MLK’s Dream in Latin America

Posted on January 15, 2007. Filed under: News & Politics |

Martin Luther King Jr. was a famous political activist in the U.S. Civil Rights movement. He was the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize (for for his work as a peacemaker, promoting nonviolence and equal treatment of different races). On April 6, 1968, he was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1986, he was celebrated as a U.S. holiday. Interestingly, he is one of the four individuals honored by a national holiday in the United States (the other three people are Jesus of Nazareth, George Washington, and Christopher Columbus).

In commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr., I have listed a few Latin American civil rights leaders who brought his dream of peaceful diversity closer to reality.

Óscar Arias (Óscar Rafael de Jesús Arias Sánchez)
Óscar Rafael de Jesús Arias Sánchez (born 13 September 1940, in Heredia, Costa Rica) is the current President of Costa Rica and the first Nobel Laureate from his nation. He served as President from 1986 to 1990, and was elected for a second term in a close election in 2006. In 1987 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the civil unrest then raging in several Central American countries. He is also a recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism.

Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios (born July 24, 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela; died December 17, 1830, in Santa Marta, Colombia) was a leader of several independence movements throughout South America, collectively known as Bolívar’s War.
Credited with leading the fight for independence in what are now the countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia, he is revered as a hero in these countries and throughout much of the rest of Hispanic America. In 1802, he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa. She died of yellow fever less than a year later and he never remarried.
Bolívar is known as “El Libertador”, The Liberator, as well as the “George Washington of South America” due to his leading the above independence movements, just as Washington led and won independence for the United States.

César Chávez

César Estrada Chávez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was a U.S.-born farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. His work led to numerous improvements for migrant workers. He is hailed as one of the greatest Mexican American civil rights leaders. His birthday on March 31 has subsequently become a holiday in a handful of U.S. states, and a number of parks, cultural centers, libraries, schools, and streets have been named in his honor in several cities across the United States.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna

Born – June 14, 1928 Rosario, Argentina
Died – October 9, 1967 La Higuera, Bolivia

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara or el Che, was an Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary, political figure, and leader of Cuban and internationalist guerrillas. As a young man studying medicine, Guevara traveled roughrough[›] throughout Latin America, bringing him into direct contact with the impoverished conditions in which many people lived. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to the conclusion that the region’s socioeconomic inequalities could only be remedied by revolution, prompting him to intensify his study of Marxism and travel to Guatemala to learn about the reforms being implemented there by President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán.
Some time later, Guevara joined Fidel Castro’s paramilitary 26th of July Movement, which seized power in Cuba in 1959. After serving in various important posts in the new government and writing a number of articles and books on the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare, Guevara left Cuba in 1965 with the intention of fomenting revolutions first in Congo-Kinshasa, and then in Bolivia, where he was captured in a CIA/U.S. Army Special Forces-organized military operation.[1] Guevara was summarily executed by the Bolivian Army in La Higuera near Vallegrande on October 9, 1967.
After his death, Guevara became an icon of socialist revolutionary movements worldwide. An Alberto Korda photo of him (shown) has received wide distribution and modification. The Maryland Institute College of Art called this picture “the most famous photograph in the world and a symbol of the 20th century.”

Resources:

Internet Latin American Studies http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/

List of Latin Americans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_Americans#Leaders_and_politicians

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Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History
Author: F. Arturo Rosales

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One Response to “MLK’s Dream in Latin America”

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Great writing Cynthia – I had heard of several these political leaders. I love your profile pic – looks great! keep up the writing.


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