Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Was Armed Insurrection Worth It in Latin America?

Jim Wyss and Glenn Garvin wrote a very good article in the Miami Herald that has background on guerrilla insurgencies in Latin America and asks the question, "Were they worth it?" The thrust of the question is whether those insurrections were necessary to achieve any meaningful reform in the long run. The question reminds me of a provocative academic article Victor Figueroa Clark wrote not long ago about how the Chilean armed opposition played a role in changing US policy and hastened the democratic transition.

The authors correctly have a quote about how some countries did not have armed rebels and reforms still happened. It would be fascinating to analyze why, and to think of the counterfactuals. In Colombia, one could even argue that the growth of the FARC served as an obstacle to reform. The government was ignoring the countryside, but by the 1980s could do nothing there but fight anyway. There was no chance the FARC would defeat the government, so 50 years of civil war has been entirely disastrous.

What would've happened in El Salvador had the FMLN not brought disparate rebel groups together? Just never-ending oppression or gradual reform? Is the current situation, after so many thousands dead from all sides, better? Very tough but fascinating questions.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP