Two major points I saw from this week of lectures and readings was the cosmopolitan culture of Latin America and also the impact the cold war had on post-colonial Latin America. Latin American is a mix of indigenous peoples, Europeans and Africans. These three extremely broad culture and racial groups lead to a great exchange of culture that altered Latin America, nations and groups involved. The natives to Latin America were devastated by disease as about 90% died from interactions from Europeans, while the rest were subject to racial segregation. Africans were brought to Latin America via the Atlantic Slave Trade since a work force was needed to obtain raw materials for the European powers that controlled the lands to gain a profit and fuel their ongoing conquest and wars.
After both World Wars, European powers struggled to keep their lead in the world. This resulted in a shift of power to the capitalistic United States and the Communist Soviet Union. Their political war was fought in vulnerable nations of Latin America. This was seen as “the U.S. veto has blocked or closed off to the point of strangulation most of the political experiments that have sought to get at the roots of violence” (Galeano) that was underway in Latin America, Though the Soviet Union also played similar roles to aid their Cold War motives. The people of Latin America were finding their own ways to govern themselves, but the world powers saw them as pawns. This was seen in Cuba with the Cuban Revolution. Both the United States and the Soviet Union aided a side they felt was right for the Cuban people, or more likely what was best for them. As Cuba elected Fidel Castro in a legal and democratic manner, the United States felt afraid of his socialistic tendencies and cut off relations while also attempting to murder and overthrow him. The Soviet Union saw Castro as a way to expand their Communist power and even placed nuclear weapons in Cuba faced towards the United States.