Through Professor Holt’s lectures and the readings this week, we have been able to get a more detailed and nuanced explanation of the role of colonialism in the formation of modern Latin America. This week we went even further in an effort to understand the wide ranging effects of neocolonialist influence directly because of US interventionism against the spread of communism and how it has created the current dominant paradigm within South America.
One of the most significant conceptions about South America is it’s inherent poverty and corruption. Yet as we learned in a multitude of readings and background information, what delayed growth more than anything else was regime change, most of which were done through coups. For example in Chile with the rise of Pinochet, a general, to the leader of the country was directly due to US support against the pro socialist sitting president, Salvador Allende. This serves to highlight the complex role the United States took up in the America’s, that of a Imperial hegemon protecting it’s ‘area of influence’ against any conception of threat posed by Communist ideals.
These crusades launched by the US administration were only compounded following events such as the Cuban revolution, which they believed posed an active threat to American safety and thus the US did everything they could, even if it meant leaving the region in the hands of totalitarian dictators or chaos. To continue with the example of Cuba, the US tried having Fidel Castro, it’s leader following the Cuban revolution, assassinated a total of several hundred times because of his communist ideals and his formation of close ties with the Soviet Union. Through that we can understand how, despite the popular support of many of these socialist figures that arose across the continent, the US placed it’s foreign interests foremost, much to the loss for most other countries on the continent.