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Central America

In: Historical Events

Submitted By ciellyciel
Words 852
Pages 4
Answer two questions:
1) What do you see as the three main turning points that have created the internal political and cultural tensions in the Central America region from the colonial period to the present day? Describe these turning points in terms of the people who were involved in creating change and the controversies of the times.
The history of Central America is considered to be a colorful one but rather complicated and even tragic because a lot of historical events took place and influenced greatly the political, economic and cultural development of the Central America region. (Perez-Brignoli, 1989)
It is known that Central America has seen wars and dictators, foreign interventions and economic crises. (Booth & Walker, 1999)
To my mind, the three turning points that have created the internal political and cultural tensions in the Central America region from the colonial period to the present day are the following ones:
• Colonization of Central America by Spain in 1523.
• When Central America declared Independence in 1821 and on June 1, 1823 five countries of Central America were united.
• Revolution in 1944-1954 in Guatemala.
The first turning point can be related to the period of colonization. The local population tried to stand against the Spaniards but Indian tribes had no chances to win. All the cities were captured by the colonizers. Some cities were burned and great deals of local people were killed. The Spaniards had control over the whole territory of Guatemala and other countries of Central America. The life of local population changed completely. They became slaves who worked on the plantations and grew coffee and indigo, bananas, and mined gold and silver for the colonizers. These changes in life of the local population lead to organized struggle against the oppression but the majority of colonizers could easily defeat them. The Indians had absolutely no rights. (Perez-Brignoli, 1989)
It is known that the United Provinces of Central America which consisted of five countries Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua had a very short-lived existence. (Gudmunson & Lindo-Fruentis, 1995)
I think that the federal republic which was founded in 1823 with Francisco Morazan at the head did not have any chances to exist. The internal struggle between the liberals and conservatives was endless. The conservatives struggled for the central government, limitation of voting rights and the leading role of the Catholic Church. The liberals wanted the church to be separated from the state. They also struggled for the major power of states but not of the central government. The population suffered greatly. Finally Morazan was overthrown in 1840. (Booth & Walker, 1999)
However, I think this fact of the history of Central America can be considered a turning point.
The other turning point was the period from 1944 to 1954 when there were some progressive and democratic changes in the country. People did not want to live under oppression. There were a lot of strikes organized by the students and working class. A new Constitution was adopted in 1945.
Juan Jose Arevalo was chosen a leader of this revolution and became the first reformist president of Guatemala. There was a great deal of reforms carried out in the country. For example, the Congress had the right to prevent and limit business operations of the foreign monopolies. There were great changes in the economical life, in the educational system. (Handy, 1994)
2) In your opinion, why did the level of violence escalate so dramatically in some particular Central America countries?
I think that the level of violence escalated so dramatically in some particular Central America countries because there was always a struggle for power in the political life of the countries. Moreover, the local population which was represented mostly by Indians was always discriminated. The lands of Central America are rich and always attracted other countries. Spain, the USA, Mexico and other counties always wanted to capture these rich lands. Of course, the local people always struggled against the invaders. The political life in most of the countries of Central America was connected with the regimes of dictators. Numerous military takeovers in all the countries of Central America prove the fact that there was always a great struggle for power. (Holden, 2004)
Let's refer to some facts from the history.
In Guatemala the American monopolies had control over the economical and political life of the country in the XX century. In 1951, there was an attempt to prevent this penetration. The agrarian reform and nationalization of some part of the foreign monopolies led to the military takeover in 1954. (Handy, 1994)
Up to 1985, there were different military regimes in the country which changed each other and the guerrilla war was held against them. The history of Honduras is also connected with numerous takeovers and guerrilla’s wars. There were also a number of dictator’s regimes in Honduras. El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica had the same political changes. (Holden, 2004)
I think the above mentioned facts are the main reason why the level of violence escalated so dramatically in the countries of Central America.

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