Latin America

Report
Latin America
Forces Shaping Modern Latin America
Latin America, the United States, and the World
Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
Focus on Argentina and Brazil
Forces Shaping Modern Latin America
• A Diverse Region
 33 countries, 100’s of languages (Spanish is dominant language)
 Conquest, immigration and intermarriage
 Native Peoples, Spanish, Africans, (more currently Asians, Europeans)
• Sources of Unrest
▫ Social Structure
 Uneven distribution of wealth (elites have controlled power for decades)
 Wealthy blocked attempts at reform to keep their power
 Poverty linked to social position (Upper class Europeans, Lower class native people,
Africans, Mestizos
 The Rich/Poor became how people seen more than ethnic group
▫ Population and Poverty
 Economies pressed to keep up with the rapid population growth
 Pressure on land to feed the increasing numbers of people
▫ Urbanization
 Many moved to cities to find work, food (maybe education for their children)
 Shantytowns, scavenging for food when none was found
Forces Shaping Modern Latin America
• Politics: Reform, Repression, or Revolution
▫ Competing Ideologies
 After WW2, various groups pressed for reforms (different ideas – most to help poor)
 Calls for schooling, housing, health care and land reform
 Those in power tried to block reforms as a challenge to their power
▫ Military Regimes
 Military leaders held power in some Latin American countries
 Often moved for reforms to keep the support of the people
 Social unrest brought military leaders to power in other nations in the 1980’s
 Often imposed harsh rules to restore order (censorship, no political parties, closed universities)
 Some pushed capitalist reforms to raise money for reforms, most unable to fix problems
▫ The Threat of Revolution
 1960’s & 1970’s saw uprisings by guerilla and urban terrorist groups
 Socialism, communism/marxism found support with the poor
 Revolted against the influence of outside nations, especially the United States
▫ Revival of Democracy
 1980’s brought a return to democracy after reforms failed
 Even with democratic change, leaders used power to crush opposition or nationalize
economies
Forces Shaping Modern Latin America
• Economic Development (often single crop/product – suffered in competition)
▫ Industry
 Encouraged development of industry by locals, not foreigners
 Met is mixed success, needed gov’t support or foreign capital to survive
 Middle class prospered but most of the poor saw no improvement in life
▫ Expanding Agriculture
 Agribusiness – large areas of land were opened to farming (irrigation, deforestation)
 Export crops took precedent over crops to feed local people, food had to be imported
▫ Economic Challenges
 Global recession, cost of oil, increased interest rates caused problems
 To ease rising debts, gov’ts cut social programs, raised prices and opened to foreign
investments
 Most brought their debts under control
 Strengthened their trading position with trade treaties
▫ NAFTA – North American Free Trade Association linked Mexico, US and Canada
▫ Mercosur – trading as a bloc for South America (like Economic Union of Europe)
Forces Shaping Modern Latin America
• Changing Social Patterns (urbanization brought social changes) In cities,
smaller nuclear families created. Instead of raising food, it was bought in stores. To make
enough money, women went to work, children left to roam the streets. Violence/crime rates
rose.
▫ Women
 By 1960’s – women had right to vote in most countries in the Americas, but little political
power. Few held office. A few countries did see advancement, even elected women
presidents.
 Status based on class/race. Upper-class women had access to education, careers, could
afford help with their children. Lower-class lacked school, health care and low pay.
Women of Indian or African descent faced discrimination
▫ Religion
 Catholic Church remained a powerful influence through out Central America
 Catholic Church traditionally linked to the ruling class (rich), but spoke up for the poor.
Many pushed for “social justice” and an end to poverty. “LIBERATION THEOLOGY”
 The Church was used as a force for reform in the 1960’s
Latin America, The US, and the World
• Communism in Cuba – US controlled Cuba from 1902 until 1935. Then
backed military dictators who supported US investments in Cuba
▫ Castro – 1959 – led small group of guerillas in revolution.
Castro seen as hero for
overthrowing dictator. Castro turned the new government into Communist regime
 He nationalized foreign-owned sugar plantations
 Castro imposed harsh authoritarian rule and used it to improve conditions for the poor (health
care, education, equality for women)
 Angered middle/upper class Cubans. Critics jailed or silenced
 Hundreds of thousands will flee to America
▫ Cold War Tensions – Castro turned to Soviet Union for help
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US alarmed – Bay of Pigs – attempted to overthrow Castro – failed
US Embargo – to cut off/starve out Cuba
Cuban Missile Crisis – USSR tried to put nuclear missiles in Cuba (blockade)
Castro tried to encourage other Latin American countries to move towards communism, with
backing from the Soviet Union
▫ Recent Trends – Collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 cost Cuba it’s major
supporter and trading partner. Without aid from USSR, Cuba’s economy fell apart
Latin America, The US, and the World
• The US and Latin America – The US was the major investor and trading partner
for most Latin American countries. Profits from US companies flowed into the Latin American
governments and from Latin American into the US. But, the links between the regions created very
different views of the other
▫ US – Saw itself as defender of democracy and capitalism.
It believed it acted with great
humanitarianism in providing aid to neighboring countries
▫ Latin American countries – resented living under the shadow of the US and being
dependent upon their help
▫ Intervention – During Cold War, US intervened in Latin America frequently
 To protect US interests
 To stop the spread of communism (often backed anti-communist dictators)
▫ Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Panama
 Many opposed to US intervention (both economic and military)
 Even though they admire wealth/technology, they resent influence (political, economic, cultural) the US
has on their nations
▫ Regional Organizations – Work together for common goals
 OAS – Organization of American States formed to promote democracy, economic
cooperation and human rights. Members pledge not to interfere with other members
 After Castro revolution in Cuba, US pledged billions in loans and investments to Latin
American nations. The goals were to promote democracy, education, land reform and equality.
Latin America, The US, and the World
• Regional and Global Issues – by the end of the Cold War, many Latin American
countries had decreased their dependence on the US. Many had new trade links to European nations
▫ Regional Ties – various trading blocks created to increase trading power
 NAFTA, Mercosur, ect.
▫ The Drug Wars – Regional cooperation used to try to control illegal drug trade
 Drug Cartels illegally marketed drugs to US, reaping HUGE profits (used to bribe)
 Violence grew as Cartels moved to eliminate any opposition to their business
 “War on Drugs” US pressed governments to crack down on Cartels as Latin American
governments pressed US to attack the demand in America
▫ Development vs. the Environment
 Developing countries believe they need to exploit the natural resources they have for economic
growth, but at a cost to the environment (viewing others as hypocrits)
 Amazon Rain Forest best example
▫ Migration – to the US thru Mexico
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Poverty, civil war, and repressive governments have forced people to flee homelands
All are seeking a better life for themselves and their families
Legally and illegally, Latin Americans have become the largest minority group in US
US government is discussing how to deal with illegal immigration (easier or harder)
Continuity and Change in Mexico
• The Rural Poor
▫ 1930’s – land reform – millions of acres given to the poor
▫ Proved to be unsuccessful – bad land, overfarmed, subdivided
▫ As conditions worsened, peasants moved to cities for work, sold plots to agribusinesses
• The PRI in Control
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PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) has ruled Mexico since the 1930’s
Claims to represent all parts of Mexico
Response to social ills – education, welfare, health
Did enough to keep discontent from exploding, but not enough to solve problems
Time to time, protests got big enough to get attention of PRI (reforms passed)
• Political Change
▫ PRI will make some election reforms (protests)
▫ Corruption, drug scandals also weaken PRI, lost majority in 1990’s
▫ Vincente Fox ended PRI control in 2000, pledging to clean up government
 End to corruption, rights of indigenous peoples, reduce poverty, spur economic growth
Continuity and Change in Mexico
• Economic Ups and Downs
• Poverty and Prosperity
• Links to the US
War and Peace in Central America
• Nicaragua
• Guatemala
• El Salvador
War and Peace in Central America
Struggle in Haiti
• From Dictatorship to Democracy
• An Uncertain Future
Argentina
• Dictatorship and Democracy in Argentina
▫ Peron in Power
▫ Military Rule
▫ Democracy Restored
Brazil
• Brazil’s People and Government
▫ Population
▫ Political Instability
Brazil
• Brazil’s “Economic Miracle”
▫ Early Development
▫ Impressive Growth
▫ Economic Challenges

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