Prophets of the Revolution: Profiles of Latin American Leaders

Prophets of the Revolution: Profiles of Latin American Leaders

Prophets of the Revolution: Profiles of Latin American Leaders

Prophets of the Revolution: Profiles of Latin American Leaders

Excerpt

"Revolution" is a respectable word in Latin America. Leading public figures pledge their loyalty to one revolution or another. The word is used in the names of political parties in a dozen countries. The "Party of Revolutionary Institutions" rules Mexico, the "National Revolutionary Movement" has been governing Bolivia for nearly a decade.

The average United States citizen is not unacquainted with what he believes to be the Latin American proclivity for revolutions. About the only time he reads about the other American republics in his newspapers is when the government of one or another of them is overthrown. "Revolutions," therefore, seem to him to be endemic in the area.

However, the word "revolution" is used very differently in the two hemispheres. What the North American reads about in his press as "revolutions" in Latin America are more often than not mere coups d'état or military uprisings by discontented colonels or generals. In contrast, when the Latin American uses the word he means a fundamental alteration of the political, social, and economic life of his country. It is this type of revolution that we are talking about in the present volume.

The men discussed in these pages have all sought to lead their countries through a process of basic transformation, to bring them into the twentieth century, if you will. They have sought to destroy old institutions and to put new ones in their place. They have attempted to break old and rigid traditions in politics and in social and economic organization. They have sought to make agrarian reform, modernized agriculture, manufacturing industry, labor unions, social insurance, and other innovations a part of the life of their nations.

Furthermore, these men have all been indigenous social re-

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