Category: Perspectives

Revolution by Osmosis: A 60s Remembrance

I grew up in the peaceful paradise of Costa Rica. I can picture myself as a 13-year-old in 1960, a rebellious teenager with little self-esteem growing up in the exuberant tropical landscape surrounded by mountains, volcanoes and the sea. The big commotions of the 1960s that would shake the world did not reach us. The first tremors that heralded in the Cuban revolution, student movements, Vietnam and the feminist movement …

Between Bombs and Bombshells: Students and Sexual Politics in 1968 Brazil

Of the many dynamic political and cultural forces that marked Brazil in the 1960s, one of the most remarkable was the effervescent student movement, especially during the momentous year of 1968. University students in Brazil had a long history of organizing politically and participating in national issues. However, the student movement of 1968 was unlike its predecessors. It represented some of the intense transformations…

From Selma to Salvador: African-American Echoes in the Brazilian Movimiento Negro

When James Brown released “Say It Loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud” in 1969, little did he know that his music, his swagger, and his style would play a prominent role in Brazilian blacks’ struggle for self-affirmation.
Brown certainly wasn’t the sole catalyst of the Brazilian movimento negro, which has yet to experience a large-scale, organized black movement as the United States did in the 1960s. Yet, Brazil—the country with …

New Takes on the “New”: The Cinemas of 1960s Latin America

To judge by the proliferation of Latin American films on the international festival circuit these days—not to mention the colossal box-office success of works by Walter Salles (Motorcyle Diaries), Fernando Meirelles (City of God), and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), among others—Latin American cinema would appear to be very much on the rise at the end of this first decade of the new millennium. Yet, while we celebrate its …

Art and Politics in Brazil: En Route to an Artistic Vocation

Right at the eve of the military coup d’état that took place in 1964, there was an ongoing debate in Brazil about the relationship between art and society. Many artists and intellectuals were interested in forging a cultural production that was ethically and politically significant, but not necessarily nationalistic or ideological, as the orthodox left had prescribed. Artists associated with these new proposals were criticized both by the left and …

The Sixties in Argentina: Political Repression, Cultural Vibrancy

In Argentina the Sixties arrived late. With mere glimpses of counter-culture and protest in the second half of the decade, those who participated in cultural and political change were silenced, forced underground or into exile by the mid-70s. During all these years, Argentina was ruled by successive weak military regimes interrupted from time to time by duly elected also weak civilian governments, inevitably deposed by …

Remembering the Power of One: A 1960s Economic Perspective

In a region with an unfortunate knack for being ignored, forgotten and subverted by world powers, we take another look at the 1960s and from snapshots we offer hope as the first decade of the new millennium draws to a close. We take a look through the lens of Raul Prebisch, former director of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) and subsequently founding Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on …

Sisters, Brothers, Young Lords: A Common Cause: 40 Years of Struggle and Remembrance

I had forgotten how young, defiant and determined we were. We saw ourselves as instruments of change, students of revolution. What we lacked in terms of experience, we made up for with enthusiasm and commitment. Viewing photographs from forty years past, we milled through the exhibit, scrutinizing photos, graying militants remembering, owning our pasts. Like many of those present at the gathering, I had carved …

Degeneration of the Sixties: A Look at Spain

I heard the expression “the sixties” for the first time in secondary school when my language teacher wrote the number 68 on the blackboard to illustrate his lesson on the difference between the verbs denote and connote. The first meant just that: to mean objectively; connote, on the other hand, involved not only the specific meaning of a word, but another meaning of the appellative or expressive type. Thus, my teacher …

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