- Latin American political ideology is very distinct from other places in the world, and that uniqueness has played a big part in the history of the region.
- International and domestic politics during the cold war has affected Latin America greatly, and has had a big influence on what is happening there now.
- Different Latin American countries have very different geographic, cultural, social, political, and economic conditions which have affected their history in different ways.
Class Began today with a presentation by Rodriko on the Venezuelan refugee crisis. The crisis is caused by multiple factors, including rampant inflation and political conflict in Venezuela. The destinations of the refugees was discussed, as was the reception of the refugees by the locals of these destinations. Professor Holt described how, in places such as Brazil, refugees had originally been welcomed by the locals, but animosity has grown as more refugees arrive, putting a strain on social services. After the presentation, we listened to the song “Cacerolazo” and talked about how it relates to the original march of pots and pans. We analyzed a picture of that march, and discussed what stood out about it. Professor Holt then discussed historiography, and compared the approaches of different historians on the writing of history.
After this we broke into groups to discuss Dr. Power’s analysis of support among Chilean women for the Pinochet regime. The analysis asked why women of many different backgrounds supported the regime, and how did they go from apolitical to politicized right-wing advocates. The main reason it asked these questions was because many previous historians researching supporters of Pinochet’s regime dismissed these women as having the same motives and beliefs, when in reality they were a very large and diverse group, and are very important in understanding why Pinochet stayed in power for so long.
Some key terms and historical figures we discussed include:
- Historiography – The study of processes and methods historians use in the writing of history. KH: Here is the link to the definition I shared in class from Alpha History
- Lucia Hiriart – Political activist and first lady of Chile during Pinochet’s regime. Her activism involved communicating the regime’s view of the apolitical “ideal woman” to the population, and later mobilizing women in support of the “Si” vote in the 1988 plebiscite.
- Cacerolazo – a form of protest involving the banging of pots, pans, and other kitchen implements.
- How much influence did Lucia Hiriart and the Pinochet regime have over the ideology of women, and the Chilean population in general? why?
- What are some possible reasons for the belief among some historians that female supporters of Pinochet were a homogenous group with similar motives and values, when, as Dr. Powers describes, they had many different backgrounds and reasons for their support?
- Did the policies of Lucia Hiriart, and the regime in general, result in an increase or decrease of political influence and involvement among women?
The feedback I received was very helpful, and gave me ideas that I had not previously considered, such as adding a photocopy of the newspaper itself. One of the changes I plan for the article is to find sources for the large amount of information marked “citation needed.” I also plan to add information on the newspaper’s impact on the world, and how the world has impacted the newspaper. The feedback to this plan included suggestions to add new headings to the article, and expanding the information and topics already provided in the article, which I plan to do as there is not much information in the article at present.
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, has held his position for almost fourteen years. As Bolivia’s first indigenous president, he has expanded protections given to indigenous groups, most notably by backing a new constitution, which declared Bolivia to be plurinational and secular. He has also sought to reduce poverty, and has done so relatively successfully. At the start of Morales’ presidency, in 2006, the extreme poverty rate was 38%, and it has since been reduced to 17% in 2018 (BBC 2019). Due to Morales’ policies, the Bolivian economy has rapidly grown, with GDP per capita over tripling from $1,000 in 2006 to $3,600 in 2018 (Farthing 2019).
However, the presidency of Evo Morales has not gone without issue. The government debt is one such issue, with about 8% of the budget being deficit spending (Farthing 2019). Wildfires in the Bolivian Amazon have also hurt support for Morales. The slow response of the Bolivian government has resulted in large protests (Farthing 2019). Many critics also view Morales as autocratic, and point to his campaign for a fourth term as evidence.
A large part of why Morales’ campaign is so controversial is because it contradicts a 2016 referendum asking voters whether or not they wanted to keep a limit on the number of terms a president can serve. Most voters said the limit should stay, but a later court case ruled that such a limit is contrary to human rights. It’s worth noting that the tribunal in the case was appointed by a legislative body consisting largely of members of Morales’ political party (Farthing 2019). Many voters worry about Morales’ especially long occupation of the presidency potentially being authoritarian in nature. Despite this, he still has lots of support due to his reforms that have been beneficial to much of Bolivian society (Farthing 2019).
Both of the articles do well at keeping a neutral tone. The Guardian article focuses more on how he is viewed by the Bolivian public. People from multiple parts of society are interviewed in the article, but it seems that most of the interviews are from people who benefit from Morales’ policies. Of the two articles, The Guardian seems to take more of an anti-morales stance, but the bias is very slight. The BBC article, meanwhile, takes a lot of time to review the history of Morales’ administration. It does not use any interviews, unlike The Guardian article. Interestingly, the BBC article briefly focuses specifically on Morales’ relationship with the US, despite not being an American company.
The controversy over Evo Morales’ campaign for a fourth presidential term relates to our discussions over the successes and failures of the revolutions we’ve been studying. While Morales is not a revolutionary figure – his policies are more reformist – his simultaneous expansion of democracy and social change, especially to indigenous groups and the poor, and his rejection of the democratic referendum that would limit his own power presents a contradiction that is similar to the sometimes contradictory changes occurring after the Mexican and Cuban revolutions.
The wikipedia article on the Granma newspaper starts by explaining the historical context of the newspaper, but does not elaborate on its role in the history of Cuba or Latin America as a whole. The article seems fairly unbiased, but this may be because the ideological basis of the newspaper is not discussed in detail. The biggest weakness in the article is probably the sources. The article only cites two, and there are many “citation needed” footnotes in the editions section of the article. The two sources are both academic works, one being a book, and the other being an article. To improve this article, I could research information about the importance of the Granma newspaper to the history of both Cuba and Latin America. I could also research where the newspaper is published, it’s relationship to the Cuban government, and its reception both in Cuba and abroad. My most important change to the article, though, will likely be the addition of sources to support the existing article, as well as my additions to it.