Conflict: the Basis for Latin American Change (Born in Blood and Fire: a Concise History of Latin America)

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The expansive empires of the Aztecs and Incas, came crashing down, upon the arrival of Spaniards in the New World. The birth of colonial nations came about in the same stride that death came to indigenous populations. Modern Latin America has conflict built into its system because that is what it has mostly seen for the past five hundred years. In Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America, John Charles Chasteen supports the argument that Latin America's problems developed due to its violent origins and history of conquest. From the conquest, through colonialism and revolutions, to modern day, violence has always been a main player in the advancement of Latin America. Chasteen has left me with a greater comprehension of our…show more content…
Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martin would step in a few years later to end Spanish control of American affairs, but the end of colonial rule did not mean the end of conflict for the Latin nations; it merely turned into a game of musical chairs as to who would sit in the leader's seat. The problems were there to stay, as even Bolivar, a man who helped liberate five nations, said of his deeds, "[I] plowed the sea [accomplishing nothing]" (112). Throughout the 1800s Latin America was trying to catch up with the rest of the Western world, progressing with increased exports, manufacturing, and industrialization. These advances did not stop the internal problems of most Latin nations. With these changes, as in the rest of the world, there was a growth in urban populations and in the middle class, adding another layer in the social structure; which in turn is just another group that will vie for power, and benefits from the government (180-90). This period is characterized with a large amount of wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few, which on paper shows great economic progress in the form of a GDP number, but there was still great wealth disparity. The switch, in Latin America, from conservatives in the early part of the 1800s, to liberals for the latter half, eventually turned to authoritarian governance; the democratic goals liberals set out to achieve were trashed for power and economic benefits, in keeping with previous generations (191).

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