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CHAPTER 13 . Latin America and South America. LEARNING OBJECTIVES. Discuss how death squads have been allowed to operate with impunity in central America Describe the rise of the peasant revolt and its causes in Mexico

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chapter 13


Latin America and South America

learning objectives
  • Discuss how death squads have been allowed to operate with impunity in central America
  • Describe the rise of the peasant revolt and its causes in Mexico
  • Discuss why the tri-border area is strategically important for terrorist organizations
  • Examine the history and development of FARC in Colombia
terms to remember
Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program (ATA)

Cali cartel




Morazanist Patriotic Front (FPM)

Monsignor Juan Gerardi Condera

Montoneros (Movimiento Peronista Montonero)

Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA)

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR)

Rebel Armed Forces (FAR)

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)


The Shining Path

United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)

Zapatista National Liberation Army (ELZN

Terms to Remember









  • Political liberalism gave way to dictatorship from 1876 to 1880 and again from 1884 to 1911 and the Mexican Revolution.
  • The revolution provided a stable political system in Mexico unmatched anywhere else in Latin America.
  • The Diaz regime in the 30 years preceding the Mexican Revolution showed him to be a master in political intrigue.
  • Created a powerful military and police base to solidify his power and relied heavily on the force of guardias rurales or rural police.
  • Diaz had the Mexican Constitution amended over and over again to permit his re-election to the office of President.
  • Land grabs as part of the program of developing road and rail infrastructure resulted in the rise of Emiliano Zapata as a leader of the landowners who had had their land ‘stolen’ by the dictatorship of Diaz.
  • Zapata supporters became known as Zapatistas. The revolution to them was their opportunity for the return of their lands.
  • After WW II, Mexico looked to industrialization as the path away from poverty.
  • Miguel Aleman, the first civilian President since the Revolution, renamed the official party calling it the Partido Revolutionario Institutional (PRI). PRI moved to the left and the party was made up of three sectors; peasant, worker, and popular. PRI were the dominant political movement.
  • Right wing groups began to emerge–Partido Autonomista (PAN)–in order to maintain control PRI has annulled election wins by PAN.
  • The late 1960s saw student protests in Mexico City. Confrontation between students and the overwhelming force of the military continued through 1968.
  • Police shootings of unarmed students only fuelled opposition to PRI.
  • Guerrilla attacks began against the government in 1977.
  • A Special Prosecutor in 2005 announced charges of genocide against two dozen former officials of PRI for their actions in the student massacres of the late 1960s, just days before the opening of the Summer Olympic Games.
  • PAN’s Vicente Fox assumed the Presidency in 2000.
  • This ended 71 years of one party rule in Mexico.
zapatista national liberation army elzn
Zapatista National Liberation Army (ELZN)
  • Mexico remains a country of privileged and under privileged.
  • Land reforms have not taken place and an equitable distribution of the country’s economic wealth has not been widely dispersed.
  • ELZN takes the name from the legendary Zapata and in the Chiapas region have mounted numerous insurgent attacks against the regional government.
  • 1994 - ELZN attacked the Mexican government over its lack of land reforms.
  • While in Canada and the United States they debated the Free Trade issues in Mexico and Chiapas they went to war!
  • In 1995 the Mexican Army (30,000) was sent to Chiapas to suppress the popular uprising. The ELZN dispersed into the hills.
  • The region of the Chiapas is in the hands of the ELZN and the surrounding areas plus access to Chiapas is controlled by the Mexican Army.
  • ELZN uses electronic methods (Internet) to communicate its strategy and grievances to a global audience.
  • Chiapas remains quiet but the ELZN have not stopped their demands for land reform.
  • 1995 - Mexican Army (30,000) was to Chiapas to suppress the popular uprising. The ELZN dispersed into the hills.
  • The region of the Chiapas is in the hands of the ELZN and the surrounding areas while access to Chiapas is controlled by the Mexican Army.
  • ELZN uses electronic methods (Internet) to communicate its strategy and grievances to a global audience.
  • Chiapas remains quiet but the ELZN have not stopped their demands for land reform.
right wing violence
Right Wing Violence
  • Death Squads have been a part of the political scene in Central and Latin America.
  • “Peace and Justice Group”– targets ELZN and its supporters and pledges support to the Institutional Revolutionary Party
  • Vicious attacks seem to have the support of the Mexican military.
  • Peace and Justice - engaged in state sponsored terror in Chiapas.
  • Instilling significant fear into the Mayan Indian populous
  • Peace and Justice will accomplish what the Mexican military has been unable to do – control Chiapas
popular revolutionary army epr
Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR)
  • Rank second in strength to the Zapatistas
  • Bases of operations in Oaxaca and Guerrero
  • Claims to have over 20,000 guerrillas
  • Gets support from the Marxist Shining Path in Peru
  • Possible infusion of outside support with provision of modern weapons
  • EPR attacks have focused on police and military
  • The effects of Communism played a significant role in human rights abuses over the last 45 years.
  • 1954 - United States assisted in the overthrow of Guatemala’s communist government
  • Followed by a series of extreme right wing governments
  • No real democratic gains for the people but a witch hunt for all communist supporters and infiltrators.
the bishop of guatemala monsignor juan gerardi condera
The Bishop of Guatemala––Monsignor Juan Gerardi Condera
  • 1996 - Bishop produced a report on Human Rights abuses by Guatemalan Army during the long war
  • Two days later Condera killed by Guatemalan death squad
  • Guatemalan army were protected by a system of ‘impunity’
civil war
Civil War
  • 1962 - Rebel Armed Forces (FAR), stared guerilla operations against Guatemalan military.
  • FAR expanded among the indigenous groups and to include the Guerilla Army of the Poor (EGP) and in 1972 and the Organization of People in Arms (OPRA)
  • The three guerrilla movements, all with the same causes and complaints, the Guatemalan National Unity Group (URNG) was formed.
  • Guatemalan military conducted operations in which they destroyed villages and killed entire populations
  • 1996 – Peace Accord – attempts to bring justice for atrocities committed – very limited success
  • Honduras has been supported by the U.S. military.
  • Honduras was drawn into the 1980 fighting against invading Sandinistas and in tracking rebel Contra bases.
  • This was a U.S.-sponsored war against Nicaragua.
  • With U.S. troops present it bolstered the importance and esteem of the Honduran military.
morazanist patriotic front fpm
Morazanist Patriotic Front (FPM
  • Extreme left wing terror group
  • Anti U.S.
  • Opposed to external support to the Honduran government by the U.S.
  • Late 1980’s carried out a bombing attack against U.S. military target
el salvador1
El Salvador
  • Land claims similar to those in Chiapas have been the cause of terrorist violence in this country and repressive regime response.
  • Augustin Farabundo Marti’s, Central American Communist Party leader, goal was land wealth redistribution not the overthrow of the government.
  • Marti was arrested and subsequently executed by a firing squad.
  • Military were used to suppress popular “peasant uprising.”
  • 1981 more than 12,000 murders were reported.
  • Extreme right wing governments of the 1960s and 1970s used terror as a means of controlling the population.
  • ORDEN–1968–Commander of the National Guard creates this group for intelligence gathering purpose.
  • ORDEN kidnapped and murdered many peasants.
  • Labor leaders and people who spoke out against the government became targets for the government sanctioned death squads.
  • Nicaraguan government - links to CIA, corruption, weapons for drugs
  • Nicaraguan National Guard was modeled after and trained by the United States following WWII
  • 1979 - U.S. involved in defending the country from Communist influences
  • U.S. supported the Anastasio government waging a campaign against the Communist inspired Sandinista National Liberation Front.
  • Sandinista seized power from Anastasio in 1979
  • U.S. very concerned – Sandinista being supported by Communist bloc.
  • U.S. began to support the rebels (Contras) fighting against the Sandinistas
  • 1995 Kerry Report – highlights CIA involvement
  • Drugs for weapons; sanctioned by Congress
  • Payment to drug traffickers with U.S. State Department funds authorized by Congress for humanitarian aid to Nicaragua
  • Panama controlled by the U.S. until the late 1970s.
  • 1983 - General Manuel Noriega took control of the country
  • Corrupt government–drugs trafficking to the U.S.
  • Noriega controlled Panama with the use of death squads
  • 1988–Florida Court indicts Noriega on charges of racketeering and drug running
  • 1989 - Noriega overturned the results of the democratic election
  • 1989 - President George. H. Bush orders U.S. troops into Panama to restore the duly elected government and seize Noriega.
  • Noriega handed over to U.S Marshals after his capture
  • Was the reason for invasion the establishment of democracy or to stem the tide of drugs into the U.S.?
central american gangs
Central American Gangs




Destabilizing civil society

in Central America



Paramilitary groups and

Guerrilla forces

Political and extra judicial actions

by Government security forces

Force hundreds of thousands of

Colombians to flee the country

Thousands are killed annually

  • Colombia is well known for:
    • drug production and export
    • kidnapping and extortion
    • one of the most dangerous countries in the world
    • terrorist groups support for drugs to fund attacks against successive Colombian government


$1.3 Billion to fight

Drug trafficking

Uribe beefs up

military spending

and with help

from U.S.

Special Forces

launches an

campaign against

drug traffickers

President Uribe declares

State of emergency

in 2002

Aimed at preventing

guerrilla groups

benefiting from drug


Plan used to undercut

Drug production

  • May 2004 - the United Nations announced that the thirty-nine year war in Colombia had created the worst humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere.
  • Two million forced from their homes.
  • Several Indian tribes now close to extinction.

Since the early 1960s Colombia has been assaulted by three

Marxist, Narco-terrorist groups


Armed Forces of




National Liberation

Army - ELN

United Self-Defense

Forces of Colombia


Capable of providing 25,000

Well trained fighters

revolutionary armed forces
Revolutionary Armed Forces
  • Best equipped and trained of the three terror groups operating in Colombia
  • Extreme left wing, communist inspired movement
  • Aims – overthrow the government of Colombia
  • Formed in 1966 out of the Colombian Communist Party
  • Targets Colombian government officials and military targets, the judiciary and civil servants





Waging a Cuban style revolution

and rabidly anti-U.S.

  • FARC has its camps a long way from the major cities.
  • Not considered a peasant army, although in light of zero employment, working within the FARC movement is seen by many in the countryside as a viable means of employment.
  • FARC has received support from foreign fighters and training from the Provisional IRA in bomb-making techniques.
  • 65 of the FARC’s 110 operational units are involved in some aspect of the drug trade
farc eln
  • FARC and ELN have at times managed to agree to share the spoils of kidnapping and extortion ventures but falling out over the distribution of the spoils has made ELN an enemy of FARC.
  • Crackdown by President Uribe - FARC is on the run and Uribe pledged to destroy the group during his term as President.
national liberation army
National Liberation Army
  • Marxist inspired and smaller than FARC
  • Came to notice in 1963 and has about 3,000 fighters
  • Operates in the North along the border with Venezuela
  • Uses same tactics as FARC, kidnapping, robbery, and extortion
  • In 2001 targeted Colombian oil facilities resulting in $200 million in lost revenues
right wing death squads
Right Wing Death Squads
  • Formed to protect the status quo in the drugs distribution
  • Used as a means of terrorizing the populace into compliance
  • Right-wing death squads formed over thirty years ago by wealthy landowners, farmers, and drugs cartels who formed their own private armies for protection.
  • These have grown into a loose coalition called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
  • FARC and AUC have been responsible for over 3,000 kidnappings and the murder of more than 3,000 Colombians.
  • AUC gains most of its support through the drugs trade.
  • AUC - linked to senior members of the Colombian military.
  • Methods of intimidation have forced more than 340,000 people from their homes.





PIRA members arrested after

Training mission in Colombia

Mohammed Abed Abel

Arrested in Bogotá

In November 1988

u s assistance
U.S Assistance
  • US military aid and support
  • Intelligence and training to Colombian military units
  • Successful operations against FARC by Colombian troops
  • March 2008 - Raul Reyes, FARC spokesman and central figure – killed by military in March 2008
  • May 2008 – FARC’s iconic leader dies of heart attack
  • Sendora Luminoso (Shining Path)
  • Originates in Aucayacu region and led by Abimael Guzman who received his indoctrination in China in 1965
  • Leader of the Maoist faction of the Peruvian Communist Party
  • Guzman recruited students to his Maoist cause
  • Sent his converts out to agitate the Indian villagers
  • Shining Path then began to brutally attack and kill any village leaders that resisted his group’s authority
  • Peruvian Police and Military response did little to disrupt the cause
  • Police and soldiers began to kill and attack indiscriminately, which actually helped Shining Path’s cause
  • Guzman went from the savior of the peasants to their executioner.
  • Marxist style was similar to that of the Khmer Rouge.
  • Set about destruction of the country by intimidating villagers to join Guzman or die.
  • Feared for their savagery and became a cult of mass murderers.
abimael guzman
Abimael Guzman
  • Since his arrest and imprisonment in 1992 the fortunes of Shining Path have waned.
  • The group has been decimated over the last 15 years.
  • In 2001 it was again carrying out attacks but mainly in the remote mountainous regions. The Shining Path has not been exterminated!

KILLED 25,000


Used small children

to deliver suicide



FROM 1976 to 1990

$20 billion in damage

to infrastructure

Used female terrorists

for suicide attacks

tupac amaru mrta
Tupac Amaru (MRTA)
  • Smaller but no less deadlier than Shining Path and takes its name from the legendary Inca leader Tupac Amaru II who led a popular uprising in the late 18th century.
  • Victor Polay formed Tupac in 1985, a traditional Marxist/Leninist movement.
  • Polay was captured in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison.




DECEMBER 17th 1996





tupac amaru s demands
Tupac Amaru’s Demands
  • They will shoot the hostages unless all demands are met
  • Demanded the release of 500 of their compatriots
  • Transfer all freed prisoners and hostages to a jungle hideout
  • Payment of an unspecified sum by the Peruvian Government
  • An economic program to aid the Peruvian poor
end of the siege
End of the Siege
  • Fujimori refused to accede to the demands to release the Tupac prisoners.
  • Hostage standoff lasted until April 22, 1997 (four months).
  • Peruvian Special Forces tunnel into the compound.
  • 140 man rescue team; all Tupac guerrillas were killed and 24 hostages injured.
  • Brazil is well known as a country dominated by kidnappings and extortion some for political ends.
  • Home to a subversive anti-West group the Tupac Katari Guerilla Army
  • Its actions have been extremely limited.
mini manual of the urban guerrilla
Mini Manual of the Urban Guerrilla
  • Written by Carlos Marighella in 1969
  • Marighella was killed in an ambush in November the same year in Sao Paulo.
  • His contribution to revolution comes from both his theory and practice of the subject.
  • He wrote intensively to support his theories on Brazil’s liberation.

Mini Manual of the Urban Guerrilla








uruguay paraguay1
Uruguay & Paraguay
  • Prosperous economy built on the sugar crop and export market.
  • Economic downturns saw a rise in “worker parties” and student revolts.
  • Uruguayan economy collapsed in the late 1950s and this led to inflation and high unemployment.
  • Workers formed unions and this ultimately led to confrontation.
the tupamaros national liberation movement
The Tupamaros(National Liberation Movement)
  • Tupamaros grew out of the unrest in the union movement–a march on the capital Montevideo resulted in mass arrests–government viewed such movements as subversive insurgent elements.
  • One of those arrested was Raul Sendic who formed The Tupamaros movement.
  • Sendic determined to fight back against a government that continued to restrict rights and freedoms.
  • Members of the Tupamaros came from the middle classes.
  • Tupamaros took their fight to the streets of the capital.
  • By the end of the 1960s, the movement numbered around 2,000.
  • Used robbery and kidnappings to raise funds for the cause.
  • Secret police used torture on those captured.
  • The response of the government to Tupamaros’ actions was to use more repressive methods as a means of control.
  • Tupamaros attempted to align with left wing political movements.
  • Those parties wanted nothing to do with terrorism for political gain.
  • Tupamaros were alienated and defeated at the polling booth.
  • Argentina has been under the strict control of military governments since the 1970s.
  • The Peron years after WWII saw rapid industrialization at a heavy cost leading to inflation at a soaring pace.
  • Left wing political parties sprang up in opposition.
  • Peron created his own “death squads” to counter what he saw as communist influences.
  • Division de Information Politicas Antidemocratic (DIPA) the secret police had a covert group that carried out torture and repression called the Triple A (AAA)
  • Operated by members of police and military
  • Operated clandestinely in the 1970’s
  • Set up ‘death camps’ – thousands of citizens disappeared.
the tri border area
The Tri-Border Area
  • Lawless area bordering three countries
  • Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina
  • Development of international terrorist activity in this area
  • Presence of Hezbollah cadres
  • Possible links in this area to Hamas and al Qaeda
montoneros 1975 1979
Montoneros 1975-1979
  • Left wing Peronista movement
  • Targeted by Argentine military
  • Montoneros violently opposed to military government
  • Brutally repressed by the military junta
  • Movement completely destroyed by end of decade
  • At start of the 21st century Chile had one functioning terrorist organization
  • Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)–very active in the 1980s
  • General Pinochet–one of the few South American Dictators to make it to retirement
  • Considered by many as the savior of the country and to others a despot and murderer
  • 1973 Pinochet led a bloody military coup toppling the Marxist government that had mismanaged the country for the three previous years.
  • Inflation at 400% and the military being supported by the CIA, the Marxist government of Salvador Allende was at an end.
  • Use of death squads by military junta was excessive
  • The Avengers of the Martyrs – death squad
  • The Decree Law on Amnesty gave all security forces total and unequivocal immunity from arrest and prosecution
  • Pinochet turned Chile from a second-rate Third World country into a vibrant and strong market economy he did so at a considerable cost to Chileans.
  • Mass arrests were carried out to stop the left-wing subversives.
  • Torture was used to gather both confessions and information.
  • Foreigners as well as Chileans were also targeted for arrest and torture
chilean democracy
Chilean Democracy
  • Pinochet shifted power in 1990 to a democratically elected government but himself remained in the Senate.
  • He was arrested on a trip to Britain on a warrant issued by a Spanish judge.
  • He eventually returned to Chile after a year of house arrest – died December 2006
  • Generally accepted that his military government carried out torture and murder
  • Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, remains one of the most complex, controversial, and high-profile figures in modern Latin American politics.
  • He was elected on his platform of support for the poor of his nation.
  • Is accused by the middle and upper classes of electoral fraud.
  • How long he will survive may depend on the actions of the military.
  • Not a supporter of the United States and an outspoken critic of globalization.
  • Outspoken support for Hezbollah and rabidly anti Israel
  • Seeks support from N Korea, Iran and Syria
  • A country not widely known for terrorism.
  • Sporadic and somewhat minor attacks attributed to the Revolutionary Armed
  • Forces of Ecuador (FARE) have claimed responsibility for several bombings.
  • Oil rig workers were taken captive and a U.S. citizen was murdered (Ron Sander).
  • It is probable that FARE is in fact a prodigy of the Colombian FARC.