We began class with an overview of some of Dr. Holt’s responses to popular concerns from the class about Wikipedia projects. See Wikipedia Project Support for detailed responses. We also discussed a message Dr. Holt received from another Wikipedia contributor as an example of systemic biases in Wikipedia articles as well as other users, and in general the considerations to be made in communal online projects.
Today we began working on Chile and began with a review and discussion of what a revolution (versus a reform movement) entails. This discussion revolved around events we read about in “Chapter 6: Chilean Road to Socialism” in Twentieth Century Latin American Revolutions by Marc Becker. Dr. Holt encouraged us to treat the narrow election of Salvador Allende and the coup d’etat led by General Augusto Pinochet as two distinct events that could be assessed as revolutions or reform movements themselves. Some students argued that Allende’s adherence to the Chilean constitution meant that he was a reformer, despite his ambitious, transformation proposals to move the country toward socialism and in doing so change key socio-economic systems. Other students argued that Allende was revolutionary because of the scope of his reforms, even if he pursued them through legal means. There was wide consensus that Pinochet was not a reformer, but some disagreement on whether he was revolutionary rather than a reactionary to changes begun by Allende. We also touched on the world context of the Chilean revolution, specifically the Cold War and U.S. fear of socialism and communism spreading, as well as the U.S. role in supporting Pinochet through activities like Operation Condor.
There was no Latin America in the News today.
Revolution versus Reform Movement (see HAP from 8/23 and DeFronzo ch. 1)
Operation Condor: Network of secret police that operated in Chile, Argentina, and other nations with military governments in Latin America. Operation Condor targeted political opponents of Pinochet’s regime who had fled the country, as well as refugees with no overt political agenda. Condor was supported by the United States through the CIA with supplies, training, intelligence sharing, and logistics.
Truth Commission Report from U.S. Institute of Peace (details atrocities of Pinochet’s government): https://www.usip.org/publications/1990/05/truth-commission-chile-90
Discovery of Key Evidence of Operation Condor: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20774985
NACLA (https://nacla.org/aboutus) reflection on the lasting legacy of the coup: https://nacla.org/blog/2013/9/11/other-september-11-legacy-chilean-socialism-and-salvador-allende
Potential Exam Questions:
Were Allende/Pinochet revolutionaries or better characterized as something else? Defend your answer.
What internal issues did Allende face that weakened his government?
What factors contributed to Pinochet’s substantial support, despite his brutality?