Introduction to Latin America provides a completely new introduction to the political, social and economic forces shaping this essential region of undergraduate study today. It is the first textbook to place Latin America within a genuinely global context and introduce the debates and impact of globalization, neoliberalism, democratization, and the environment.
Chapter 1: Introduction: Understanding Latin America
Ever since Europeans first stumbled upon its shores on 12 October 1492, the region we now call Latin America has been seen by outsiders as containing something of the exotic, whether in its native peoples, its fruits and vegetables, its Inca, Aztec and Mayan civilizations or its daunting geography. This continued in the twentieth century as Latin America became identified with heroic guerrilla bands, brutal military dictators and the seemingly interminable struggles of its many poor people for greater equality and justice. During the second half of that century, a number of Latin Americans achieved international recognition as personifying these elements of the region's makeup – Che Guevara, the Argentine adventurer who joined Fidel Castro and his companions ...