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Latin America

Latin America 1: Economy and Investment

Latin America is the Cinderella of world politics. In comparison with Africa and Asia it has been neglected, as a glance at the shelves in the libraries and bookshops will show. Penguin paperbacks, for example, have published a whole African Library but nothing comparable on Latin America, and even the left wing have been relatively silent on the subject. Why is this? The main reason is that while Afro-Asia’s struggles of “national independence” are either current or very recent, Latin America’s similar struggles occurred over a century ago. And while the left has seen “socialism” in just about every Afro-Asian state, Latin America has been a United States colony, ridden with rightist governments and dictators. The Cuban revolt caused a momentary flutter but interest soon waned when the whole continent didn’t follow Cuba’s example and when the inevitable “degeneration” set in.

Castro: Latin American Nationalist

On 26 November Fidel Castro, one of the oldest dictators in Latin America, died. The announcement of his death was made by his brother Raul Castro on state television. His death was celebrated by the opponents of the government of Cuba in Miami in Florida, and it was also taken as sad news by many of the Latin America Leftists and supporters of the Cuban regime.

In 1959 Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara were part of an armed rebellion which provoked the overthrow of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, a government backed by the US for several years. Then, part of the ruling elite of Cuba shifted toward the support of the guerrillas who were fighting in the Sierra Maestra against the Cuban military forces.

After their victory, Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba initiated the nationalization of all the US holdings and assets, and all private land was taken over by the state. The US declared an embargo on the island.

Book Review: 'Latin American Women'

Overturning machismo

'Latin American Women', edited by Olivia Harris. The Minority Rights Group (London. 1983)

This report from the Minority Rights Group aims to draw attention to problems experienced by Latin American women "in the context of economic instability and class difference". It makes no pretence of being comprehensive but is a valid insight into some of the problems facing working class women in Latin America.

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