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POLSC324: Latin American/Caribbean Politics

Unit 1: Foundations of Latin American Politics   To begin your study of the politics of Latin America and the Caribbean, you will explore geographic factors that have shaped and influenced its development.  Then, you will continue by looking at its people, both in demographic and cultural terms.  Next, you will explore the history of Latin America, starting with the stark transformation of pre-Hispanic Indigenous civilizations during the European conquest.  

You will then study the features of European colonialism that served to solidify inequality and economic dependency throughout the region.  The specific histories of four countries—Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico—will then be examined from their independence to contemporary times.  These four countries are the most significant political actors in the region and their development has influenced the region as a whole.  The culture and politics of Argentina have been influenced more by Europe than any other Latin American country; Brazil is the largest country in the region and is the economic powerhouse of Latin America.  Its culture and history have been distinctive due to the Portuguese (rather than Spanish) colonization and large influx of Africans.  Cuba is a Caribbean nation just 90 miles off the Florida coast.  Despite its small size, it has had a deep political influence throughout the region as a result of Fidel Castro’s socialist revolution more than 50 years ago.  Finally, Mexico is the fourth representative country of Unit One, chosen because of its proximity to the United States.  Its history and development have been closely intertwined with that of the U.S.  Today, Mexico is the second largest trading partner with the U.S. and is closely tied to the U.S. on a number of issues including immigration and illegal drugs.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 16 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 12 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.1: 4 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.1.1: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.1.2: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.1.3: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.1.4: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.2: 2 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.3: 6 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.3.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.3.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.3.4: 1.5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain the geographic, demographic, social, and cultural context in which Latin American political systems are situated. - Trace the historical evolution and identify major milestones of Latin American political development from the colonial period to the present. - Relate the main social, political, and economic features of Latin American colonial societies to enduring legacies of contemporary Latin American societies.

1.1 The Land and People of Latin America & the Caribbean   1.1.1 Geography of the Region   - Web Media: YouTube: Mr. Friederich’s “Human Geography of Latin America, Part 1” and “Human Geography of Latin America, Part 2” Link: YouTube: Mr. Friederich’s “Human Geography of Latin America, Part 1” (Youtube) and “Human Geography of Latin America, Part 2” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch the 2 videos (14:56 and 14:57 minutes).  As you watch this video, take notes, making sure you can answer the following questions:

 1. What are the 4 main regions of Latin America?  
 2. What is the name of the European conquistador who took over
Mexico?  
 3. Which two countries form the borderline between North and South
America?  
 4. Which is the largest country (in terms of area) in Latin
America?  
 5. After independence, Latin America was dominated by oligarchs in
an authoritarian manner.  Explain who were these oligarchs?  
 6. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a famous writer in Latin American
literature—what was one of the major themes of his writing?  
 7. What features of Chile and Brazil have made them relatively more
successful during their historical development?  
    
 This resource and questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above. 

1.1.2 Population   - Web Media: YouTube: IUSoutheast’s “Latin America Population” Link: YouTube: IUSoutheast’s “Latin America Population” (Youtube)

 Instructions: Watch the entire video (2:01 minutes), take notes,
and answer the following questions:  

 1. What are the two main patterns of population settlement?  
 2. About what percentage of people live in urban areas?  

 This resource and the questions should take about 0.5 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and the terms of use for
the webpage displayed above.

1.1.3 Ethnic Groups   - Reading: Latino Stories: CIA World Factbook’s “Ethnic Groups: Latin American Countries” Link: Latino Stories: CIA World Factbook’s “Ethnic Groups: Latin American Countries” (HTML)

 Instructions: Take a look at the chart, focusing on the countries
of Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico.  Please make note of the
following terms used to describe the ethnic groups listed in the
chart: mestizo (those with mixed European/Amerindian ancestry),
mulatto (mixed white and black), black, white (those from Europe,
such as from Spain, Portugal, Italy, or Germany), and Amerindian
(native people of the Americas).  As you compare the ethnic make-up
of the four countries, answer the following questions:  

 1. Do these four countries have the same ethnic make-up?  
 2. Which of the four countries has the highest percentage of
African-Americans?  
 3. Which of the four countries has the highest percentage of white
Europeans?  
 4. Which of the four countries has the highest percentage of
indigenous or mixed (European/Amerindian)?  

 This resource and the questions should take about 0.5 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use for
the webpage displayed above.

1.2 Latin American Culture   1.2.1 Formation of Multi-cultural Societies   - Web Media: PBS Video: “When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of What Happened in America after Columbus” Link: PBS Video: “When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of What Happened in America after Columbus” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Latin American culture is an amalgam of many
different cultures:  European cultures (Spanish, Portuguese, French,
Italian, German), African, Native American, and some others.  This
video will help you to see how these cultures came together (often
violently) to produce the very diverse cultures of contemporary
Latin America and the Caribbean.  Please watch the video (1 hour and
27 minutes), and answer the following questions:  

 1.     Describe some examples of the spiritual, social, political
and technological achievements of the pre-Colombian civilizations of
the Americas.  
 2.     Describe the caste system of colonial Latin America?  
 3.     What were the contributions of Africans (originally brought
over to Latin America as slaves) to the culture of Latin America?  
 4.     How did the gold mining in the New World, which was used to
finance European capitalism and early ‘globalization” under Spanish
King Charles V, affect cultural and social development in Latin
America?  
 5.     Bartoleme de las Casas persuaded Charles V to introduce
reforms to improve the Spaniards’ treatment of the indigenous
peoples of Latin America – describe some of these reforms.  
    
 This resource and the questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use for
the webpage displayed above.

1.2.2 Religion   - Reading: Latino Stories: CIA World Factbook’s “Religions of Latin American Countries” Link: Latino Stories: CIA World Factbook’s “Religions of Latin American Countries” (HTML)

 Instructions: Examine the chart, and answer the following
questions:  

 1. What is the dominant religion throughout the region?  
 2. Why do you think most Latin Americans share this religion?  

 This reading and the questions should take about 0.5 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above. 

1.3 History of the Region   1.3.1 Colonial History   1.3.1.1 The Conquest   - Reading: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “The Spanish Conquest” Link: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “The Spanish Conquest” (PDF)
 
Instructions: The readings for sub-subunit 1.3.1.1 through 1.3.1.4 come from a single source, MIT OpenCourseWare, ANTH 441 The Conquest of the Americas. Open the link above, and scroll down to lecture #2 “The Spanish Conquest.”  Click on the “PDF” link to download the file.  Read the entire lecture (4 pages).  You may wish to download PDF file for review later. As you read, take notes and answer the following questions:

 1. How did the pattern of Spanish and Portuguese exploration and
colonization differ?  
 2. How did Spanish explorers (conquistadors) react to their
encounter with the Indians?  
 3. Why were the Spaniards able to conquer the entire continent of
South America and the region of Central America rather easily in
just a span of 30-40 years?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: The reading above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) (HTML).  
  

1.3.1.2 Indian Exploitation and the Colonial Economy   - Reading: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Indian Exploitation in the Spanish Empire: Colonial Chronicles and Ethnography”MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Indian Exploitation in the Spanish Empire: Colonial Chronicles and Ethnography” Link: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Indian Exploitation in the Spanish Empire: Colonial Chronicles and Ethnography” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and scroll down the webpage to lecture #4 “Indian Exploitation in the Spanish Empire.”  Click on the “PDF” link to download the file, and read the entire set of lecture notes (3 pages).  As you read, take notes to answer the following questions:

 1. Describe the foundations of the colonial economy.  
 2. What were some of the ways by which the Spaniards exploited the
Indians?  
 3. Describe the differences between the following labor systems:
*enconmienda, repartimiento, and hacienda*.  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: The reading above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) (HTML).

1.3.1.3 Resistance and Rebellion in Colonial Latin America   - Reading: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Resistance and Rebellion in Colonial Latin America” Link: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Resistance and Rebellion in Colonial Latin America” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Open the link above, and scroll down to lecture #8 “Resistance and Rebellion in Colonial Latin America.”  Click on the “PDF” link to download the file, and read the entire set of lecture notes (3 pages).  As you read, take notes and answer the following questions:

 1. The 18<sup>th</sup> century rebellions by the Indians against
the Spanish were most about which two issues?  
 2.  Why was Peru the center of Indian rebellion in Latin America?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: The reading above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) (HTML).

1.3.1.4 Independence and Change in 19th Century Latin America   - Reading: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Independence and Change in 19th Century Latin America” Link: MIT OpenCourseWare: The Conquest of the Americas: “Independence and Change in 19th Century Latin America” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Open the link above, and scroll down to lecture #17 “Independence and Change in 19th Century Latin America.” Click on the “PDF” hyperlink to download the file, and read the entire set of lecture notes (8 pages).  As you read, take notes to answer the following questions:

 1. Describe the Bourbon Reforms and their consequences.  
 2. Describe the Liberal Reforms that took place after
independence.  
 3. What were some of the main features of the early capitalist
system of the 19<sup>th</sup> century, for example, the main export
products, labor system, and “boom-bust” cycle.  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: The reading above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) (HTML). 

1.3.2 Legacies of Colonialism   - Reading: Political Affairs: Vinicius Valentin Raduan Miguel’s “Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Latin America” Link: Political Affairs: Vinicius Valentin Raduan Miguel’s “Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Latin America” (HTML)

 Instructions: This article will provide background about the
colonial period and how it has contributed to challenges still faced
today throughout the region, especially with regard to poverty and
socio-economic inequality.  Read the article in its entirety, take
notes, and answer the following questions:  

 1. How does the author define colonialism?  
 2. Why did the Europeans establish colonies?  
 3. Who were oligarchs?  
 4. How did the European powers keep the colonies under their
economic control?  
 5. How did the colonial system of control lead to centuries of
poverty and inequality?  

 This reading and the questions should take about 2 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above. 

1.3.3 History of Selected Countries   1.3.3.1 Argentina   - Reading: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: “Background Note: Argentina” Link: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: “Background Note: Argentina” (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the link for a profile andsummary of
Argentina.  First, review the profile of its geography, population,
economy, government, and people. Then, scroll down to the history
section, take notes, and answer the following questions:  

 1. Who is Juan Peron, and what kinds of policies did he
implement?  
 2. What was the “Dirty War?”  
 3. Argentina returned to democracy in 1983.  Since that time, what
were some of the main economic challenges facing the country?  

 This reading and the questions should take about 1.5 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above. 

1.3.3.2 Brazil   - Reading: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: “Background Note: Brazil” Link: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs “Background Note: Brazil” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above for a profile andsummary of Brazil.  First, review the profile of its geography, population, economy, government, and people. Then, scroll down to the history section, take notes, and answer the following questions:

 1. What year was slavery abolished?  
 2. Brazil had a dictatorship from 1964-85; what kinds of policies
did the military leaders pursue?  
 3. What kinds of policies did President Lula and his Workers Party
implement?  

 This reading and the questions should take about 1.5 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above.

1.3.3.3 Cuba   - Reading: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: “Background Note: Cuba” Link: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: “Background Note: Cuba” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above for a profile and summary of Cuba.  First, review the profile of its geography, population, economy, government, and people.  Then, scroll down to the history section, take notes, and answer the following questions:

 1. Who was Fulgencio Batista?  
 2. Describe some of the policies Fidel Castro pursued after he came
to power in the Cuban Revolution of 1959.  
 3. What was the “Black Spring” of 2003?  
 4. Describe the economic challenges faced by Cuba today.  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 1.5 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above.

1.3.3.4 Mexico   - Reading: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: “Background Note: Mexico” Link: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs:  “Background Note: Mexico” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above for a profile and summary of Mexico.  First, review the profile of its geography, population, economy, government, and people.  Then, scroll down to the history section, take notes, and answer the following questions:

 1. Who was Benito Juarez?  
 2. How long did the Mexican Revolution last?  
 3. Who was Porfirio Diaz?  What policies did he implement?  
 4. Which are the two dominant political parties?  
 5. What kinds of political/legal reforms has Mexico recently
undertaken?  
 6. What are some of the main challenges the Mexican government is
dealing with today?  
    
 This reading and the questions should take about 1.5 hours to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the
webpage displayed above.