Spain, Latin America, and the Trans-Atlantic Cold War

AHA Session 10
Conference on Latin American History 1
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 4A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Kirsten Weld, Harvard University

Session Abstract

This panel—the first in a series dedicated to the subject—argues that the trans-Atlantic relationship between Spain and Latin America not only persisted far beyond the nineteenth-century wars of independence, but strengthened during the Cold War.  It does so by examining the crossing of peoples, ideas, conflicts, and social movements, thus addressing what has been a critically-neglected field of study.  Save for the Spanish Civil War, few monographs exist that analyze the links between the two regions during the Cold War.  For Latin Americanists, the key concern has traditionally been the region’s relationship with the “colossus of the north,” the United States.  For Hispanists, the insertion of a country frequently dismissed as “peripheral” in European historiography—and its significance for the continent as a whole—has occupied a great deal of attention.  Yet as these papers illustrate, the Cold War bound the hopes, fears, and futures of the two regions in ways that were significant and deeply consequential.  Indeed, their authors make a compelling case that what occurred in one area had great significance across the Atlantic Ocean.  Megan Strom’s paper, “Transatlantic Solidarities: Uruguayan Students & Anti-Franco Activism, 1936-1965,” analyzes the politics of trans-Atlantic solidarity between Uruguayan and Spanish student movements.  She argues that initial support for the Spanish Republic—and subsequent opposition to the Franco dictatorship—both bolstered leftwing currents in both movements and laid the groundwork for the global student revolt in 1968.  Aaron Coy Moulton’s paper, “With Dictators on Both Sides of the Atlantic: Spanish Exiles in the Caribbean Basin, Trans-Atlantic Anti-Fascism, and Circum-Atlantic Dictatorships, 1944-1954,” examines the role of Spanish Republican exiles who opposed both the Trujillo and Franco dictatorships, thus forging an anti-fascist alliance between themselves and local dissidents across the region.  Finally, Andrea Davis’s paper, “Transnationalism at the Grassroots:  Progressive Catholicism in Spain and the Protest Cultures of the Long-1960s,” explores the significance of the Second Vatican Council for both sides of the Atlantic.  Her paper is particularly focused upon the role of progressive Spanish priests who traveled throughout both regions, and how they helped forge a Third World-protest culture during the 1960s.  All three papers thus contribute to a greater understanding of the enduring relationship between both regions.
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