WI decent governance in 20th-century Latin America?

Hendryk

Banned
A documentary about architect Oscar Niemeyer I saw on TV recently made me wonder about all the unfulfilled promises of Brasilian history, and more generally Latin American history as a whole.
In the mid-20th century countries like Argentina and Brasil were widely regarded as regional powers in the making. They had size, they had resources, and therefore, it was assumed, they would sooner or later achieve powerhouse status. In the late 1950s Brasilian president Juscelino Kubitschek hired Niemeyer and city planner Lucio Costa to design from the ground up a brand new capital city, a Latin American Washington D.C. as it were. Within four years, Brasilia, arguably a masterwork of modern architecture, was up and running. It all went downhill from there.
So, two questions: what if Latin American countries (at least the larger ones) had managed to have decent, development-oriented regimes in the second half of the 20th century? (not necessarily democratic ones, but reasonably concerned about economic development, such as Singapore's, Taiwan's or South Korea's at the time). And, what POD would have been necessary?
 
Most of Latin America's problems can be traced back to colonial Spain and the type of revolutions that set the various nations free. I doubt 'decent government' can suddenly spring into existence in the 1950s or so without the haunting shadow of the past continually lingering about. There is also the complexities of the Cold War to consider when a stable civilian government may be considered to be leaning too far towards Communism and the US (most likely) sponsors a military coup to replace the government. I personally feel that a POD would most likely have to be in the 19th century to rule out anyone saying "Things were bad then and so someone powerful did something about it".

On another note, Brasilia was just a very bad idea. Tho I guess that there are very few nations that possess enough land to just go off and create a new capital like that. The environs certainly weren't the best, which contributed to decay of the buildings, and it did take a while for there to develop a worthwhile city around it. I've read that for a while there was no sort of nightlift and that politicians flew back to their hometowns every weekend.
 
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Sigh. One of the great lost opportunities of Latin America is when they didn't found a federation so that coup attempts wouldn't work because there were too many power centers. One Navy to bind them all together and a big enough market for commerce to be efficient.
The other one is when the Holocaust took place and they had all those free Jews available. Imagine what would have happened if they had took them in and got the benefit of the skills and talents of nine million European Jews fleeing the Communists and Nazis.
 
Hendryk said:
So, two questions: what if Latin American countries (at least the larger ones) had managed to have decent, development-oriented regimes in the second half of the 20th century? (not necessarily democratic ones, but reasonably concerned about economic development, such as Singapore's, Taiwan's or South Korea's at the time). And, what POD would have been necessary?
Hmm. You might wanna avoid the Great Depression; absent that, the democracies in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay will do much better.

Or, perhaps, a fascist Argentina that joins the Axis. (Or more plausibly, one that joins the allies early on). It gets involved in The Atlantic Treatory Organization, and the economic liberalization that follows.

Chile and Uruguay follow; not sure what to do about Brazil.
 
Faeelin said:
Hmm. You might wanna avoid the Great Depression; absent that, the democracies in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay will do much better.

Or, perhaps, a fascist Argentina that joins the Axis. (Or more plausibly, one that joins the allies early on). It gets involved in The Atlantic Treatory Organization, and the economic liberalization that follows.

Chile and Uruguay follow; not sure what to do about Brazil.
What if Brazil goes Communist?
 
If there were ever a 'decent' government in latin America in the XXth century, it would quickly be toppled by an US-sponsored coup, ( prior to the XXth, it could also have been a british-sponsored one ), as not subservient enough to US companies interests. It is not for nothing that 'banana republics' have become a byword. ( of course, there were also governments subservient to the US mob rather than US companies, but these cannot be called decent, either ).

In order for a 'decent' government to exist in Latin America ( or elsewhere ), its country internal society must be able to stand up to external pressures. This means either a strong constitution - and a tradition of respecting it in all the layers of society - or the possibility to play foreign powers one against the other. The former has been a problem is most cases in Latin Ameria since it found independance through stong men revolutions; the later has been denied by history, as it has nearly always been the restricted playground of one foreign power after the other ( Spain, then UK, then US, in sequence, rather than concurentially ).

That being said, there are some government which seem decent and try to reform currently, and some of them have been in place since the late XXth century. I attribute this to the US reform in not supporting dictator any longer and going for less crude methods of imposing its will ( and the profits of its companies ) - at least for a time; given recent developments, I am unsure whether this will last -.
 
Wendell said:
What if Brazil goes Communist?
Ah, but how does that manage that?

On the surface of things, it seems (vaguely) plausible. Especially Northern Brazil, which was mind numbingly poor. Perhaps the south can become a US ally?
 
fhaessig said:
If there were ever a 'decent' government in latin America in the XXth century, it would quickly be toppled by an US-sponsored coup, ( prior to the XXth, it could also have been a british-sponsored one ), as not subservient enough to US companies interests. It is not for nothing that 'banana republics' have become a byword. ( of course, there were also governments subservient to the US mob rather than US companies, but these cannot be called decent, either ).
I realize that it's fashionable to blame the US for the ills of the world, but this isn't fair at all.

The US is responsible, to an extent, for Pinochet. But the US was not responsible for Peron in Argentina. (Heck, we wanted him to lose because we thought he was a fascist sympathizer). It was not responsible for Vargas in Brazil.

Mind, I'm not happy with the idea that this is all the fault of Spain. An independent CSA would've been a disaster of a nation; would that have been the fault of Britain due to their colonial policy?
 
Faeelin said:
Ah, but how does that manage that?

On the surface of things, it seems (vaguely) plausible. Especially Northern Brazil, which was mind numbingly poor. Perhaps the south can become a US ally?
In OTL, the Brazilian communists were concentrated on the southern cities; trying to get the northern rural population would be a challenge - they were wary of Marxism because of its atheism. I'd say a communist South is more likely than a communist North.
 
Guilherme Loureiro said:
In OTL, the Brazilian communists were concentrated on the southern cities; trying to get the northern rural population would be a challenge - they were wary of Marxism because of its atheism. I'd say a communist South is more likely than a communist North.
Wasn't there an attempted revolution in 1935 that took over Natal?
 
Faeelin said:
I realize that it's fashionable to blame the US for the ills of the world, but this isn't fair at all.

The US is responsible, to an extent, for Pinochet. But the US was not responsible for Peron in Argentina. (Heck, we wanted him to lose because we thought he was a fascist sympathizer). It was not responsible for Vargas in Brazil.
But the US influence was far more pernicious in the actual 'banana' republics - take Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador. Or their support for Galtieri in Argentina ("honorable way out?!" - better be glad Maggie didn't hold grudges), or the Guatemalan regime change. The big and relatively powerful nations towards the southern end of the continent were, if anything, less affected. Of course not everything that happened in Latin America is the US' fault - Surinam, for example, managed to make a hash of its politics quite without help - but after a century of pervasive and often very powerfully pursued US influence in the area you can't say that the US are innocent of it any more than you can absolve Europe from Africa's troubles.

Mind, I'm not happy with the idea that this is all the fault of Spain. An independent CSA would've been a disaster of a nation; would that have been the fault of Britain due to their colonial policy?
That, and the British support a Confederate victory would require, are charges I can see working reasonably well, actually. The British introduced the slave system under which the south operated, they propped up its economy and they would have to be the chief agents of its independence. If they then chose to involve themselves deeply in its internal affairs (as they probably would) and allow its government to perpetuate creaking power structures by aid and support (as they might), surely a failed state Confederacy could be laid at Britain's door to a large extent.
 
Faeelin said:
I realize that it's fashionable to blame the US for the ills of the world, but this isn't fair at all.

The US is responsible, to an extent, for Pinochet. But the US was not responsible for Peron in Argentina. (Heck, we wanted him to lose because we thought he was a fascist sympathizer). It was not responsible for Vargas in Brazil.
I don't blame the US for ALL the ills of the world. It is responsible for enough that it doesn't need anyone to add to these.

Beside, the US is also responsible for a great deal of good in the world, which earned it a lot of gratitude for a long time.

The problems I have are threefold. First, US has long drained that well of gratitude dry, but still persists in drawing on it, in essence saying 'everyone I ever helped, and their descendents, are forever indentured to me.'. Second, US, as a general rule, doesn't acknowledge that it ever did any wrong and always maintain that all its acts were always altruistic; all the advantages it gained from these are unintended consequences. Third, I'm afraid the US is not a major force for good in the world at the present, whatever its stated intentions. At best, I will grade it a marginally good influance, but it could be a definite force for ills, depending on what the final results of the current US adventures are.

To come back to the thread, I agree that SOME of the dictatorships in latin america were home-grown and may even not have been coopted by US interests, but that was not my contention. My point was that, in the XXth century, whenever a democratic government was elected in Latin America, its first acts included land reforms. Which immediately threatened the interests of the land owners. Among whom were major US companies or who were linked to such. As a consequences, US always was against democratic governments in Latin America for most of the XXth century and acted to destabilise them.

Don't take me wrong. What Europe Did in IT'S colonies was not better, and much worse in a lot of cases, at least until the last decades. If the questions would have been why are there so few 'decent' governments in Africa, the blame would have been squarely on Europe. Bu that was not the point of the thread.
 
Faeelin said:
Ah, but how does that manage that?

On the surface of things, it seems (vaguely) plausible. Especially Northern Brazil, which was mind numbingly poor. Perhaps the south can become a US ally?
It could be divided by race. The southern three states could separate from the rest of Brazil, and join either Argentina or Uruguay, or become independent altogether. The rest of Brzil could go Communist. What would cause that? I'm not sure yet.
 
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