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The following program is produced by the University of Florida school of journalism and communications under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Worst handicap that democracy has had in my country and that we are fighting against is this culture of division that makes that the Indians. I'm not interested in the problems of the country. The University of Florida culture is in conflict. The Pitt game a series of recorded documentary reports on the contemporary revolution in Latin America. Your reporter is the distinguished American journalist and editor of The Christian Science Monitor.
One of the problems involved in generalizing about Latin America is the failure to identify which Latin America we're talking about. There are two cultures living side by side that have to be considered. Historian Frank points out that the culture of Latin America is extremely complex that it is not only Latin but also American meaning India and India meaning of course non-European. Now nobody knows exactly how many Indians are living in Latin America. The figure varies between 14 and 30 million but in Guatemala Ecuador and Bolivia the Indian is probably in the majority. Despite official statistics to the contrary what we have in Central America Mexico in the Andean countries. A large Indian populations which have not been integrated into the Latin civilization. Not until this integration takes
place. Can these countries be considered unified nations in the true sense of those words. The isolation of the Indian from the European civilization began with the failure of the Spanish conquerors to transform the Indian into what they regarded as a good spanking. The values of the Indian in the span and we're opposite ends of the pole. The Indians collectivistic highly regimented organized to produce the maximum crops from their limited farmland. On the other hand the Spaniards three enterprising as far as the colonial economy was concerned the rights of private property held in high regard. University of Alabama anthropologist Thomas Ford cites other contrasts the Indian felt he benefited himself by serving society. The Spaniard felt the benefit to society by serving himself the Indian sought security the Conky stud or sought prestige the Indian value of the land because it was his life. The Spaniard value the land
as a symbol of status. Ironically the system of the conquering Spaniard prevailed but the system of the vanquished Indian endured. Even today the isolation of the Indian from his Latin American counterparts continues in portions of the highlands of Guatemala we find Indians who simply do not want to become white men. In fact the Indian who apes the ways of the Latino the white man is likely to be severely disciplined highly respected Guatemalan concerned with the problem of integrating the Indian into the society of his country. Garcia Granados the former Guatemalan ambassador to the United Nations presents his country's problem this way. I want to speak about a unique problem. That. We have in what in my life and that doesn't exist in any other block in America and that is that we are a country where we have to cut us which perhaps
50/50 divided we have 50 percent of you in my in India and we have 50 percent of people who do not belong to the Indian place. And when I say you do not belong to the Indian race I don't want you to believe that they are all whites. Now we are two classes and I will say two races in Guatemala. One of them is as you know the Indians and the odd one out called The Latinos. Now what does it mean like Latinos are born who are not Indians. Not all those who are not genius but what they're Muslim born but of course for the census and for the government you know is the one who is not an Indian. But what does an Indian. That is another question. An Indian is not an it. No logical division. I mean by that that I need Indian is
not going to their eyes by his race. An Indian is a cultural denomination. If if I mean the end of who was born in an Indian village who dressed like an Indian who was moved to another place stickers their dress is like like a Westerner. If they learned Spanish perfectly and speak Spanish perfectly and leaves like a Westerner like a Latin American he is not an Indian anymore. He has become a law. Now this division and these two cultures existing in my country make it very difficult that we may have social integration and while we cannot have social integration we cannot become a real nation. The worst handicap that democracy has had in my country
and that we are fighting against is this culture of division that makes that the Indians are not interested in the problems of the country. They don't feel like what the Muslims they even don't don't know that they are what the mullahs are what what they feel the loyalty they feel is not even to their tribes. It is to their village they are members of their small community. And for them a what the balance of a city is no more for you know for them. I mean young men from another village. Both of them are foreigners. There are in my country a different Indian languages and most of them cannot understand each other. You can very well then understand that it is a very problem for us. I would die for him.
Not only that the Indians are the future of my country but that they will be in this book against communism in Guatemala. But what the mullah. Two schools of thought. One group. Believes that the only solution of national integration and of the problem that the union causes us is to have the Indians adopt the Latin American culture that is too big to become. There is another school of thought which I have the honor of being one of the of the must convince followers that believe that the what what what we have to do is to help Indians to have more love. Within their own caught your. Educated with better very much use of their culture and
to try to integrate their culture within our with our culture without superiority of one or the other. We have in recent years that is six or seven years ago an organisation we just financed by the government and so I said to the other. So for the development of the Indian economy. Space Program was launched almost nine years ago in 153 with the help of a mapmaking technician employed by in flop the Guatemalan development institution. Jaime Wilde who was later to becomes famous director head of the small group of idealists who believed contrary to general opinion that the Indian could be persuaded to change substantially his state of backwardness today SSF-A has become one of in Forbes most successful projects a radio
sent a reporter interviewed Senor wild in Guatemala City. I would probably use chiefly for economic development and the Indians farmhouse and teaching them how then just like better or better. Insecticide insecticides better see fertilizer and so on. In this case it is a sort of an extension service. We adapt it to the Indians by giving them this sort of explanations. They are used to delight. They own the stand according to their general framework of logic. What they think how they think the world is built and so on in order to do it. One of the best ways is to pick among
them intelligent. Indians and make them part of our series. We generally like it very much feel loyal to it and they are very enthusiastic to being there new gained knowledge to their own people. If in the centers we have large city glories one look that arts and trades and on the other side and you got your and your special training singing we call forth from what Doris from what Doris. The future members of say staff Indians. I was more than half of us are Indians within say. What is the effect the overall effect that you've been able to observe after the Indian strain and returns to his village.
Here is he feels much more secure in this world than before. Before he used to be secure as long as you do you need some. The nature of the mountains and the rocks. They're reverse and so on. They don't lose that sort of security screening at home with nature that they feel secure in a world when there is a plane that is running around all the scum and I ask them I ask them to promote Doris explain why it rhymes. I would go as easy to really useful is it for I will be good. It is for I will hit you. You would have been the central source. You know why. They feel much more at home in this world and better citizens too I believe. Because a good citizen mustn't be afraid and they are
not afraid. A confidential report by an American firm had this to say about space. It is difficult to avoid enthusiasm in describing say the organization exhibits a remarkable combination of crusading zeal sociological knowledge and ordinary common sense. For a few short years SSF-A has had a visible impact on the Indian areas that cover most of the central part of Guatemala bringing new seeds fertilizer planting methods and crops to begin a revolution in the country's centuries old economy isolated self-sufficiency and stagnant survival. At the same time the report continues SSF-A has encouraged Indians to bring half forgotten skills out of hiding such as Jade carving and to take pride in the production for sale of high quality textiles and other handicrafts. The report concludes perhaps the most important fact is that SSF-A has reaffirmed and re demonstrated that the Indians respond favorably to economic incentives and fair treatment thereby
shaking the widespread belief that they cannot be induced to make economic progress. I don't know or around Taiz is a prominent Guatemalan lawyer senior Molino who has been dean of the law school of the University of San Carlos and is presently president of the Guatemala United States Institute in Guatemala City. He has served his country as Minister of Foreign Affairs. In an interview in his law office is senior Molina describes the complexities of the Indian problem. There were some things that are more about her than ours because they live in remote places in the mountains with very little ways of communicating with the outside world. Transportation is difficult. Access is difficult for educators for doctors for a live person that would bring an improvement to the conditions of that of those communities. That's why I think all economic problems here should be started with a better system of their communications but
a system of transport faces. I don't mean that that is the only thing you really have to do because at the same time any patient has to be in trouble. And it's been improved by you know what we called there. Problem of a source of some sort and we got the wooden doll which is a community education. Where you can buy. But this plan of a community creation is not laying out business as it was done in the old days. Own don't teach you how to read and write. Because we're convinced that it's practical use is useless to teach the Union how to move and write. If he doesn't have anything to read and write he doesn't receive the newspapers he doesn't have electric light bulb which you can read up mate. He's working in the fields all day he retires early because he was an you
know an electric light. So once he learns to read and write. How many instruments but he won't have any. How do you know the community any vacation is labeled as it was is another item. Thanks Meg because remember if you're going to see on sociology rural operates not only in Indian villages and about in Latino and mixed villages as well. Its director Professor Prado views community education as a need of all rule run amok not confined to areas where only the Indian lives. A retired American businessman Sam Green translated for Dr. Prado in this interview. It was no accident that Sam Green was in Dr. Prados office for the 70 year old retired American businessman is in the same business community self-help but white haired Sam Green does not work for any government. This remarkable American operates a one man a self supported aid program. He explains to our reporter the
strange turn of events that put him in a business. Dr. Greg Ball who is the head of the educational program and the ICAC told me that he'd like to have me in his work because of my evident rapport with the Indians and the villages. He invited me to come down on a school program that they were starting. So I retired and came down at a salary of $100 a month and a hundred dollars a month and expenses. Mr Reg died 24 days after I came down here and my contract was Tremont dated at the end of 60 days because it was discovered that as an American I should have been hired in Washington and
therefore my contract was so-called illegal. I thereupon decided to continue the work that I had started primarily in the Indian villages and have been continuing at my own expense since then. My work started with the schools but is basically now continuing in the communities. I make it a practice not to do anything unless the community asked for it. For example I was able to show the communities by taking a bottle of worms to the village. What they were infected with if they didn't have latrines. As a result of this I got letters from one village asking for latrines. That program was started. One hundred thirty one latrines have been built in that village including two public latrines and a law passed that if strangers coming in the village do not use the
latrines they will be fined. As a result of this I now have requests around from other villages for 10000 latrines. These are now being started to be built. But instead of being built in the city by the Department of Public Health. The materials will be sent into the villages and the villages are going to do all the work themselves. The saving is very substantial for the Department of Public Health which is short of funds in any event. I find that if you give the Indian a reason why anything should be done. They respond very quickly. An offer of doing the work themselves and the acceptance of the thing you are trying to help them in the self-help community development project is not a phenomenon of Guatemala to one degree or another the self-help idea has sprung up all over Latin America. High in a valley 60 miles an author but we're
talking lumpia is the rural community of saw seal population for one hundred forty five. Ten years ago the people descendants of the cheap Indians and Spanish conquerors from their small plots of land much as they did hundreds of years ago while away their free time with an ancient cheap version of pitching horseshoes or else got drunk on Cheech or a drink made from fermented cooks. Today socio is taking on a new look. The once drab community has built itself a new whitewashed school house which has become the center for a type of community life formally unknown by the hundred other villages in the Colombian Andes. Besides classrooms the white schoolhouse has a library apartments for two resident teachers and a tiled patio where the town meetings are held. Although the initiative lies with the community so CEO's new look and community spirit owes much to a 36 year old sociologist at the National
University in Bogota a graduate of the University of Florida Dr Orlando falls border lived with the natives studying their traditional ways and attempting to persuade them to become more progressive. Dr. Phil's brother was interviewed in his office at the National University in Bogota. But in general terms the community was losing such a sense of community. The technology and the means of communication had practically organized the neighborhood so they were unable to pull together their strength together to solve local problems. So the main. The first thing that we did was to try to
use this collective spirit. How we did it was to find out an important need which we felt which was the school or the the school which was in the very and I was in a very bad condition. The children were getting ill because the dampness out of the room party was ready to fall down. So here there was a definite need which should be met by the community. They had tried once without success but this time with some simple guidance from us they organized a board a school board and together all the resources and build this school which is
now a gym I should say. He includes two classrooms before they had only one a theater for the for the drama club which they now have. For Francis lectures a library which here very few schools have and rules schools in Columbia and this makes it one of the best schools in the whole area. After the school was completed after four months of hard work then they started to think about other projects including electric like Tory improvement groups. They finally settled on a cultural co-operative. They feel that these cooperate that could help them reach the other goals. So they are going I think operative which has been that way for two years
now has been successful to conclude our program we have invited members of the Graduate faculty of the University of Florida school into American studies to summarize what we've heard so far and if they will try to come to some definite conclusions about cultures in conflict. Here to introduce the panel is the school's director Dr. Curtis Wilgus. Thank you Mr. Ghanem participating in today's discussion. Our Donnel are dire. Associate professor of geography and Irving R-word associate professor of Spanish doctor works show would you please begin our discussions. The problem of integration of the Indian population to the general cultural trend of a country is a very difficult one. I think that it is very difficult to make generalizations here because the Indians in different areas have different backgrounds of
development and tradition. In the Andean area for example where the Indians were basically of the Incan pattern and had lived under rule in a communal society this communal society in a sense was taken over by the Spaniards and used to their own advantage and the survival of the traditional communal system perhaps so deeply embedded within the Indians way of life. It is quite probable that it would that it might be easier for the Indian to achieve to achieve a greater economic and social level by maintaining the customs and traditions. Which he has been apart for so many centuries and it is difficult for us to say that the white man social system is
superior to that of the Indian and it may be as attempts of show in parts of Mexico that the basic solution may be the establishment of collective farms. That is the communal system of life instead of individual ownership of community ownership. This To be sure has been frowned upon by many conservatives because they identify this with the Soviet system. But this has a tradition of going far beyond Soviet Russia. It was part of the native tradition of America long before Karl Marx. I mean diverse. Conditions related to this communal system and then use of for example there are communal villages which still retain their very isolated conditions of self-sufficient
agriculture at a low level. And then there are also other instances in which this communal system has gone into a type of activity that we generally associated with Western behavior. For an example in they Andes of Peru is that an Indian communal group has actually built a hydroelectric plant and is then selling them their output of power to the European ised people who live in a nearby city. And I think we need to go always keep this into a you know account that the communal system itself is something that as has been mentioned has been with us and with the Indians for many many years and one which we need to and help trying to help these people adapt to the varying conditions and not just use blanket
techniques to try to overall improve the level of living in these areas. Thank you General for the past half hour. We've been reporting on cultures in conflict all the contemporary revolutions in Latin American. Cultures in conflict is the fifth in a series of weekly documentary reports on the contemporary revolutions in Latin America. The program is narrated by the distinguished journalist and editor of The Christian Science Monitor Wendy Kant. The series is produced in cooperation with the University of Florida school of entire American studies. You may receive without charge the text of today's program by writing this station.
Today's report was based in part on material published by the University of Florida Press. This program was prepared and recorded by Will Lewis for Radio Center school of journalism and communications University of Florida Gainesville under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end of a radio network.
Contemporary revolution in Latin America
Cultures in conflict
Producing Organization
University of Florida
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the conflict between the Indian and European cultures that exist in Latin America.
Series Description
A documentary series on problems facing Latin America, including panel discussions at program conclusion. The series is hosted by Erwin Canham, editor at the Christian Science Monitor.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
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Host: Canham, Erwin D. (Erwin Dain), 1904-1982
Interviewee: Green, Sam
Interviewee: Ford, Thomas R., 1923-
Interviewee: Garci_a Granados, Jorge, 1900-1961
Interviewee: Fals-Borda, Orlando
Interviewee: Wild, Jaime
Producing Organization: University of Florida
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-54-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:46
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Chicago: “Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Cultures in conflict,” 1961-10-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Cultures in conflict.” 1961-10-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Cultures in conflict. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from