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Anti-americanism in Latin America and the Caribbean

Edited by Alan McPherson

316 pages, 15 illus., 4 tables, bibliog, index

ISBN  978-1-84545-141-7 $120.00/£75.00 Hb Published (March 2006)

ISBN  978-1-84545-142-4 $34.95/£22.00 Pb Published (March 2006)

eISBN 978-0-85745-695-3 eBook

Hb Pb
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”…an excellent collection…Like any good collection, the articles raise as many questions as they answer…[that] highlight the value of the collection for use in undergraduate courses on Latin American history, inter-American relations or U.S. foreign policy. Liberal use of appropriate political cartoons adds spice to the readings.”  ·  Hispanic American Historical Review

“….a very interesting collection of nine original essays, plus an extensive introduction by the editor…[whose]concluding remarks leave room for future debates.. [It] could help undergraduate students in many disciplines, from international relations and American Studies to history and geopolitics…[It] must be seen as a fundamental addendum to any bibliography on the study of anti-Americanism.”  ·  The Latin Americanist

“This volume addresses an important topic and does so very effectively. All of the essays take on a high level of quality. All the essays are well written and well researched. They also show a high level of methodological and conceptual sophistication. They effectively deal with uniformities and differences in manifestations of anti-Americanism from time to time and from place to place.”  ·  Mark Gilderhus, Texas Christian University

“…the collection succeeds in generating a number of stimulating explorations of anti-Americanism, providing an important starting point for further re-examination of a phenomenon that continues to grow in significance in the contemporary global environment.”  ·  Journal of Latin American Studies

Whether rising up from fiery leaders such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro or from angry masses of Brazilian workers and Mexican peasants, anti U.S. sentiment in Latin America and the Caribbean today is arguably stronger than ever. It is also a threat to U.S. leadership in the hemisphere and the world. Where has this resentment come from? Has it arisen naturally from imperialism and globalization, from economic and social frustrations? Has it served opportunistic politicians? Does Latin America have its own style of anti Americanism? What about national variations? How does cultural anti Americanism affect politics, and vice versa? What roles have religion, literature, or cartoons played in whipping up sentiment against ‘el yanqui’? Finally, how has the United States reacted to all this?

This book brings leaders in the field of U.S. Latin American relations together with the most promising young scholars to shed historical light on the present implications of hostility to the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean. In essays that carry the reader from Revolutionary Mexico to Peronist Argentina, from Panama in the nineteenth century to the West Indies’ mid century independence movement, and from Colombian drug runners to liberation theologists, the authors unearth little known campaigns of resistance and probe deeper into episodes we thought we knew well. They argue that, for well over a century, identifying the United States as the enemy has rung true to Latin Americans and has translated into compelling political strategies. Combining history with political and cultural analysis, this collection breaks the mold of traditional diplomatic history by seeing anti Americanism through the eyes of those who expressed it. It makes clear that anti Americanism, far from being a post 9/11 buzzword, is rather a real force that casts a long shadow over U.S. Latin American relations.

Alan McPherson teaches history at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Yankee No! Anti Americanism in U.S. Latin American Relations (2003). He is at work on a survey of U.S. Latin American relations since 1945 and on a study of Caribbean anti U.S. movements from 1912 to 1934.

Series: Volume 3, Explorations in Culture and International History

LC: F1418 .A635 2006

BL: YC.2006.a.15056

BISAC: HIS024000 HISTORY/Latin America/General; HIS036000 HISTORY/United States/General; POL000000 POLITICAL SCIENCE/General

BIC: HBJ Regional & national history; JPSL Geopolitics

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Introduction (Free download)

Redefining Intervention

Mexico's Contribution to Anti-Americanism

Anti-Americanism has a prominent place in Mexican history. The relatively harmonious relationship between the two nations in the 1990s and early years of the twenty-first century tended to obscure that fact that Mexicans have often been critical of the United States, especially concerning government and business policies that posed threats to the interests of Mexico. Anti-Americanism in Mexico, therefore, often manifested itself in arguments against specific policies and actions more so than the broad cultural and philosophical critiques of the United States typical of European anti-Americanism.1 One purpose of this essay is to examine this theme in Mexican anti- Americanism in one of the most turbulent periods in Mexican history — the quarter century following 1917 when the epic Revolution followed its irregular and often unexpected trajectory that generated conflict with its powerful neighbor to the north.

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"Bradenism" And Beyond

Argentine Anti-Americanism, 1945–1953

In the summer of 2003, families facing eviction from their Buenos Aires apartment complex barricaded themselves in their homes and affixed to their makeshift defenses a sign reading "IMF Go to Hell." In the course of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in 2002, an Argentine congressman placed a small US flag on the desk of another, implying that his colleague was a quisling for the United States. For more than a decade, Argentines have referred to the US ambassador in Buenos Aires as "The Viceroy," an emperor's representative in the colonies.1 Clearly, symbols of the United States occupy a significant position in Argentine politics.

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Patriotism And Petroleum

Anti-Americanism in Venezuela from Gómez to Chávez

Upon his election in 1998, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proclaimed a Bolivarian Revolution, identifying his policies with the legacy of the legendary Venezuelan hero and South American liberator, Simón Bolívar. Bolívar's legacy is subject to a variety of interpretations. To Chávez, Bolívar represented social equality and freedom for the poor and oppressed, as well as an independent foreign policy free from colonialism. References to this legacy appeared frequently in Chávez's rhetoric, including Bolívar's assertion that "the United States of North America seems destined by providence to plague America with misery on behalf of freedom."

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The Making Of An Economic Anti-American

Eduardo Frei And Chile During The 1960s

Anti-Americanism in Latin America was a growing concern in Washington as John F. Kennedy assumed the US presidency in 1961.1 Vice President Richard Nixon's horrendous Latin American goodwill trip in 1958, and more significantly, Fidel Castro's success in Cuba, clearly indicated that many in the region were angry about US international behavior.2 Policymakers in Washington feared anti-Americanism because they understood that it could be an important factor in helping communists take control of Latin American governments. In response to this problem, Kennedy introduced a massive economic aid program he called the Alliance for Progress. The logic behind this program was a belief that, if the United States could improve Latin American economies, communists would lose their appeal. A rising middle class, US policymakers reasoned, would not support Marxist agendas.3 As important, the Alliance for Progress would demonstrate that the United States was not a neo-imperialistic evil empire, as the communists argued, but rather a force for good in the hemisphere.4

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Battle For The Heart Of The Heavyweight

Anti-Americanism In Brazil

The first sign of anti-Americanism in Brazil in 2003-2004 surfaced rather dramatically to arriving passengers in the shops of the country's international airports, where Michael Moore's bestseller Stupid White Men was ubiquitously displayed. Given the worldwide success of Moore's book, this was no surprise. What was unusual was the title. While Spanish-speaking Latin America used a literal translation of the title (Estúpidos hombres blancos), as did Portugal for its Portuguese edition (Brancos estúpidos), in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Moore's book spent nineteen weeks on the bestseller list as A Nation of Idiots (Uma nação de idiotas).1 In the rest of Moore's world, only a small sector of the United States was stupid; but for Brazilians, all Americans were idiots.

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Diaspora Against Empire

Apprehension, Expectation, And West Indian Anti-Americanism, 1937–1945

In the early summer of 2003, amid a global surge of anti-American sentiment, the residents of Jamaica felt that surge reach a particularly high crest. Far from the geopolitical spotlight — indeed, arguably not even inside the theater, let alone on stage — Jamaica's economy experienced a jarring episode. In a proverbial perfect economic storm, several trends of US trade and monetary policy coincided with a trough in fluctuations of the island's currency, which were then unexpectedly exacerbated and produced a whipsawing Jamaican dollar. In the space of three weeks, that currency went from trading at 40 cents to the US dollar to 70 cents, and back again. The fluctuation was as painful as it was beyond the control of any one force or factor. The crisis, although brief, nonetheless produced familiar frictions: lamentation of its impact on the island's most vulnerable, resentment at US indifference to that plight, and a measure of resignation to forces that, though ostensibly American in origin, were in most respects beyond American control.1 The dynamic is well-known in inter-American affairs, one consistent with a regional history of resistance to — and relative powerlessness to stop — the extensions and repercussions of US power abroad.

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Contrasting Hostilities Of Dependent Societies

Panama And Cuba Versus The United States

In their relations with the United States, Panama and Cuba have long shared a number of similarities. Geographically, both are small nations close to US shores. Cuba is roughly the size of Pennsylvania and, famously, 90 miles from the Florida Keys, while Panama is farther away and smaller (slightly smaller than South Carolina). Strategically, both have been crucial to the defense of the Caribbean: Cuba, by hugging the Windward Passage, and the Isthmus of Panama, by providing a hub of transportation not only after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 but also prior to then, by offering the quickest way between the oceans by canoe, mule, and train. Finally, they both have also been the target of significant US economic penetration: Cuba on the eve of its Revolution in 1959, wrote Louis Pérez, Jr., "operated almost entirely within the framework of the economic system of the United States"; in Panama, meanwhile, although US dollars were not as numerous as they were in Cuba, they dominated a smaller economy, so much so that one scholar concluded that Panama in the mid-twentieth century was the most US-dependent country in the world.1

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Option For The Poor

Liberation Theology And Anti-Americanization

It is an irony that, as the so-called refolutions1 of Eastern Europe unfolded over the autumn of 1989, and during the "final offensive" of the Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN) in El Salvador, an elite US-backed battalion entered the Central American University and shot six Jesuits, their housekeeper Elba Ramos, and her daughter Celina Ramos. As the democratic options were opening up in Eastern Europe, the repression by US-sponsored "national security states" was still intense. The Jesuits were perhaps the most visible symbols of a liberation theology that had grown in Latin America since the late 1960s. Crucially, liberation theologians argued that "the man who is not a man" had to be humanized and made conscious of the economic and political structures that kept him in poverty. For liberation theologians, salvation was something to be sought in this world, not just in the afterworld. For one of the key theorists and active theologians, Gustavo Gutierrez, who published the seminal A Theology of Liberation in the early 1970s, the word "poor" did not signify a description of an individual condition. Instead, talk of the poor involved an "element of social conflict," he wrote. "The word 'poor' is not a tranquilizing one." Instead it situates the poor as "the product, or by-product, of an economic and social system fashioned by a few for their own benefit. So a structural conflict is embedded in the reality of the poor." An awareness of their situation therefore necessitated and involved the poor in a fight against those conditions.2

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The United States, Colombia, And Drug Policy, 1984-2004

A Study Of Quiet Anti-Americanism

This chapter asks why anti-Americanism did not emerge in Colombia beginning in the mid-1980s as violence engulfed that country. The United States was all but insisting that Colombia serve as a tripwire in the growing war on drugs in the Americas. Authorities in Bogotá managed for some time to fend off demands that they treat drugs as a security issue of the first order, choosing instead to try to keep the internal conflict from completely tearing their country apart. By the time of the 2002 presidential election in Colombia, Washington had apparently gotten its way. The war on drugs and the quest for state stability had coalesced into a broad campaign against terror, in which a growing cadre of military and civilian advisers, along with US funds flowed into Colombia. To the extent that anti-American sentiments existed then, they are best characterized as a quiet, perhaps latent anti-Americanism.*

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Conclusion (Free download)

Index (Free download)

Contributors (Free download)