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Counter-Revolution and Enduring Authoritarianism.docx

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Western University
Geography 2020A/B
Anthony Weis

March, 07, 2013 Counter-Revolution and Enduring Authoritarianism th -Revolution and counter revolution in Latin American countries in the 20 century cannot be understood apart from influence from the USA -The large landowning classes were typically linked to dictators and the military which in turn led to frequent US military and political intervention and this was a problem because the landowners were also connected to US corporations in the countries and this resulted in the US siding with authoritarian regimes -One could say this would lead to inevitable revolutions -In 1904 there was the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and this was essentially a doctrine of open interventionism and this later led to the adoption of the Good Neighbour Policy in 1933-34 which was a promise of non-intervention but the withdrawal of the US troops left behind lots of tyrants -The Somoza Dynasty started with Anastasio Somoza I who was in power from 1937-56 then there was Luis Somoza from 1956-63 and finally Anastasio Somoza II from 1963-79 -When the USA left they had created a national guard that would exterminate any trace of democracy and it was left in the hands of the Somozas -US interventionism in 1904-33 saw the US support for economic interests made more explicit, in 1933-WW2 there was the ‘Good Neighbour Policy’, after WW2 though there was a new dynamic as US intervention became ‘anti- communist’ (frequently allied to dictators) -No country could go on its own path without the US approving of it and they were fine if leaders went to the far right as authoritarians but even if men were democratically elected too far to the left they were labelled dangerous tyrants -During the 1970`s around 60% of the people in Latin America were living under US-supported dictatorships Haiti: -In Haiti from 1915-34 the US governed after their invasion and in 1918 they granted US corporations the right to own land which had been outlawed since the revolution -As well the national bank was expropriated and coffee export earnings were geared to pay off debts to US banks and other foreign creditors and resistance suppressed and even after 1934 the US kept control of the national bank and left behind virtual police state -Then in 1956 there was a military coup carried out by Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier Guatemala: -There were a series of dictators tied to United Fruit Company and in 1944 military officers overthrew dictators and brought in a new progressive Constitution and in 1951 they had their second ever election -Jacobo Arbenz won 2/3 of votes and instituted a series of reforms aimed at reducing role of US corporations in economy and this was especially aimed at the United Fruit Company (ex: the government port, new highway, new hydroelectric plant) -There were also land reforms regarding the United Fruit Company’s unused land because they were only using a small percentage and 2% of the Guatemalan population controlled 70% of arable land which was a huge issue -The United Fruit Company was the biggest landowner the Arbenz reform was fairly modest and used legal means and at first they were basically trying to buy the idle United Fruit Company land -Arbenz government in 1953 eventually seized the land and it was painted as a ‘red blight’ -Zemurray calls this the beginning of "Soviet expansion in the Americas" and it started ‘Operation Success’ in 1954 involving CIA Destabilization and the US -Arbenz said “Our only crime consisted of decreeing our laws and applying them to all without exception. Our crime is having enacted an agrarian reform which affected the interests of the UFC…Our crime is our patriotic wish to advance, to progress, to win economic independence to match our political independence. We are condemned because we have given our peasant population land and rights.” -Arbenz was replaced with a military dictator Carlos Castillo Armas (US immediately recognizes him) and he undoes reforms and this all led to a series of dictators and a 36 year civil war and the spiral of violence peaked in the early 1980s March, 07, 2013 Che Guevara: -Che who was a famous 20 century revolutionary witnesses Arbenz coup and he radicalized his strategies to gain land equality, to help displaced indigenous peoples, and to deal with US corporations -In his eyes, the twin evils in Latin America were the native oligarchies and the US and after Guatemala he went to Mexico Cuba: -In the 19th century they had their sugar boom and late adoption of slavery -The Spanish-American War occurred in 1898 in US history books but in Cuban history books their Independence struggle lasted from 1868-98 and their hero was José Martí Cuba’s ‘Semi-Independence’: -There was a lot of US political control through a series of invasions, occupations, and allied dictators and Batista was a dominant figure in from 1930-50’s -There was also US economic control for example in 1956 US corporations controlled 75% of imports, 85% exports, 90% of mining industry, 40% of sugar industry, 80% of ‘public services’, much of best arable land and this led to the nickname for Havana being America’s little whorehouse because it was a millionaires playground with many casinos and brothels for tourists and organized crime -In 1952 there were elections held and a coup with Castro running for Congress -In 1953 Castro led an assault on the Moncada barracks with about 140 men and this was called the ‘July 26th Movement’ and when taken to court he said ‘history will absolve me’ and in 1955 he was exiled to Mexico -The Granma was an old yacht that could hold a maximum of 25 people but on November twenty fifth 82 people th set off and on December second they landed but by the 5 most of them were killed and Castro was declared dead but 20 men made it into the mountains of Sierra Maestra of Cuba -In 1959 Batista fled and Castro finally swept into Havana -After the Cuban Revolution there were a number of coup or assassination attempts and Che said “Why is it that no peasant disagrees with our thesis that the land belongs to those who work it, while the landlords do?” Cuban Missile Crisis: -In 1962 the US released photos of Soviet nuclear missile silos in Cuba and this brought the US and USSR to the brink of nuclear war -Che said “Our revolution is endangering all American possessions in Latin America. We are telling these countries to make their own revolution." -Some find his ideas of rural insurgencies making the difference to be flawed because the reality was the poverty of the countryside overshadowed that of the cities Chile: -A-as elsewhere there were geographies of inequality both internal where in 1970 2.5% landholders held 75% land as well as external because since the 1920’s it has been a “copper republic” and in 1970s a large share of commerce and industry was foreign-owned (largely US) -In the 1960s there was a centrist governments backed by US and the 1970 election left them with a coalition government under Salvador Allende and to address their internal and external issues he
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