What were the causes of Revolutionary Movements in Latin America?

The social hierarchical structure of small elite of European origin with their proximity to foreign powers is vulnerable to the slightest change in the traditional system of authority. Thus, the elite would not tolerate any breakdown of this system.

Rather than accept marginal change and welcome the development of a middle class that might play a brokerage role, the elite strive to maintain status quo and a vacuum in the centre. This ensures that they do not have to allow concessions to middle or lower classes.

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Even after independence from European powers, Latin American countries were overwhelmed by foreign domination. Independence was a mere exchange of one master for another. The ruling aristocracies were eager to ensure their security under the clout of a strong country even at the cost of national sovereignty.

Major corporations of the United States became an integral part of the power elite of those countries and the US had made it clear that it would intervene militarily to protect its economic interests. This meant that relatively few families had economic interests to protect and very few had a stake in political order. Thus, the US had emerged as the dominant force in Latin America.

Another factor was the physical uprooting of the peasants and the indigenous population in Latin America. The indigenous peoples had been displaced from their traditional territory by Hispanic elites or the US corporations and thus, were deprived of their communally held land. Much of the unrest was a direct result of alienation.

All of these factors resulted in a multi-class alliance in opposition to the ruling elite particularly in Cuba and Nicaragua and to a large extent in Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

Most of the Latin American revolutionary movements thus had this in common that they were multi-class popular movements largely agrarian in nature and with no fixed ideology that can be stated to be a common factor.

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