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Revolutions and Revolutionary Ideologies in Latin America

  • Mark Falcoff

Abstract

One of the central conceits of contemporary culture is the notion that Latin America as a continent hovers continually on the verge of revolutionary transformation. This reflects the capacity of a few events, rather than the facts on the ground, to capture the imagination of foreign publics—that, and the unusually influential role that Latin American intellectuals have played in shaping foreign perception of their societies. In fact, the Latin American republics have proven for the most part to be surprisingly resistant to any fundamental change in their social hierarchies and values ever since their emergence to independence in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords

Communist Party Political Violence Cuban Revolution Cuban Regime Mexican Revolution 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Romeo R. Flores Caballero, La contrarevolución de la independencia: los españoles en la vida política, social y económica de México (México, DF, 1969).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John Reed, Insurgent Mexico (New York, 1914).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See the remarkable memoir of the great-grandson of dictator Porfirio Díaz, Carlos Tello Díaz, El exilio: memorias de una familia (México, DF, 1998).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    James Malloy and Richard S. Thorn, eds., Beyond the Revolution: Bolivia Since 1952 (Pittsburgh, 1971).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Guevara summarized his entire doctrine in one paragraph (published in the Cuban army journal Verde Olivo in 1961) thus: The objective conditions for [armed] struggle are created by the hunger of the people, the reaction to that hunger, the fear induced to suffocate the popular reaction, and the wave of hatred which repression originates. Absent from [Latin] America were the subjective conditions of which the most important is the consciousness of the possibility of victory by violent means in the face of the imperialist powers and their internal allies. Those conditions are created in the process of the armed struggle which progressively clarifies the necessity of the change … and the defeat of the army and its final annihilation by the popular forces. John Gerassi, ed., Vencermos: The Speeches and Writings of Ernesto Ché Guevara (London, 1968), p. 136. Emphasis added.Google Scholar
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    Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World (New York, 2005), p. 71.Google Scholar
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    Under orders from President Richard Nixon, the US CIA attempted to bribe the Senate into refusing to confirm Allende; the legislators refused to accept the bait. See Mark Falcoff, Modern Chile, 1970–1989: A Critical History (New Brunswick, NJ, 1989), pp. 207–217.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    The literature on the role of the CIA in Chile is enormous. A fairly accurate summary can be found in my own Modern Chile, pp. 199–250; Paul Sigmund, The Overthrow of Allende and the Politics of Chile, (Pittsburgh, 1977); andGoogle Scholar
  9. Nathaniel Davis, The Last Two Years of Salvador Allende (Ithaca, NY, 1985), esp. pp. 307–365. Davis was the U.S. ambassador in Chile for most of Allende’s presidency and for a short time thereafter.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    The similarities are extraordinary. See Anthony Lake, Somoza Falling (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989) orGoogle Scholar
  11. Lawrence Pezzullo and Ralph Pezzullo, At the Fall of Somoza (Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993). Lake was director of policy planning at the Carter State Department and Lawrence Pezzullo was Carter’s first ambassador to the Sandinista regime.Google Scholar
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    Timothy C. Brown, The Real Contra War: Highlander Peasant Resistance in Nicaragua (Norman, OK, 2001).Google Scholar
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    For example, John A. Booth, The End and the Beginning: The Nicaraguan Revolution (Boulder, CO, 1982). See my extended discussion in “The Struggle for Central America,” Problems of Communism (March–April 1984).Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    See, for example, Jorge Castañeda, Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War (New York, 1993).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Hollander 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Falcoff

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