In from the Cold

Latin America’s New Encounter with the Cold War

In from the Cold

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 456 Illustrations: 17 illustrations Published: January 2008

History > Latin American History, U.S. History, Politics > Political Science

Over the last decade, studies of the Cold War have mushroomed globally. Unfortunately, work on Latin America has not been well represented in either theoretical or empirical discussions of the broader conflict. With some notable exceptions, studies have proceeded in rather conventional channels, focusing on U.S. policy objectives and high-profile leaders (Fidel Castro) and events (the Cuban Missile Crisis) and drawing largely on U.S. government sources. Moreover, only rarely have U.S. foreign relations scholars engaged productively with Latin American historians who analyze how the international conflict transformed the region's political, social, and cultural life. Representing a collaboration among eleven North American, Latin American, and European historians, anthropologists, and political scientists, this volume attempts to facilitate such a cross-fertilization. In the process, In From the Cold shifts the focus of attention away from the bipolar conflict, the preoccupation of much of the so-called "new Cold War history," in order to showcase research, discussion, and an array of new archival and oral sources centering on the grassroots, where conflicts actually brewed.

The collection's contributors examine international and everyday contests over political power and cultural representation, focusing on communities and groups above and underground, on state houses and diplomatic board rooms manned by Latin American and international governing elites, on the relations among states regionally, and, less frequently, on the dynamics between the two great superpowers themselves. In addition to charting new directions for research on the Latin American Cold War, In From the Cold seeks to contribute more generally to an understanding of the conflict in the global south.

Contributors. Ariel C. Armony, Steven J. Bachelor, Thomas S. Blanton, Seth Fein, Piero Gleijeses, Gilbert M. Joseph, Victoria Langland, Carlota McAllister, Stephen Pitti, Daniela Spenser, Eric Zolov


“The editors have assembled a valuable collection that will prove useful to U.S. diplomatic and Latin American scholars alike. . . . By linking the geostrategic aspects of the great power struggle to the cultural and grassroots experience on the ground, In From the Cold offers a fresh perspective on Latin America’s Cold War.” — Jason M. Colby, EIAL

“There is no weak link in this volume.” — Everard Meade, Canadian Journal of History

In From the Cold brings new insights on the different ways that the superpowers’ rivalries shaped politics and culture in Latin America. A truly collaborate and interdisciplinary project by eleven U. S. and Latin American historians, anthropologists, and political scientists . . . the authors provide fresh narratives showing that the intense struggle that spread political terror and produced episodes of violence and trauma also generated spaces for resistance . . . influenced the Latin American media, and gave national leaders carte blanche in the designs of policies, domestic and international.” — Ivani Vassoler, Perspectives on Political Science

“Given the array of authors, [In from the Cold] would be a very useful addition to a number of different courses, and its challenge to the status quo should spark probing discussions of precisely how to understand the nature of the Cold War in Latin America. . . . The master narrative of great power rivalry is no mere invention. What this book makes clear, however, is that it was not nearly as all-encompassing as is generally argued.” — Gregory Weeks,, Hispanic American Historical Review

“[T]his volume is an admirable piece of work that puts into view a corpus of research that is valuable and fascinating on its own merits but also makes an important point about intellectual innovation.” — Aaron Navarro, Bulletin of Latin American Research

“Gilbert M. Joseph and Daniela Spenser present a refreshing intellectual rapprochement of the Cold War as Latin Americans experienced it. . . . In from the Cold blazes new trails in our understanding of the Cold War in Latin America and deserves a wide audience among students and scholars of the period and region.” — Matthew A. Redinger, Journal of American History

“The collection serves as an excellent guide not only for understanding the ‘specificity of Latin America in the global Cold War,’ but also for identifying points of continuity between the Cold War and the contemporary War on Terror.” — Claire Fox, New Mexico Historical Review

“This ambitious and worthy enterprise builds upon the scholarship of recent years that has articulated new perspectives on the Latin American Cold War.” — Arthur Schmidt, A Contracorriente

“Of exceptional importance, In from the Cold is, at last, a volume general readers and classes have needed to fill a wide, embarrassing, and revealing gap in the current literature. It is an authoritative, cross-cultural, and provocatively interpretive work (led by Gilbert M. Joseph’s superb introductory overview of both the global Cold War and post–1945 U.S.–Latin American relations), and notably important in regard to Washington’s success in helping to kill Latin American democratic and independent cultural movements even as U.S. officials were demanding the spread of democracy elsewhere.” — Walter LaFeber, Andrew and James Tisch University Professor, Cornell University

“This outstanding collection explains why Latin America was central to the Cold War and why the Cold War was central for Latin America. By providing easy access to some of the best research currently being undertaken on Cold War history, the editors have done a great favor to those who are looking for critical and innovative explorations of the recent past.” — O. A. Westad, London School of Economics, author of The Global Cold War


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gilbert M. Joseph is Farnam Professor of History and International Studies at Yale University. He is the editor of Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History: Essays from the North and a coeditor of The Mexico Reader; Fragments of a Golden Age; Crime and Punishment in Latin America; Close Encounters of Empire; and Everyday Forms of State Formation, all also published by Duke University Press.

Daniela Spenser is Senior Research Professor at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social in Mexico City. She is the author of The Impossible Triangle: Mexico, Soviet Russia, and the United States in the 1920s, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface vii

I. New Approaches, Debates, and Sources

What We Now Know and Should Know: Bringing Latin America More Meaningfully into Cold War Studies / Gilbert M. Joseph 3

Recovering the Memory of the Cold War: Forensic History and Latin America / Thomas S. Blanton 47

II. Latin America between the Superpowers: International Realpolitik, the Ideology of the State, and the “Latin Americanization” of the Conflict

The Caribbean Crisis: Catalyst for Soviet Projection in Latin America / Daniela Spenser 77

The View from Havana: Lessons from Cuba’s African Journey, 1959-1976 / Piero Gleijeses 112

Transnationalizing the Dirty War: Argentina in Central America / Ariel C. Armony 134

III. Everyday Contests over Culture and Representation in the Latin American Cold War

Producing the Cold War in Mexico: The Public Limits of Covert Communications / Seth Fein 171

Cuba si, Yanquis no: The Sacking of the Instituto Cultural Mexico-Norteamericano in Morelia, Michoacan, 1961 / Eric Zolov 214

Miracle on Ice: Industrial Workers and the Promise of Americanization in Cold War Mexico / Steven J. Bachelor 253

Chicano Cold Warriors: Cesar Chavez, Mexican American Politics, and California Farmworkers / Stephen Pitti 273

Birth Control Pills and Molotov Cocktails: Reading Sex and Revolution in 1968 Brazil / Victoria Langland 308

Rural Markets, Revolutionary Souls, and Rebellious Women in Cold War Guatemala / Carlota McAllister 350

IV. Final Reflections

Standing Conventional Cold War History on Its Head / Daniela Spenser 381

Selective Bibliography 397

Contributors 427

Index 429
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4121-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4102-4
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