Latin American Geopolitics
July 18, 2008 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Help me learn more about recent/current Latin American geopolitical turmoil.

Books, documentaries, good online articles, etc. etc.

Specific Topics: free trade agreements, revolutionary groups/movements, the oil trade, the drug trade, economic downturns in specific countries, poverty, US involvement, etc. etc.

I'm not totally clueless, but want to improve my knowledge of the situation and get a general picture of what forces are at work in the region.
posted by symbollocks to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A good starting point is lanic.
posted by netbros at 7:18 AM on July 18, 2008

it's only a snapshot of one small area, but i enjoyed reading persona non grata by jorge edwards - the memoirs of allende's ambassador to cuba. it's interesting because there are lots of different cultural currents - edwards comes from a rich, traditional chilean family, but supports the left wing allende (which means he may not be trusted by others in chile), while allende and the chilean movement were trying to avoid castro's ideological hardline approach. the end result is a disaster and suggests allende's moderation (at least, as presented by edwards) was both a strength and a weakness. (this is my own clumsy, uneducated reading).

but the required reading is probably open veins of latin america by eduardo galeano. or his more readable/poetic (neither are hard) memories of fire.
posted by not sure this is a good idea at 7:24 AM on July 18, 2008

Read Inevitable Revolutions: The US in Central America by Walter LaFeber.
posted by j1950 at 7:33 AM on July 18, 2008

oh, sorry - i just realised you specifically say recent/current. my bad.
posted by not sure this is a good idea at 7:36 AM on July 18, 2008

Response by poster: not sure this is a good idea: when I said recent I should have clarified. The last 30 - 40 years is about what I'm looking for, and the books you recommended fit within that time span. Open Veins looks like a perfect fit for what I was looking for.
posted by symbollocks at 7:42 AM on July 18, 2008

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is a great documentary about the 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. It's a little too rosy in its outlook on Chavez for my tastes, but is great regardless.
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:09 AM on July 18, 2008

for a less charitable look at chavez there was an interesting article in foreign affairs, march/april this year.
[searches] here it is. (thought) provoking stuff.
posted by not sure this is a good idea at 8:25 AM on July 18, 2008

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine covers many of the economic policies and foreign aid programs that were at the heart of much Latin American turmoil in the last 30 years. You may or may not agree with her conclusions, but the book is well researched and well documented.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:18 AM on July 18, 2008

While we're with Eduardo Galeano, I'd recommend Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World, a book about the how the first world is responsible for much of the "geopolitical turmoil" you mention. Again, very readable. For some really brief intros to particular regions, the BBC can be trusted, while its Americas page (on which the US is just another America, like Cuba, Argentina and all) keeps you bang up to date.
posted by Holly at 11:13 AM on July 18, 2008

Take a look at Global Voices Online's blogs from the Americas.
posted by lukemeister at 1:12 AM on July 19, 2008

This book is slightly out of date, but it is a comprehensive primer on Latin America which could provide you with a background about each country.
posted by catquas at 9:22 PM on August 1, 2008

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