La Patria del Criollo: An Interpretation of Colonial Guatemala (Paperback)

La Patria del Criollo: An Interpretation of Colonial Guatemala By Severo Martínez Peláez Cover Image
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Description


This translation of Severo Mart nez Pel ez's La Patria del Criollo, first published in Guatemala in 1970, makes a classic, controversial work of Latin American history available to English-language readers. Mart nez Pel ez was one of Guatemala's foremost historians and a political activist committed to revolutionary social change. La Patria del Criollo is his scathing assessment of Guatemala's colonial legacy. Mart nez Pel ez argues that Guatemala remains a colonial society because the conditions that arose centuries ago when imperial Spain held sway have endured. He maintains that economic circumstances that assure prosperity for a few and deprivation for the majority were altered neither by independence in 1821 nor by liberal reform following 1871. The few in question are an elite group of criollos, people of Spanish descent born in Guatemala; the majority are predominantly Maya Indians, whose impoverishment is shared by many mixed-race Guatemalans.

Mart nez Pel ez asserts that "the coffee dictatorships were the full and radical realization of criollo notions of the patria." This patria, or homeland, was one that criollos had wrested from Spaniards in the name of independence and taken control of based on claims of liberal reform. He contends that since labor is needed to make land productive, the exploitation of labor, particularly Indian labor, was a necessary complement to criollo appropriation. His depiction of colonial reality is bleak, and his portrayal of Spanish and criollo behavior toward Indians unrelenting in its emphasis on cruelty and oppression. Mart nez Pel ez felt that the grim past he documented surfaces each day in an equally grim present, and that confronting the past is a necessary step in any effort to improve Guatemala's woes. An extensive introduction situates La Patria del Criollo in historical context and relates it to contemporary issues and debates.



Product Details
ISBN: 9780822344155
ISBN-10: 0822344157
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication Date: May 15th, 2009
Pages: 384
Language: English