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Communism in Latin America

Anticommunism In Latin America, The Cuban Model, Guerrilla Insurgents, Democratic Transition, Conclusion, Bibliography

Latin America in the 1890s was a society primed for the dissemination of socialist ideologies. It was ruled by autocrats and oligarchs who were exploiting an increasingly discontented peasant populace and perpetuating a sharply divided two-class social structure. During this time, increased productivity and foreign investment ushered in the earlier stages of exploitative capitalism as well as a wave of European immigrants advocating the Marxist philosophies upon which socialist and communist movements were being built in Europe. The spread of this ideology was acutely evidenced by its recurrent presence in Latin American literature and art, most notably in the Mexican mural movement in the 1920s and 1930s. Led by famous artists such as Diego Rivera (1886–1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974), the mural movement initiated decades of controversial socialist and revolutionary expressions in art and culture throughout the continent.

Revolutionary socialism seemed to "fit" Latin America's two-class society, but it was strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, the armed forces, and the oligarchy. Meanwhile, the Great Depression ushered in a series of revolutions that placed power in the hands of the middle class, began an era of organized labor's political influence, and fostered the emergence of Marxist-socialist political movements and parties. The twenty years that followed were plagued with instability as communist, authoritarian, and democratic groups vied for power.

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