Political Issues in Latin America

Political Issues in Latin America

Part A: Short Critical Reflections of Two Readings, one from each Section

  1. The reading “The State and the Military, from? Add the author, outlines the political situation of Latin America countries. What time period? Latin America has a history of alternating periods of dictatorial and democratic rules. For instance, Venezuela had a chance to redeem itself as a democracy when Chavez took over and promised to initiate political and economic reforms (Green &Sue 87). That’s much more recent than the reading. Nevertheless, leaders who usurp power either democratically you cannot usurp power democratically, or militarily initially promise people of bringing back democracy and human rights. Inopportunely, the political leaders end up ruling with an iron fist. As per the reading, the authoritarian tradition in Latin America stems from the colonialism era where colonial authorities had absolute power over their colonial subjects. The strongmen in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Cuba rose to power after forming militarized social movements and appealing to the mass that change was imperative to improve the socioeconomic status of their people.they founght for independence from the colonial masters. In the US general Washington made himself the first president.  Did the strongmen help their countries after Gaining independence. you cannot say that. Independence is always better than colonization. The strongmen only worsened the political situation because they muzzled the media freedom, suppressed opposition politics, and committed atrocities against their subjects. This cannot be worse than colonization. How did populism help the strongmen amass political power? They were popular because they ousted the colonial masters. Latin America was torn between accepting communist or capitalist ideals (Green &Sue 75). That was due to the Cold War. Many Latin Americans felt that capitalism was widening the wealth gap. Therefore, they promised people that communism was the best to ensure an equitable distribution of land and financial resources. 11/15
  2. The second assigned reading, “Zapatistas! Reinventing the Revolution in Mexico: your reading needs an author. Introduction” is selected as section one for critique in The article begins by describing how the Zapatistas uprising surprised everyone. The guerilla war coincided with the introduction of NAFTA (Holloway & Eloina, para 3). The Mexican government responded by bombing towns, distributing black propaganda, and preventing human right organizations from entering Chiapas. Was it opposed to NAFTA? The Zapatistas uprising was largely an anti-capitalist movement (Holloway & Eloina, para 4). Furthermore, the rebellion highlighted the marginalization of the indigenous people largely living in rural settings. Marginalization was due to five centuries of colonization much like First Nations in Canada. This is not directly related to capitalism. How did the Zapatistas uprising help towards addressing the issue of corruption and bad governance in Mexico? Very few people outside Mexico knew how the Mexican government fiscal and monetary policies were hurting negatively. Explain what you kno3w as you do not seem to know either. The Latin America and especially Mexico was grappling with neoliberalism, what is that? as the primary way of opening the market (Holloway & Eloina, para 5). The country was struggling with foreign debts, why did it take on debt? and the NAFTA agreement with the United States and Canada was beneficial. To whom? Nonetheless, the Zapatistas rebellion was a resounding way for the peasants and poor people to decry how capitalism was increasing the gap between the poor and the rich (Green &Sue 94). Did the struggle achieve its objectives? Yes. As measured by? What did the indigenous population get? The conflict led to the political class initiating meaningful reforms to address the historical injustices of past autocratic regimes. Succinctly, the Zapatismo struggle was not for power but against absolute power enjoyed by the political leadership. I see no substance in your critique. 9/15

Part B:  1. Select a country in Latin America and discuss how it’s domestic and foreign policies have changed in the last two decades compared with the period after the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. Provide reasons as to why these have changed and base your answer on documented evidence. Country selected is Venezuela

The Monroe Doctrine, formulated by the United States opposed European colonialism in Latin America countries so that the US can become the only imperial power in the region. The motive of Monroe Doctrine (1823) was for the United States to colonize Latin America nations For itself. Consequently, President James Monroe wanted to strengthen colonization of Latin America countries, political, military and economic. Venezuela gained full independence from Spain in 1830. It replaced European colonization with American colonization. After independence, Venezuela was dominated by autocratic regimes up to the mid-20th century. Were they backed by the US? Nonetheless, the country has experienced democratic gains since 1958. How do you measure democratic gains? Venezuela had several political crises in the 1980s and 1990s due to economic shocks. How are these connected? If they are different use paragraphs to separate. The infamous Caracazo riots in 1989 marked a beginning of people resisting incompetent leadership and especially embezzlement of funds by political leaders. What role did the US play in all of this? There were two attempted coups in 1992, which cumulated in  the impeachment of President Andres Perez in 1993 after he was accused of corruption. The foreign relations between the United States and Venezuela began to worsen after the election of Hugo Chaves, a former coup leader as the President. That’s because Chavez opposed US colonization.

Hugo Chavez launched the Bolivarian Revolution and changed the constitution. Chavez initiated socialist economic policies that appealed the majority of poor Venezuelans (Green &Sue 100). But opposed by the US. Besides, the rise in oil prices helped Chavez government to fund his populist policies that sought to improve social, cultural, and economic conditions (Kozloff 11). The policies delved into land reforms, wealth redistribution, and open market. Most importantly, the Chavez government promoted political and economic integration among Latin America countries but developed cold relations with the United States and Canada. Canada is a puppet of the US. He was democratically elected despite meddling by the US. he used the social movements to implore on public support. The people needed change and Chavez used the opportunity to initiate poverty reduction programs and reform the social spending (Kozloff 39). The Chavismo Movement was established by Hugo Chavez to agitate for political, cultural, and social reforms. Accordingly, the Bolivarian civic-military organization began to recruit and influence peasants, indigenous people, small-scale business owners, students, and individuals within the security forces to foment a rebellion that will overthrow the despotic regime.

The reading “The State and the Military,” it illustrates how Chavez developed a cold relationship with the United States in 2004 after a referendum was voted in his favor. Six million Venezuelans or 58% of voters preferred Chavez remaining in office, in a poll that had 70% turnout (Green &Sue 87). The United States and Canada were not comfortable with the regimes in Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil because they opposed US/Canada colonization. . Nonetheless, the referendum showed that Chavez was popular despite his foreign and domestic policies not aligning with those of the United States. It was because of his opposition to US imperialism that he was popular. No democracy will ever prefer colonization over independence. Chavez managed to convince people about the dangers of imperialism and how the previous regimes in the 1970s and 1980s collapsed due to American meddling. A substantial number of Venezuelans perceived the previous regimes as authoritarian and colonial and did not represent the interests of the larger proportion of the people. The widening gap between the wealthy few and the poor majority led to Venezuelans identifying themselves with Chavismo movement. It was evident that capitalism and neoliberalism was unpopular and many Venezuelans wanted a political liberator who would champion socialism ideals. Most unpopular was US colonization. Accordingly, many believed that socialism and independence could facilitate distribution of wealth and resources.

Chavez became closer with other Latin America leaders such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro because they also opposed US colonization. . Castro formed a social movement group in the early 1950s called “The Movement” to overthrow the Batista regime. A revolutionist, Castro depended on peasants, workers, and students to form a military rebellion that overthrew a Western-leaning government (Green &Sue 90). Chavez sought to follow the footsteps of in his bid to transform his country from capitalism to socialism. Chavez aimed to disintegrate the relations between the United States and Latin America countries (Burbach et al. 189). He facilitated the formation of ALBA, leftist and socialist Latin America states to facilitate trade. Nevertheless, his popularity soared since he expanded social services such as healthcare, housing subsidies, food, and educational programs. Most importantly, the poverty rate fell by roughly 20% during his presidency (Kozloff 125).


After Chavez died, he was succeeded by Maduro in 2013. Maduro, who served as Chavez Vice President vowed to continue with his socialist revolution. Unfortunately, a drop in oil prices led to economic shocks of the oil-based economy. Oil accounts for 25% of Venezuela GDP and is about 95% of its export earnings (Kozloff 201). Conversely, protest in the streets of Caracas has led to political and economic instability. Majority of Venezuelans felt that the Maduro government is stifling the opposition and the economy. The demonstrators protested hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine (“Al Jazeera”). The Maduro regime has agreed to initiate economic and political reforms due to the pressure of street protests although it continuously accuses the United States of meddling in its affairs. The Us sees an opportunity to re-colonize. 60/70