alarming was about Maria de Jesús Reyes Pérez. Near Angostura, Sinaloa, a seventy year old woman was beaten to death by her son for allegedly taking part in witchcraft. Her child has mental health issues and attacked his father as well, who only suffered minor injuries. The man was never convicted due to him being mentally ill. There were 8 other cases similar to this where women were attacked by their sons. It all  relates to machismo considering all abusers felt disrespected and felt they had to take action. When looking at the three states, there was in increase in domestic and sexual violence and femicide. It has increased more than ever especially in 2017. Sexual violence in Veracruz can be deemed as an “epidemic” with a staggering 12% of casing having assault and mutilation involved. There are graphs included showing the age distribution, cases from 2016-2017 and a labelled map revealing where cases took place. Victims around the age of 20-29 were most common followed by 15-19 and 35-39. I think this source can be very useful for our video project because it shares details on modern day data and information that can showcase what it looks like today and how serious it has gotten. Moving on, the paper spends some time talking about one of the main policies put in place called Gender Violence Alert Mechanism. States with alarming rates of femicide and crimes against women will take action right away to deal with the issue. The motives for this policy were to bring the incidents to light and create a “political will” to produce more rules that will decrease femicides. For example, Sinaloa has been providing programs to teach common people, military and police about femicide. They have also been reviewing budget plans concerning women’s institutions. The report does touch upon how this hasn’t created much difference and only does the bare minimum. There is more action needed that will really ignite change including “improving investigations, provide sufficient attention to victims, ensure swift processing of perpetrators, and the implementation of exemplary punishments.” This specific part is crucial for the project due to the fact it can inform people about existing regulations, the issues with it and how it can improve.





Week Eleven: The Terror

This week’s lecture titled “The Terror” was quite thought provoking and introduced students to the turmoil within Latin American countries between their military and left leaning guerrillas and parties. Personally for me, I kept going back to the mentions of violence and deaths as a result of what was occurring.  For this blog post, I wanted to focus on discussion question #1 and Document 9.1 (The Massacre).

Forced disappearances are usually not documented accurately when looking at statistics. Families are left in the dark wondering what has happened to their loved ones. I would say this situation is extremely traumatic because there is no information to allow closure or even explain anything. People have questions that are left unanswered and often times try to find something themselves. The victim just vanished without ever being seen again, the body is never returned, it is a complete dead end.

Moving on to Document 9.1, Mario Vargas Llosa was speaking on the massacre of reporters. He mentioned multiple times that the Indians weren’t accustomed to the modern world, had language barriers and may of mistook the reporters as the enemy. I thought he was really trying to take away from what had happened and  pushed a narrative that it was all apart of the guerrillas doing. He states they are”They are born in the cities, among intellectuals and middle-class militants”. The well-off guerrillas were able to influence the peasants with their ideology and it led to immense violence such as the massacre. Near the end of the document, Vargas says Democracy will never thrive in Latin America if it is only applicable and beneficial for one group/demographic. He was able to recognize the flaws and how it effected lower class members.

Throughout this week’s lecture, I could see a lot of grey areas. In the video lecture, Professor Jon had mentioned that we are left with the incomprehensibility of what has happened. I agree that a lot of history can never be accounted for accurately and that leaves people with questions that may not be answered.

Discussion Question:

Would you agree with what Mario Vargas Llosa had said about democracy?

How can those grey area of history be filled in or somewhat make sense?



Week Ten: Power to the People

Women’s achievements in history tend to be hidden and only comes to light many years later. Maria Eva Duarte de Perón was a powerful figure in Argentina who’s accomplishment had won the hearts of the working class. She founded the FEP where multiple contributions were distributed to the people such as new hospitals, schools, supplies and other important social programs. Perón was an inspiration and idol for young women showcasing how much potential they carry.

Regardless of her great attributions, she was still slandered in high society as a way to diminish her legacy. She was referred to as prostitute and people found malice in any actions she implemented. Eva failed to meet the standard of an Argentine elite due her voice in politics and the public. She wasn’t the typical woman. In her speech, Eva mentions “I was never interested in deceit or slander when they unleashed their tongues against a frail Argentine woman. On the contrary, it made me happy inside, because I served my people and my General”. Despite the cruel comments and behaviour, it didn’t falter Perón but pushed her harder to fight for the people suffering.

While reading this week’s lecture, I saw a strong individual who went against society and gave a voice to the unheard. She was unapologetic, fierce and selfless. Something a lot of politicians lacked in character. However, I noticed how much of a difficult journey Perón endured. She was constantly belittled and wasn’t given the recognition she deserved in government. Despite all she had done, some still viewed her as the President’s wife. I really admired how she said she would rather be known as Evita. She remained humble throughout her speech and had given her husband acknowledgement for most of her doings. The people still stood with Eva and saw all she had done on her own.The legacy and influence of Eva Perón was mighty.

Discussion Question:

After reading this week’s lecture, what issues did woman in politics endure during that time? How has it improved or worsened now?

If Eva Perón had become Vice President, how do you think that would’ve shaped Argentina?

Week Nine: Commerce, Coercion and America’s Empire

This week’s lecture and the attached readings are definitely something I’ve never been aware of. Throughout the reading, you can see the different examples of U.S forces establishing their reign in Latin American countries. Obliviously, I think a lot of people were kept in the dark about the events listed. It wasn’t taught in the education curriculum or mentioned in conversations, it seems you’d have to do some independent research or choose to take course where it is included.

The film ” The Silent War” can be depicted as a form of propaganda defying the long lasting effects of American imperialism and pushing a false narrative. The video shows its viewer how the States and particular South American countries came together and collaborated creating a vaccine for yellow fever. It evokes emotions emphasizing  brotherhood and camaraderie signifying a strong connection. It definitely leans in favour of the North and the positive results that occur when having a bond with them. To me, I felt like the overall message was that Colombians were rescued due to American doctors and now remained safe.

Moving one, in the document “Political Manifesto” by Augusto Sandino, you can see a more liberal and resisting point of view from a Nicaraguan man. He openly discusses how much he disagree with US intervention and refers to them as “Yankee morphine addicts.” Not only does Sandino point out the bloodshed and violence as a result but he holds his own government accountable. It seems as he is speaking to an American man face to face through his writing. This portrayed a completely contrasting opinion that held a lot power and meaning. Augusto Sandino also mentions and claims his indigenous blood which has not been seen that much in our past readings. For example in the Creelman interview, Porfirio Diaz with indigenous ancestry himself belittles the population throughout the interview.

Seeing the film and reading the document shows two varying perspectives towards the obvious American influence in Latin America during the time. Not only are we exposed to the different sides but are able to identify bias in the film. One film comes from American production whereas the document is a first hand account from a Nicaraguan man . Readers would tend to believe the document over the short video because it comes from someone who is impacted personally.

Discussion Questions:

If you had watched the film “The Silent War” when it was released, what do you think your initial thoughts would have been. Would your support lean towards the support or defiance of America?

How did you interpret the document “Political Manifest” by Augusto Sandino?

Week Eight: Signs of Crisis in a Gilded Age

I would like to focus this week’s blog post on Rubén Dario’s poem titled “To Roosevelt” and the meaning behind it. Even during the “modernization” of Latin America, countries depended on their relationship with the United States to further progress their nations. For an exchange of exporting valuable resources and goods, America would provide up to date technology. To me, the power is taken away from people of Latin America and placed in the hands of its northern neighbours. Yes, it helped in a way but opportunities weren’t given to citizens of the land. Of course, it would be frustrating to see the large influence a foreign land holds where you live.

Dario acknowledges how potent and influential the States are but goes on to talk about how much potential and strength L.A has in return. Even though, the legacy of an outsider’s rule is seen in everyday life, the people themselves have accomplished so much and will continue to prosper. He infers about the perseverance and determination of the individuals fighting have and talks about their faith in God. I can relate this to a marginalized group up against the one with an upper hand. They may not have everything the opposite side has but they have their beliefs that keep them going. Dario is angry and upset with all that’s going on and it is justified. He still chose to have a somewhat positive outlook to the situation.

I think the poem itself is very powerful and sends a strong message to Roosevelt. With reference to many achievements, it showcases how Latin America has flourished without the help of international interventions. Dario’s message is probably what a majority of people were thinking at the time. However with a government who supports the U.S, an everyday man won’t be able to speak his mind without worrying about retaliation. A writer or poet can voice the opinion of the unheard and communicate to fill in the grey area. They are like the middle man of the situation.

Relating this to modern day situations, the United States still hold a significant amount of power over the world. You can see how involved they were in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and political state of affairs in Venezuela or Chile. There are long lasting effects to this such as economic or political consequences leaving turmoil behind for the inhabitants of that specific country.


Discussion Question:

What impact/legacy do you think this poem carries?

What are the long lasting effects of US intervention left in Latin America?

Week Seven: Export Boom As Modernity

Modernity can be looked as a positive or negative thing depending on who you speak to. With more industrialization, tolerance and a new era of science/technology, a country joins the modern world with a lot to offer. It can be linked to a more liberal way of life.

However when transitioning from a traditional society to present day, those core values and heritage of certain groups start to disintegrate. I dare to even say it is forcing assimilation on folks. To be successful in the “new world”, you have to follow along with the majority or get left behind. As a reader, I can’t understand what people at the time went through but of course there would have been uncertainty and refusal.

The “norm” has been changed considering relationships, education, communication  and other important factors. The wealth gap seemed to arise  with other pressing issues.

On the other hand, modernity created a more accepting place to live where woman were able to do things they weren’t before, education was very valued, material goods were accessible and an overall comfortable way of living. There are always two sides to the story.

To answer the lecture question:What are the signs of  what is to come?

Honestly, I do not know for sure but looking at the world around us and seeing what has been popular could be a deciding factor. Certain things aren’t relevant anymore or applicable to daily life. One example could be the use of paper. We are in a digital era where typically everything is done online such as reading, homework, communication, etc. Having bookstores, the post office and other places that rely heavily on the use of paper may not be around. Amidst the pandemic, schools have completely shifted online with little to none  in classroom contact. I think  this will effect how our education system will look from now on. Nothing is guaranteed when looking at the future.

Discussion Questions:

Would you say modernity has left a more positive or negative impact?

How would marginalized groups excel during these times? Or would you disagree? Explain

Week Six: Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics

A woman deserves the same rights as a man. I think everyone agrees with that statement. Even looking at the time period, reading the letter written by Josefina Pelliza da Sagasta had left me utterly shocked considering the fact she is a woman herself. You can clearly understand how progressive her ideology is and the harmful stereotypes perpetuated. To say “What man would want to see his daughters educated to be teachers and his sons for uselessness? What man would thus decline the sacred rights of his nature?” is alarming and coneys this message that if women are seen at the same pedestal of a man that is detrimental for him.

Comparing this to Maria’s letter where she describes this hope to see women move forward and live their lives to the fullest capacity is quite contrasting. She was able to eloquently voice strong principles through paper. Women of Latin America during the 19th/ early 20th century seemed to have clashing opinions when it came to their rights. From what I read, Josefina’s beliefs were normalized whereas Echenique’s were outlawed in the face of society. Misogyny and gender discrimination are issue dealt with on a daily occurrence.  When it becomes internalized, that is an even more harmful outcome.

Moving on, a country’s constitution  or declaration appears to be the basis of its existence. With a set of rules promoting equal rights and freedom for all, it gives the impression of being guaranteed. We can see this was not the case in Latin and North America. People of colour faced discrimination and lack of justice throughout the education and political system, job market, and much more. Although, South America tended to not specify based on race unlike the United States where hatred was in the public domain on all aspects. It was written in the passage that an African American felt welcomed in Brazil without any prejudice. I think that Latin America had accepted the apparent racial differences. The issue wasn’t the fact they were POC but making sure they didn’t get the same opportunities to get ahead. Even with slavery abolished, a lot of freed slaves still worked for their former owners or were denied employment and pushed aside for migrants. The bare minimum rights received looked to be as already too much and asking for more was excessive. Having these laws were useless knowing the attitudes of people stayed the same. You cannot produce something on paper and expect it to be implemented in the community without real social change?

Discussion Question:

Can you say the treatment of POC was somewhat better in Latin America compared to the United States? Or was it vice versa?

How can social change be implemented?