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HIST222: Modern Latin America

Unit 4: Latin America in the Global Economy   From the postcolonial era to the present day, the nations of Latin America have played a significant role in the global economy. Under colonial rule, these nations primarily produced agricultural commodities for export to Europe and served as markets for goods manufactured in Spain and Portugal. In the postcolonial era, the economic situation remained similar. Newly independent Latin American nations had few resources for internal economic development and industrialization. Instead, they continued to grow and export major agricultural commodities such as coffee, sugar, and livestock to Europe. These monoculture export economies placed Latin American nations at the mercy of the global economy. When commodity prices were high, growers reaped handsome profits. When commodity prices fell, growers went out of business or defaulted on loans. European and American investors provided much of the capital for business development in the region. Similarly, Europeans and Americans served as technical experts for development projects such as railroads, factories, and other high-skill industries. Consequently, outsiders exercised great control over local and regional markets and transportation systems. The slow rate of industrialization and outside control of local industries proved to be a major source of political tension in the region. Populist political parties agitated against European and American influence in various Latin American nations. These groups argued that Latin American nations needed to develop their own internal technical experts through the creation of institutions of higher education and grow their own economies through the diversification of agricultural and industrial production. 
 
In this unit, you will study the ways in which the politics of economic development shaped the nations of Latin America in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and you will examine some of the development projects that took place across the region. You will also look at export industries such as coffee and sugar production and see how these global industries shaped working and living conditions for Latin Americans.  

Unit 4 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 4.75 hours.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Unit 4 Assessment: 2 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - assess the role that Latin American nations played in the global economy in the 19thand 20th centuries; and - analyze and interpret primary source documents from the 19th and 20th centuries, using historical research methods to garner a more profound understanding of Latin American history.

4.1 Monoculture Export Economies   4.1.1 Coffee and Labor in Brazil   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Pierre Denis’s Excerpt from The Coffee Fazenda of Brazil, 1911”

Link: Fordham University’s *Internet Modern History Sourcebook*:
Pierre Denis’s Excerpt from [*The Coffee Fazenda of Brazil*,
1911](http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1911denis-brazil.html) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read this brief excerpt from author Pierre Denis’s
1911 study of Brazil. This excerpt describes living and working
conditions on coffee fazendas, or isolated Brazilian plantations,
where workers tended to coffee trees and tried to eke out precarious
existences. Denis discusses the labor-intensive process of
harvesting coffee beans and preparing them for export to American or
European markets. He notes that workers made very little money
working on fazendas and typically had to raise and sell other crops
in their spare time in order to make ends meet financially.    
    
 Reading this excerpt should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.2 Agriculture, Biodiversity, and Biotechnology in Latin America   - Reading: Chico Mendes’s Excerpts from Fight for the Forest: Chico Mendes in His Own Words

Link: Chico Mendes’s Excerpts from *[Fight for the Forest: Chico
Mendes in His Own
Words](http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/slatta/hi216/documents/mendes.htm) *(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this excerpt from Mendes’s organized protest. In
this excerpt, Chico Mendes, rubber tapper and activist murdered in
1989, describes the environmental, social, and economic problems in
the Amazon.   
    
 Reading this excerpt should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Electronic Journal of Biotechnology: Enrique Galindo's “Biotechnology in Latin America: High Activity, Low International Visibility”

    Link: Electronic Journal of Biotechnology: Enrique Galindo’s “Biotechnology in Latin America: High Activity, Low International Visibility” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article. Enrique Galindo, President of the Mexican Society of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, analyzes the role of biotechnology as a way to economically develop Latin America.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.3 Mining   - Reading: War Resistors International: César Padilla’s “Mining and Resistance in Latin America”

Link: War Resistors International: César Padilla’s [“Mining and
Resistance in Latin
America”](http://www.wri-irg.org/node/14474) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article. César Padilla analyzes the
different policy models applied by the Latin American nations in the
mining sector. As you read, consider the following study question:
Is the *post-extractive model* compatible with sustainable economic
development?  
    
 Reading this article and answering the study question should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 Economic Development and Institutional Change in Latin America   - Reading: Journal of Politics in Latin America, Volume 1, No 1: Kurt Weyland’s “Institutional Change in Latin America”

Link: *Journal of Politics in Latin America,* Volume 1, No 1: Kurt
Weyland’s [“Institutional Change in Latin
America”](http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jpla/article/view/21/21) (PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article on institutional change in Latin
America. Pay special attention to the foreign influences in Latin
America’s political life.  
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 1.5 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 4 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Primary Source Analysis: The Brazilian Coffee Industry”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “[Primary Source Analysis: The
Brazilian Coffee
Industry](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST-222-Assessment-4.FINAL_.pdf)”
(PDF) and “[Answer
Guide](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST-222-Assessment-4-Answer-Guide.FINAL_.pdf)”
(PDF)  

 Instructions: Please consult Pierre Denis's brief excerpt from *The
Coffee Fazenda of Brazil *in subunit 4.1.1 as you answer the
questions. This assessment is not a reading test, so you should not
try to answer the questions from memory. Rather, this assessment is
designed to help you closely read and analyze a primary source. You
are encouraged to be specific and detailed in your answers, and the
best way to do that is to go back to the text. When you have
finished answering the questions, you can check your work against
the Answer Guide.   
    
 Completing this assessment should take approximately 2 hours.