The first one is A Call to Conscience: The Anti-Contra War Campaign by Roger Peace.
A Call to Conscience offers the first comprehensive history of the anti–Contra War campaign and its Nicaragua connections. Roger Peace places this eight-year campaign in the context of previous American interventions in Latin America, the Cold War, and other grassroots oppositional movements. Based on interviews with American and Nicaraguan citizens and leaders, archival records of activist organizations, and official government documents, this book reveals activist motivations, analyzes the organizational dynamics of the anti–Contra War campaign, and contrasts perceptions of the campaign in Managua and Washington.
Peace shows how a variety of civic groups and networks—religious, leftist, peace, veteran, labor, women’s rights—worked together in a decentralized campaign that involved extensive transnational cooperation.For Guatemala, Cecilia Menjívar has published Enduring Violence: Ladina Women's Lives in Guatemala.
Drawing on revealing, in-depth interviews, Cecilia Menjívar investigates the role that violence plays in the lives of Ladina women in eastern Guatemala, a little-visited and little-studied region. While much has been written on the subject of political violence in Guatemala, Menjívar turns to a different form of suffering—the violence embedded in institutions and in everyday life so familiar and routine that it is often not recognized as such. Rather than painting Guatemala (or even Latin America) as having a cultural propensity for normalizing and accepting violence, Menjívar aims to develop an approach to examining structures of violence—profound inequality, exploitation and poverty, and gender ideologies that position women in vulnerable situations— grounded in women’s experiences. In this way, her study provides a glimpse into the root causes of the increasing wave of feminicide in Guatemala, as well as in other Latin American countries, and offers observations relevant for understanding violence against women around the world today.Virginia Garrard-Burnett has written Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala Under Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt.
Drawing on newly-available primary sources including guerrilla documents, evangelical pamphlets, speech transcripts, and declassified US government records, Virginia Garrard-Burnett provides aa fine-grained picture of what happened during the rule of Guatelaman president-by-coup Efrain Rios Montt. She suggests that three decades of war engendered an ideology of violence that cut not only vertically, but also horizontally, across class, cultures, communities, religions, and even families. The book examines the causality and effects of the ideology of violence, but it also explores the long duree of Guatemalan history between 1954 and the late 1970s that made such an ideology possible. More significantly, she contends that self-interest, willful ignorance, and distraction permitted the human rights tragedies within Guatemala to take place without challenge from the outside world.Karen Kampwirth has an edited volume on Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics. The volume includes two chapters on Nicaragua.
In the first half of the twentieth century, classic populist leaders like the Peróns in Argentina and Vargas in Brazil sought to create direct, personal ties between themselves and their followers. At the same time, they incorporated large numbers of previously excluded people into the body politic. The resurgence of democracy in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s brought with it two new waves of populism: first, the neopopulism of leaders like Salinas in Mexico and Fujimori in Peru, who promoted neoliberal solutions to the economic problems of the 1990s; and second, the radical populism of leaders like Chávez in Venezuela and Morales in Bolivia, who repudiated neoliberal policies in favor of some form of socialism in what has come to be called “the pink tide.”Cynthia Arnson has an edited volume on In the Wake of War: Democratization and Internal Armed Conflict in Latin America that looks particularly interesting.
In the Wake of War assesses the consequences of civil war for democratization in Latin America, focusing on questions of state capacity. Contributors focus on seven countries—Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru—where state weakness fostered conflict and the task of state reconstruction presents multiple challenges. In addition to case studies, the book explores cross-cutting themes including the role of the international community in supporting peace, the explosion of post-war criminal and social violence, and the value of truth and historical clarification.La metamorfosis del Pulgarcito. Transición política y proceso de paz en El Salvador by Manuel Montobbio has recently been published in its electronic version
Yajaira M. Padilla has published Changing Women, Changing Nation: Female Agency, Nationhood, and Identity in Trans-Salvadoran Narratives.
...explores the literary representations of women in Salvadoran and US-Salvadoran narratives during the span of the last thirty years. This exploration covers Salvadoran texts produced during El Salvador’s civil war (1980–1992) and the current postwar period, as well as US-Salvadoran works of the last two decades that engage the topic of migration and second-generation ethnic incorporation into the United States. Rather than think of these two sets of texts as constituting separate literatures, Yajaira M. Padilla conceives of them as part of the same corpus, what she calls “trans-Salvadoran narratives”—works that dialogue with each other and draw attention to El Salvador’s burgeoning transnational reality. Through depictions of women in trans-Salvadoran narratives, Padilla elucidates a “story” of female agency and nationhood that extends beyond El Salvador’s national borders and imaginings.Robin DeLugan has published Reimagining National Belonging: Post-Civil War El Salvador in a
Reimagining National Belonging is the first sustained critical examination of post–civil war El Salvador. It describes how one nation, after an extended and divisive conflict, took up the challenge of generating social unity and shared meanings around ideas of the nation. In tracing state-led efforts to promote the concepts of national culture, history, and identity, Robin DeLugan highlights the sites and practices—as well as the complexities—of nation-building in the twenty-first century.
Examining events that unfolded between 1992 and 2011, DeLugan both illustrates the idiosyncrasies of state and society in El Salvador and opens a larger portal into conditions of constructing a state in the present day around the globe—particularly the process of democratization in an age of neoliberalism. She demonstrates how academics, culture experts, popular media, and the United Nations and other international agencies have all helped shape ideas about national belonging in El Salvador. She also reveals the efforts that have been made to include populations that might have been overlooked, including indigenous people and faraway citizens not living inside the country's borders. And she describes how history and memory projects have begun to recall the nation's violent past with the goal of creating a more just and equitable nation.
This illuminating case study fills a gap in the scholarship about culture and society in contemporary El Salvador, while offering an "ethnography of the state" that situates El Salvador in a global context.Finally, Elana Zilberg has authored Space of Detention: The Making of a Transnational Gang Crisis between Los Angeles and San Salvador.
...is a powerful ethnographic account and spatial analysis of the “transnational gang crisis” between the United States and El Salvador. Elana Zilberg seeks to understand how this phenomenon became an issue of central concern for national and regional security, and how La Mara Salvatrucha, a gang founded by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles, came to symbolize the “gang crime–terrorism continuum.” She follows Salvadoran immigrants raised in Los Angeles, who identify as—or are alleged to be—gang members and who are deported back to El Salvador after their incarceration in the United States. Analyzing zero-tolerance gang-abatement strategies in both countries, Zilberg shows that these measures help to produce the very transnational violence and undocumented migration that they are intended to suppress. She argues that the contemporary fixation with Latino immigrant and Salvadoran street gangs, while in part a product of media hype, must also be understood in relation to the longer history of U.S. involvement in Central America, the processes of neoliberalism and globalization, and the intersection of immigration, criminal, and antiterrorist law. These forces combine to produce what Zilberg terms “neoliberal securityscapes.”I did read this one and I would highly recommend it. For me, the most interesting and eye-opening parts of the book dealt with the evolution of gangs and anti-gang policy in California during the 1980s and 1990s. As a life long East Coaster, it's just not a history that I am very familiar with.