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Lecture 20

HIST 360 Lecture 20: HIST 360 Lecture 20

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McGill University
HIST 360

National and Global Problems: Local Struggles • Until recently, violence has been a defining feature of LA history/society • Declines of violence across the regions --> re-evaluation of the idea that LA is inherently violent • Today: Focus on how transnational processes shape violence in LA o National phenomenon exacerbated by international forces • Cases: Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador Cuba • 'Lost decade' in 1990s-early 200os o Lost economic development, but also social and political development • Song: Eskoria, Eres Tu o Cuban punk • Cuba avoided economic downturn thanks to Soviet subsidies that sustained its economies o SU bought Cuban sugar in 1960s when Castro was playing JFK off of the Soviets o Cuba then got embargoed by the US in 1960s • SU was one of Cuba's main trading partners in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s • Important in 80s when rest of region saw economic downturn • SU also subsidized Cuban oil --> shipped in oil to Cuba o So much oil that Cuba sold excess to neighbouring countries • Cuba avoided crisis as seen in Mexico/Brazil • Subsidies = 20% of GDP at one point • Built revolution at home and abroad o Castro: forays into Africa (Shattered racist paradigms that upheld apartheid) o Supported revolutions across LA • logistic and ideological for Sandinistas • El Salvador: economically with weapons • Soviet support helped Castro achieve socialism • 1986: rectification o Money distracted Cuban people from politics o Castro intervened in the economy strongly bc of these subsidies • Got rid of peasant markets and all capitalist markets • 1989, 1991: shifts in Eastern Europe, SU and Cuba • Ernesto Bazan (1995): Cuba's 'special' period • SU collapsed in 1991 o Cuba lost ideological ally and the economic backers of the Cuban revolution • 'Cuba's Special Period' (1990-2010) o Negative economic growth in the early 90s o Economic growth recovers very slowly • 1991 economic challenges: o Income drops o 80% drop in national exports (tied to oil) o Fuel shortages undermine agriculture (basis of Cuban economy) and transportation) • Song: Zeus, Violento Metrobus (1996) o Cuban rock and roll o Hates metrobuses o People herded onto buses o Rise in crime --> comes with scarcity that comes with economic downturn • Pickpockets: target locals as well as foreigners o Get more pointed critiques of Castro regime in this period • Camel bus (Havana, 1994) o Fuel shortages made transportation inaccessible to average Cubans • Used to have own cards o Shift towards public transport o Where you get camel bus o Led to frustration • Response: repression and exile for critics of these policies • Mobilized as period of sacrifice o Castro: collective sacrifice to save the revolution, one of the last bastions of socialism in the world o As rock and roll/punk singers spoke out • One set of critiques from 'Los Freakies' (punk/rock and roll singers) --> fell outside Cuban visions of nationalism and moral code o Concerts were notoriously broken o Additionally face basic survival --> leads to extreme episode that characterize the special period o Some freakies turn to the state --> to get state support, they infect themselves with HIV • Cuba in 1990s: HIV and AIDS epidemic • Government sets up facilities to treat HIV patients • Some health centers occupied by freakies o Where they developed musical movement • Freakies are seen by some historians as the perversions of socialism • Surge in black market • Castro takes action to save revolution • Ends revolution as it existed from 1959-1990s • 1993: anniversary of the barracks attacks he made concessions to save revolution --> dollarized the Cuban economy o Had national money (for Cubans) and convertible dollars o Legalized self-employment o Abandoned state-subsidies • Cubans couldn't rely on state for livelihood • Cuban saw modest economic recovery o Still below 1985 level (last year of growth) o Economic isolation affecting Cuba still • Picture: Castro and Chavez • Castro re-invented Cuban revolution and questions emerged as to whether it was still the same revolution • Rise of new lefts: ideological and economic windfall o Venezuela: oil subsidies o Before rise of new lefts, Cuba was basically only left government • Obama tried to normalize relations with LA, questions on what Trump will do • As Cuba transitions, there is the question of inequality • Cuba remains a question mark Theme of Violence: • Map on MyCourses • Poverty (and to a lesser extent, inequality) and drugs contribute to violence in LA • Poverty is not a national phenomenon • Drugs: global commodity with transnational circulation (as well as our attempts to stop their circulation) o Central American violence is less tied to drugs and more tied to gangs and residual violence from the civil wars o But drugs do move through CA 'transfer points' --> however Mexico and Colombia is where drugs mostly come from Colombia • Sources of violence: local and transnational • Colombia is a showcase for JFK's alliance for progress • 1960s, 1970s - exception o Seen as success story, especially for US policy bc it retained democratic government while its neighbours did not • Colombia benefitted from economic assistance and military assistance (ex helicopters - played role in movement against armed groups like those seen in la violencia) • Great proximity between civilians and military population o Increase in human rights population o Militarization of the state o Brought country to brink of coup in 1966 • Shortcoming of US involvement in Colombia o Didn't address problems that characterized rural areas --> government couldn't overcome opposition from landowners so they gave large landowners titles over small landowners • Consolidated elite control over land • Funded by alliance for progress money (peasants alienated from Colombia government and US supported) • Led to emergence of the FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army) o Not Colombia's most significant popular mobilization or more significant form of violence at first • 1960s and 1970s popular mobilization more significant that FARC • Massive nation-wade civic strike in 1977 organized by communist party • So Colombians start yto explore more informal ways to achieve demands • FARC bides time in 1960s-1970s and focuses on plight of small farmers • Until 1970s, FARC had less than 1000 members • FARC traded space for time o As long as they could fall back into the forest, they weren't looking to expand revolution • Led to emergence of other guerilla organizations: ELN (national liberation army) and M19 o FARC's slow start led to emergence of other groups • ELN: Cuban inspired and wants to expand base in North-Eastern Colombia o Battered in 1980s and regroups in 1990s • M19 (19th April Movement) o Named after disappointing election in 1970s o Similar to movements across the Southern Cone (students radicalized by Cuban revolution and protests) o Dissatisfied with waiting for right time o Publicized existence by stealing Bolivar's sword o Occupy palace of justice in Bogota and taking occupants hostages o Chose armed resistance bc they were disappointed with party politics o See elections as unfairly lost by leftist coalition • "Narcobourgeosie" o Medellin Cartel (1976-1993) • Pablo Escobar o Cali Cartel (founded in 1976) o If drugs get squeezed in one area, production just pops up in another o American drug association (1973) targets weed in Mexico and cocaine processing in Chile • Squeeze in Chile leads to cocaine proce
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