Dispatches From Latin America – Tuesday Book Review

Some of you have asked me to recommend you a starter about Autonomous/ Global Justice/ Global Citizens Movements in Latin America. Today is your day.

For this Tuesday Book Review, I’m excited to share with you what I consider an excellent primer to liberation and anti-neoliberalism movements in America Latina – Dispatches from Latin America: On the Frontlines Against Neoliberalism


Uruguayan essayist Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “If the world is upside-down the way it is now, wouldn’t we have to turn it over to get it to stand up straight?”

This book is pack with accounts and stories of communities and goverments that are daring to turn the world upside down. Unlike the past liberation movements in which the cultural and political theories of liberation were foreign, America Latina now have a new breed of homegrown leaders with ideals and values rooted in the experience of their homeland.

In a mid-1980s song entitled “Buscando América” (Searching for America), salsa singer Ruben Blades, who is now Panama’s minister of tourism, made a plea to awaken a new Latin American identity: I am looking for you, America / And I fear not to find you / Your tracks are lost in the dark / I am calling to you, America. / But you do not respond to me / Those who fear the truth have made you disappear.

But now, two decades later, Blades does not have to look far to find that identity emerging. Recent years have provided fertile ground for the rebirth of the Pan-American dream of Simon Bolívar. Bolívar’s dream was the unification of all South American, Central American, and Caribbean countries.

To the question, “Is it possible [to build] the Kingdom of God on Earth?” the former Nicaraguan Minister of Culture, poet Ernesto Cardenal, answered, “How come a Christian cannot believe in that, when it is the unique thing that Jesus came to preach? A liberation theologian has said that when Jesus used the words God’s kingdom it was equal to the word revolution. It was something completely subversive.”

Pick up this book if you dare to learn how many in the Global South are venturing away from dispair and apathy into hope and action. 

Table of Contents 

Maps of Mexico, Central and South America 8-9
They Rise From the Earth: The Promise of Latin America by Vijay Prashad 13
From Resistance to Offensive: NACLA and Latin America by Teo Ballvé 23
Strategic Challenges for Latin America’s
Anti-Neoliberal Insurgency by Gerardo Réniqu 35
Latin American Feminism:
Gains, Losses and Hard Times by Maruja Barrig 47
The Making of a Transnational Movement by Guillermo Delgado-P 59
Timely Demise for Free Trade Area of the Americas by Laura Carlsen 68
The Kirchner Factor by Andrés Gaudin 77
Chavistas in the Halls of Power, Chavistas in the Streets by Jonah Gindin 86
Venezuela: Defying Globalization’s Logic by Steve Ellner 93
Is Venezuela the New Cuba? by Teo Ballvé 105
Paraguay’s Enigmatic President by Peter Lambert 108
Brazil Takes Lula’s Measure by Emir Sader 115
The Uruguayan Left and the Construction of Hegemony by Raúl Zibechi 130
Evo Morales Turns the Tide of History by Luis A. Gómez 140

¡Bolivia de pie! by Teo Ballvé 151
The Roots of the Rebellion: Insurgent Bolivia by Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson 161
The Roots of the Rebellion: Reclaiming the Nation by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui 173
A Seat at the Table by Chris Jochnick and Paulina Garzón 183
A Sense of Possibility:
Ecuador’s Indigenous Movement Takes Center Stage by Jennifer N. Collins 198
Autonomy and Resistance in Chiapas by Richard Stahler-Sholk 215
Zapatismo and the Emergence of Indigenous Feminism by R. Aída Hernández Castillo 229
Incas, Indios and Indigenism in Peru by Shane Greene 243
Beset by Violence, Colombia’s Indigenous Resist by Mario A. Murillo 257
Rethinking Indigenous Politics in the Era
of the “Indio Permitido” by Charles R. Hale 266

Brazil’s Landless Hold Their Ground by Harry E. Vanden 283
Testimony of an MST Settler: Romilda da Silva Vargas by Sue Branford and Jan Rocha 297
Homeless Movement Builds Momentum by Nicholas Watson 300
Making a People’s Budget in Porto Alegre by Hilary Wainwright 305
Multinational Gold Rush in Guatemala by Benjamin Witte 316
Stories from the Borderland by David Bacon 325
Worker-Run Factories: From Survival to Economic Solidarity by Raúl Zibechi 339
Another World is Possible: The Ceramics of Zanon by Raúl Zibechi 350
Acknowledgments 359
Index 362

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