One of the concerns most brought up was an emphasis on the addition of good sources. I would like to approach this by valuing quality sources over a large quantity of them. The rest was mostly of confirming that my plan was on the right track. The organization of the article is something I will work on in my future edits. I will continue with the direction I have been heading in but work on finding more/better sources.
In the article, The Cuban Literacy Campaign, the program is represented in a very one dimensional way, it speaks mainly of the successes without contextualization and fails to give enough weight to parts that may have been less than savory, i.e. the fact that all the reading material was revolutionary propaganda. This leads into the biases that are seen throughout the article, as it is written from a largely socialist perspective. The sources used are all quite old, having no citations from documents written past the year 2011, and the article lacks a fresh perspective having been left untouched and labeled as low priority on Wikipedia for a while. Editing the language of the article to be more neutral as well as offering context and discussing certain points further in order to offer more well rounded information would be an excellent start to bringing the article up to Wikipedia’s standards.
While the article does a good job of staying on track, for the most part, aided by its brevity, there are certain aspects that distract from the initial discussion of the Cuban Literacy Campaign. The background offers valuable context, and could even use a little bit more information to function, but the incorporation and linkage of said context are not very useful. The page needs to relate back to the original topic and make an argument for why it is there in the first place and why it is important to note when learning about the campaign.
The article has a tendency to paint the Batista regime in a negative light and seems to praise Fidel Castro heavily. Although there are moments where it acknowledges the propaganda associated with the institution of the campaign, as well as embedded in the materials they used to teach and promote. Offers a communist perspective, and has a little too much bias to be accurately representing the Cuban Literacy Campaign. More information on the organization would be useful, speaking about the roles many played in a more extensive way, as well as explaining why such a distinction in the roles is necessary. The Organization section needs more clarity.
The entirety of the Challenges section is very accusatory and lacks context, offers an idea of the challenges that they faced, but over-represents the militant counter-revolutionary groups that targeted the organization- doesn’t explain if they had an issue with the propaganda or just the organization as a whole- needs more clarity and information to be a useful section.
There are very few links in the article, and to very obvious pages like Fidel Castro, UNESCO, and other obvious terminology that does not particularly support article claims. Most of the facts are cited, and by reputable sources, but many of them seem to be very focused on the revolution as a whole and not specifically on the Literacy Campaign, and those that seem to be less biased as it looks at perspectives, and critical analysis of the campaign. The most recent sources are from 2010, however since the campaign is no longer active, there is likely not a large influx of new information on the topic
The page is apart of the WikiProject Cuba which is considered inactive, and this article is rated of low importance for the project. It has a C-Class rating. The Talk section has very few conversations, a comment or two on the bias, and small edits and link changes are all that are mentioned. As far as the discussions we have had in class this page is far more biased, and lacks critical analysis of the campaign or of the context.
On Friday, September 6th, Class began with another quick overview of the Primary Source Essay, due on Moodle at the beginning of class next Friday, where Professor Holt reiterated the usefulness of Zotero (For The College of Wooster’s guide to Zotero, Click Here: http://libguides.wooster.edu/zotero). Primary source was also a key term to define in preparation for class today, defined as a source written or collected by someone who experienced it first hand.
Next, we heard from Mia who presented her piece of Latin American News, an article centered around a culturally-rooted mezcal distilling and distributing operation, Yola Mezcal, headed by three diverse women. She explained the family roots of the company, beginning with the grandfather of the article’s featured partner, Yola Jimenez, who had a passion for growing agave and distilling mezcal in the region of Mexico known as Oaxaca. Mia drew a connection between that region being the area that Díaz was from. The familial culture of the region, centered around mezcal offered context to the kind of people that Diaz originated from, as well as how their unique culture shaped his experience and his views. Particularly on a day in which we spoke about the importance of soldaderas in the Mexican Revolution, it was refreshing to hear an article about a successful company run by women. Mia noted that there was more of a discussion around cultural significance on the Yola Mezcal website, which you can visit at: http://www.yolamezcal.com.
Following the presentation, we were shown clips from a film called “The Storm that Swept Mexico” You can watch it again through a blog post of Professor Holts that contains the video (https://larev2019.voices.wooster.edu/2019/09/05/the-storm-that-swept-mexico/). Professor Holt explained that she liked the documentary as it included not just European or American historians, but included several Latin American historians, and left it as a bilingual documentary, only providing subtitles and not dubbing over the speakers. The first clip, around the 20-minute mark, discussed Villa and Zapata, the similarities between them despite their rivalries, largely rooted in the cultural differences from the regions where they lived. Both desired land and agrarian reform, but the context for which they desired that to happen was very different. Zapata who was from the south, pushed for communal land reforms, believing in the power of the community, whereas Villa, who came from the north had very individualistic ideas, and desired a weak central government. This highlights the role that regionalism had in the Mexican Revolution as well as the way that definitions of “justice” in the context of revolutionizing a country can vary from town to town.
Many of the soldiers who were fighting were young, and those with ranching backgrounds transitioned into cavalry quite easily, Villa was touted as something of a military mastermind, but at the root of it, he was a charismatic risk-taker. He made good use of the railroad system and with this ability to travel quickly, meant that it was easier to transport more people, and from this logistical success, the concept of the soldadera was born. Now the men fighting could bring along their wives and families and thus had someone too cook for and care for them, not to mention many of the women who took up arms and helped during the actual battles. Soldaderas was one of the key terms discussed in class and are described as, women who took up arms and participated in the Mexican Revolution. Many followed their men into battle as their ‘caretakers’.
During group discussion, we talked about the soldaderas at length, questioning whether they were defined as the caretakers or the women who actually fought in the war. The question of an anti-feminist narrative was also brought up, if we neglect the women who aided in caring for the soldiers in turn for favoring the women who actually fought, is placing more value on the women fighting in an of itself an anti-feminist claim as it devalues the roles women played in other aspects of the war? How can we define their roles without incidentally devaluing the other? We found it interesting that despite the many articles we read about soldiers in our reading before class, there was next to no accounts of the women who took up arms and only seemed to present soldaderas from the caretaker perspective. Which brought up other primary sources, as while there may not be many written sources about it, there are certainly photographs. To wrap up our discussion on soldaderas, we emphasized the adaptability of these women, who left their homes to care for or fight alongside the men, and their self-preservationist attitude in making sure they succeeded in keeping themselves alive.
How can we define soldadera to encompass the roles that all women played, while still giving each aspect the respect and recognition they require?
Define regionalism and the role that it played in the reforms demanded by revolutionaries.
How does the treatment of the soldaderas depict the culture and gender roles of the time?
FARC Announces a Call To Arms Against the Columbian Government
In 2016, Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos created an accord that was supposed to see the end of a half century long bloodbath, a plan that earned him a Nobel Peace Award. With the entry of new President, Ivan Duque, elected on June 17th, his ability to hold up the accord, or correctly implement the mechanisms detailed within is contested, aggravated by his platform for the election being the complete overhaul of the deal. On Thursday, August 29th The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, from here on out referred to as FARC, publicly announced their condemnation of the centrist president and vowed to take up arms against the government. Much of the outrage stems from the murders of hundreds of leftist activists and rebels following their demobilization in accordance with the peace deal. The perspective of the FARC is shown in the video posted below which features Luciano Marin and several armed guerrilla warriors declaring their dismay with the current political climate, citing that they signed the “accord in Havana we did so with the conviction that it was possible to change the life of the most humble and dispossessed,” (Marin, 0:00:19-0:00:24).
Later on in the long video, filmed as a call to arms to the Columbian people, he argues that “the state hasn’t fulfilled its most important obligation, which is to guarantee the life of its citizens and especially avoid assassinations for political reasons” (Goodman, Marin) referencing the frustration over politically based killings. While President Duque is a self-proclaimed centrist, Marin describes him as a conservative, displaying the subjectiveness of political leanings, as well as demonstrating just how far left the FARC considers themselves to be. Joining the fray is the ELN, the National Liberation Army, an even more radical organization who began to emerge as the FARC demobilized for a time. “They expressed their support of the declaration by releasing their own video filmed along a river in Colombia’s western jungles” (Goodman). Such proclamations have not gone unnoticed, and the Columbian government has insisted upon the arrest of the rebel leaders, as well as calling for an investigation into the rebel groups in an attempt to delegitimize their claims and burden them with war crime allegations. These actions are to be taken in order to maintain some semblance of peace within the country as Duque continues on his ambitious efforts to reform a peace deal.
Written primarily on the proclamation of the rebel groups, the article by Time lacks details on political policy, while missing key concepts necessary for context. The governmental perspective is thrown in at the end as if it were an afterthought and makes for a very biased and skewed description of the recent occurrences in Columbia. The revolutionary voices are very strong in this article, and their message is well articulated, but again lacks context beyond the unfortunate assassins of rebel leaders. There is nothing describing the nature of these assassinations, or the actions of the FARC preceding their release of the message. By eliminating key contextualizing facts, the groups are reduced to two-dimensional organizations that seem to exist solely in this instance and for that reason alone. This gives the impression that the complex conflict in Columbia is simply another case of government versus unhappy heavily armed rebels.
Link to article discussed: https://time.com/5664323/farc-rebels-colombia-government/
Goodman, Joshua. “FARC Rebels Say They Are Taking Up Arms Against Colombia Government Again.” Time, Time, 29 Aug. 2019, time.com/5664323/farc-rebels-colombia-government/.
Tomaselli, Wes. “Ivan Duque’s Plan to Fix Colombia’s Divide.” Time, Time, 19 July 2018, time.com/5342766/ivan-duque-colombia/.