The reactionary period in Latin America was marked by the military's attempt to stop the spread of Marxist ideology. The citizens of Latin American countries began reacting to the military rule by strong opposition and rebellion. There was a clear division between those Latin Americans who saw the revolutionaries as an "internal threat" to public security and those that supported their cause and fought for the impoverished masses.

In Brazil, landowners fought hard against land reform. In 1978, a massive strike of workers in São Paulo represented opposition to the military's regressive social policies. In many instances of the Cold War in Latin America, women were prominent figures.
Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo

Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo protesting in Buenos Aires.

In the late 1970s, women, called Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, protested in downtown Buenos Aires in order to avenge their children that "disappeared" in the midst of Argentina's dirty war. These women would wear white scarves that had the names of the disappeared children on them. They didn't want Argentina to simply get away with the horrible events that took place. The Las Madres wanted to bring attention to the problems of their country that affected them and others that the rest of the world didn't seem to know about. Rigoberta Menchú was a Quiché Mayan woman from a traditonal community who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for calling world attention to the digusting nature of Guatemala's dirty war. And, many women fought in the FMLN in El Salvador. Latin American women were beginning to stand up for what they believed in and represented the new, courageous actions of typical Latin American citizens.

During this period, the ideal Latin American would be people such as the Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo.  They were ordinary people fighting for what they believed in.  With all the violence that was taking place during this time they managed to stay peaceful and work for a cause that they felt strongly about because they had been personally affected.  Their ability to protest


The Sandinista group that called themselves the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)

brought attention to many problems that were occurring in the Latin American government and initiated a change.

Argentina's military desperately wanted to dispose of the Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo because they were spreading the word about the dirty war and causing Argentinians to distrust the government and the military. However, the military didn't touch the Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo because they were abiding by traditional unwritten rules explaining that it's unacceptable to harm women because they exemplify the Marianismo way (the virgin Mary). This shows that even through the fighting and violence, almost everyone still respects the traditions of Latin America that have been around for a very long time. Traditions are the backbone of society by keeping people together through a set of unwritten rules that are expected to be followed. So, no matter what, the ideal Latin American should follow and respect certain traditional aspects of Latin American society to have a decent moral foundation to their lives.

Another group that was working to make changes in Latin America during this time period were the revolutionaries that called themselves Sandinistas.  They were working in Nicaragua to gain power away from the Somoza Dynasty.  The battle between the Somoza and Sandinistas went on for a long period of time.  The Sandinistas ended up gaining power.  However the Sandinistas "identified themselves as revolutionary friends of Cuba (Chasteen 307)."  This then caused the United States to step in becasue during this time the main mission in the United States foreign policy was to stop the spread of Communisum.  Once the United States stepped in things in Nicaragua got worse.  Violence started and they were cut off from trade from other countries which distroyed their economy.  Finally in 1990 the Sandinistas lost power.  While the Sandinistas were out of power the country remained divided and there was alot of conflict and violence over political and social matters.

Latin America has seen many revolutions over its history whether good or bad. The people of Latin America do not sit back quietly when injustice spreads. They stand up and do what they can to influence change. The Sandinistas and the Las Madres de la Plaze de Mayo exemplify that and demonstrate one of Latin America's most ideal characteristics.  Latin American countries often got pushed around by other countries such as the United States.  More powerful countries would try and get involved in order to benifit themselves.  The Latin American people did not like this and fought for what was best for them and not what would benifit other countries.  This is a trait that has been seen in the Latin American people since the indiginous people fought against the colonists for what they beleived in.

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