Exploring the Loyalties of Perpetrators of Violence in 20th-Century Mexico

AHA Session 180
Conference on Latin American History 38
Saturday, January 5, 2019: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Salon 12 (Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor)
David Carey Jr., Loyola University Maryland
David Carey Jr., Loyola University Maryland

Session Abstract

Our panel will analyze how loyalty factors into the ideologies and actions of perpetrators of violence in Latin America and, specifically, in the case of Mexico. We explore the impact of loyalty through a variety of lenses and using different methodologies. These range from political to religious rationales underpinning such behaviors and through the use of oral histories, newspapers, written testimonies, and declassified intelligence reports. We collectively grapple with a series of questions intended to nuance how perpetrators justify and legitimate their role in acts of violence to such an extent that they nurture a culture of fear. We study, for example, how the identities of perpetrators evolve when committing these acts, the hierarchical and group nature of such behaviors, and explore the gamut of the acts themselves, ranging from lynching and beatings to torturing and outright killing. Our goal is contribute to a broader understanding of the history of violence in Mexico and Latin America at large from the vantage point of perpetrators. In doing so, we do not aim to excuse their actions, but to understand their motivations and shed light into the system of loyalties that contribute to legitimate perpetrators’ use of violence.
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