The Cold War Effect on Mexico
The reasons for the Cold War-related influences in Mexico in 1968 were multiple, but foremost of all was the fact that communism occupied a prominent position in the struggle between Mexican youth and their government. A local understanding of communism won out over the global characterization advanced by the United States. In addition, US anti-communist influence failed to have the desired effect in Mexico, and pro-communist positions resided throughout Latin America for reasons that had little to do with the Cold War and much to do with regional issues. Communists might ally themselves with all manner of other leftists to achieve a much larger goal within a particular country, but an alliance was never a case of agreement. But the communists in Mexico were neither political outcasts, or the socialist that they sometimes were in the United States. The Cuban Revolution in 1959 and Fidel Castro’s conversion to communism brought issues to the forefront of Mexican politics. The Cuban Revolution put the Mexican government between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The rock was the United States, whose determined, public opposition to the Cuban Revolution and Castro government helped shape a decade of United States - Latin American relations. The hard place was Mexican public opinion that saw in the Cuban events something akin to the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1917, and thus something positive and worthy of support. After Castro allied himself with the Soviet Union, the United States attempted to isolate Cuba from the community of nations. Mexico refused to sever ties with Cuba despite much pressure from and repeated efforts by the United States to expel Cuba from the Organization of American States. A 1964 vote imposed sanctions against Cuba and required all member states to comply. Mexico’s ruling party, seeking to avoid confrontation, refused. Communist and socialist political parties operated relatively openly in Mexico and...
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