Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category

According to the Latin American political analysts and scholars who contributed to this volume, free elections during the 1980s largely served to disguise rather than diminish institutional repressiveness and the reality of economic, political, and social disintegration that is occurring in many Latin American countries. This book is the first work of research to deal with the violence–on the part of both states and citizens–that is the most visible expression of that breakdown. Describing the nature and causes of Latin American vigilantism, the authors explore its impact within the larger sociopolitical system and the relationship between vigilantism and political transition. Part I is devoted to citizen violence, including mob lynchings; the work of the justiceiros (self-appointed or privately employed “enforcers”); and citizen uprisings against the police. Part II is a discussion of death squads in Peru, Guatemala, and Colombia and their use by the state to achieve specific social or political objectives. Part III explores the debate over violence, legislative solutions, and national security. The final section examines on-duty extra-legal police violence in several countries and the contribution of U.S. police training to state-supported terror. The authors’ analyses indicate that vigilantism results from and at the same time fosters authoritarian state structures whose economic dependence on foreign powers deepens the cycle of poverty, repression, and violence. An important source of data and analysis on a largely neglected topic, this work will be of interest to a general audience concerned with human rights, to policymakers and their critics, and to scholars in the fields of criminology, comparative justice, and Latin American studies.
Book by Martha K. Huggins

Latin America is moving toward democracy. The region’s countries hold elections, choose leaders, and form new governments. But is the civilian government firmly in power? Or is the military still influencing policy and holding the elected politicians in check under the guise of guarding against corruption, instability, economic uncertainty, and other excesses of democracy?

The editors of this work, Brian Loveman and Thomas M. Davies, Jr., argue that with or without direct military rule, antipolitics persists as a foundation of Latin American politics. This study examines the origins of antipolitics, traces its nineteenth- and twentieth-century history, and focuses on the years from 1965 to 1995 to emphasize the somewhat illusory transitions to democracy. This third edition of The Politics of Antipolitics has been revised and updated to focus on the post-Cold War era. With the demise of the Soviet state and international Marxism, the Latin American military has appropriated new threats including narcoterrorism, environmental exploitation, technology transfer, and even AIDS to redefine and relegitimate its role in social, economic, and political policy. The editors also address why and how the military rulers acceded to the return of civilian-elected governments and the military’s defense against accusations of human rights abuses.

Book by Thomas Davies (Editor), Brian Loveman (Editor)

This is the timely story of the rise and fall General Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Using interviews and intimate sketches, Roger Burbach unravels Pinochet’s historty–from the violent military coup that brought him to power to his ouster in 1990 and eventual arrest in 1998. Burbach reveals the sociopathic, paranoid and authoritarian tendencies that led the dictator to murder thousands of people in the country while authorizing acts of international terrorism.

Book by Roger Burbach

Hearing Before The Committee On Armed Services, U.s. House Of Representatives

Set in the larger context of the evolution of international human rights, this cogent book examines the tragic development and ultimate resolution of Latin America’s human rights crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. Thomas Wright focuses especially on state terrorism in Chile under General Augusto Pinochet (1973D1990) and in Argentina during the Dirty War (1976D1983). The author probes the background of these regimes, the methodology of state terrorism, and the human rights movements that emerged in urgent response to the brutality of institutionalized torture, murder, and disappearance. He also discusses the legacies of state terrorism in the post-dictatorial period, particularly the bitter battle between demands for justice and the military’s claim of impunity. Central to this struggle was the politics of memory as two radically different versions of the countries’ recent history clashed: had the militaries conducted legitimate wars against subversion or had they exercised terrorism based on a misguided concept of national security? The book offers a nuanced exploration of the reciprocal relationship between state terrorism and its legacies, on one hand, and international human rights on the other. When the Chilean and Argentine militaries seized power, the international human rights lobby was too weak to prevent the massive toll of state terrorism. But the powerful worldwide response to these regimes ultimately strengthened international human rights treaties, institutions, and jurisprudence, paving the way for the Rwanda and Yugoslavia genocide tribunals and the International Criminal Court. Indeed, Chile and Argentina today routinely try and convict former repressors in their own courts. This compelling history demonstrates that the experiences of Chile and Argentina contributed to strengthening the international human rights movement, which in turn gave it the influence to affect the outcome in these two South American countries. Ironically, the brutal regimes of Chile and Argentina played the major role in transforming a largely dormant international lobby into a powerful force that today is capable of bringing major repressors from anywhere in the world to justice. These intertwined themes make this book important reading not only for Latin Americanists but for students of human rights and of international relations as well.
Book by Thomas C. Wright

After Fidel Castro’s guerrilla war against dictator Fulgencio Batista triumphed on January 1, 1959, the Cuban Revolution came to be seen as a major watershed in Latin American history. The three decades following Castro’s victory gradually marginalized Cuba from the Latin American mainstream. But, as long-time Cuba observer Thomas C. Wright shows, the Cuban Revolution owed its vast influence in Latin America to the fact that it embodied the aspirations and captured the imaginations of Latin America’s masses as no other political movement had ever done.

After reviewing the background to Castro’s Cuban Revolution, Wright examines the radical social and economic transformation of Cuba and Castro’s efforts to actively promote insurrection against established governments and bourgeois power throughout Latin America. He then analyzes,in detail, the military revolution in Peru, the Allende government in Chile, and the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. Then Wright looks at the phenomena that affected all or major parts of Latin America—the impact of fidelismo, U.S. responses to revolution, rural guerrilla warfare, urban guerrilla warfare, and the new-style institutional military regimes created to fight revolution. He concludes with a summary of the rise and fall of Cuban influence in the hemisphere and offers an overview of the Latin American political landscape in the 1990s. An engaging synthesis for students and scholars interested in the Cuban Revolution and its impact on Latin America in the second half of the twentieth century.

Book by Thomas C. Wright

Questions about democracy and human rights have emerged in the advent of the 21st century, a time in which the prospects for progress in these areas have never been greater. This book is designed to respond to some of these questions with reference to Latin America, where democratic regimes have alternated with authoritarian governments and the human rights record is inconsistent at best. Taken together, these essays reveal the complexity of democratic transitions, the importance of support for human rights, and the way in which democracy and human rights are linked in Latin America.

The first part of the book includes chapters that cast a critical eye on democracy and human rights trends in Chile, Venezuela, Columbia, and Brazil. Part two gauges the impact and prospects of foreign initiatives promoting democracy and human rights in the region, focusing especially on those efforts made by the United States in Haiti and Cuba. Each chapter reaffirms the essential linkages between procedural democracy and substantive human rights, and argues that states with authoritarian pasts must reorient their political cultures, and that these initiatives must come from both domestic and international agents. Students and scholars interested in the problems and prospects inherent in democratic transitions in contemporary Latin America will find this collection enlightening.

Book by Richard S. Hillman (Editor), John A. Peeler (Editor), Elsa Cardozo Da Silva (Editor)