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?