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500 years in 50 minutes Human Rights in Latin America Spring 2009.

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Presentación del tema: "500 years in 50 minutes Human Rights in Latin America Spring 2009."— Transcripción de la presentación:

1 500 years in 50 minutes Human Rights in Latin America Spring 2009


3 Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa (OPIM), Guerrero, Mexico

4 Maldición de Malinche (The Curse of Malinche) performed by Amparo Ochoa (written by Gabino Palomares) Del mar los vieron llegar mis hermanos emplumados eran los hombres barbados de la profecía esperada. Se oyó la voz del monarca de que el Dios había llegado y les abrimos la puerta por temor a lo ignorado. Iban montados en bestias como demonios del mal iban con fuego en las manos y cubiertos de metal. My brothers,clad in feathers, saw them arrive across the sea They were the bearded men Of the expected prophecy. The voice of the monarch was heard Saying the God had arrived And we opened the door to them Because we were afraid of the unknown. They were riding on beasts Like evil demons They had fire in their hands And were covered with metal.

5 Sólo el valor de unos cuántos les opuso resistencia y al mirar correr la sangre se llenaron de vergüenza. Porque los dioses ni comen, ni gozan con lo robado y cuando nos dimos cuenta ya todo estaba acabado. En ese error entregamos la grandeza del pasado y en ese error nos quedamos trescientos años esclavos. Se nos quedó el maleficio de brindar al extranjero nuestra fe, nuestra cultura nuestro pan, nuestro dinero. Only the brave few Put up resistance And when they saw the blood run They were filled with shame. Because the gods don’t even eat, They don’t enjoy what they steal And by the time we realized it Everything was already finished. In that mistake we handed over The greatness of our past And in that mistake we became Slaves for three hundred years. We were stuck with the task Of surrendering to foreigners Our faith, our culture Our bread, our money.

6 Y les seguimos cambiando oro por cuentas de vidrio y damos nuestra riqueza por sus espejos con brillo. Hoy en pleno siglo XX nos siguen llegando rubios y les abrimos la casa y los llamamos amigos. Pero si llega cansado un indio de andar la sierra lo humillamos y lo vemos como extraño por su tierra. And we continue exchanging Gold for bits of glass And we continue giving our riches For their shiny mirrors. Today, in the 20th century Blond people continue to arrive And we open our homes to them And we call them our friends. But if an Indian arrives, Tired from walking in the mountains We humiliate him and we treat him Like a stranger in his own land.

7 Tú, hipócrita que te muestras humilde ante el extranjero pero te vuelves soberbio con tus hermanos del pueblo. ¡Oh, Maldición de Malinche! ¡Enfermedad del presente! ¿Cuándo dejarás mi tierra? ¿Cuándo harás libre a mi gente? You, hypocrite who acts humble before the foreigners, But you become arrogant With your own brothers. Oh, curse of Malinche! Sickness of the present! When will you leave my land? When will you make my people free?

8 “La Maldición de Malinche” places 2 inequalities at center of Latin America’s problems between Latin America and the global North between Latin American mestizos and indigenous people

9 What is the difference between poverty and inequality? Poverty is usually considered an absolute measure 44% of Latin America lives in poverty, according to ECLAC 2002; 18.8% indigent In many countries, a majority lives in poverty On a global scale, most countries of Latin America fall in the lower-middle income groupings Inequality is a relative measure Latin America is (and has been since colonial period) the most unequal region of the world

10 Inequality in Latin America LatAm regional average: richest 10% receives 36.1% of all income (Average for OECD countries is 25%) (In Brazil, it´s 45%)

11 Why does inequality matter? Some economists argue that inequality is positively related to economic growth (this is contested) – why would this be? A human rights emphasis cannot be on growth for its own sake, but on satisfaction of human needs What´s the economy for, anyway? Per capita figures conceal inequality


13 Bottom line: inequality increased over time in every country



16 Where does Latin American inequality come from? 1500-1800 (roughly) Colonial Period Violent conquest  colonial system predicated on violence structures of mass exclusion based on race Land concentrated in few hands (latifundios – large plantations owned by Spaniards) Indigenous people given small subsistence plots (minifundios) Laws sanctioned slavery and forced labor Extractive economy: production for export only – profit reaped from Latin American human and natural resources returned to Spain

17 1800’s Independence Caudillo governments (strongmen) often military or with military backing use state to preserve personal power highly nationalistic new status preserved exclusionary structures, made them national law

18 Liberal period late 1800’s/early 1900’s: liberalism open economies to trade/foreign investment/free trade let in foreign companies, who invested heavily, bought up in some cases up to 1/3 of national territory – produced bananas and other produce, extracted raw materials like minerals and oil “banana republics” Benefited local, international elites some public benefits: gave gov’ts revenues, many used to build roads, presidential palaces, hospitals, schools, etc. – “golden age” because economies grew, gov’ts had money to spend on public works

19 Pressures for reform Depression  No longer economic boom time  workers out of jobs, people hungry, etc. At same time, education and communications had spread throughout the countries, making population more aware of rights, able to organize protests, etc. Led to resistance against foreign companies, elites who had cut deals with the foreigners

20 3 Responses to reformist pressures 1. limited reforms granted to defuse pressures (Mexico, Costa Rica) 2. structures of exclusion so strong that any attempts at reform were made illegal/squashed/killed, forcing reformers to become guerrillas  civil war and beginning of authoritarian period (Colombia) 3. reformers elected to office but US intervened to provoke coups d’etat to kick them out of office, provoking civil war, beginning of authoritarian period (Guatemala, Chile)

21 Authoritarian period (1960s- 1980s) Often called “military dictatorships” but this can be misleading How was this different than previous undemocratic regimes? repression was institutionalized: bureaucratic authoritarianism; structures not only carried out repressive acts but hid them, made them secret World climate had changed – this kind of repression was no longer seen as OK – so had to keep secret, maximize deniability of abuses

22 Birth of Human Rights Movement Amnesty founded 1961 in London; idea that world pressure could force gov’ts to respect citizens. “the world is watching” POC HR movement began to identify certain types of human rights violations: Extrajudicial executions “Disappearances” Torture State terrorism

23 Transitions to democracy “Third wave of democracy” (Huntington) took place during late 20th century “Democratic gamble” faced by human rights advocates Today, region overwhelmingly democratic; limited state violence; yet democracy has not led to improved social justice, freedom from violence, citizen well-being. Why not?


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