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Beyond the Eagle's Shadow

New Histories of Latin America's Cold War

Virginia Garrard-Burnett

Publication Year: 2013

The dominant tradition in writing about U.S.–Latin American relations during the Cold War views the United States as all-powerful. That perspective, represented in the metaphor “talons of the eagle,” continues to influence much scholarly work down to the present day. The goal of this collection of essays is not to write the United States out of the picture but to explore the ways Latin American governments, groups, companies, organizations, and individuals promoted their own interests and perspectives.

The book also challenges the tendency among scholars to see the Cold War as a simple clash of “left” and “right.” In various ways, several essays disassemble those categories and explore the complexities of the Cold War as it was experienced beneath the level of great-power relations.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press


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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

One of the most exciting features of studying the history of the Cold War is the abundant opportunity for collaboration. At some level, of course, collaborative work is imperative in order to understand the Cold War in all its complexity. The East-West conflict touched every part of the world, after all, and affected all dimensions of human existence—not just ...

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pp. 1-20

It all started with rebellious teenagers. On January 7, 1964, American students ran the U.S. flag up a flagpole on the grounds of Balboa High School, near the western end of the Panama Canal Zone. The gesture was intensely provocative. The question of where the U.S. and Panamanian flags could be flown in the canal zone had stirred controversy for several years, reflecting...

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1: Coca-Cola, U.S. Diplomacy, and the Cold War in America’s Backyard

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pp. 21-50

After secretly meeting Fidel Castro, Coca-Cola CEO Paul Austin briefed President Jimmy Carter at the White House in March 1977.1 A friend and long-time supporter of Carter, Austin hoped the president would adopt policies that would allow his company to return to Cuba. His bid followed earlier company efforts to reenter the island after Castro’s 1960 nationalization...

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2: Military Factionalism and the Consolidation of Power in 1960s Guatemala

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pp. 51-75

The 1966 transition of the Guatemalan presidency from the right-wing military regime under Colonel Enrique Peralta Azurdia (1963–66) to the center-left civilian Julio César Méndez Montenegro (1966–70) signaled a reduction of military power within the electoral process and the growing potential for reform. Méndez’s victory in a relatively free and fair election ...

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3: Season of Storms: The United States and the Caribbean Contest for a New Political Order, 1958–1961

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pp. 76-102

Throughout most of the 1950s, U.S. policymakers enjoyed rela- tive success in insulating the Western Hemisphere from the ideological tensions of the Cold War, and U.S. allies in the region managed to maintain local politics within contours established decades earlier. Beginning in 1958, however, a new generation of Latin American leaders challenged this status ...

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4: Counterrevolution in the Caribbean: The CIA and Cuban Commandos in the 1960s

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pp. 103-128

Cuban viewers tuned in to an interesting program televised by the revolutionary government in February 1965. The show presented the interrogation of four counterrevolutionary infiltrators recently captured in the Sierra Cristal near Baracoa in Oriente Province. A man once prominent in the uprising against Fulgencio Batista and subsequently in the revolutionary...

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5: Don Lázaro Rises Again: Heated Rhetoric, Cold Warfare, and the 1961 Latin American Peace Conference

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pp. 129-149

General Lázaro Cárdenas looked out over the crowd of 10,000 people gathered at Mexico City’s Arena de México. The audience deliriously cheered his arrival; then, an eager silence fell as Cárdenas stepped to the microphone. He cleared his throat and began reading the declarations of the Latin American Conference for National Sovereignty, Economic ...

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6: From Ploughshares to Politics: Transformations in Rural Brazil during the Cold War and Its Aftermath

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pp. 150-174

If Brazil’s military government trumpeted national security and economic development as antidotes to fight communism, the countryside was one of its battlegrounds. The coup of 1964, fuelled by elite fears of peasant mobilization under the leftist presidency of João Goulart, unleashed brutal repression against rural labor activists and advocates of agrarian reform....

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7: The Indian Wing: Nicaraguan Indians, Native American Activists, and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1979–1990

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pp. 175-199

In 1973, the American Indian Movement (AIM) withstood a seventy- one-day siege by the U.S. government at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Carlos Fonesca, a cofounder of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), sent a letter from Nicaragua in support of Russell Means and other Indian activists who were protesting U.S. policies. Yet thirteen years later, ...

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8: Doctors Within Borders: Cuban Medical Diplomacy to Sandinista Nicaragua, 1979–1990

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pp. 200-225

In 1979, when the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won its struggle to oust the Somoza dictatorship from Nicaragua, the victorious revolutionaries inherited a nation ravaged not only by war but also by decades of neglect. In addition to problems engendered by economic devastation and a literacy rate of approximately 35 percent, Nicaragua possessed...

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9: The Other Dirty War: Cleaning Up Buenos Aires during the Last Dictatorship, 1976–1983

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pp. 226-250

Many of the contributions in this volume approach the Latin American Cold War experience from the national or international perspective. They either follow the interactions of states or their representatives, or they examine decisions made at the national level. However, events taking place at those higher levels frequently filtered down to local stages. In this ...

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10: “Restoring All Things in Christ”: Social Catholicism, Urban Workers, and the Cold War in Guatemala

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pp. 251-280

On May 15, 1962, José Ángel Berreondo fell victim to an assas- sin’s bullet in downtown Guatemala City. Berreondo, an overlooked Catholic activist of the 1950s, had come of age religiously and socially within the ranks of the Juventud Obrera Católica (Young Christian Workers, JOC). His assassination, reportedly at the hands of the much-feared state secret police,...

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11: The Evolution of “Narcoterrorism”: From the Cold War to the War on Drugs

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pp. 281-306

In November 1985, M-19 (Movimiento 19 de Abril) guerrillas in- filtrated the Colombian Palace of Justice, taking the entire Colombian Su- preme Court hostage and destroying thousands of documents, among which were numerous U.S. extradition requests for major narcotics traffickers. A little over twenty-four hours later, Colombian troops stormed the building,...

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Afterword: The Paradox of Latin American Cold War Studies

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pp. 307-320

As I read this enormously instructive volume, I kept asking myself what I could possibly add to it of value. The chapters, written largely by graduate students, evince impressive international research and the highest academic rigor. Contributors have mined all the relevant secondary literature, have traveled to various U.S. and Latin American archives, and have ...


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pp. 321-324


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pp. 325-341

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780826353696
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826353689

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2013