Latin America’s Wars The Haitian War for Independence (1791-1803) was a struggle between the privileged whites, the pure blacks, and those of mixed blood who sought more liberties. Latin American wars for independence were caused by class systems that exalted Europeans and economic systems made to benefit the motherland. After the Spanish king was forced to leave the vast population of Latin America, whether they would unite or break into separate nations became an important question. The poorly defined boundaries of the newly independent nations caused wars, particularly in Spanish South America.
Latin America’s Wars Cuadillos, such as Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, gained followers and started wars to achieve their own personal goals. The cause for the War of the Pacific (1879-83) was the arbitrary taxation and duties imposed by Bolivia upon Chilean-owned nitrate firms. In the decades following independence, the unresolved struggle between those who wanted a monarchy and those who favored a republic led to wars such as the Brazilian Civil War of 1893-94. Commercial nations, such as the U.S. and Great Britain, frequently intervened within Latin America when they thought their investments were being threatened. Religion was a prime motivator during the intraclass struggles that plagued Colombia during the last seven decades of the nineteenth century.
Mexico’s War of the Reform By 1848, Mexico had lost a third of its national territory to the United States, which led to rebellion in the northern states. In early 1853 the Mexican Conservatives recalled Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna from exile to restore order. Meanwhile, the Liberals slowly gained control, and on August 4, 1855, Santa Anna resigned and five days later fled into exile. The Conservatives began to rebel, and were in Puebla by January 17. The Battle of Ocotlao took place on February 23, 1856. After numerous battles, the Conservatives surrendered on December 3. On December 17 Brig. Gen. Felix Maria Zuloaga, commander of the Mexico City garrison, mutinied and declared the Conservative "Plan of Tacubaya.“ By January 1858 Mexico had two governments, the Conservative Felix Zuloaga and the Liberal Benito Juarez.
Mexico’s War of the Reform Conservative forces chased Juarez northwest across Mexico, and on April 11 he rode in a U.S. merchant steamer to Panama. Before leaving, Juarez named Santos Degolladocommander of the Liberal army. Miguel Miramon and Leonardo Marquez marched north from Mexico City, but as soon as the Conservative army passed through an area, the Liberal guerrillas filtered back into the territory. Juarez had arrived at Vera Cruz on May 4, 1858, where he reestablished his Liberal government. On February 2, 1859, Miramon was elevated to the presidency by the Conservatives and decided to attack Vera Cruz, but yellow fever broke out among his troops. Liberal General Degollado advanced against Mexico City, but suffered defeat by Marquez. Miramon’s army was defeated at San Miguel Calpulalpan, Tlaxoala, on December 22. On January 1, 1861, Gonzalez Ortega entered Mexico City, securing a Liberal victory.
The Second World The NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), which went into effect on January 1, 1994, was supposed to help Mexico into the first world. However, joining NAFTA has put Mexico under America’s strategic umbrella. One Mexican diplomat said, “Globalization is our real existential crisis: harsh adjustments to international competition, wider income gaps, and more drug and people trafficking through our territory to the U.S.”
The Second World Mexico is diversifying away from dependency on a single commodity. It was once mainly an oil exporter, but now manufactured goods account for 80% of its exports. However, hundreds of maquiladoresare shutting down and moving to China, where manufacturing is becoming more and more rapid. This has resulted in many lost Mexican jobs, and thus a spike in illegal immigration into the United States.
The Second World Inequality and instability go hand in hand; Mexico is a country where colonial monuments stand right beside slums. The rural-urban split in Mexico’s politics reveals that there are four Mexicos: The northern region on the American border, where dollars and pesos are interchangeable. Central Mexico, the country’s capital and bread basket. The indigenous, economically destitute isthmus region. The “New Maya” region of the Yucatan, unevenly modernizing and overwhelmingly poor.
The Second World Profit-hungry polleros continue to smuggle immigrants into the U.S., and illegal drugs are largely trafficked to the U.S. through Mexico via local organized crime groups. This turns border towns into places of robbery, kidnapping, and gang warfare. Mexican immigrants take jobs in construction and restaurants that Americans don’t want, but also strain underfunded education and health systems. Because Mexico is so unequal – half the country lives in poverty – immigration into America will continue.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the 35th and current president of Brazil. He ran for president three times unsuccessfully. He won the 2002 election and was inaugurated as President on January 1, 2003. In the 2006 election he was re-elected for a second term as President, which will end on January 1, 2011.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva He is known for the BolsaFamília, a governmental welfare program that provides financial aid to poor and indigent Brazilian families on condition that their children attend school and are vaccinated. About 12 million Brazilian families receive funds from BolsaFamília, and The Economist has described it as an “anti-poverty scheme invented in Latin America which is winning converts worldwide." Lulais presently rated the most popular Brazilian president of all time, with an 80% approval rate. He is featured in Time's “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” for 2010.