Learn about Maria Teresa Tula, a leader of COMADRES, by accessing http://rfkcenter.org/maria-teresa-tula. Maria Teresa was kidnapped, raped several times, and severely beaten, yet she continued her struggle even when family members rejected her for being raped. However, rejection after being raped triggered her questioning about women’s subordinated position in society and helped her to start seeing the world through gender eyes. Read about her story and then write a paragraph about your personal reaction to Maria Teresa Tula’s decision to join COMADRES and her bravery to continue the struggle after rape and torture. -I was astonished with Maria Teresa Tula’s decision to join COMADRES and her bravery to continue the struggle after rape and torture. With the first attack toward her husband I would have tried to escape but instead she got more involve and was fighting for the rights of everyone. She did not get attack once but about three times and she continued fighting for human rights.
Leaving her kids behind and just staying with her two youngest must have been the most difficult decision for a woman to do and because of her bravery I admire her. 2. What are they saying in these songs? What does Sting mean when saying “they dance alone? -“Bullet The Blue Sky” single from The Joshua Tree album it is about an actual experience that Bono had while visiting El Salvador. There he saw women whose children had been imprisoned or murdered by the military regime there. He was inspired by it and immediately wrote the lyrics for the song. It is a song about protesting against corruption, hypocorism, weapon and people being terrified. – “They Dance Alone” was written after Sting saw a brief news story about women dancing in the streets of Chile torn apart by the Pinochet regime. The women were dancing in the streets with pictures of their husbands, fathers, brothers or sons pinned to their clothes or they were holding the pictures and dancing with them.
It is a beautiful song saying what the women in Chile were unable to express. It tells a story about a woman a daughter, a wife or a mother how they are left dancing alone because of the killing of their love ones. This songs makes you feel and understand what the people were going through. At the end of the song I love how it states Pinochet: “Can you think of your own mother dancin’ with her invisible son?” In other words, “Watch it, mate. You’ll get what’s comin’ to ya!” 3. Why did the government violate human rights? Who collaborated with/supported the government in the fight against “communism “? -The government violates human rights because after the Cuban Revolution, Latin America became an important theater of the Cold War and for the U.S.-backed “Operation Condor” in South America. Operation Condor was conducted as a campaign of terror involving assassination and intelligence operations by dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America; it had the tacit approval of the United States. It was a program aimed to eradicate communist or Soviet influence and ideas in Latin America.
-What is the Cold War? How is the Cold War related to the events in Central America? – The Cold War was the tense relationship between the United States (and its allies) and the Soviet Union (USSR, and its allies) between the end of World War II and the demise of the Soviet Union; i.e. the years 1945 to 1991. This war was unlike other wars in that the two sides never clashed directly in battle. – The Cold War was related to the events in Central America because it altered Latin America’s relationship to the United States profoundly, as the region became a battleground between two competing ideological systems—capitalism and communism.
Prior to the Cold War, both economic and geopolitical concerns had motivated U.S. policy toward Latin America. But, after the lowering of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, George Kennan, the chief architect of American foreign policy towards the Soviet Union, advocated containment to halt the spread of communism, not just in Europe, but globally. The result was a bipolar world featuring proxy wars fought throughout the Third World by surrogates and clients of the two superpowers. Latin American nations, historically considered to be part of “our backyard,” were not permitted to remain neutral as Washington expected Latin America to ally with the United States while the Soviet Union sought to gain access to what had been an American sphere of influence.
– What were the major violations of human rights in El Salvador and Guatemala? How did women react to the kidnapping, torture, murder, and disappearance of their loved ones? – The major violations of human rights was people disappearing , the tortured, the jailed, and the murdered were the so-called subversives, members of communist organizations, armed guerrilla groups, or/and agents of international communism, and whoever was suspected of these activities. These open violations of human rights were based on ideological grounds and were used to stop the spread of revolutions in the region. Most of the victims were young people who saw the example of Cuba as a solution for poverty and social inequality in Latin America. – The women react were condemned to silence, form fear of losing their own lives or being disappeared.
This atmosphere of impunity, silence, and fear was challenged by mothers, grandmothers, wives, aunts, sisters, and nieces of the disappeared. In countries such as Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala, women formed massive movements of civil confrontation to search for the truth about their disappeared relatives. These women were regular housewives; some did not have a formal education, others did not even know how to speak Spanish (the case of Guatemala), and most were oblivious to any ideological militancy. Their trigger to action was their love, a mother love.
– Why are these movements labeled as the “Gendering of Human Rights? -The movements labeled as the “Gendering of Human Rights” was women engaged in human rights struggles that not only transformed their countries but also their own lives. They challenged their traditional assigned gender roles. Through their actions women became protagonists in the struggle for human rights and democracy in Latin America. In so doing, women appropriated public spaces formerly reserved for men. Their massive presence in plazas, streets, mass media, congress, international forums, and wearing black dresses (COMADRES), white scarves covering their heads, holding colorful quilts (Arpilleras), dressed in traditional Mayan attires, and all holding a photograph of their missing relatives, impregnated the world’s collective memory. Some exaples are, , the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, Las Arpilleras or quilt-makers of Chile, the National Committee of Guatemalan Widows (CONAVIGUA), and the Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Prisoners, the Disappeared and the Politically Assassinated of El Salvador (Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero) (COMADRES).
– What were the major accomplishments of these women’s organizations? -Some of the major accomplishments of these women’s organization were that women’s actions have brought a different understanding of feminism. By feminism, I refer to ideology that seeks gender equality or equality between women and men. Women departing from their traditional role of mothers created movements that transformed forever women’s lives and politics in Latin American nations. Without shooting a single bullet and developing peaceful movements of civil disobedience, they helped to overthrow dictatorships and end civil wars. Women gained consciousness and citizenship. Last but not least, women empowered themselves through education and exposure to national and international forums.
Courtney from Study Moose
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