History 2501E Lecture Notes - Resource Mobilization

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Published on 21 Mar 2013
Department
March, 19, 2013
Central America in Turmoil in the 1950’s to 2012
-There are many differences among these countries and to understand each of them you have to take into account
where they are located and what kind of population they have
-Most of them are not fully industrialized and they are poor countries and the military played an important role
-You also have to look at the influence of the US in these countries (if they stop trade it can devastate the small
countries) as well as their own church
-They all have social and economic inequalities with some people being very wealthy and many more being very
poor and with widespread poverty
-This caused many problems because they didn’t have the tools to better their lives and everything was difficult for
the people at the bottom because they had to compete with those who were better able to provide for themselves
-Most of the countries depended on one or two exports and their economies were really not diversified at all and
in the 70-80’s they didn’t even have tourism and in the 60’s they tried to industrialize and Honduras was one of the
less developed ones and El Salvador was the most industrialized at this time (the smallest country)
-They had rapid population growth in the 60’s (Guatemala’s population has more than tripled since the 60’s)
-This was a problem because so many more people needed jobs and there just wasn’t enough to keep everyone
employed and now 59% of the population is under 24 and all looking for jobs (a good and bad thing)
-El Salvador also doubled their population by the 80’s and they have almost tripled it by 2013 so there is a clear
pattern at work here and it impacts land because people didn’t have access to it in the small countries
-The differences include their armies and the size and how much government control they operate under, the
degree of industrialization, and the degree of mobilization (how many unions to protest the system), how many of
mobile groups are religious, guerrillas, etc, and how did the government react to all the changes occurring
(whether they were repressive and to what degree)
-Central America was not important until the 19th century but the gold rush changed all this because people in the
US wanted to get to California and they started seeing if there was a way to cross there but it was dangerous
-Nicaragua became one of the places where they started looking at crossing through and after that when they
were more familiar with the area they started getting interested in acquiring land there for banana production
-A book that was published in the 90’s that was called “Understanding Central America” by Booth and Walker and
they tried to see why some countries were ending their civil wars and other weren’t and they saw three main
factors and one of them was class relations, the role of the state and resource mobilization
-From 50’s-70’s there was emphasis on export agriculture and they tried to industrialize but it developed according
to the needs of the developed work (the US’s needs, etc) and they brought in machines to make labour more
efficient but labour was already cheap there so there was no point and it deprived more people of jobs and they
spent a lot of money on getting the technology (have the labour not the capital)
-The result was that there was more inequality of wealth and to add to this oil prices were increasing and only
Guatemala had any but this was needed for the technologies and they all had to start importing it
-The economic situation was not good and many texts say poverty increased but really some people just got more
wealth than others and it is very hard to measure because rural people are less affected than those in cities and
there was also the fact that the definition of poverty was changing (needed to pay for services they didn’t before)
-You have to look at if the state was going to do something about this but they were very poor and got their money
through taxes but many were unable to contribute and their limited funds determined their actions
-They had to choose if they would let them protest and participate of if they would just repress them and this did
happen in some cases with unions and political parties banned and if the government couldn’t help people they
would get angry and some would join groups to over take the government
-You have to look at resource mobilization and it was easier to organize in the urban areas because people were in
more contact with one another and usually the organizations started in cities as a result
-Have to see if unions would join together or not because the more people behind a cause the better and this is all
what Booth and Walker examined and they looked at Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica
(Panama didn’t fit their argument)
-By the 80’s it was all these countries that were having a lot of problems but Guatemala was less publicized
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Document Summary

Central america in turmoil in the 1950"s to 2012. There are many differences among these countries and to understand each of them you have to take into account where they are located and what kind of population they have. Most of them are not fully industrialized and they are poor countries and the military played an important role. You also have to look at the influence of the us in these countries (if they stop trade it can devastate the small countries) as well as their own church. They all have social and economic inequalities with some people being very wealthy and many more being very poor and with widespread poverty. This caused many problems because they didn"t have the tools to better their lives and everything was difficult for the people at the bottom because they had to compete with those who were better able to provide for themselves.

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