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Lecture 1

LACS 1002 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolution, Proletariat

Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Course Code
LACS 1002
Silvina Danesi

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Understanding LAC’s Diversity
Stereotypes of LAC People
- commonly perceived as a homogenous/uniform region; based on stereotypes
- The Latin Lover: passionate, romantic, latin american male
- Brazilian Mulatta Carnival Queen
- the “soulful” Ernesto “Che” Guevara; born into a wealthy middle-class Argentinian family; died
in Bolivia while trying to start a revolution; killed by Bolivian troops trained by Americans;
Marxist revolutionary, guerrilla warrior, commander of the Cuban Revolution; Fidel Castro
- Marxism: social, political, economic theory views human history as the fight between the
classes; sees capitalism as a threat/negative; there must be a revolution of the proletariat;
societies without social classes; everybody will be equal and share (collective ownership)
- Guerrilla: want to change the political system; independent groups fighting larger forces
- “Che” = Argentinian word for “buddy”; repeated this word in his speeches; Cubans started
calling him “Che” instead of Ernesto
- the adjective that best describes the people of LAC: dark-skinned
Basic Geographic Information
- LAC is made up of one country and three regions: Mexico (North America); Central America
(7 countries); the Caribbean; South America (12 countries)
Basic Demographic Information
- Brazil is the most populous country; Mexico City is the most populous city
- South America = most populous subregion, followed by Central America and the Caribbean
The Conquest - Ethnic Composition
- LAC was colonized by Spain, Portugal, England, Dutch, French, Denmark
- indigenous people worked plantations, gold/silver mines but were practically wiped out
- during the first 100 years of European occupation, indigenous population: decimated by 90%
- imported African slaves; around 8 million were brought to mostly Brazil, Peru, Caribbean
- Ethnic Composition: White Europeans, (Amer)Indians/Indigenous, Black Africans
- Europeans married indigenous and black african wives; racial melding
- created three new words to classify the products of racial melding
- Mestizos: whites/indigenous; Mulatos: white/africans; Zambos: indigenous/africans
- the last two LAC countries to abolish slavery were Cuba 1886 and Brazil 1888
First Wave of Immigration — 1880s to 1930s
- LAC started to attract immigrants from Europe; big waves of immigration
- from the 1880s-1930s: 13 million European immigrants
- 90% went to Argentina (6 million, mostly from Italy and Spain, 79,000 Jewish immigrants)
- Brazil (5.2 million; 1914-1920s: 164,000 Japanese immigrants)
- Uruguay and Cuba (800,000 from Spain and 65,000 from US);
- Sao Paolo: 1.5 million descendants of Japanese people in Sao Paolo; speak Portuguese
- Chile and Venezuela attracted very few immigrants; Paraguay and Peru failed completely to
attract Europeans, but Peru attracted Japanese to work sugar plantations
- Mexico never experienced mass immigration from Europe; did not suffer from labour scarcity;
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