Today, let’s look back through that same time period in Latin America. This is a region where the Cold War heavily influenced their politics and attempts at true independence. Latin America was a collection of Spanish colonies that gained independence in the 1800s only to be Monroe Doctrined into the sphere of influence of the U.S.
But, unfortunately, Latin America is trying to assert true self-control in the shadow of the Cold War. And they will learn very quickly that while it’s very easy to gain outside help from one of the two superpowers, it’s also just as easy – and inevitable – that you will make yourself a quick and powerful enemy, as well. Important note: today’s episode is not going to be quite as patriotic as the last one. Rocky can do a lot but he can’t fight the fact that we did a lot of bad things in the name of the war on communism. (See what I did there? “Fight the fact”…)
Also, beware my bias. I focused on Latin American Studies in college and you can’t go through those classes without a hefty degree of sympathy for the Latin American peoples’ perspective. Great job, UNC. You had one job to do: convert me into a basketball fan. But instead, you radicalized me with your empathy and global perspective. What a giant waste of money.
Act 1: 20th century Latin America
Act 2: The Cold War in Latin America
Act 3: Viva la Revolucion! in Cuba
Anyway, I’m sure this entire episode, has gotten me on a government list somewhere and probably lost me a few listeners who don’t like to hear that the U.S. isn’t always the good guy in history. Sorry not sorry. But it’s important to learn as many different perspectives as possible and to understand that our policies have an enormous impact on the entire world. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that as we get wrapped up in domestic issues and arguing within Congress. For example, I traveled to Cuba in the summer before the 2016 election and I can tell you, they were following the campaign more closely than most Americans. Their entire lives hinged upon November 2016. They know that if Clinton was elected she would continue the relaxation of the embargo that was starting to allow them to grow their businesses and live their lives. And when Trump was elected instead, the Cubans I met were some of the first people that I thought of.
And, in case you ever travel to Latin America. it’s also important to understand that we aren’t very popular in a lot of those countries and for fairly good reason. Once when I was in Peru, our rafting guide asked where I was from and I said “Soy americana.” Ooh boy, he did not like that. “You are estadounidense. We are all Americans.” They’re pretty tired of the Bully from the North and I don’t blame them. Unfortunately, we’re going to continue this trend next episode as we travel to the Middle East for Part 2 of our “This is why they hate us there!” series.
To be continued.