S. D. writes: We all agree that a tiny white minority in Mexico and Central America have the indigenous people and mestizo under their thumb.
Why can’t Anglos follow their example?
What are the Iberian elite of Central America doing right?
One thing they are doing right is running death squads to keep the poor under siege, to terrorize the poor into submission and to stave off revolution via sheer terror. This doesn’t really work because when the Right is armed and the Left is not and the rightwing death squads, army and police regularly murder the Left, eventually the Left, not being idiots, takes up arms.
The revolutionaries in El Salvador suffered decades of repression in the 1960’s and especially the 1970’s. While some of the Left was armed in the 1970’s, most of it was not. Many of the Left were murdered, especially in the 1970’s.
The Salvadoran revolutionaries said that eventually the people got tired of waiting in their homes for the government to come kill them. They decided that if the government was going to come try to kill them no matter what that they may as well take up arms, so at least they can try to fight off the army and police when they come out to kill them.
If the Right is armed and violent and the Left is not, eventually the Left takes up arms to defend themselves from the army, police and death squads of the state. And who can blame them? If the government was going to come out and try to kill me, first of all I would try to hide and second of all, I would arm myself very heavily and if and when the government did come out to kill me, I would open fire on the state forces and try to defend myself or at least take out as many of them as possible. Even if they killed me, I at least stand a chance of taking out some of them in the process.
We all agree that a tiny white minority in Mexico and Central America have the indigenous people and mestizo under their thumb.
Sure, and that’s why you had revolutions in every single one of those places. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua have all had very bloody revolutions.
Mexico’s revolution lasted 10 years, and 10 million people died.
200,000 died in Guatemala’s unfinished revolution that in a sense goes on to this day.
75,000 died in El Salvador’s unfinished revolution.
80,000 died in the revolutions and counterrevolutions in Nicaragua.
Hundreds and possibly thousands were killed in Honduras in a revolution that is ongoing.
Really what is happening in Guatemala, El Salvador and especially Honduras is that the Left, formerly armed to the teeth especially in the first two countries, has disarmed and the Right is heavily armed and is killing the Left.
The Left in Honduras were hardly armed at all, but there were a few groups in the 1980’s including a revolutionary group of 300 men who were led by an Irish Catholic priest! There is a long tradition of priests allying themselves with armed revolts down there, especially in recent years with Liberation Theology. The ELN in Colombia, heavily armed and still waging war to this day, was founded by a Catholic priest! A Catholic priest and poet, Ernesto Cardenal, was one of the top leaders of the Sandinista revolutionaries who presently rule that country.
Although the Left has disarmed, the Right has not, and in Latin America, the Right is always armed either via the state and police or via the private armies, paramilitaries, death squads and contras of the rich. The death squads of the Right continue to operate in Guatemala, El Salvador (to a much lesser extent) and especially in Honduras. Death squads continue to rampage across Colombia. Fascist contra paramilitaries, assassins and street fighters are common in Venezuela.
The FMLN revolutionaries presently rule El Salvador or at least have captured the presidency. The Sandinista and FMLN governments are limited in what they can do to better their countries, mostly by the US, the IMF and the World Bank.
The Sandinistas have had to considerably moderate their program from when they ruled, and many Sandinistas are leaving the party and claim that the party has grown totalitarian and corrupt.
There is a long tradition of this in Latin America and for that matter in other places (see Nepal) – of revolutionary parties growing corrupt and/or totalitarian.
The PRI which long ran Mexico became very corrupt and authoritarian. They stole elections down there for decades, and a victory by the Left in 1988 was only prevented by massive fraud. However, the PRI’s name means the Party of the (Mexican) Revolution, so this party grew out of the Pancho Villists of the 1910’s.
To this day, the PRI is a member of the Socialist International, but in Latin America that does not mean much. The region is full of lousy “social democratic” parties that are hardly socialist at all, especially in Peru (APRA – another party with revolution in its name) and Venezuela, where the social democratic party became a party of the corrupt and brutal elite. Both of those parties are members of the Socialist International!
The Socialist Party has been running Chile for most of the last decade, continuing a long tradition, but they are very limited in what they can do.