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The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO)  

Marco Estrada Saavedra

The summer and fall of 2006 saw a violent, protracted conflict in Oaxaca, Mexico between the state government and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, APPO). What began as a contentious labor negotiation between the local government and the teachers’ union soon developed into a popular protest and mobilization throughout the state, especially in the Valles Centrales region, home to the state capital. The governor’s repressive actions against critics and opponents of his administration led the APPO members to a consensus demanding his removal. The result was a government in paralysis, with none of the three constitutional branches able to exercise their normal authority or carry out their activities. The APPO achieved territorial control by the following means: with the erection of hundreds of barricades throughout the capital to protect it from sneak attacks by irregular units of the state police; with its occupation, operation, and diffusion of public and private media outlets; with a permanent mobilization of its members; and with the construction of a popular government, the Oaxaca Commune, to manage public affairs and services. This experience of popular autonomy involved the dismantling of the local system of domination and also of the authoritarian, clientelist, patrimonialist, and patriarchal relationships within the organizations of the APPO itself. It ended in violent repression.

Article

Social Order and Mobility in 16th- and 17th-Century Central Mexico  

Tatiana Seijas

Mexico had an exceptionally diverse population during the 16th and 17th centuries, including Indigenous peoples of different ethnicities (in the majority), Iberians, and forced migrants from Africa and Asia, who related to one another in complex ways. Society—a group of people living in a community—was configured differently in each place, based on geographical location, local customs, property distribution, and a myriad of other factors. Faced with such different contexts, historians have tended to generalize about social organization (the way people interacted) from the perspective of the men who produced the most sources. Colonial statutes and official correspondence convey the attempts of Hapsburg officials to maintain a hierarchical social order, but property records reveal a more fluid reality. The acquisition of wealth and achievement of social status by non-Spaniards frustrated colonial ideals for a stratified society that correlated to ethnicity. The success of imperial governance, to the degree it was achieved, depended on its flexibility and how it allowed people to benefit from the colonial economy and to achieve social mobility.

Article

Latin America in World War I  

Friedrich E. Schuler

The English-speaking world awaits its first detailed study examining Latin America during World War I. Many historical events of the era remain little-known, as does much of the region’s military history during this period. While key chronologies, personalities, groups, and historical avenues remain unidentified, researchers must draw knowledge from existing texts. The authors cited in this article for further study cover only a small fraction of the myriad topics presented by the war. World War I set in motion a unique power readjustment in Latin America, the likes of which had not been experienced in the region since the 1820s. Most significantly, the temporary suspension of economic ties with Europe disrupted everyday processes that elites and commoners had previously taken for granted. Changes in economy and finance triggered a struggle between indigenous Americans, peasants, workers, elites, and immigrants, setting the stage for the social and political changes of the 1920s. Amidst the upheaval of World War I, non-elite Latin American groups successfully focused national politics on regional and ethnic issues, while elite Latin Americans weighed the potential advantages of ties with Spanish and Italian authoritarianism. World War I ended European financial dominance over the region, and the destruction of Europe reduced export markets to a point where Latin America’s economic relations with the United States gained new significance. U.S. military advisors took their places alongside European trainers, and many different “U.S.” actors emerged on Latin American soil, acting out rivaling understandings of appropriate U.S. activity in Latin America. The war heralded the end of Belgian influence and of significant French power in the region, British acceptance of U.S. financial preeminence, and questions as to how Prussian military expertise could be leveraged to Latin America’s benefit in the future. The creation of the League of Nations, a development alien to Latin American political culture, caught the region off guard. And yet it laid the foundation for global Latin American diplomacy in the 1930s and after World War II. In the end, the search for a new understanding of a Latin American nation’s place on the changing world stage led to the elevation of the institution of the national army as a social and political arbiter. The myth of the army as embodiment of national essence would last until the 1980s.