Castro's Cuba is isolated; the guerrillas who once spread havoc through Uruguay and Argentina are dead, dispersed, or running for office as moderates. And in 1990, Nicaragua's Sandinistas were rejected at the polls by their own constituents. Are these symptoms of the fall of the Latin American left? Or are they merely temporary lulls in an ongoing revolution that may yet transform our hemisphere?
This perceptive and richly eventful study by one of Mexico's most distinguished political scientists tells the story behind the failed movements of the past thirty years while suggesting that the left has a continuing relevance in a continent that suffers from destitution and social inequality. Combining insider's accounts of intrigue and armed struggle with a clear-sighted analysis of the mechanisms of day-to-day power, Utopia Unarmed is an indispensable work of scholarship, reportage, and political prognosis.
Latin America faces deepening poverty, overwhelming daily violence and a widening gap between rich and poor. Castaneda, a political science professor at Mexico's Autonomous University, asserts that the Latin American left should abandon its quest for a socialist utopia and instead should strive for a market economy that incorporates the best features of Western European and Japanese postwar capitalism. These include redistributed taxation, worker involvement in production decisions, reduced income inequalities, social spending on housing, education and health, government regulation and a coordinated industrial policy. This insightful academic study covers Nicaragua's Sandinistas, Peru's Marxist-Maoist Shining Path guerrillas, Argentina's Peronists, populist movements galvanized by Castro's Cuba, and left-of-center reformists in Chile, Mexico and Brazil. Castaneda is co-author of Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico.