State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years

State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years

State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years

State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years


This edited volume explores political violence and genocide in Latin America during the Cold War, examining this in light of the United States' hegemonic position on the continent.

Using case studies based on the regimes of Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Peru and Uruguay, this book shows how U.S foreign policy - far from promoting long term political stability and democratic institutions - has actually undermined them. The first part of the book is an inquiry into the larger historical context in which the development of an unequal power relationship between the United States and Latin American and Caribbean nations evolved after the proliferation of the Monroe Doctrine. The region came to be seen as a contested terrain in the East-West conflict of the Cold War, and a new US-inspired ideology, the 'National Security Doctrine', was used to justify military operations and the hunting down of individuals and groups labelled as 'communists'. Following on from this historical context, the book then provides an analysis of the mechanisms of state and genocidal violence is offered, demonstrating how in order to get to know the internal enemy, national armies relied on US intelligence training and economic aid to carry out their surveillance campaigns.

This book will be of interest to students of Latin American politics, US foreign policy, human rights and terrorism and political violence in general.

Marcia Esparza is an Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Henry R. Huttenbach is the Founder and Chairman of the International Academy for Genocide Prevention and Professor Emeritus of City College of the City University of New York. Daniel Feierstein is the Director of the Center for Genocide Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina, and is a Professor in the Faculty of Genocide at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In the twentieth century, there were numerous left- and right-wing dictatorships, or totalitarian governments, or just dictatorships, plain and simple. These corrupt forms of government are characterized by traits which arise in the wake of the following circumstances: civil or foreign wars; from occupation by a foreign power; from a revolution; from a coup d’état; and as the result of corruption within a democratic context. Against this background, doctrines are imposed upon the nationals of that country, without their consent.

The truth is that, in any event, the state is deified over the real common interest of the citizens; formulas are used that tend to exclude opinions and beliefs; and they often lead to the expulsion, exclusion, or eradication of individuals belonging to a specific race, religion, or ethnic or national group, or of those who belong to banished political parties. Hence the principle that anything goes when it comes to imposing the interest of the winning, dominant, or supreme group.

The methods of exclusion range from those that prevent someone from doing something, as in the case of censorship, to the point of going as far as the extermination of entire groups. During Hitler’s and Stalin’s eras, that is how millions of men, women, the elderly and children, were annihilated for no other reason than being Jews or Ukrainians.

During the most recent dictatorships in the Americas, kidnapping, torture, and the forced disappearance of people became institutionalized; doctrines were established and defended under the pretext of an extreme degree of nationalism, or national security, or, sometimes, merely on a dictator’s whim.

Nowadays thanks to the “global village,” we are shocked when we watch in our living rooms how in some African towns thousands of people are victims of starvation, disease, filth, and infestations, and how thousands of women, the elderly and children die due to the international agencies’ inability to provide the resources for a decent and humane livelihood, while wars of ethnic “cleansing” are being fought in which millions of dollars and euros are spent that could alleviate so much poverty.

Let us not forget that in Ukraine, Stalin ordered the ever-increasing massacre of millions of peasants simply because they had not been able to produce all the flour needed by the USSR. A paragraph in the introduction to the complete . . .

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