Parasitism and Subversion: The Case of Latin America

Parasitism and Subversion: The Case of Latin America

Parasitism and Subversion: The Case of Latin America

Parasitism and Subversion: The Case of Latin America

Excerpt

This is neither an encyclopaedic treatise nor an elementary introduction to Latin American affairs. It is an attempt to interpret and explain certain specific features of the structure of Latin American societies. My aim has been to provide new insights into causal connections rather than to present hitherto unrecorded data, although some factual information given has not been brought to light before. Though it is primarily concerned with analysing and explaining the present predicament of Latin America, this book contains a great deal of comparative analysis and is intended as a contribution to general understanding of the factors which foster or impede the progress of human societies towards a decent social order -- that is to say, towards the elimination of poverty, ill treatment and violence.

A medical report does not give a well-rounded picture of a person's body since it entirely omits its aesthetic qualities. In the same way the contents of the present study do not add up to a well-rounded picture of Latin American societies and cultures. I have restricted myself to the analysis of certain social mechanisms, and tried to disentangle the causes and effects of the economic difficulties and political troubles which afflict Latin America. The view appears rather sombre because it is focused on phenomena generally regarded as evil. One could provide a much more attractive picture of Latin America by concentrating on the arts, literature, music, forms of entertainment or manners.

As widespread social evils are seldom unconnected with the selfish and brutal behaviour of powerful groups and individuals, an honest study of an afflicted society must perforce contain a great deal of muck-raking. Moreover all groups create and cherish myths, some of which are fairly innocuous, others highly pernicious, whilst deliberate misrepresentation has always been used for bolstering power, though in varying measure. So merely by telling the truth about important issues, a writer cuts himself off from a position of comfortable neutrality and exposes himself . . .

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