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A Brief History of International Relations

The World Made Easy

Kathleen Brush

The world does not need to be complex and confusing. It can be made simpler so that the business, political, social, and economic implications of global news briefs beaming across televisions and electronic devices can be easily grasped. Key to this is knowing that a five-hundred-year competition for global supremacy between the Chinese, European, Islamic, and Russian empires only ended in 1945. When it did, the world had 57 independent nations. After all empires were dissolved in 1991, there were 193, and each nation carried histories of empires in the form of conquest, religions followed, languages practiced, diversified populations, repressive rule, and histories of discrimination. A Brief History of International Relations: The World Made Easy explores this history of global conflict to contextualize and simplify the often perplexing relations between nations and empires.

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Chapter 28. Latam

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· 28 ·

LATAM

The Spanish and Portuguese were the dominant European empires in Latam. By the early 1800s, most colonies won their independence. Unlike the renegade Americans in the north, colonies in Latam closely followed in the footsteps of the Spanish and Portuguese empires. Beyond practicing Roman Catholicism and speaking Spanish and Portuguese, these nations were led by autocrats that hierarchically ordered populations. From the Era of Empire to the Era of Nation-States, it was more of the same with the addition of armed-Cold War conflicts, the Dirty Wars, drug cartels, liberation theology, populist movements, and communism.

The Soviets weren’t initially targeting Latam because it was geographically close to the United States. When Fidel Castro’s Cuba implemented communism, Castro volunteered to handle communist outreach and to be the chief antagonist of the United States; the Soviets became interested.

Castro had a lot to work with. Communism with its pitch of redistributing the land and wealth from political elites to the poor masses was attractive in a region of social immobility and vast inequality. Three nations in Central America: Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador fought Cold War conflicts where communists were supported by some combination of Cuba and other nations in the Second World, and the United States and first-world allies ← 261 | 262 → supported anti-communists. Every war lasted over ten years, and at some level, the communists were victorious in each conflict.

There were other Cold War-related conflicts in...

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