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The Cold War and the Right in Latin America

Lecture Slides 2021-2022

Lecture Slides 2023-2024

Lecture Material from 2020-2021



Guatemala, 1954

Bay of Pigs and Chile

Civil wars in Central America


Please note that this week's seminars will be held in the Modern Records Centre. We will have a talk from archivists, activities based on discovering Latin American historical documents in the collections of the MRC, as well as a brief discussion of this week's themes and readings. Please meet at your usual seminar time at the main entrance to the Modern Records Centre.

Document review form for use in the session

Intro to the Modern Records centre slides



  • Why was the Cold War in Latin America so “hot”?
  • Why did the military take power in so many Latin American countries from the late 1960s?
  • Proxy Wars, US Imperialism, or Civil Conflicts – Explain the confrontations of Cold War Latin America.
Required Reading: please read ONE of the primary sources AND the McSherry article:

Primary Source:

National Security Archive: Memorandum on Torture and Disappearance in Argentina

OR: Primary Source: National Security Archive: Guatemala and Antiterrorismo (Document 8) 

AND read: Patrice McSherry, Tracking the Origins of a State Terror Network: Operation Condor Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 29, No. 1, Brazil: The Hegemonic Process in Political and Cultural Formation (Jan., 2002), pp. 38-60


Additional Reading

Primary Sources

Song: Los Prisioneros, Latinoamerica es un pueblo al sur de Estados Unidos,[Latin America is a town south of the US] 1984.

Film: Una historia necesaria [a necessary history] Dir. Hernán Caffiero, 2017.

Peter Kornbluh. The Pinochet Files: A Declassified Dossier. The New Press, 2013.

Primary Sources from the Modern Records Centre on Campus:

British Argentina Campaign and human rights in Argentina, 1978-1982

You will need to go to the MRC to consult these documents. These and others can be found on the MRC resource for the module here.

Secondary Sources

James Scorer, “From La Guerra Sucia to A Gentleman's Fight: War, Disappearance and Nation in the 1976-1983 Argentine Dictatorship,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp. 43-60.

Greg Grandin, "Living in Revolutionary Time" in Greg Grandin and Gilbert Joseph, A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War. Durham/London Duke University Press, 2010 pp.1-42

John Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents. New York: Signature Books, 2005.

Grandin, Greg. The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War, University of Chicago Press, 2011. (Chapters 3-5 and Conclusion)

Greg Grandin, “Living in Revolutionary Time” and Winn, McAllister, Renique and Hylton in Greg Grandin and Gilbert Joseph, A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War. Duke, 2010.

Greg Grandin, Empire’s Workshop. Owl Books, 2007.

Menchu, Rigoberta. I, Rigoberta Menchu : An Indian Woman in Guatemala, edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, Verso, 2010.

McSherry, J. Patrice. Predatory States : Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

Peter Dale Scott. Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. University of California Press, 1991.

Eric Zolov, “Miracle on Ice: Industrial Workers and the Promise of Americanisation in Cold War Mexico,” in Gilbert Joseph and Daniele Spenser (eds.), In from the Cold: Latin America's New Encounter with the Cold War Duke, 2008.