HARVEST OF EMPIRE:A HISTORY OF LATINOS IN AMERICA
Human beingshave always felt the need to move into new geographical areas due todifferent reasons. This book is about just but the focus is on theimmigration of the Latin Americans. The central theme of the book isthat one cannot understand the large number of Latin Americans in theUSA without grasping the role that America played in these countries.“If Latin America had not been raped and pillaged by U.S. capitalsince its independence, millions of desperate workers would not nowbe coming here in such numbers to reclaim a share of that wealth.”(Gonzalez, p. 206). Many of the immigrants are from countries thatwere most dominated by America. Many Latinos fled their countries dueto civil wars.
This bookgenerally gives an account of how the different groups of Latinosmade their way into the country, what made the leave their mothercountries, how were they received and if they faced any challenges asthey settled down in the country. This book is divided into threeparts. Part one is Roots which gives a summary of the Latin Americaand American relationship.. Part two is Branches which discusses the6 major Latino groups existing in America.. Part three is Harvestwhich focuses on present day Latinos while dealing with political,cultural and immigration issues.
Chapter 5 isMexican: Pioneers of a Different Type. Here the author discusses theMexican immigrants. He discusses how they came into the country andwhat caused their immigration. Here he distinguishes the Mexicansfrom other Latino immigrants.
Chapter 6 ofthis book is Cuban: Special Refugees. This chapter compares Cubans toother Latino migrants. The Cubans were classified as refugees by thegovernment of USA. For this reason they received special governmenttreatment. The author here discusses the many waves of Cuban migrantsthat made their way into America. These waves range from the late19th century to well into the 1980s.
Chapter 8 isCentral American: intervention comes home to boost. In this chapterthe author discusses the main cause of the conflict in Nicaraguanbetween the Sandinistas and the Somozas. There is also discussion ofthe major causes of the civil war in El Salvador. There is a detailedaccount of how Jacobo Arbenz came to be the president of Guatemalaand how he was later overthrown. “Eisenhower authorized the CIA toorganize “Operation Success,” a plan for the armed overthrow ofArbenz, which took place in June 1954” (Gonzalez, p.137).
Chapter 9 isColumbians and Panamanians: overcoming and Disdain. Here the authorwrites about the different historical reasons that caused theimmigration of Colombians. Here he also distinguishes Panamanianimmigrants from the rest of the Latino immigrant population.
Chapter 13 isFree Trade: the Final Conquest of Latin America. Here he calls freetrade in the final conquest of Latin America. Instead of bringingprosperity in Latin American countries Free trade has increasedpoverty. The government is hoping to gain support to pass theagreement for free trade. In Mexico there was a 68% fall in realwages which made this country a desirable place for US to investdirectly (Gonzalez, p.326).
The final chapter 14 is Puerto Rico, USA: Possessed and Unwanted.In this chapter the author focuses on the way USA has infiltrated andtried to possess Puerto Rico.It is about the influence and controlthe US is exercising on Puerto Rico.
I found thebook to be very informative. The history is detailed and wellresearched. The author clearly shows that although the LatinAmericans are united by a common language they all have theirrespective customs and cultures. They all came to America fordifferent reasons. They all have different and separate histories. Hehas given each group equal focus and attention in the book.
From the bookwe can clearly see some sort of social reality and that is there is agrowing population of Latinos in America. The rate at which it isgrowing will make the Latin Americans the largest minorities in theUS. As he says in the book the Government has started taking measuresto pass laws that favor and protect these minorities.
Gonzales inthe book equates the steps the government has taken to control theborder to the Great Wall of China. The book also touches on thesensitive issue that although there are many illegal immigrantsentering the US only the Latin Americans are being targeted. I seethis is a clear show of racism and discrimination of certain ethnicgroups.
The book iswell written and the author has made it easier for readers bydividing it into parts. I feel like the author blames America forthis immigration. Americans tried to enforce their influence and willover several countries and certain ethnic groups. “…a vicious andrelentless drive for territorial expansion, conquest, and subjugationof others—Native Americans, African slaves, and Latin Americans.”(Gonzalez, p. 270).
Juan Gonzalez,Harvest of Empire (2000): A History of Latinos in America,reprint, Penguin Books, p. 346.