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Discussion

Question 1

Back in the 1970s, a number of Latin American countries, including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, borrowed financial support from other countries for the purposes of industrialisation. At that period, these countries were characterised by soaring economies, hence the creditors were determined to continue funding them. The situation later led to a financial crisis commonly referred to as the Latin America debt crisis. At this period, these countries had their foreign debts exceeding their earning power; therefore, they were unable to repay the debts. The oil crisis of the 1970s contributed to changes in the Latin American countries economic strategies as they had to find ways of repaying the debts. First of all, these countries negotiated for debt refinancing instead of forgiveness (Burns & Charlip, 263). The Latin America debt crisis led to an increase in consumer prices up to more than fourteen times in the same decade. There was also an increase in the rate of unemployment, while underemployment rose to about 45 percent. Also, the Latin America debt crisis required a reduction in imports and inflation. The real wages, especially in the urban areas, had dropped to more than 40 percent. The investments that would have been used to repay these debts were instead used to reduce poverty and address social issues. It was from such reasons that the Latin America debt crisis led to a change in the economic strategies.

Question 2

In order to curb the oil crisis of the 1970s, several social movements were established, which had exercised significant impact on the new democracies. These crises signified the end of the “Golden Age” and the rise of neoliberal capitalism. In the US politics, the economic policy agenda called for government economic intervention, labour organisations and establishment of social welfare programs. Most countries were led by the military dictators who were unable to run their economies. The military rulers in these countries were unable to restrict their authoritarian policies to their national territories (Burns & Charlip, 270). The social movements in these countries helped to remove the military leaders. Some of the countries where leaders were overthrown include Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. The repression did not prevent people from organising themselves. One of the most famous social movements was formed in Argentina and was referred to as “Mothers of May plaza”. The movement was led by women who were protesting against the military officials and the police over their lost loved ones. In Mexico, people organised themselves to form a social movement that responded to the military dictatorship. In Brazil, a large social movement was formed under the name “Landless Workers’ Movement”. The movement represented people who were landless in Brazil.  Urban strikes were organized in several countries to protest against the governments. The United States played a role in the removal of military dictators in some countries. Most of these social movements played a vital role in changing the leadership of their respective countries.

“Plan Columbia” is a term used to refer to the United States legislation that aimed at reducing drug smuggling as well as left-wing insurgency in Columbia through supporting different activities. The plan was originally proposed by the former Columbian president Andres Pastrana to include the US military and counter narcotic aids. There have been several consequences of this plan, and one of them is the reduction of drug smuggling. The US government was able to fumigate coca fields and provide airplane and helicopters that supply information regarding the guerrilla activity of the Colombian military. However, the relationship between the US and other countries, such as Venezuela, has soured (Burns & Charlip, 302). The war on drugs has created some internal displacement in Colombia, but the war on drugs is not yet lost.  

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