21.  Tupac Amaru: The Indians Lead the Way                                            A

22.  The Liberators, San Martin and Bolivar                                               C

23.  Splitting Into Banana Republics                                                           B

24.  Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II                                                            B

25.  The Three Black Emperors of Haiti                                                      C

26.  The United States Plays at Empire Building                                         C

27.  The Other American Literature                                                           B

28.  Communist Experimenters--Castro, Guevara, Allende, Ortega          D

29.  Additional Topics

          a.  The Last Colonies                                                                        D

          b.  William Walker                                                                             A

          c.  Marti and Hostos                                                                          D

          d.  The Christ of the Andes                                                               A




A  Additional information very hard to find

B  A moderate amount of additional information should be available

C  Plenty of stuff available--an easy job

D  Too much information available--this will require a lot of sorting



NAMES--People with Spanish names often add their mother's maiden name to their own.  So what looks like a middle name is actually the person's family name.  Remember this when trying to find Latin American names in any alphabetical listing.




            The surprising thing about Latin America is its age.  A visitor will see Baroque and even Renaissance buildings.  In Baroque times, Lima, Peru was one of the world's great cities.


            The Spaniards chopped off the head of the last Inca emperor back in 1571.  For the next two hundred years, the Indians suffered from exploitation.  Laws came from Spain to protect the natives, but no one in America paid much attention.  Then in the late 1700s, the Inca’s great-great-great-grandson took on the name or his famous ancestor: Tupac Amaru (TOO-pahk a-MAH-roo).  He was a college-educated young man who dressed in the fashion of the time--three-cornered hat, velvet coat, and silk stockings.  But instead of a powdered wig, he let his glossy black hair grow down to his waist.


            Tupac Amaru set about getting the old laws enforced.  He claimed and won the title of Marquis of Oroposa, which Spain had once granted to the Inca and his descendants.  He revived much of the Inca culture--particularly plays like Ollantay.  (See Vol. I, Chapter 67).  [CHECK]  Again and again, he protested about the way corrupt Spanish tax collectors overcharged the natives.  For years, Tupac Amaru paid the bloated taxes of those who could not afford them.  But official protests brought no results, so In 1780 he took direct action.  He seized the most corrupt tax collector and made him give back thousands of dollars he had stolen from the Indians.  Then he melted down the extra tax gold and condemned the tax collector to death by drinking it.


            Thousands upon thousands of Indians rose to join Tupac Amaru.  There had been other Indian uprisings before, but this one became national.  It swept through most of Peru.   Tupac Amaru held back his followers, asking for reforms rather than war.  The government promised to correct the abuses of power.  But the officials only meant to stall while waiting for reinforcements.  They then ordered Tupac Amaru to surrender, promising that he would die with less pain than if he resisted.  The Indian leader had no choice; he now switched from law enforcement to rebellion against the Spanish government.


            The Spanish surprised and captured Tupac Amaru and his family.  The officials condemned him to watch his son and wife being strangled.  Then they cut out his tongue and tied him between four horses to be pulled apart in different directions.  Soldiers hacked up his body and nailed a different part on a pole In each of the villages which had rebelled.  This unnecessary cruelty infuriated the Indians.  They went on a raging massacre which lasted two years and killed thousands.


            Tupac Amaru’s cousin took over the leadership.  The government promised full pardons to the new leader and his family If they would surrender.  They surrendered.  The government pardoned them, then charged them with ridiculous crimes, tortured and killed them.  They scattered more than ninety other relatives of Tupac Amaru into different prisons all over Spain for the rest of their lives.  Some of these were children.  The government outlawed Inca dramas, histories, costumes, paintings, and musical instruments.  Another Indian leader claimed to be Tupac Amaru risen from the dead.  But not many people believed him, and the first big Latin American revolution fizzled out.


            Some historians think that Tupac Amaru delayed the cause of revolution by frightening the white settlers into thinking they needed Spanish protection.  But other historians say he led the way.  When the big revolution came thirty years later, the white heroes followed in the daring footsteps of Tupac Amaru.





            In 1808, Napoleon invaded Spain and made his brother the new Spanish king.  This gave South American revolutionaries a good excuse.  All through the Spanish colonies, groups refused to accept the new Spanish government--claiming they remained loyal to the rightful king.  After six years, the legitimate king came back into power.  By this time the revolutionary groups had organized enough to throw off their mask and rebel against all Spanish governments.


            Jose de San Martin (ho-SAY day SAHN mar-TEEN) of Argentina was a quiet young man with lots of military experience in Europe and North Africa.  When Argentina declared independence he hurried back home to help.  He quickly rose to Commander-­in-Chief of the army.  But he realized that Argentina could never rest safely until all Spanish armies were driven out of the continent.


            San Martin led his army across the Andes Mountains--far higher than any mountains crossed by the armies of Hannibal or Napoleon.  In Chile, San Martin worked in partnership with General Bernardo O'Higgins.  (O'Higgins’ father had been an Irish peddler who rose to become Viceroy of Peru-­one of the few really good Spanish rulers.)  They freed Chile, and young O'Higgins became president.  San Martin led his army on to Peru.  But he refused to capture the capital until the people of Peru had decided they really wanted independence.  He insisted that he came to help--not to conquer.  When the Peruvians did decide for independence, they asked shy San Martin to serve as their first president.


            Meanwhile, Simon Bolivar (see-MOWN bo-LEE-var) of  Venezuela had freed all of the countries to the north; Bolivar was a flashy young aristocrat with a violent temper, wasteful spending, and scandalous behavior.  By destroying everyone above him, Bolivar clawed his way to the top of the revolutionary movement.  He was not the best military leader; several times he lost and had to flee out of the continent.  But he never gave up.  He wrote letters and speeches of great courage, which kept the revolution alive.  Eventually, he learned to let General Sucre (SOO-kray) lead the army to brilliant victory, while he organized the politics of the new nations.  Sucre became the first president of Bolivia.


            San Martin and Bolivar had the last of the Spanish forces trapped between their two armies.  The two great liberators met for the only time at Guayaquil, Ecuador, to plan this final strategy.  South America had produced two great men at the same time and the same place; it soon became obvious that there was room for only one.  Bolivar refused to share the glory of the coming victory.  San Martin offered to step down and let Bolivar take charge, But Bolivar would not hear of it--perhaps because it would cause embarrassing questions.  San Martin solved the problem by quietly leaving South America and sailing to Europe where he lived the rest of his life.  Bolivar became the great hero; perhaps, by his generosity San Martin proved which was the greater man.




"Independence is the sole benefit we have achieved, and that at the cost of all others.  Our constitutions are books, our laws papers, our elections battles, and life itself a torment.  We shall arrive at such a state that no foreign nation will condescend to conquer us, and we shall be governed by petty tyrants."  

            So wrote Simon Bolivar in disappointment on his deathbed.  It has remained a pretty accurate description of Latin America from his time to today.


            Spain had organized its American lands into four nations.  Within a few years after independence, they had splintered into fifteen weak little countries.


            Argentina had never been very organized.  As soon as they won freedom, the various states tried going their own ways. The dictator, Rosas, welded them all together except Paraguay and Uruguay.  Those two small areas played Argentina against its giant neighbor, Brazil.  The four countries fought several wars throughout the 1800s before finally settling the borders.


            Chile had been a part of Peru, but it won its independence a few years before Peru did.  So it already had its own government.  Bolivia had been handed back and forth between Peru and Argentina.  So the Bolivians decided not to depend on either.  Bolivar tried to stop the regions from splitting apart, but the people bought his silence by naming their new country after him.  Chile, Peru, and Bolivia also fought boundary wars throughout the 1800s--especially over mineral rights.  They even fought one war for huge piles of bird manure on nearby islands.


             Bolivar's fondest dream had been to establish the strong republic of Gran Columbia (today Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama).  Gran Colombia existed for eleven years until Bolivar died.  First to break away was Venezuela.  The Indians there had done most of the fighting for freedom, under their leader, General Paez (PAH-ace).  Paez saw the Indians repeatedly outvoted in the large republic, so he pulled Venezuela out and became its dictator, Ecuador broke away shortly after that.


            The United States of Central America separated from Mexico just two years after independence.  For nearly twenty years, the states stuck together.  But the smaller states felt constantly outvoted by the larger ones.  The Catholic church worked to magnify these differences, hoping for special treatment.  So each state went its own way: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.  

            Spain had never allowed its colonies any experience at self-government.  Bolivar and others wrote democratic constitutions, but the new governments rarely obeyed them.  Usually a military dictator ruled until the next revolution replaced him with another military dictator.


            But amidst all the chaos of Latin American revolutions, three nations deserve attention for being normal.  Chile has enjoyed a long history of parliamentary rule.  In 1891 Chileans fought a civil war to determine whether the congress or the president would run the country.  Congress won.


            Uruguay had been torn by political strife all through the 1800s.  But at the beginning of the twentieth century, it suddenly became the most progressive country in the continent.  It led the way with an eight-hour work day, national health insurance, university education for women, divorce, and separation of church and state.


            Costa Rica also went through turmoil in the 1800s, but in 1889 it held the first really free election in all Latin America.  Over the next fifty years, the democratic tradition grew so strong that people rose in rebellion when a liberal and reforming president refused to honor the election of a conservative.  Leading that rebellion was another liberal, Jose Figueras (ho-SAY fee-GAY-rahs).  Figueras and the revolutionaries turned the liberal promises into reality: social security, minimum wage, health care, the vote for women.  Figueras even convinced the people that it was not necessary to fight neighboring countries, or waste money on weapons.  Costa Rica has had no army since 1949.  With his work done, Figueras then turned the government over to the elected conservative.  After that, the grateful people of Costa Rica twice elected him president.


            But politics in the rest of Latin America stayed so turbulent that between 1809 and 1966 the United States intervened with threats or the Marines eighty-six times.  That was on the average once every two years.






            Brazil belonged to Portugal, (See Vol. II, Chapter 12.)  But Brazil loomed almost a hundred times as big as Portugal.  When Napoleon’s soldiers invaded Spain, John VI of Portugal moved his whole government across the ocean to Brazil.  It was the only time in history that a colony has ruled the mother country.  (Actually, John was not yet king, but looking after the government for his insane mother.)


            John quickly brought Brazil up to European standards by establishing a newspaper, a national library, a national bank, a medical university and many public parks.  In Europe, Napoleon got beaten.  The old queen died, and John became king.  Still he lingered in Brazil, which he had grown to love.  Finally the people of Portugal threatened to revolt if he did not come home, He departed reluctantly from Brazil after thirteen years.


            But John left his twenty-one-year-old son, Dom Pedro, in Brazil to look after things there.  Revolution was sweeping across South America.  King John advised his son that if revolution came to Brazil, he would be wise to become its leader.  A year later, Dom Pedro declared independence from Portugal, and received the crown as first emperor of Brazil.  It was a peaceful revolution.


            At first the Brazilians loved their young emperor.  But they always feared that one day he would become king of Portugal, and the two countries would be united again.  Their revolution would have been for nothing.  After just five years, King John died, and Dom Pedro did become king of Portugal.  But he kept the office just long enough to place his seven-year-old daughter on the Portugese throne.  Brazilians breathed a little easier.


            But after two years, more trouble happened in Portugal, Dom Pedro*s daughter was thrown out of power by her uncle, who wanted to undo the modern reforms of the last two kings.  Dom Pedro concentrated all his energies on helping his daughter.  Officials in the Brazilian government had tired of his high­handed ways, so they suggested he should give up Brazil and go to Europe.  He did exactly that, and helped his daughter win her kingdom back just before he died.  He left his five-year-old son to rule Brazil as Dom Pedro II.


            Dom Pedro II turned out to be a wise leader who brought fifty years of peaceful prosperity.  He encouraged the building of railroads and made Brazil a truly modern nation.  He was a scholarly man whose friends included some of the greatest writers and scientists all over the world, He traveled much in Europe and the Americas, winning respect wherever he went.


            But the problem of slavery was tearing Brazil apart.  Slaves had revolted several times over the centuries.  Through most of the 1600s, escaped slaves even established their own kingdom of Palmares deep in the mountains.  Under the leadership of king Ganga-Zumba, several generations grew up in freedom.  After his death, the Portugese governors captured and enslaved the people once more.


            By the 1800s, progressive leaders such as Dom Pedro II hated slavery, but he tried to change things gradually so that the country would hold together.  Laws allowed no new slaves to enter the country.  Any more children born to slaves were born free.  All of the remaining slaves could retire into freedom at age sixty.  The emperor's daughter and heir, Princess Isabella, worked actively in the anti-slavery movement.  One time when her father traveled out of the country, she pushed a law through congress which freed the slaves immediately.


            The wealthy slave owners howled furiously.  Old Dom Pedro lay in feeble health.  Conservative leaders thought they had better act quickly before the strong and forward-minded Isabella got power.  They asked Dom Pedro to resign.  The tired old man did so, and the Brazilians declared a republic.




            The island of Haiti belonged to France.  But the population was very different from most of Latin America: 6 % white slave-owners, 4 % mulatto (mixed race) slave-owners, and 90 % black slaves.


            When the French Revolution began, the talk of liberty and equality spread to Haiti.  An aging slave called Toussaint l’ouverture (too-SAHNG loo-ver-TYOOR) led the slaves to freedom.  (See Volume II, Chapter 33.)  The revolutionary French government recognized the end of slavery, and Toussaint became the French governor of Haiti.  The white and mulatto landowners asked England and Spain to send armies to recapture the slaves.  But Toussaint drove out both countries with the help of his two generals, Jacques Dessalines (ZHAHK day-sa-LEEN) and Henri Christophe (on-RAY krees-TOFF).


            Toussaint Invited all races to work together, and soon the plantations operated profitably again.  But meanwhile, Napoleon had come to power in France, and sent an army to return Haiti to slavery.  With the French army came an educated mulatto from Haiti named Alexandre Petion (pay-TYONG).  The French pretended to be friendly, and Dessalines and Christophe both joined them too.  But Toussaint was not fooled.  He declared Haiti’s independence, and became its president.  The french invited him to a peace conference, but they seized him and sent him to prison in France where he died.


            Dessalines, Christophe, and Petion all rebelled and drove the French out for good.  Dessalines made himself emperor of Haiti as Jacques I.  He had been a cruel general.  As emperor, he massacred most of the white people in his land.  He seized the large plantations, and forced all people--the wealthy and the lazy poor--to work in a socialist system.  After just two years, Petion started a revolution in the south.  The emperor ordered his soldiers into action, but they shot him instead,


            Christophe was elected as the next president, but he soon changed his title to King Henri I.  He rewarded other leaders with titles such as the Duke of Marmalade and the Count of Lemonade.  Christophe had gained his military experience by helping in the American Revolution.  Now he organized the laws of Haiti and used the army to enforce them.  He completely stamped out crime.  He also did a lot of building.


            Christophe ruled only the north half of Haiti.  Petion had turned the south into a republic.  But Petion, with a black mother and a white father, did not dare to anger the black majority by enforcing the laws.  The north, under the iron hand of Christophe, became orderly and prosperous.  In the south, people felt more free, but crime raged and the economy was a mess.  Still many Haitians moved to the south.


            After eleven years, Christophe grew more and more arrogant.  Petion had died, and the mulatto President Boyer (bwa-YAY) ruled the south.  When a heart attack paralyzed Christophe from the waist down, politicians invited Boyer to rule all Haiti.  Brave to the last, Christophe tried to get on his horse to fight.  When he could not, he shot himself with a silver bullet.


            Boyer ruled as dictator of all Haiti for twenty-five years until the black majority drove him out of office.  Then one ancient black president died right after another.   The revolutionary leaders were getting too old for the job.  So they picked a really stupid man who they thought they could manage, General Soulouque (sue-LUKE).  The surprised general could not read or write.  He made voodoo the national religion.  He bungled the government terribly.  But to keep people from noticing his mistakes, he gave them a grand spectacle: he crowned himself as Emperor Faustin I.  He ordered fancy uniforms for his bodyguards.  (Because the emperor could not read what was written on the medallions, the manufacturer felt safe in cutting them from old sardine cans.)  Soulouque kept up the royal show for eleven years.  But finally people revolted, and he left the country.  Since then, Haiti has followed the usual Latin American pattern of one dictator ruling until the next revolution puts a different dictator in his place.




            In the late 1800s, European nations scrambled to build empires around the world.  The United States had expanded as far as it could on land, and jealously looked at Spain's last two American Islands--Cuba and Puerto Rico (PWAIR-toe REE-koe).  In 1898, the United States used a mysterious ship explosion as an excuse to declare war on Spain.


            One politician eager for war was Undersecretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt.  He sent ships to conquer Spanish islands halfway around the world in the Pacific Ocean, as well as in Latin America.  But Roosevelt wanted more action; he resigned from his desk job and organized his 'Rough Rider" cavalry group.  Against orders, he led his men on a successful charge up San Juan Hill (after black soldiers had made it safe).  Roosevelt suddenly became a national hero.


            Just as suddenly, the United States won the war and found itself the owner of a small but scattered empire: Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam.  The next year it added Hawaii.  To get local help in the war, the United States had promised independence to the Cubans.  The promise was honored, and Cuba became free.  (For the very different story of the Philippines, see Unit V, Chapter 5.)  When Roosevelt tried sending ships to fight a war in both oceans, he realized the need for a canal across Central America--especially if the United States planned to hold its new empire together.  A group of French businessmen had started digging a canal, but the company went bankrupt.  As president of the United States, Roosevelt bought out the French company and negotiated a right-of-way across the narrowest part of Colombia.  But the Colombian senate objected.


            A revolution broke out. (Many people said that the United States started the revolution, but that has never been definitely proven.)  Anyway, just three days after the revolution started, President Roosevelt recognized the revolutionaries as the Republic of Panama.  In return, the Panamanians granted the United States a right-of-way across their land forever.


            The biggest problem in building the canal was yellow fever.  Dr. Walter Reed identified the mosquito as the disease carrier.  Since then, swamp drainage programs have made life in Central America much healthier.


            With the opening of the Panama Canal, the Unites States had more Latin American interests to protect than ever before.  More and more often it interfered in the politics of Latin American nations.  Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Latin Americans have learned to fear their giant northern neighbor.




            The arts in Latin America have gone through the same stages as in Europe and North America.  Until independence, the art, literature, and architecture mostly imitated that of the European masters, The first truly Latin American literature developed during the Romantic period.


            One of the best Romantic novels ever written was Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson of Argentina.  (Actually, his parents had come from the United States, and he did all of his writing in England.  But his books told about his Latin American homeland.)  Green Mansions is a love story about a free-spirited Venezuelan girl who lives in the forest and speaks the language of the birds.


            Ruben Dario (roo-BEN dah-REE-o) of Nicaragua led the way into Realist literature.  Here is what he wrote about the way Theodore Roosevelt meddled in Latin American politics:




You are the United States;

You are the future foe

Of free America that keeps its Indian blood,

That prays to Jesus Christ, and speaks in Spanish still.

You are a fine example of a strong and haughty race;

   You’re learned and you’re clever; to Tolstoy* you're opposed;                        *who believed in

And whether taming horses or slaying savage beasts,                                             non-violence

You seem an Alexander and Nebuchadnezzar+ too.                                         +a mad king

(As madmen today are wont# to say,               #inclined

You’re a great professor of energy.)

You seem to be persuaded that life is but combustion,

That progress is eruption,

And where you send the bullet

You bring the future.


            The best-loved of all Latin American writers was a lady schoolteacher from Chile, Gabriela Mistral (mees-TRAHL).  She served as an ambassador, and she received the Nobel Prize for literature.  She wrote about the simple things which never change:




While the world is still light

and my child is wide awake,

in his face there's nothing

but a winking, winking, winking.


The poplar* grove winks                                                            *tree that turns yellow in the fall

with her yellow fingers,

while behind her clouds

pirouette+ like baby goats.                                                                        +spin on their toes


The katydid at noonday

winks with its hindlegs,

while an impudent# little breeze                                                                  #sassy

winks with its shirt tail.


When night descends the cricket

winks ever so slyly,

and as the stars come out,

they wink at me with saintly winks.


I say to that other Mother,@                                                                        @Virgin Mary

where the two roads flood each other,

Put your Little One to sleep,

So mine will go to sleep.


And that most Indulgent* One,                                                                      *generous

Radiance of the crossroads,

answers, You put yours to sleep--

So mine will go to sleep.


            One of Gabriela Mistral's students Pablo Neruda (nay-RU-tha) also won the Nobel Prize for literature.  He belonged to the Communist party in Chile, and was known as "the people's poet."  In his warm and loving way, this Is what he wrote about North American business exploitation of Latin America:




When the trumpet sounded,

it was all prepared on the earth,

And Jehovah parceled out the earth

to Coca Cola, Inc., Anaconda,

Ford Motors, and other entities:

The Fruit Company, Inc.

reserved for itself the most succulent,*                                                       *juicy

the central coast of my own land,

the delicate waist of America.

It rechristened its territories

as the "Banana Republics"

and over the sleeping dead,

over the restless heroes

who brought about the greatness,

the liberty and the flags,

it established the comic opera:

abolished the independencies,

presented crowns of Caesar,

unsheathed envy,+ attracted                                                +made naked greed a weapon

Trujillo flies, Tacho flies,

Carias flies, Martinez flies,

Ubico flies,# damp flies                                                            #all Latin American dictators

of modest blood and marmalade,

drunken flies who zoom

over the ordinary graves,

circus flies, wise flies

well trained in tyranny.


Among the, blood-thirsty flies

the Fruit Company lands its ships,

taking off the coffee and the fruit;

the treasure of our submersed

territories flow as though

on plates into the ships.


Meanwhile Indians are falling

into the sugared chasms@                                                                        @pits


of the harbors, wrapped

for burial in the mist of the dawn:


a body rolls, a thing

that has no name, a fallen cipher,*                                                            +zero


a cluster of dead fruit

thrown down on the dump.


            Hector Villa-Lobos, a musical composer from Brazil, also achieved world-wide fame during the Realist period,


            So far, two Existential writers from Latin America have become world-famous, Jorge Luis Borges (HOR-hay loo-EECE BOR-hace) of Argentina wrote stories and essays to stretch the mind beyond its ordinary limits.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Colombia (and later Mexico) wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude, a strange and exciting story of one family through eight generations.




            Cuba in the 1950s basked as a vacation playground and gambling den for rich people from the United States.  The dictator and his cronies grew fabulously rich on the tourist trade.  But the Cuban people worked in poverty and ignorance.  A wealthy young man named Fidel Castro decided to help his people by starting a revolution.  Castro and his men hid in the mountains.  Many people from all over the world wished success to these shaggy-bearded freedom fighters,


            In 1959, Castro won the revolution and became the new dictator.  He closed down the gambling dens and prostitution parlors.  He turned the old prisons into schools.  He brought electricity and refrigeration to the farm areas.  He also brought a lot of old-time politicians to trial and had them shot.


            The United States grew less friendly.  It refused to buy Cuban sugar at the usual price.  Cuban economy depends on sugar.  When Russia offered to buy the sugar, Castro sold.  Then the United States sponsored an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba.  Castro quickly asked Russia for arms.  Later, Castro said he was a Communist and had been all along.  That may or may not have been.  He had to please his new master now.  He had thrown off the chains of the United States only to become the slave of Russia.


            More exciting to young people was Castro’s lieutenant, Che Guevara (chay gway-VAH-ra).   Many saw him as an Existential hero who remained true to his ideals and refused to sell out to anyone.  Guevara thought in international terms, and tried to bring the Communist revolution to all Latin American countries.  Cuba began supplying weapons and training to rebel leaders.  Frightened dictators all through Latin America broke off relations with Cuba.  Guevara went to fight with the revolutionaries--in Bolivia--only to discover that the Bolivian people did not really care.  He died in that struggle in 1967.  The threat of Communist revolution in Latin America faded away.


            Large Communist parties flourished in several Latin American countries.  If people had been allowed to vote, Communists could have come to power peacefully.  But only Chile had a history of free elections.  And in Chile in 1970, Salvadore Allende (ahl-YEN-day) became the first elected Communist president in Latin America.  The minority would not go along with his plans.  There were strikes and riots--partly financed by the United States.  After three years, army leaders with U.S. backing broke the peaceful tradition and attacked the government headquarters.  Allende died in the surprise attack.  America’s first experiment in freely-elected Communism ended in disaster.


            Nicaragua had a few wealthy people in the cities, and extreme poverty in the countryside.  In 1979, all classes united to throw out their dictator.  The largest group of revolutionaries-­the Communists--quickly took over the government, with Daniel Ortega (or-TAY-ga) at their head.  They redistributed the land of the dictator and his cronies (one-fifth of the whole country) to small farmers.  Some of those farmers banded together in large cooperatives for greater efficiency.  Within five years, everyone had a roof over his head.  Everyone had food.  For the first time, women in the countryside were learning to read and write.  There was even a model prison system with job-training programs and very little security.  On the other hand, the government had dealt harshly with the Indians and the newspapers.  People gladly voted a second term for Ortega.


            But U.S. President Reagan became determined to destroy this government.  He cut off trade and international loans.  He financed an army that mainly terrorized the cooperative farms.  The U.S. navy hid bombs in the harbors.  Both the World Court and the U.S. congress declared these actions illegal, but Reagan and his assistants found sneaky ways to get around the law.  When election time came around again, Nicaraguans were tired of the war, and decided that the only way to get rid of U.S. interference was to get rid of Ortega  too.  He stepped down quietly.  It was the first peaceful change of government in all of Nicaragua's history.







            Not quite all of Latin America belonged to Spain and Portugal.  On the north coast of Brazil, the three Guinas belonged to England, Holland, and France.  England also owned Belize and some islands, including the Bahamas and Jamaica.  Holland and France also owned a few islands.  Denmark owned the Virgin Islands until the United States bought them in 1917.


            In the 1950's, the mother countries began granting their colonies more freedom.  England gave complete independence to most of its colonies.  Some of these new nations erupted into racial violence.  The United States granted the people in its colonies all the rights of citizenship except voting for president.  The colonies can become states whenever they want.  France made its colonies states, with representatives in the French government--quite a change from the days when France sent its worst undesirables to Devil’s Island prison in French Guiana.  Holland made its colonies equal partners with the mother country.  Holland also built racial harmony between the white, Indian, black, and Asian workers who had been brought in.  Its colony of Surinam (or Dutch Guiana) had long been a safety zone for escaped African slaves who set up their own villages in the jungle.





            William Walker was an adventurer from the United States.  In 1853, he invaded Lower California, and declared it an independent republic with himself as president.  The next year, when he claimed more Mexican territory, the Mexican government drove him out.  He fled back to the United States.  A year after that, he pirated an American merchant ship and invaded Nicaragua.  He took over control of the Nicaraguan army, and soon got himself elected president of that country.  As president, he decided that the worst enemies of Latin Americans were United States businessmen.  So he seized some of their property and gave it back to Nicaragua.  The businessmen--particularly Cornelius Vanderbilt--paid all the other Central American nations to go to war with Nicaragua.  After two years, Walker had to flee to the United States again.  He tried many times to get back to Nicaragua, but he never made it.  Finally he was captured and turned over to the other Central American countries.  They shot him.





            Jose Marti (ho-SAY mar-TEE) is the national hero of Cuba.  Eugenio Maria de Hostos is the national hero of Puerto Rico.  Both were poets, philosophers, and patriots in the late 1800s.  Marti campaigned tirelessly to free the islands from Spain.  He had to do much of his work in the United States.  He died three years before his dream came true.  Hostos tried to unite the Caribbean islands into a strong federation, and designed a model government.  But it did not happen, and the islands went the way of all other Latin American dictatorships.






            For fifty years, Chile and Argentina had squabbled about where their border ran through the Andes Mountains.  By 1902, men of both nations prepared to go to war and die for their country.  On Easter Sunday the Bishop of Chile had the courage to preach peace when people wanted blessings for war.  The Bishop of Argentina followed his example.  Citizens of both countries were persuaded, and forced their governments to settle the boundary dispute peacefully.  The women of both countries felt so happy about their men's lives being spared that they had the guns melted down and made into a huge statue of Christ.  Soldiers from both nations hauled the statue up to the mountain peak dividing the two countries.  It stands as a reminder to the people of Chile and Argentina and the world that peace remains a better solution than war.



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