Courtesy Reuters

Repercussions of the Spanish Crisis in Latin America

IN ITS early stages the Spanish civil war awakened loud repercussions in the Latin American countries. Both the masses and the élite, particularly in Argentina and Brazil, took an intense sentimental interest in the progress of the military revolt. This was last summer and autumn, when many feared lest the overwhelming success of either General Franco or the Spanish Government might provoke analogous upheavals in Latin American countries.

But as the struggle settled down into a war of attrition, in which several of the major European Powers, more or less openly participated, Latin America's interest became less avid. Not that the daughter republics were unconcerned with the fate of the motherland, only that gradually they came to see the conflict being waged there primarily through the reflecting glass of their own domestic problems. What was going on in Spain served to clarify and sharpen the political and social issues facing the Latin American peoples in their own countries. We began to ask ourselves the questions: Has democracy failed? Has fascism or communism any chance of being accepted here as a system of government to replace democracy? But though the Spanish struggle caused us to feel the importance of these questions, the success of one side or the other in that conflict will probably have little direct effect on the answers we give. To us Latin Americans, Spain has today become largely an example of what to avoid, an example of the dangers of partisanship and the absence of a sense of fair play, social discipline and order. This is not to say, of course, that Latin Americans will not continue to follow the conflict in Spain with close attention or that certain groups will not seek to exploit that conflict for their own purposes.

During the opening weeks of the war, most of us in Latin America adopted, in our minds at least, the rôle of either loyalists or rebels. The streets in front of newspaper bulletin boards constituted miniature

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