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10 Cards in this Set

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In this 1891 call to arms, this exiled Cuban poet critiques the cosmopolitan pretensions of Latin American elites. He calls for a new LAmerican solidarity and self-awareness and sings the praises of "Our America." He also issues an ominous warning about the need for latin american countries to join ranks to meet the challenge of the "giants with seven league boots," in particular the US. The annexation of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines by the US in the wake of the 1898 "Spanish-American" war--or from his perspective, the US intervention in teh Cuban war of INdependence--followed by a rash of early 20th C interventions in the Caribbean basin suggests that his warning was timely (if generally unheeded)
Jose Marti, "Nuestra America" (1890's)
The first Latin American woman to win a Nobel Prize in Literature was born in Vicuna, a small town in northern Chile. Her talent as a poet, writer, and speaker would turn her into Chile's representative abroad for almost 20 years, a role that included diplomatic missions to the league of nations and the united nations. In spite of her international fame as a literary woman and diplomat, she never forgot her passion for teaching. She had worked as a public school teacher near Santiago. Public school teachers were a key figure in teh expansion of the school system in LA, at a time when states were focusing on education as party of the project of nation building. In 1922, she was invited by Mexican Secretary of Education Jose Vasconcelos to work on educational programs for the poor in Mexico. She introduced mobile libraries to rural areas to make access to literature for everyone. In 1923, the Chilean gov't awarded her the title of "Teacher of the Nation"
Gabriela Mistral, "Contar" (1929)
-talks about storytelling and how to do so in the classroom
Mexico's struggle for economic sovereignty reached a high point under his rule. In 1937, a dispute between US and British oil companies and Mexican unions erupted into a strike followed by legal battles between the contending parties. When the oil companies refused to accept a Mexican Supreme Court verdict in favor of the unions, he intervened. On March 18, 1938--celebrated by Mexicans as marking their declaration of economic independence--the president announced in a radio speech that the properties of the oil companies had been expropriated in the public interest. It should be noted, however, that the oil nationalization did not set a precedent; thus, he allowed some 90 percent of the mining industry to remain in foreign hands. An exerpt from his message to the nation follows.
Lazaro Cardenas, "Mexico's Oil" 1940
Once Peron was released after being arrested by a rival faction of the government, he gave a speech from the balcony of the government house. To this day, this event symbolizes the birth of Peronism. "Saved" by his people, Peron would face his opponents, become a presidential candidate, and win elections in 1946, 1952, and after 18 years of exile in 1974. For the opposition, however, October 17 meant something quite different. On that day, the middle classes of Buenos Aires felt their dearest neighborhoods "invaded" by a class of Argentines who had remained quite invisible until then. The echoes of Sarmiento's "civilization and barbarism" were at the center of their interpretation of this new "Peronist" reality. In a book of memoirs published in 1955, tthis essayist recalled his impressions of that day/
1955, Martinez Estrada
Although women's suffrage was not the first priority of feminst organizations in Latin America, it was a clearly articulated right at least since the early 1900's.
*Women's suffrage granted in Argentina in 1947 was an initiative of the Peronist government rather than a long-standing feminist demands. The appointed leader of the Peronist version of this cause was Eva Peron, then only 27 years old. Her campaign took full advantage of the melodramatic talents developed in her previous career as a radio actress. In one of her first independent political performances, although still a far cry from the radical image of the Evita of the late 1940s and early 1950s, she integrated somen's suffrage into a context of traditional values--a context quite different from that put forward by the old leaders of the feminist cause.
Eva Peron, radio speech, February 26, 1947.
The Peronist government greatly expanded the state's capacity to provide services for the working classes. Workers for the first time were explicitly included in the dominant definition of citizenship. Many policies of social inclusion and re-distribution of wealth were undertaken by a great variety of new official departments. They also created channels of direct communication between the leaders and their people. Every week, Evita received in her office, a multitude of people, mostly poor women and children, who hoped that her Social Assistance Foundation would help them. Other state officers collected letters sent to Peron. This letter, written by a group of neighbors hoping to become owners of their houses, reveals many aspects of the connection between these leaders and their people.
A letter to Peron from a group of neighbors. Buenos Aires, 1951
In the first half of the 20th C, Latin American women made some strides toward emancipation from political, economic, and legal disabilities. Their struggle to gain the vote began around 1914 and ended in 1961 when Paraguay finally granted women suffrage. A pioneer in that struggle was this Chilean woman. In 1922, she became the first woman professor at the University of Chile and in 1931 was named director of secondary education, the highest post every attained by a woman at that time. In a book published in 1934, she reflected on the gains and the losses in the struggle for women's liberation.
Amanda Labarca Hubertson, 1934
In a 1970 election, Marxist Salvador Allende was elected as president of Chile. It shocked conservative Chileans and the anti-communist gov't of the US. The Chilean gov't nationalized copper mines and banks, and invested heavily in housing public health, and education. These changes were made without a congressional majority and support from the judiciary. The Nixon administration opposed Allende's program as well. The US launched a series of attacks on the Chilean economy that resulted in soaring inflation rates and growing middle class opposition. This congressional declaration clearly reflects these growing political tensions. Just three weeks later, an armed forces junta led by General Pinochet overthrew the Allende gov't and proceeded to jail, torture, and execute thousands of its political enomies.
Declaration of the Chamber of Deputies, "Grave Breakdown of the Republic's Legal and Constitutional Order" 1970's
The fascist Junta overthrow of the Allende gov't in Chile by General Pinochet led to the torture and execution of Allende followers. The junta showed a special hatred for the creators of culture and their works. They attempted to purify the Chilean culture by holding book burning sprees. They also devastated the home of Chile's greatest poet and Nobel Prize winner as he lay dying of cancer. They also tortured and killed a beloved composer, folk singer, and theater directer, as described in this account.
The Death of Victor Jara, 1975
Castro led a tiny force of Cuban patriots in an assault on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. It was a failure, as nearly half of the rebels were killed, many tortured to death. Those who survived were imprisoned. At his trial, 27 year odl Castro, a lawyer by profession made a five-hour defense speech in which he outlined the aims of the uprising. In a general way, his speech offers the blueprint of the radical reform program that the cuban revolution was to implement, but the whole document bears the stamp of a democratic, romantic ideaology that Castro would later abandon in favor of Marxism-Leninism. The title of this selection is taken from the final phrase of Castro's speech.
"History will absolve me" Fidel Castro, 1950's