You are on page 1of 15

Chapter 37 (Prentice Hall Textbook) After 1945, Latin American nations faced problems similar to those of other emerging

nations—rapid population growth, poverty, illiteracy, political instability, and authoritarian governments. In Latin America, as elsewhere, each country pursued its own course toward modernization. Latin America stretches across an immense region from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean through South America. It includes 33 independent countries that range from tiny island nations like Grenada and Haiti to giant Brazil, which is almost as large as the United States. A Diverse Region Conquest, immigration, and intermarriage made Latin America culturally diverse. After 1492, Europeans imposed their civilization on Native Americans. They later brought millions of Africans to the region. As these populations mingled, they created vital new cultures. Since the late 1800s, immigrants from Europe and Asia have further contributed to the diversity. Today, people of Indian descent are still the majority population in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia. Brazil has more people of African descent than any other Latin American nation. Although Spanish is the chief language of the region, Portuguese, French, English, Creole, and hundreds of Native American languages and African dialects are also spoken. Sources of Unrest For decades after World War II, uprisings and revolutions shook much of Latin America. Although they grew in part out of changes brought by modernization, they also reflected the failure to reform deep-rooted inequalities. Social Structure Since colonial days, a key feature of Latin America has been the uneven distribution of wealth. In most countries, a tiny elite controlled the land, mines, businesses, and factories. The wealthy few opposed reforms that threatened their economic power. A growing gulf between rich and poor fueled discontent in the postwar era. Poverty was linked to the social structure that had survived since colonial times. The upper classes were mostly descended from Europeans. The great majority of the population—the urban and rural poor—were mestizos, Native Americans, or people of African descent. By the mid-1900s, two social classes were emerging as important forces. As cities grew, the middle class and urban working class expanded. They were less tied to particular ethnic groups than the old aristocracy and peasantry. Both had their own hopes for progress and prosperity.

Population and Poverty In Latin America, as elsewhere, the population explosion contributed to poverty. Between 1930 and 1985, for example, the populations of both Brazil and Mexico increased by more than four times. Growth rates in some countries slowed during the 1990s, but economies were still hard pressed to keep pace with population. Overall populations kept rising because a large proportion of the people were

In the 1960s and 1970s. about 70 percent of all Latin Americans live in cities. Brazil. Many had to borrow money from their landlords just to get by from harvest to harvest. population growth put stress on the land. held power in many Latin American nations.young and just starting their own families. In the shantytowns that ringed Latin American cities. These elite groups included the military. poor city children were sometimes in a better position to move ahead than rural children. housing. Military Regimes Military leaders. military governments seized power in Argentina. and Catholic priests and nuns. Some military rulers tried to solve economic problems by sponsoring capitalism. where most of the people were peasant farmers. Many more survived by working odd jobs such as doing laundry or mending shoes. They outlawed political parties. They often had strong ties to foreign investors and corporations. and the growing business middle class. or other services. or stores. Repression. In Chile. and land reform. However. however. Yet because they were near urban centers. sewage. As a result. Urbanization Pressure on the land contributed to the great migration that sent millions of peasants to the cities. and closed universities. they were tied to the land unless they ran away to the cities. A family might own a small plot for growing food. In Argentina and Chile. the traditional landed aristocracy. Some newcomers found jobs in factories. Today. they protected the rights of individuals. they were more likely to attend school or have access to health care than were the rural poor. Others scavenged at the city garbage dump. They often served conservative interests. Claiming the need to restore order. Burdened by this so-called debt slavery. resisted reforms that might undermine their power. some supported modest social and economic reforms. as social unrest increased. and elsewhere. health care. people lived in shacks without electricity. like caudillos of the 1800s. Politics: Reform. Conservative forces. General Augusto Pinochet (pee noh shay). Although they differed over how to achieve their goals. In rural areas. peasant organizers. Others were murdered by illegal “death squads” allied to the government. Yet real democracy seemed difficult to achieve in nations plagued by poverty and inequality. Latin America's population reached 400 million in 1990 and exceeded 600 million in 2000. who ruled from 1973 to 1990. the military imprisoned and executed thousands of dissidents. On paper. all wanted to improve conditions for the poor. in part because a growing number of officers came from the working classes. offices. Chile. censored the press. socialists. Most called for schools. labor leaders. various groups pressed for reforms. or Revolution Most Latin American states had constitutions modeled on those of France or the United States. . But most farmers worked for low wages on the estates of wealthy landlords who held the best land. Conflict between conservatives and reformers contributed to political instability in many nations. Competing Ideologies After World War II. students. they imposed harsh regimes. They included liberals.

Many relied on the export of a single crop or commodity. or giant commercial farms owned by multinational corporations. the spread of Marxism complicated moderate reform efforts. Latin America faced growing competition from African and Asian nations seeking to export their crops and commodities. called import substitution. putting the stability of democratic governments in the region in doubt. for example. During the Cold War.promoted foreign investment and privatized industry. They condemned economic and cultural domination by the United States. Rebel groups used bombings. debt. guerrillas and urban terrorists battled repressive governments in many Latin American countries. They used modern technology to develop the land and operate processing . large areas of land were opened up for farming through irrigation and the clearing of forests. governments returned to promoting agricultural exports. Conservatives tended to view any effort at reform as a communist threat and often won support from the United States. Brazil. elections alone could not ensure a truly democratic government. The leaders of many of these groups supported Marxist goals. were influenced by global economic trends and dependence on industrial nations. Other revolutionaries were motivated by nationalism. they said. and other countries held multiparty elections to replace military governments with civilian governments. Marxism won support among peasants. Also. urban workers. President Alberto Fujimori suspended the nation's constitution to crush antigovernment guerrillas and engineered his own reelection before fleeing the country.” Heavy debt burdens and economic slowdowns have threatened the success of Latin America's elected rulers. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela centralized power in his own hands to advance his populist and nationalist “Bolivarian revolution. the only major nonelected ruler in Latin America was Cuba's Fidel Castro. Economic Development Except during the Great Depression of the 1930s. though. and growing protests led repressive leaders to step aside. Still. kidnappings. Their economies. In general. The Threat of Revolution During the 1960s and 1970s. Much of the best farmland belonged to agribusinesses. This policy. many Latin American governments encouraged the development of local industries. could end inequalities. most military regimes were unable to solve basic problems. industry did not expand rapidly enough to produce new jobs for a rapidly growing population. so they were hard hit if harvests failed or demand declined. Revival of Democracy By the mid-1980s. inflation. and assassinations. most Latin American nations experienced economic growth between 1900 and the 1960s. In Peru. Industry To reduce dependence on imported goods. Chile. however. Eventually. but life did not improve for most people. had mixed success. Expanding Agriculture Over the past 60 years. Many of the new industries were inefficient and needed government help or foreign capital to survive. Argentina. The Chilean economy did expand. and some intellectuals. By the 1960s. As the twenty-first century began. Only a socialist revolution. The middle class prospered.

To support their families. Commercial agriculture increased the need to import food. By 1961. In Central America and Brazil. Most governments brought their debt payments under control. The North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) linked Mexico to the prosperous markets of the United States and Canada. The Southern Common Market (Mercosur) linked some of Latin America's most productive economies. Nicaragua. Latin American women worked hard to increase their role in public life and to win equality. Generally. In Argentina and elsewhere. many women took jobs outside the home. women were responsible for the home and for child care. and opened their markets to foreign companies. and they often labored for low pay. free-trade organizations modeled loosely on the European Common Market promised some economic improvement. City life weakened the extended family of rural villages and often replaced it with the smaller nuclear family. Rural women of Indian or African descent faced prejudice and poverty. as elsewhere. Argentina. family members had to earn cash. As interest rates rose. Production of some food crops declined as land was turned over to growing crops for export. In large cities. Upper-class women had access to education and professional careers and could hire servants to care for their homes and children. One problem was the quota system: “They'd give you two and a half sacks as a quota for every day and if you didn't manage it. raised prices on goods. . Many were caught up in crime and violence. including the right to vote. Changing Social Patterns In Latin America. Crisis and Reform In the 1980s. They lacked schooling and basic health care. The struggle to make a living caused some families to fall apart. They cut spending on social programs. they didn't pay you anything. and Benedita da Silva became the first black woman elected to the Brazilian congress. By the 1990s. more food had to be imported. In the 1990s. urbanization brought social upheaval. To combat the crisis. rising interest rates. including those of Argentina and Brazil and. nations that had borrowed to develop industry were crushed by a debt crisis. women had won the vote throughout the Americas. at a high cost. Women's status varied according to class and race. To help their families and communities. some peasant women pushed for schools and health care. Others protested violence against women or challenged the subordinate position of women within the family. Women Throughout the 1900s. nations like Mexico and Brazil resorted to strong measures. and a worldwide recession. During the harsh Pinochet years in Chile. The mutual support and expanded markets of such organizations did bring some economic growth in the years around 2000.plants. Instead of raising food. women in Santiago organized food kitchens to serve meals to the poor. developers cleared tropical forests to provide new farmlands. and Panama had women presidents. Latin American nations were buffeted by economic storms. described the injustices she endured. A peasant woman from El Salvador. thousands of abandoned or runaway children roamed the streets. As a result. stopped financing local businesses. women protested human rights abuses by brutal military governments. Chile.” Women struggled to win change. in an associate capacity. who began harvesting coffee and cotton at age 16.” Another complaint was unequal treatment: “Men have always been paid 5 colones more than women or children and we all do exactly the same work. women moved into the political arena in small but growing numbers. including high oil costs.

During this time. However. It continued to support military dictators. Critics were jailed or silenced. and increased the nation's literacy rate. just 90 miles from Florida.Religion The Catholic Church has remained a powerful force throughout Latin America. An embargo is a ban on trade. and church workers crusaded for social justice and an end to poverty. Castro In the 1950s. The threat of nearby Soviet nuclear bases outraged the United States and touched off a dangerous crisis. for example. American investors bought up Cuban plantations and mills. he did improve conditions for the poor. The next year. the percentage of a population that can read and write. However. Many joined the struggle against oppressive governments. who then brought other family members into the faith. For several days during the Cuban . He put most land under government control and distributed the rest to peasant farmers. In 1961. and the United States became the chief buyer of Cuba's sugar. had an especially strong appeal among women. Castro nationalized foreign-owned sugar plantations and other businesses. In El Salvador. Castro sought closer ties to the Soviet Union. Cubans cheered the rebel as a hero. the joy soon wore off as Castro turned Cuba into a communist state. President John Kennedy declared a naval blockade of Cuba and demanded that the Soviets remove the weapons. Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated by a right-wing death squad. For many. While Castro imposed harsh authoritarian rule. a young lawyer. it was often tied to the conservative ruling class. By 1959. Cuba won independence from Spain. the United States imposed an embargo on Cuba.” They urged the Church to become a force for reform. But communist dictatorship angered middle-class Cubans. During the 1960s. Traditionally. Cold War Tensions The Cuban Revolution alarmed the United States. Section 2 Communism in Cuba After the Spanish-American War. Some evangelical Protestant groups won a growing following among the poor. In October 1962. Castro had led his tiny guerrilla army to victory. Their message. Their movement became known as liberation theology. These activists saw Jesus as a “liberator of the poor. Cuba was controlled by the United States under the Platt Amendment to the Cuban Constitution until 1935. the United States backed a plot by anti-Castro exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro. especially as Castro turned to the Soviet Union for aid. some Church leaders had always spoken up for the poor. promoted equality for women. which emphasized the power of faith. Some became objects of violence themselves. rallied forces opposed to the corrupt Batista regime. An invasion force landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba but was quickly crushed. many priests. During the 1960s and 1970s. He let the Soviets build nuclear missile bases in Cuba. and hundreds of thousands fled to the United States. nuns. Fidel Castro. Cuba provided basic health care for all.

missile crisis. Cuba's economy fell into a shambles. Despite their links. the United States used . In response. In 1989. despite the urgings of the United Nations and Latin American leaders. This action came after he had enacted land reforms that threatened United States-owned businesses. it seemed less and less likely that either Cuban communism or the American embargo would endure for long. convicted. Cuba lost its chief ally and trading partner. Over the next decades. It did so to protect its interests and to prevent the spread of communism. and welcomed foreign investment. United States forces invaded Panama and overthrew the government of General Manuel Noriega.” Intervention During the Cold War. meanwhile. Castro tried to encourage revolution in other Latin American nations. The United States refused to negotiate with Castro. Many Latin Americans. he vowed to preserve communism. Profits from United States-owned companies flowed from Latin America to the north. The United States saw itself as the defender of democracy and capitalism and the source of humanitarian aid. At the same time. the United States developed a sphere of influence that included smaller neighboring states. the superpowers stood on the brink of nuclear war. At the same time. who argued that Cuba no longer posed a threat. Without Soviet financial aid. President Richard Nixon told officials to “make the [Chilean] economy scream. The United States and Latin America Like powerful nations in many times and places. allowed some features of a market economy. the United States helped Guatemalan soldiers overthrow a popularly elected president. Noriega was removed from Panama and then tried. the United States quietly lent its support to a military coup that overthrew Allende. the United States continued its efforts to isolate Cuba and undermine Castro. cultural influences drifted both north and south. Castro encouraged tourism. It even helped topple leftist leaders. however. provided massive economic and military aid to Cuba.” In 1973. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev backed down. after socialist Salvador Allende (ah yehn day) was elected president of Chile. The United States was the leading investor and trading partner for most nations in Latin America. The United States backed anti-communist dictators and helped equip and train their soldiers to fight rebel uprisings. Jacobo Arbenz. The Soviets. He agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba. Still. Other United States interventions in Latin America were unrelated to the threat of communism. Cuba also sent troops to Africa to help the socialist government of Angola. In the 1990s. In the end. and imprisoned for drug trafficking. In 1954. In response. the United States intervened repeatedly in Latin America under the banner of the Monroe Doctrine. Recent Trends When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s. In the 1970s. for example. however. as American business people visited the country and baseball teams from the two nations competed. the United States and its neighbors had very different views of one another. resented that they lived under the shadow of the “colossus of the north.

The goals were to promote education and land reform. for any reason whatever. Many Latin Americans opposed United States economic and military intervention. Latin American members did at times pursue an independent line.economic pressure and the threat of military action to force military rulers from power in Haiti. The Organization of American States (OAS) was formed in 1948 to promote democracy. Paraguay. and help countries avoid revolutions. economic cooperation. They also hired assassins to kill judges. they often resented its political. and Bolivia had for centuries grown coca for their own uses. Latin American nations and the United States did work together. The Drug Wars Regional cooperation was essential to efforts to control the illegal drug trade. The Castro revolution and other Cold War tensions led President Kennedy to launch the Alliance for Progress in 1961. weaken dictatorships. although it remained their chief trading partner. Increasingly. Many Latin American nations increased trade and cultural links to European countries. Governments cooperated. In exchange. and others who spoke out against them. Caribbean. Brazil. In the 1980s. Indians in Colombia.” Although the United States often dominated the OAS. many Latin American nations had reduced their dependence on the United States. Two years later. and other countries to destroy coca crops and move against the cartels. Mercosur. reduce inequality and poverty. especially in Brazil. the United States pressed governments in Colombia. The alliance produced little progress. Landowners and the business elite in many countries opposed basic reforms. Japanese investments in Latin America. which they used to bribe government officials. also known as drug cartels. journalists. or Central American nations. Latin American governments were to enact genuine reforms. in the internal or external affairs of any other State. and cultural influence in Latin America. The United States provided aid to Latin America. However. Regional Ties In Latin America. Regional Organizations Despite disagreements. Peru. rose rapidly. Under this ambitious program. By the 1970s. drug lords were reaping huge profits. the United States offered billions in loans and investments. paved the way for increased trade among Argentina. began producing and exporting ever-larger quantities of cocaine and other drugs. Talks were also underway to create a hemisphere-wide free-trade zone that would be even larger than the expanding European Union. and Uruguay. the United States declared a “war on drugs. The new groups operated alongside older blocs that linked Andean. Mexico linked its economy to those of the United States and Canada through NAFTA. but never on the scale proposed by Kennedy. Although they perhaps admired the wealth and technology of the United States. Regional and Global Issues By the end of the Cold War. Some exported food or minerals to Asian nations. while Brazil worked with coffee-exporting nations of Africa to support coffee prices. as elsewhere around the world. a new South American trading bloc. as drug use increased in various parts of the world. Such groups created larger markets by lowering trade barriers among neighboring countries. regional trading blocs gained importance in the 1990s. Oil-rich Venezuela joined Arab nations in OPEC. but many Latin .” To halt the flow of drugs. economic. and human rights. criminal gangs. Members pledged not to interfere “directly or indirectly. In 1993. Peru. they were tied to the global economy.

It also could provide land to millions of landless peasants. vast tracts of forest were being bulldozed and burned for farms. threatening these ancient ways of life. which meant disaster for many native peoples. They called the Amazon rain forest “the lungs of the world” because it plays a key role in absorbing poisonous carbon dioxide from the air and releasing essential oxygen. deny services to illegal aliens. Development Versus the Environment Concerns about the environment also raised some troubling issues for Latin America and the world. cattle ranches.Americans argued that the root of the problem was not the supply of drugs but the growing demand for illegal drugs in the United States. government officials became committed—at least in theory—to improving conditions for the poor. Like earlier immigrants. After the revolution. however. which occupies more than a million square miles in the heart of Brazil. Land-hungry farmers. Developing nations pointed out that western powers had long since cleared many of their forests and mined their lands. It is rich in mineral resources needed for economic growth.” said a Brazilian delegate at an international conference on the environment. and return them to their countries of origin. He distributed . Mexico's president. Many immigrants entered the United States legally and eventually became citizens. civil war. Mexico endured a long. and repressive governments led many people to flee their homelands. did industrial nations have to tell them to stop developing their resources? The most widely publicized issue was the rapid destruction of the Amazon rain forest. Many Indians died of diseases introduced by the newcomers. By the 1970s and 1980s. pressure increased in the United States to halt illegal immigration. Others were killed in conflicts provoked by impatient developers moving into the forest. “You cannot talk ecology to people who are struggling to survive. highways. Environmentalists argued that deforestation had enormous costs. violent revolution in the early 1900s. and even newly planned cities. Lázaro Cárdenas. had taken steps to fulfill the promises of the Mexican Revolution—especially land reform. and foreign mining companies converged on the forest. Some forms of plant life might even hold undiscovered cures for diseases. Poverty. A large number. Brazil has opened more and more of this area to development. The Rural Poor In the 1930s. they sought freedom and economic opportunity. Another environmental concern was rapid development. As a result. speculators. Migration Latin American immigration to the United States increased rapidly after the 1970s. It has been home to 15 million species of plants and animals. Isolation had protected bands of Native American forest dwellers for centuries. they asked. Section 3 Continuity and Change in Mexico As you have read. the United States had more than 11 million Latin American immigrants. What right. were illegal immigrants. By the end of the 1990s. which have been threatened by development. Since the 1930s. Developing nations insisted that they needed to exploit their land and other resources if they wanted economic growth.

the PRI made some election reforms in the 1990s. Over the years.millions of acres of land to peasants.industrial interests and the military. By skillfully using the media. repeated drug scandals. the PRI remained in power. they favored agribusinesses that produced cash-earning export crops. dams. however. Despite widespread criticism. Economic Ups and Downs After World War II. rebels took up arms and challenged the government. This growth turned Mexico from an agricultural society into a mostly urban. and the PRI lost its majority in the national legislature.5 million in 1940 to about 20 million in 1995. in 1968. Instead. many peasants migrated to towns and cities. Above. Yet they failed to achieve their goals. As conditions worsened. a state in southern Mexico which had a large Native American population. the government faced rebel uprisings. Mexico might have a president who was not a member of the PRI. the PRI held on to power by responding to social ills with reform programs for education. reduce foreign influence. In 1994. new oil discoveries and rising oil prices spurred an economic . both manufacturing and agriculture made huge gains. From the 1940s to the early 1980s. The riots and the government's response received worldwide attention because the summer Olympic games were held in Mexico City that year. the land was subdivided and exhausted from overfarming. an opposition candidate was elected mayor of Mexico City. and splits within the party's own ranks. Some families also received small plots to farm themselves. Mexico pushed ahead with efforts to foster import substitution. a single party—the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—dominated Mexican politics. Mexico's economy became the second largest in Latin America after that of Brazil. but PRI bosses moved forcefully against any serious opposition. the land reform program proved unsuccessful. It needed to be irrigated and fertilized to be productive. As the 1990s came to an end. for the first time since the 1920s. the government worked closely with private businesses. One outbreak occurred in Chiapas. From time to time. There were some other small political parties. The PRI in Control Since the Mexican Revolution. it seemed possible that Mexico's government would no longer be dominated by a single party. As rural populations grew. It also encouraged tourism. the party generally kept discontent from exploding into violence. In the late 1970s. They demanded land reforms and rights for Native Americans. industrial society. As a result. Yet. The PRI's hold on power was further jeopardized by reports of political corruption. the Chiapas rebels became international heroes. Riot police and the army brutally suppressed the turmoil. Presidents after Cárdenas paid less attention to Mexico's rural poor. welfare. a husband and wife drop their votes into the ballot box. In part. and ports. The population of Mexico City mushroomed from 1. Most was given to ejidos (eh hee dohs). it even seemed possible that. student protests shook Mexico as they did other western countries. or peasant cooperatives. As the 1990s drew to a close. To promote industry. Much of the land given to peasants was arid. Discontent was high there because most Indians had benefited little from the nation's economic growth. It invested in building roads. Political Reforms Under pressure from all sides. It claimed to represent all groups—from workers and peasants to business. especially to the capital. and health. As a result. and expand agriculture.

Despite economic growth. Finished products were then exported to the United States. They called themselves Sandinistas after Augusto Sandino. both nations cooperated on solving issues of international concern such as environmental problems. Some employers in the United States. the Somoza family ruled—and looted—Nicaragua. a . Nicaragua was one of three Latin American countries to have a genuine revolution in the twentieth century. In the 1980s. Despite their differences. global economic trends worked against Mexico. Mexico borrowed heavily to fund development projects. while the poorest 20 percent earned less than 2 percent of national income. and Canada signed NAFTA. At the same time. To spur economic recovery. however. Wealth continued to be unequally distributed. who could not compete with a flood of goods from the United States. The top 10 percent of the people controlled over 40 percent of the wealth. Links to the United States Mexico has felt the powerful influence of its northern neighbor. and landowning interests. especially commercial farmers. Mexico set out to reduce economic influence through import substitution. the United States. From 1936 to 1979. thus opening up a huge regional market. Maquiladoras (mah kee luh dohr uhs). and rising interest rates plunged the country deeply into debt. The economy could not produce enough jobs to keep up with rapid population growth. Like other debtor nations. In the 1970s. and elsewhere. most Mexicans remained poor. Due to their strong anti-communist stand. In the 1930s. the government reduced barriers to foreign businesses and privatized some industries. a $20 billion loan from the United States bailed Mexico out of an economic crisis. Nicaragua Along with Mexico and Cuba. Poverty and Prosperity As the 1900s came to an end. led to labor protests. NAFTA did bring some new business and investments to Mexico. flourished along Mexico's northern border. Yet the nation continued to rely on investment capital from the United States. Mexico cut spending on social and other programs so that it could make its debt payments. plus the government's refusal to let workers organize. however. Still. falling oil prices. Issues such as illegal immigration and drug smuggling created tension between Mexico and the United States. they enjoyed United States backing. Fearing the spread of communism. Japan. environmental problems in the plants. or assembly plants owned by multinational corporations. But as growing numbers of Mexicans crossed the border illegally. War and Peace in Central America In Central America. Optimistic about the future. Discontent grew in the cities and among rural Indian communities that had long suffered from poverty and oppression. many people in the United States came to resent the newcomers. unrest threatened the ruling elite of military. Supporters claimed that the free-trade association would boost prosperity by lowering trade barriers. relied on Mexican migrant workers to harvest crops for low wages. it hurt Mexican manufacturers. In 1993. Mexico. In 1995. A worldwide recession. various groups opposed to Anastasio Somoza joined forces. These plants used cheap Mexican labor to assemble imported parts for cars and electronic goods.boom. business. Mexico remained a disturbing mix of prosperity and poverty. the United States intervened repeatedly in the region. The maquiladoras provided jobs for many Mexicans—most of them women.

the church considers insurrection moral and justified. it also provided weapons and other aid to help the military battle rebel guerrillas. in 1991. However. which still depended on a single export—coffee. the revolutionaries ousted Somoza and set out to reshape Nicaragua. Inspired by the ideas of liberation theology. In the 1970s. The chief victims were the Native American majority. and anyone else thought to sympathize with leftists. one of the most destructive storms of the century. Meanwhile. After elections were held. El Salvador remained a developing nation with a fragile democracy. reformers and revolutionaries found new support in the Catholic Church. the United States helped oust Guatemala's reformist government in 1954. Although a civilian government took power in the mid-1980s. Like Sandino. former enemies met in the congress. including the Sandinistas. Some were killed fighting for the land they tilled but did not own. During decades of civil war. the government routinely tortured and murdered critics.” Archbishop Oscar Romero even proclaimed: “When all peaceful means have been exhausted. A long civil war weakened the economy but did not unseat the Sandinistas. In 1998. they faced constant challenges from leftist guerrilla movements. they were reform-minded nationalists. The Sandinistas peacefully handed over power but kept control of the army. As the new century began. both developed democracy and real prosperity still lay in the future. the military remained a powerful force behind the scenes. .” During a vicious 12-year civil war.revolutionary of the 1930s. In 1980. including student and labor leaders. The civil war had ravaged the economy. both sides agreed to a UN-brokered peace. some of whom had taken part in antigovernment actions. Guatemala Fearing growing communist influence and threats to American interests. Others were shot as military forces exterminated whole villages. El Salvador The ruling class of military officials and wealthy landowners was also challenged in El Salvador. Here. Although the military and landowners regained power. Finally. gunned down as he celebrated mass in a chapel. In 1979.000 died during the 1980s alone. Fearing that Nicaragua would become “another Cuba. Despite large-scale aid from the International Monetary Fund. An estimated 30. Over the next decade. as elsewhere in Latin America. In 1990. not in battle. rival political parties. However. The United States pressured the government to halt the fighting. competed for power in Nicaragua. right-wing death squads slaughtered church workers.” President Ronald Reagan secretly backed the contras—guerrillas who fought against the Sandinistas. Salvadoran priests preached that God was “a God of justice and love who acts on the side of the poor and oppressed. won election as president. added to the nation's woes by devastating much of the country. they introduced land reform and other socialist policies. Violeta Chamorro. Under Sandinista president Daniel Ortega. many people remained poor. and the country had a heavy debt burden. unemployment was still high. Hurricane Mitch. In 1996. a moderate. some Church leaders in Latin America abandoned traditional ties to the elite and instead pressed for reform. the 30-year civil war finally ended when the government and guerrillas signed a peace agreement that recognized the rights of the Guatemalan people. Archbishop Romero fell victim to the fighting. the United States pressed the government to make some reforms. Other Central American countries finally helped both sides to reach a compromise and stop the fighting. problems remained. The Sandinistas included a large number of women and leftist students. student and labor leaders. Although the economy has grown as exports have dramatically risen.

the Caribbean nation of Haiti has endured a history of dictatorial rule and rebellion. strengthening labor unions. and enacting social reforms. It had a fairly stable government dominated by the wealthy elite. Dr. Section 4 Dictatorship and Democracy in Argentina In the early 1900s. in its freest election in recent times. The weakness of the government discouraged foreign investment. social unrest. mostly to Britain. and military rule.” Overthrown by a military coup and restored when the United States threatened military action. he had little success in imposing meaningful reforms. “Baby Doc. His son. Perón was helped by his glamorous wife Eva Duarte Perón. Juan Perón was elected president. to crush opposition and terrorize the people. and other services. Almost all were affected by rapidly growing populations. Haiti was only one of many Central American and Caribbean countries that faced a devastating combination of natural and social problems. Since independence in 1804. Perón won the loyalty of the working classes. and soaring crime all pointed toward difficult times ahead. Haiti lacked adequate roads. but a succession of military leaders then ruled the island nation. Argentina was the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world and the richest nation in Latin America. As Perón's chief aide. A former Catholic priest. who had risen from poverty to fame as an actress. used his brutal secret police. François Duvalier (doo vahl yay) ruled Haiti. Haiti chose Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president. a small upper class controlled the economy and ruled the rural poor majority. she had clinics built and gave . electricity. however. the Haitian leader proclaimed that “This is a day on which democracy rises.Struggle in Haiti Like other Latin American countries. In 1990. On average. He and his successors faced many problems. By boosting wages. Poverty and social conflict were widespread consequences. supporter of liberation theology. their economies produced roughly a tenth as much per person as the United States economy did. And in most of them. street demonstrations. Argentina was plagued by economic crises. a skewed distribution of wealth put most of the productive land in the hands of one or two percent of the citizens. Perón in Power In 1946. Aristide hoped to advance his country at least “from misery to dignified poverty. “Papa Doc. while intense party rivalries. From Dictatorship to Democracy From 1957 to 1971. For the next 50 years.” An Uncertain Future Despite Aristide's pledge. the Tontons Macoutes. He appealed to Argentine nationalism by limiting foreign-owned businesses and promoting import substitution.” was driven into exile in 1986. and hero to the poor. Its economy was fed by exports of beef and wheat. never to set.” as he was called. The poorest state in the Western Hemisphere. Argentina attracted millions of immigrants. Then the Great Depression struck. many of whom worked in the factories of Buenos Aires.

“You. Perón's policies led to a huge debt and soaring inflation. terrorists on the left and on the right disrupted the country. They tortured and murdered thousands of citizens. His new wife. objected to the privatization of government-run industries and noted that unemployment remained high. The “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo” gained worldwide attention. As she faced economic and political crises. Nearly all who disappeared were murdered—often by being thrown into the ocean from aircraft. and in the air. Brazil's rich resources include minerals. Isabel Perón became president—the first woman head of state in the Western Hemisphere. timber. his authoritarian government stifled opposition. In some years. mothers marched silently. Many educated people fled Argentina. the army waged a “dirty war.000 people disappeared after being taken from their homes. In the 1990s. Northeastern Brazil.” she promised the poor women of Argentina. holding pictures of their children who had disappeared. which it called the Malvinas. the military was in and out of power. Perón was ousted by a military coup and forced into exile. Despite economic setbacks and scandals of corruption. the military hoped to mask economic troubles by seizing the British-ruled Falkland Islands. and supporters of Perón urged a return to his to the sick and unemployed.” terrorizing people that they claimed were enemies of the state. however. and it was forced to hold free elections. To combat leftist guerrillas. In 1982. In 1973. however. Week after week. Its varied landscapes include the mighty Amazon River and the world's largest tropical forest. and he was again elected president. Isabel. and rich farmlands that yield . While Juan Perón wooed the urban poor. one in five adults was jobless. In 1955. democratic rule survived. As many as 20. Gradually. was chosen vice president. Argentina had long claimed these islands. Argentines elected Fernando de la Rua to the presidency. more and more facts emerged about the military's “dirty war” against the people. In a brief but decisive war fought on land. To secure more votes for her husband. the military took power. In 1999. on sea. aided by plentiful natural resources and the highest literacy rate in Latin America. Military Rule For two decades. President Carlos Menem was able to cut inflation and enact government financial reforms urged by the International Monetary Fund. she helped women gain the right to vote. is an arid plain. When he died the next year. Democracy Restored In 1983. she used public funds to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle. Defeat undermined the power and prestige of Argentina's military. Critics. in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. De la Rua pledged to work for better living conditions for all Argentines Brazil's People and Government Brazil occupies almost half of South America. The military mistakenly believed that Britain would not fight to keep the islands. Argentina's democracy took hold and the economy grew. Meanwhile. will have clothes as rich as mine. an elected government restored democracy to Argentina. the British recaptured the Falklands. Another persistent problem was that wealth remained concentrated in the hands of a few. In 1976. too. an aging Perón did return.

Afonso Celso. the military gradually eased their grip on power. censored the press. causing economic hardships. In his words. ring the major cities. though. favored labor unions. Geographic conditions have contributed to uneven settlement patterns. Early Development In the early 1900s. economic problems and fear of communism led the military to take over again. not Spain. but they allowed elected presidents to rule Brazil for 20 years thereafter. a noted Brazilian patriot. In the cities. By 1964. Backed by the middle and upper classes. They pursued modernization under the motto “order and progress. The seizure of power was quietly supported by the United States. Brazil has weathered many boom-and-bust cycles. The people of Brazil voted to keep their republic. adding to its cultural mix. They tortured and jailed critics. and gave women the right to vote. The assistance was not needed. and ignored calls for social reform. the government has encouraged development of the interior. Like Perón in Argentina. which was even willing to provide some aid to the military. Others practice Candomblè. Population Unlike its South American neighbors. the generals wielded enormous power. Brazil has had its share of dictators and military rulers. Coffee then replaced rubber as the major export. dictator Getúlio Vargas allied himself with the working poor. the African. To draw settlers inland. a plebiscite was held in 1993. The military eventually toppled Vargas. thousands of homeless children survive on the streets without families or education. “Three elements contributed to the formation of the Brazilian people: the American Indian. Brazilians were finally able to vote directly for a president for the first time in 29 years. which boast luxurious high-rise apartment buildings and wealthy shopping areas. Brazil has a diverse society. . Most Brazilians are Roman Catholic.” In the 1900s. In the mid-1980s. he improved wages and workers' benefits. Rapid population growth and class divisions have contributed to poverty in crops such as coffee and sugar. and the Portuguese. Brazil was settled by people from Portugal. where more than 75 percent of Brazilians live. But again and again.” Between 1930 and 1945. considered this diversity to be a source of national strength. Teeming. a form of worship that blends African and Christian beliefs. or slums. Political Instability Like its neighbors. With a population over 173 million. the sharp contrast between rich and poor is seen everywhere. In 1989. Brazil's “Economic Miracle” “Brazil is a country of the future. the huge demand for Brazilian rubber suddenly fell off. For more than a century. In the favelas around São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. many Japanese and Germans settled in Brazil. To determine if Brazil should remain a republic or return to being a monarchy. but a growing number of people embrace evangelical Protestant faiths.” This Brazilian saying suggests both the nation's potential and its many setbacks. A plebiscite is a vote in which people approve or reject a proposal. About 90 percent of Brazilians live within 200 miles of the Atlantic coast. and always will be. declining prices for coffee or natural disasters wreaked havoc on the economy. the nation has more people than any of its Spanish-speaking neighbors. garbage-strewn favelas.

People talked of Brazil's “economic miracle. a respected economist. Conditions for the poor worsened when the government cut spending in response to the debt crisis. Population growth and migration strained the government's ability to provide services as millions of people flooded Brazil's major cities. Critics of the president also objected to the privatization of state-run industries. others accused Cardoso of not doing enough for the poor. economic development of the Amazon region continued. faced a host of economic problems—from inflation fed by higher oil prices to a staggering debt. and many were very concerned about high unemployment rates. While landowners opposed the president's policy. In protest. financial resources. Brazil moved away from dependence on a single export by diversifying its economy. experts ran the economy. Brazil. he promised to distribute land to nearly 300. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. wealth. Less than 3 percent of the population owned more than 50 percent of the land.” like those in postwar Germany or Japan. which for a time chalked up impressive growth. technology. much of which remained unused. hydroelectric plants. His policies promoted rapid economic growth and helped to limit inflation. Vargas encouraged industry. President Juscelino Kubitschek (zhooh suh lee nuh koo bih chehk) promised “fifty years of progress in five.” Brazil had almost all of these. or people who settle on land that they do not own. it brought little or no benefit. population. material goods. and schools. To most Brazilians. Under the military. Impressive Growth “Power in the world. provided strong leadership for Brazil. One of the most persistent economic problems in Brazil was the unequal distribution of land. Economic Challenges In the 1980s. He built highways. hundreds of miles from the Atlantic coast.” He opened up the Amazon forest region to settlers by carving out a new capital. Violent clashes erupted between the squatters and the landowners. This group urged peasants to become squatters. . During and after World War II. however. In the 1990s. “is a great nation that has territory. Brazil began producing everything from steel and cars to shoes. minerals. In response to the Landless Movement.In the 1930s. Brasília. The miracle enriched a few. Despite environmental concerns. like other developing nations. industry continued to expand.” said one Brazilian leader.000 families. some Brazilians formed an organization called the Landless Movement. In the 1950s.