Central America and South America have in general an unhappy history of wars, coups d’etat, assassination squads and military dictatorships for much of the 20th century. Latin American politics have also been crucially influenced by US government policy and US business interests and direct and indirect military and CIA intervention. The best known mode of resistance up to the 1970s has been guerrilla warfare: Castro’s overthrow of Batista in Cuba and the Sandinistas’ overthrow of Somoza in Nicaragua are the two key examples. Nevertheless, there is a long tradition of peasant and worker militancy (land occupations and strikes) which was predominantly nonviolent. From the 1970s the role of unarmed resistance in promoting the overthrow of dictators has become widespread. This resistance has mobilized trade union power, sometimes been supported by the Catholic Church, and been actively promoted by radical Catholics organized in the Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ) in 1974. Archbishop Romero, assassinated by the brutal rightwing regime in El Salvador in 1980 for his strong defence of human rights and the indigenous people, symbolized the role of some Catholic churches in resistance.
Not every country in Central and South America is covered in detail in this section of the bibliography, but omissions, such as El Salvador, are examined in some of the general and comparative studies listed below. Other general sources are: The Bulletin of Latin American Research and Revista: Harvard Review of Latin America with special issues such as ‘Social Justice’ (Spring 1998) and ‘Women in Latin America’ (Winter 1998), reflecting different voices, but giving prominence to Harvard-related research. Various groups in Servicio Paz y Justicia network have websites, some with some English translations.
This section on Latin America includes an updated subsection on the long struggle in Chile against the Pinochet dictatorship and its legacy: 5.c. Movement to Replace the 'Pinochet Constitution; 2019-21
We have not been able to undertake a comprehensive updating of all popular struggles for democracy, or to introduce detailed studies of countries not covered in the printed volume of 2013. But we draw attention to Honduras, where an impressive civil resistance movement developed to resist the 2009 military coup (See Frank, The Long Honduran Night, and associated articles by Mann, 'Honduras: The Deep Roots of Resistance' and by Portillo, 'Honduran Social Movements: Then and Now') These are listed in detail, under Vol.1. A.4.a. Civil Resistance to Military Coups.)
Many social movements in Latin America have been covered and also updated to 2020-21 in Vol. 2 including resistance to neoliberal economic policies, indigenous and environmental resistance, feminist and LGBT campaigns, specific protest movements in Brazil and Chile and in Black Lives Matter.