The Latin American culture has been forming in the course of several centuries. It was revealed through preservation of cultural traditions and vigorous fighting against natural and cultural suppression by different invasions and stiff political regiment.
Today’s Latin America is now reaping the fruits of the previous events, beginning the Spanish conquistadors’ intrusion to twentieth century’s literature that exploded after political and economic “boom” in 60s. Despite a considerable span of time, the novels and books are still closely connected with describing eternal discrepancies between cultural stereotypes that has been carefully forged and political regimes established in that.
Looking through the short stories, one tendency can be noticed: most of them are dedicated to cultural biases being so firmly established that they hampered the formation of stable political power deprived of tolerance and democracy (Echevarria, 3). Regarding the above-mentioned, successfully formed national culture hampered the establishment of enduring and stable systems of government due to inequality of human rights.
The gaps in political government are primarily predetermined by the long history of forging the national culture. This can be explicitly viewed in Fray Bartolome de la Casas’s short story called The Plague of Ants. The narration reveals the invasion of Spanish conquistadors that decimated the Indians for conquering the Island (de la Casas 39).
In this story, the write renders the ideas that only firmed cultural norms and faith triggered Spaniard to stop. More importantly, he proves that neither government nor human power is able to stop the destruction. While supplementing the religious notes to this narration, Bartolome de la Casas makes an attempt at disclosing the role of faith the main underpinning of social relations where politics and government are the least significant:
No Christian can doubt that, although God by his secret judgments might have permitted afflicting these peoples in this way and with such inhumanity, and in short, putting an end to them…those who were ministers of such harshness and caused the loss of so many souls, will be severely punished by divine justice (de la Casas 40).
As depicted in the narration, the revival of the Catholic faith has been the necessity to reconcile people’s blind desire to possess power. Over the century, the faith and in religions play a significant role in improving social standards.
It was the most efficient means for controlling the political power and establishing political justice (Hewitt 240). The same is presented in Leopoldo Lugones’s short story Yzur. The story can considered allegoric because training the monkey with severe method can be compared with imposing political power and reforms a people whose national culture contradicts these principles.
The author intends to say that instable and severe method of control and power can destroy human traditions and customs through establishment of despotism and terror. By suppressing the veritable ethical and cultural considerations, the outcome can be horrifying: “I woke up frightened. The monkey, which his eyes open; was definitely dying now, an his expression was so human, that it horrified me; but his hand, his eyes, drew me strongly towards him” (Lugones n. p.).
The confrontation of culture and politics is explicitly revealed in Ewell’s narration entitled The Blond with the Revolver where the writer sheds light on the gap cultural stereotypes and political needs of social groups. The story reveals the heroine’s fighting with the perpetuated conceptions of shame and honor.
The author argues the necessity to declare gender equality and the women’s right to defend their honor and dignity (Ewell 206). As a proof of unjust attitude towards women, the writer depicts the way politics utilize established customs in favor of the patriarch system where women can hardly express their opinion and participate in political events.
The impossibility to act independently due to constant suppression of women’s rights has hampered Lidia from self-realization and self-development. Taking advantage of the national culture and traditions, the political life in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, has triggered the rise of vivid movements of women’s organizations fighting for political participation in country’s governing (Ewell 209).
By giving exaggerating significance to class, age, and gender stereotypes made women be apart from political and social life of the country. This specifically concerns Maria Ferreira dos Santos, a political activist woman who had to overcome cultural biases to demonstrate her great potential and leadership skills. However, she managed to overcome those restrictions instead putting forward her veritable beliefs (Hewitt 245).
Looking though the history of cultural and political formation of Latin American, one can pursue considerable discrepancies between national cultural and political frameworks. In particular, the shortcoming of established age, gender and social stereotyped were overused by the political power to control and suppress the population.
In this respect, it was really hard to meet the social and cultural needs of people and nation. However, religion and faith play a much greater role in altering the political views on governing. Looking through the above presented narrations and short stories, it is possible to state that culture and religions, but not social and political belief, were the trigger in establishing control and power. In this regard, political control and power were based on human inequality, gender and age biases.
De la Casas, Fray Bartolome. The Plague of Ants. The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories. UK: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Echevarria, Roberto Gonsalez. The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories. UK: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Ewell, Judith. The Blond with the Revolver.The Human Tradition in modern Latin America. US: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.
Hewitt, Warrren, Maria Ferreira dos Santos. The Human Tradition in modern Latin America. US: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.
Lugones, Leopoldo. Yzur. Erbzine, 1869. Web. https://www.erbzine.com/mag18/yzur.htm
Latin American National Culture vs. Political Domination