The Legacy Events Index

Latin American Repression

The second half of the 20th century has seen persistent poverty, political instability and social injustice in many of the Latin American republics still undergoing modernization. Despite moves toward modernization, Latin American countries continued to depend on the export of raw materials for their revenue, rather than converting to industrial economies. Countries throughout the region underwent urbanization without industrialization, as millions of people flooded the cities with little chance of finding a job or success. In several countries of Latin America the desperation stemming from poverty, governmental neglect, corrupt politics, and unrealizable progress, has stimulated charismatic local leaders to initiate regional protest movements. Faced with such challenges to political power, many governments have turned to brutal repression. In almost every country of Latin America, the political and economic instability of the 20th century has resulted in periods of intense civil conflict, involving governments, guerilla movements, military, and paramilitary groups. For most of this time, military coups and civil wars have frequently followed economic downturns and political disputes.

For example, in Uruguay, when labor disputes erupted, President Pacheco declared a state of emergency in June 1968 and again in June 1969. During these states of emergency, constitutional guarantees were suspended, student demonstrators were shot, hundreds of suspected dissidents were imprisoned, and the police began to use torture during interrogations. In Chile, under a military dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet, thousands were arrested, with many executed, tortured, or exiled. Still others languished in prison or simply disappeared. In the 1970s, Brazil's right-wing military crackdown on leftist guerilla movements resulted in the torture and death of thousands of its citizens. Colombian government sources estimate that more than 41,000 Colombians--mostly poor farmers--fled from their rural homes to the slums of the cities to escape the growing violence involving leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary units. And, during Guatemala's civil war, from 1960 to 1996, an estimated 200,000 people were killed or disappeared, the overwhelming majority killed by Guatemala's right-wing military governments. In 1974, with the death of Juan Peron, Argentina plunged into violence and military rule, with some 20,000 Argentinians dead or disappeared, at the hands of the military. While more recent political trends in Latin America have enhanced democracy, the legacies of these traumas continue to shape political debates about justice and reconciliation. Click here for more information from Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2001.

Related Visual Art

La guerra (The War), Fernando Botero, Colombia
Mujer llorando (Crying Woman), Fernando Botero, Colombia
Sin Título (Untitled), Fernando Botero, Colombia
Retrato de una desaparecida (Portrait of a Disappeared Woman), Roser Bru, Chile / Spain
Spain in Heart, Roser Bru, Chile / Spain
Electric Shock Rod (From the Uruguayan Torture Series), Luis Camnitzer, United States
He was known because of his precision (From the Uruguayan Torture Series), Luis Camnitzer, United States
Her Fragrance Lingered On (From the Uruguayan Torture Series), Luis Camnitzer, United States
The touch reclaimed spent tenderness (From the Uruguayan Torture Series), Luis Camnitzer, United States
Inutil Insistir II - III - IV - V - VI -VII, Carlos Gallardo, Argentina
Camilla, Daniel García, Argentina
Estudio para un pañuelo, Daniel García, Argentina
Gran Requiem, Daniel García, Argentina
Lapidado, Daniel García, Argentina
Lapidado 2, Daniel García, Argentina
Red Requiem, Daniel García, Argentina
Vendajes 3, Daniel García, Argentina
People on Fire, Guillermo Kuitca, Argentina
People on Fire, Guillermo Kuitca, Argentina
Carcel-Hombre, Romulo Maccio, Argentina
Mira la lucha del esfuerzo del afuerino, Roberto Matta, Chile / France
After Guernica Series, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
After Guernica Series, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
After Guernica Series, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
After Guernica Series, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
After Guernica Series, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
After Guernica Series, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
Blanca y radiant (White and Radiant), Eduardo Medici, Argentina
El Paradiso Perdido Series (Paradise Lost Series), Eduardo Medici, Argentina
No estamos solos (We are not alone), Eduardo Medici, Argentina
Quiens somos, adonde vamos, de donde venimos, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
Tanto Tiempo de Tanta Muerte, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
Tanto Tiempo de Tanta Muerte, Eduardo Medici, Argentina
Incendio en el Jockey Club (Fire in the Jockey Club), Luis Felipe Noé, Argentina
Masacre 10 de abril, Alejandro Obregón, Colombia
Atrabiliarios (Detail), Doris Salcedo, Colombia
It was the End of the Afternoon II, Ana Tiscornia, Uruguay
Thirteen Portraits, Ana Tiscornia, Uruguay
Untitled, Ana Tiscornia, Uruguay
Untitled (Portrait Series: Untitled, Twelve, Six, and Eight), Ana Tiscornia, Uruguay

Related Films

Amnesia
Angels
Easy Money
Enthusiasm
Garage Olimpo
Harshness of Destiny
La Frontera
Landscapes of Memory
Latent Image
Malayunta
Memories of Prison
Memories of Underdevelopment
Mundo Grua
Night of the Pencils
Scar
Sur
Those Days in June
Time for Revenge
Time Out
Two Streams

Related Literature

Ocosingo War Diary: Voices from Chiapas- La Tona, Efraín Bartolomé
View of Dawn in the Tropics (I), Guillermo Cabrera Infante
View of Dawn in the Tropics(II), Guillermo Cabrera Infante
View of Dawn in the Tropics (III), Guillermo Cabrera Infante
View of the Dawn in the Tropics (IV), Guillermo Cabrera Infante
Soldier's Rest, Roque Dalton
Nineteen Thirty Seven, Edwidge Danticat
Death and the Maiden, Ariel Dorfman
An Open Letter to My Grandson or Granddaughter, Juan Gelman
The Sadder Century, Pablo Neruda