The term Revolution is described as a forcible overthrow of a government or social order for a new system. This is apparent in every culture over the course of time as it is in Latin American History. The cause and the remedy have constantly been changing and are still changing to this day, but the ideals and the people involved have only grown from each other and become more advanced. The revolutions of Latin America have been incredibly influential on the region, and those who are Latin American or are of Latin American descent because they would not be who or where they are today, without these revolutions.
The Latin American Revolution would not have been possible without these revolutionary men that have made their mark in history.
Toussaint L'Ovuverture (May 20,1743- April 7, 1803) Edit
Toussaint was the leader of the Haitian Revolution in which many slaves reclaimed their nation. Toussaint gathered over 100,000 followers and began the rebeliion on August 22, 1791. His military intelligence led a society of slaves into a self-governing people and allowed them a life with little oppression. Toussaint led the rebellion for several years, against "the French, British, Spaniards, and various mulatto groups" (Burns 80). Toussaint's impact did not just affect his situation but it also impacted the institution of slavery all over the " New World". He is a perfect example of a heroic Latin American man because he basically took the socioeconomic pyramid in Haiti and flipped it upside down. L'Ouverture had command of the entire island of Hispaniola by 1801. The oppressed slaves were now in charge and the elite class was driven out by the revolt, showing that there is power in numbers and that revolution can succeed when the oppressed majority stands up against the elite class together.
Father Hidalgo (May 8, 1753- July 30, 1811) Edit
Miguel Hidalgo was a Mexican priest who was the inspiration and leader of the Mexican War of Independence. He encouraged the indigenous people to take back what was theirs from the Spanish. He went so far as to ignore his Christian religion to lead this violent revolt for the sake of the people. He showed the locals how to grow their own olives and grapes which was frowned upon because these were imported goods. Father Hidalgo wanted to teach the people to be self sustaining not only by his powerful words but by his actions which is a key characteristic of an idealistic Latin American man.
Jacobo Arbenz (September 14, 1913-January 27, 1971)
Jacobo was an army officer who pushed for change in Latin America. At the time, many civilians were illiterate and were treated poorly. They were known as peasants. Because of this Jacobo would take large properties and would divide them up and give them to peasant cultivators. But Jacobo also took possession of land that belonged to the United Fruit Company. After he took the land, he distributed it amonst Guatemala's poor population for them to use as they pleased. This caused him to be seen as influential by the Guatemalans because he was helping to drive out foreign influence and restoring the naitonal pride. However, the United States saw him as a threat to industrialization and progress in Latin America. He was hurting corporations and in the United States, businesses are very well protected. In Latin America, though, he was looked up to for standing up against the United States and imperialism and for providing the poor population of Guatemala with more opportunities than they had available to them before when the United Fruit Company owned the land. Jacobo was helpful in pulling away from the United States forceso he helped in making the country of Guatemala become more unionized and to carry out land reform.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara (June 14, 1928-October 9, 1967)Che was from Argentina and is a Marxist revolutionary. He thought that money should not exist and people should work for their own good. He helped to lead the Cuban Revolution after meeting with Raul and Fidel Castro. Their goal was to end trade with the United States during the Cuban Revolution because of the embargo that the United States put on all trade. He launched a revolution in Bolivia and while it was not successful, Che was known as a hero for his efforts in trying.
Juan Domingo Peron (October 8, 1895 - July 1, 1974) and Evita Peron
Juan Peron was the president of Argentina from 1946 to 1955 and from 1973 to 1974 (Encyclopedia Britannica) and he created the Peronist movement that many Argentinians still respect today. Peron was a subtle revolutionist. He was a nationalist that believed in ending foreign influence and invasion for the improvement of Argentina and the happiness of its inhabitants. He had no trouble obtaining followers because he was charismatic and brought people who typically didn't have a voice, such as poor, uneducated laborers into the political realm to support him by allowing them to vote. He "improved workers' lives" (Chasteen 259). That's why he had so much support and why his beliefs are still respected and followed in Argentina today. After the economy began failing in Argentina, Peron was exiled by the military in 1955 (Chasteen 259).
His wife, Evita, was his biggest supporter, though, calling herself the "bridge of love between Peron and the people" (Chasteen 259). Her role was just as important as her husband's because she was loved by the people of Argentina and they trusted her to do what was best for them, especially the lower class people. This shows that it was acceptable now for women to speak their minds and take on leadership roles, although she never identified herself as a leader. She stayed true to the Marianismo way by emphasizing motherhood and the importance of being a good wife. Her loyalty and "adoration of Peron" (Chasteen 259) suggest that the traditional view of Marianismo was still very much respected by the people of Latin America at this time. Evita was the ideal Latin American woman during this time and Argentina was devastated by her sudden death from cancer in 1952 (Chasteen 259). She exemplified motherhood, love and compassion, submissiveness to one's husband, but also strongly opposing foreign influence and beginning to focus on nationalism.
Tupac Amaru II (1742-1781)
Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera was a mestizo man who claimed to be the rightful heir to the Incan throne and took the name Tupac Amaru II. In Novembeer 1780, Tupac Amaru II led a rebellion against Spanish colonial rule. With the support of many Indeans, mestizos, and some creoles, Tupac Amaru II "called for an alliance among American-born whites, mestizos, and indigenous people" (Chasteen 83). Their complaints included "excessive taxation, economic exploitation, and forced labor" (Burns 76). The rebellion quickly escalated, capturing the support of mainly indigenous people. Although Tupac Amaru II was captured in 1781, the rebellion continued until 1783, "costing perhaps a hundred thousand lives" (Chasteen 84). The rebellion led by Tupac Amaru II had an influential effect on the Peruvian elite and "profoundly affected their behavior in the coming wars of independence" (Chasteen 84).