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The Cambridge History of Latin America
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    Brasil, Julia Alves and Cabecinhas, Rosa 2018. Social representations of Latin American history and (post)colonial relations in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Vol. 5, Issue. 2, p. 537.

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  • Volume 7: Latin America since 1930: Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
  • Edited by Leslie Bethell, University of London

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    The Cambridge History of Latin America
    • Volume 7: Latin America since 1930: Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
    • Edited by Leslie Bethell
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055239
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180
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Book description

This seventh volume of The Cambridge History of Latin America consists of the separate histories of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Panama. Part I covers in depth the history of Mexico. Part II deals with the five countries of Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Part III covers Cuba, including the Revolution, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. The fourth and final section is devoted to Panama, with a separate chapter discussing the history of the Canal Zone up to 1979.

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  • 1 - Mexico, c. 1930–46
    pp 1-82
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    After the outbreak of Revolution in 1910, Mexico experienced a decade of armed upheaval followed by a decade of political and economic reconstruction. Mexico's large subsistence agricultural sector recovered from poor harvests of 1929-1930. Mexican gross domestic product may have fallen to 16 percent between 1929 and 1932. Agrarian reform and peasant mobilization were inextricably bound up with the educational policy of the President Lazaro Cardenas years, and with the commitment to 'socialist' education. Foreign investment in the electricity and other industries was actively encouraged. Cardenas had inherited an economy recovering from the depression in which manufacturing industry and certain exports were buoyant. The inflationary pressures were now aggravated by the rising costs of imports and domestic foodstuffs. Industrialization was now key item of government policy, stressed by Avila Camacho, Lombardo and others as a means to enlarge the social product. Economic collaboration with the United States favoured the Avilacamachista project of industrialization, social conciliation and national consensus.
  • 2 - Mexico since 1946
    pp 83-157
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents the experience and socio-economic context of political change in Mexico since Second World War. Over past century the Mexican economy has undergone two fundamental transitions, one based on primary products export, and the other characterized by import substitution industrialization. At the end of the Second World War, Mexico was on exceptionally good terms with the United States. In 1942, the government signed accords with Washington on trade, opening American markets to Mexican goods. Mexico's political system had demonstrated effectiveness in resolving the crises and challenges that beset the country through the 1960s, and continued to experience social change in the 1970s. Population growth and social mobility were propelled the expansion of Mexico City, which swelled to a megalopolis with 14-16 million inhabitants by the mid-1980s. The separation of political from economic elites continued to persist, but it was no longer clear that careers in politics would provide Mexican society with a meaningful channel to upward mobility.
  • 3 - Central America since 1930: an overview
    pp 159-210
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents an overview of Central America since 1930. Central America came under United States influence in the late nineteenth century and this intensified when Britain in 1901, under the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, agreed to diminish its presence there. The agricultural sector was determined by the functioning and relations of three sub-sectors such as the banana industry controlled by North American capital, coffee industry, which had a different level of capitalization, and the peasant economy, whose production was distributed more in the form of family self-consumption. The impact of the Second World War on the Central American economies was considerable because Europe was an important market for the region's exports. The end of the Second World War marked the slow and contradictory beginning of a new stage in the economic life of the countries of Central America. In August 1987, the Central American presidents signed the Procedures for the Establishment of a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America.
  • 4 - Guatemala since 1930
    pp 211-250
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents an overview of Guatemala since 1930. Guatemala in 1930 had the largest population in Central America. In economic terms Guatemala was somewhat protected in that General Jorge Ubico had for some time been reducing commercial ties with Germany. In terms of global production the Guatemalan economy advanced considerably between 1950 and 1980. The prospects of a rural population in such a position finding some escape in the new urban industrial sector were exceptionally limited, since this, too, had registered a notably uneven form of development. The Franja Transversal del Norte represented a signal effort to impose a modern, capitalist economy in the heartland of subsistence agriculture. In a political culture such as Guatemala's, the macabre task of disaggregating the death toll by party affiliation is often needed to help identify shifts in government policy. The severity of the army's position provoked unease inside both the military and the dominant bloc as a whole.
  • 5 - El Salvador since 1930
    pp 251-282
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses an overview of El Salvador since 1930. During first three decades of the twentieth century, the economy of El Salvador became the most dynamic in Central America. The economic resource and political confidence of landed capital was fully manifested in the monopoly over office held by the Melendez and Quinonez families. General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez ruled El Salvador for more than twelve years, through a cycle of unopposed re-elections. Military power was consolidated in a period of generally buoyant coffee prices, agricultural diversification and some modest growth in manufacturing. The outbreak of major social conflict in El Salvador in 1979 was perhaps more predictable than even the Nicaraguan revolution. The steady increase in production and agro-exports during the post-war period had been matched by a no less impressive tendency to reduce access to land for subsistence It is evident that neither economic stagnation nor mere poverty caused the social conflict of the late 1970s.
  • 6 - Honduras since 1930
    pp 283-316
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents an overview of Honduras since 1930. In the first century after independence from Spain, Honduras fought a mainly unsuccessful battle to overcome the constraints on national integration imposed by its geography. The production of bananas formed such a large part of agricultural output that banana exports constituted around one-third of gross domestic product. The Cariato gave Honduras its longest period ever of political stability. Juan Manuel Galvez laid the foundations for capitalist modernization and social reform. The long period of military rule had witnessed a steady improvement in Honduran social and economic indicators from their abysmally low levels at the beginning of the 1960s. The constituent assembly elections in 1980 marked the start of a transition to civilian rule and the end of nearly two decades of direct military government. The emphasis on security increased the importance of the military in internal affairs, at a time when the consolidation of democracy demanded its return to the barracks.
  • 7 - Nicaragua since 1930
    pp 317-366
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents an overview of Nicaragua since 1930. More than a century after independence from Spain, Nicaragua was occupied by United States Marines continously since 1912, the country had lost its political independence. The State Department's supporters stabilized financial status, and conducted the elections of 1928, 1930 and 1932 under the United States' supervision. The Nicaraguan economy on the eve of the 1929 depression was heavily dependent on exports, which in turn were dominated by coffee. Augusto Cesar Sandino's objective became the defence of national sovereignty to withdraw all United States troops. The Nicaraguan economy on the eve of the Somoza-Chamorro pact was virtually stagnant. The distractions provided by profitable economic opportunities for his traditional opponents in the Conservative and Independent Liberal parties enabled Somoza Garcia not only to rule with a minimum of repression but also to found a dynasty. The success of the Sandinista mass organizations provided the key to the subsequent consolidation of Sandinismo.
  • 8 - Costa Rica since 1930
    pp 367-416
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In 1930, Costa Rica with 50,000 square kilometers, had a population of scarcely half a million inhabitants. The coffee economy had produced a social pyramid with the plantation workers at the base and the growers and exporters. The development of banana production had produced some social and economic differentiation. The national political system had demonstrated some significant autonomy from the dominant economic groups. The social reforms promulgated by Calderon Guardia's administration took a predominantly constitutional form. United States policy leaned clearly against Teodoro Picado; Washington's formula for a solution was to see Picado step down through a victory by the opposition. Otilio Ulate's administration encountered a climate favourable to economic recovery. It was evident that the middle and upper sectors had become concentrated in secondary and tertiary activities. The country's indices of health and education remained among the highest in Latin America, the regime of political parties, free elections and respect for human rights.
  • 9 - Cuba, c. 1930–59
    pp 417-456
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Within a decade of the War of Independence, the United States had become a pervasive presence in Cuba, totally dominating the economy, thoroughly penetrating the social fabric and fully controlling the political process. However, in the early 1930s, the United States was concerned by the fact that its grip over the Cuban economy was slipping. In the three decades since the signing of the reciprocity treaty, a series of developments had altered U.S.-Cuban trade patterns. The anti-Machado struggle had stepped beyond the bounds of conventional political competition and generalized into a revolutionary situation. Cuban sugar recovered a larger share of the United States market, although it would never again attain the prominence it enjoyed during the late 1910s and early 1920s. The Cuban crisis during the 1950s went far beyond a conflict between Sergeant Fulgencio Batista and his political opponents. Many participants in the anti-Batista struggle certainly denned the conflict principally in political terms.
  • 10 - Cuba since 1959
    pp 457-508
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In January 1959, the old regime collapsed in Cuba and a revolution came to power. Fidel Castro led July Movement, and other revolutionary forces that had participated in the revolutionary war, sought to affirm Cuban nationalism. Sugar production was down by over a third of its 1961 level as a result of the government's drastic policies. Carlos Rafael Rodriguez was the intellectual architect of change in internal and international economic policies. Cuba's educational transformation was the revolutionary government's most impressive achievement. The revolutionary government undertook a number of successful activities, ranging from victory in battlefields of the Horn of Africa to overcoming of illiteracy. It also led to some disasters and tragedies, such as the economic and social experiments of the late 1960s. Cuba had maintained good trade relations with Western European states. Cuba also retained correct diplomatic relations with the Mexican government. Cuba's foreign policy succeeded in ensuring survival of revolutionary rule and obtaining resources from the Soviet Union.
  • 11 - The Dominican Republic since 1930
    pp 509-544
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In February 1930, the government of President Horacio Vasquez in the Dominican Republic was overthrown by a coup d'etat led by General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. The political crisis generated by the President's determination to be reelected in May 1930 soon degenerated into open conspiracy against Vasquez by opposition party, Coalicion Patriotica de Ciudadanos. Trujillo's government made its deepest mark on the Dominican economy by fostering industrialization. The Trujillo regime achieved a remarkable political stability despite many conspiracies and invasions organized by exiles in the years after Second World War. Despite economic buoyancy obtaining from the end of the Second World War until 1958, the majority of the Dominican population enjoyed only marginal access to the nation's sources of wealth. Trujillo's death in May 1961 initiated political democratization which culminated in free elections in December 1962. The country's economic dependence on foreign aid, especially during the period from 1966 to 1970, was truly remarkable.
  • 12 - Haiti since 1930
    pp 545-578
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    From 1930 to 1960, Haiti experienced a gradual decline in the standard of living and deterioration in the condition of the land. Haiti remained a largely agricultural economy by producing food for local consumption together with a few export crops in 1930-1980. The political strength of mulattoes waned most notably after the overthrow of President Elie Lescot. The mass of peasants and urban poor exerted certain influence on political developments in Haiti from earliest days until United States occupation. President Jean-Claude Duvalier, during his battle with the bishops, welcomed the presence of many Protestant groups in Haiti. In the early years, he had close connections with some of the leading Episcopalians, but by 1963 this relationship had become strained. A major factor in the social and cultural life of ordinary Haitians throughout this period, was the Voodoo religion. With respect to human resources and cultural traditions, Haiti is one of the richest countries of the hemisphere.
  • 13 - Puerto Rico since 1940
    pp 579-599
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Puerto Rico remains a fundamentally Spanish-speaking 'Latin American' country with a clear sense of cultural and political separateness. A civilian government structure was created by the United States Congress after two years of direct United States military rule. The economy of the island was transformed profoundly under United States control. Sugar rapidly replaced coffee and tobacco as principal export crop. In 1956, manufacturing activities were contributing more to the national product than agriculture, and by 1964 manufacturing had overtaken agriculture as principal source of net income for Puerto Rican workers. Language policy had been a major political and social issue in Puerto Rico since arrival of the North Americans. American officials were still insisting on the necessary primacy of English. Progress in the levels of schooling and formal educational policy had been one of the prominent watchwords of Puerto Rico's development since 1940. The dilemmas and contradictions in Puerto Rico's tortuous version of the problem of decolonization will continue indefinitely.
  • 14 - Panama since 1903
    pp 601-642
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Spanish government designated Panama City as a key commercial and defence site in the Pacific, which it regarded as its private sea. Panama's multiple connections with the outside world brought people, capital and other benefits. Panama's maritime and commercial vocation weakened its geopolitical identification with its neighbours. The heterogeneity of Panama's society increased after independence because of the influx of people from all corners of the globe. Harmodio Arias dominated politics during the 1930s, and Arnulfo Arias had been in and out of the limelight since his first presidency in 1940-1941. In 1959, the stage was set for a new era of Panamanian politics, as the country witnessed one of the worst explosions of anti-American violence. Lieutenant Colonel Omar Torrijos conducted civic action programmes and could speak to farmers and peasants in familiar terms. He founded co-operatives, rural schools, clinics and marketing centres as well as releasing public lands for colonization.
  • 15 - The Panama Canal Zone, 1904–79
    pp 643-670
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Panama canal has been an outstanding symbol of Washington's power to dominate the weaker states of the hemisphere throughout twentieth-century. This chapter divides the Canal's history into three time periods: the First Generation, from 1904 to 1929; the Second Generation, from 1930 to 1955; and the Third Generation, from 1955 to 1979. In January 1903, the Roosevelt administration proceeded to sign Hay-Herran treaty with Colombia, which granted the United States extensive rights to build and operate a canal through Panama. The Canal Zone was modeled on the complex of concessions, spheres and settlements imposed on China in the nineteenth century. Washington was now too closely involved with Panama to make a hands-off policy feasible. In a period of Second World War, defence of the canal stood even higher in the Zone's order of priorities. In 1999, Panama assumed full control of the Canal Zone from the United States.
  • Bibliographical essays
    pp 671-728
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245180.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This bibliography presents a list of reference articles that enable reader to understand history of Latin America since 1930. The eye-witness accounts of the later 1940s and 1950s tend towards bland travelogues: proof that Mexico was seen no longer as a troublesome nest of banditry and Bolshevism, but rather as a safe haven of tourism and tequila. From 1934, the government of Guatemala rested largely with the military and proved resistant to detailed monographic treatment. Although there is still no satisfactory general work on the years since independence, certain events in Nicaraguan history have attracted enormous attention, notably the proposed inter-oceanic canal in the nineteenth century. There are few academic studies of the changes which have taken place in the Dominican Republic during the last sixty years, and these generally devote more attention to the political process than to the evolution of economy and society. The onset of treaty negotiations in the mid-1960s focused more attention on Panama.

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