University of New Mexico Press

Diálogos

Series advisory editor: Lyman L. Johnson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

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A History of Mining in Latin America

From the Colonial Era to the Present

Kendall W. Brown

For twenty-five years, Kendall Brown studied Potosí, Spanish America’s greatest silver producer and perhaps the world’s most famous mining district. He read about the flood of silver that flowed from its Cerro Rico and learned of the toil of its miners. Potosí symbolized fabulous wealth and unbelievable suffering. New World bullion stimulated the formation of the first world economy but at the same time it had profound consequences for labor, as mine operators and refiners resorted to extreme forms of coercion to secure workers. In many cases the environment also suffered devastating harm.

All of this occurred in the name of wealth for individual entrepreneurs, companies, and the ruling states. Yet the question remains of how much economic development mining managed to produce in Latin America and what were its social and ecological consequences. Brown’s focus on the legendary mines at Potosí and comparison of its operations to those of other mines in Latin America is a well-written and accessible study that is the first to span the colonial era to the present.

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Modernizing Minds in El Salvador

Education Reform and the Cold War, 1960–1980

Héctor Lindo-Fuentes and Erik Ching

In the 1960s and 1970s, El Salvador’s reigning military regime instituted a series of reforms that sought to modernize the country and undermine ideological radicalism, the most ambitious of which was an education initiative. It was multifaceted, but its most controversial component was the use of televisions in classrooms. Launched in 1968 and lasting until the eve of civil war in the late 1970s, the reform resulted in students receiving instruction through programs broadcast from the capital city of San Salvador. The Salvadoran teachers’ union opposed the content and the method of the reform and launched two massive strikes. The military regime answered with repressive violence, further alienating educators and pushing many of them into guerrilla fronts.

In this thoughtful collaborative study, the authors examine the processes by which education reform became entwined in debates over theories of modernization and the politics of anticommunism. Further analysis examines how the movement pushed the country into the type of brutal infighting that was taking place throughout the third world as the U.S. and U.S.S.R. struggled to impose their political philosophies on developing countries.

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