Born in Blood & Fire, Latin American Voices: John Charles Chasteen

Quotes from this book to aid in Analysis Paper
  • “The reason that the Christians have slain such an infinite number of souls has been the desire to take the Indian’s gold, to enrich themselves quickly, and to raise themselves unto a high social rank that bears no relation to their humble origins in Spain.This insatiable greed and ambition knows no limits. These lands were so rich and favored by God, and the inhabitants so humble and easy to subjugate, that the Christians should have repeated them, and yet they treated the Indians worse than beasts. (to beasts they might have  been more gentle), with less regard than one treats a pile of manure during the entire time. I speak as a firsthand witness, for I was present during the entire time.”  –A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, Bartolome de las Casas (excerpt, 10-11, Chasteen)
  • “The Spaniards enslaved the Indians and made them labor for their new masters harder than they were able to endure, so that some simply died and others killed themselves. That is why, of a hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants on that island alone, no more than five hundred remain today.” General History of the Indies, Francisco Lopez de Gomara (15, Chasteen)
  • “Gradually, indigenous Americans and their new European overlords changed each other’s ways and created  new cultures that were neither  indigenous nor European.” (Colonial Transculturation, Chapter 2, 25, Chasteen)
  • “I remember the day during my youth in Peru, when an old Inca was speaking to my mother, describing the arrival of the Spaniards and how they had taken over the country, I inquired: “Inca, how is it that such a rough and mountainous land, defended by such numerous and warlike armies, was surrendered so quickly to so few Spanish invaders?” In response he explained  Huayna Capacs foretelling of the Spanish victory and how the emperor had instructed his subjects to obey and serve the Spaniards because they would have the advantage over our people in all things.”  (32, Chasteen) (Royal commentaries of the Incas, Garcilaso  de la vegas) Colonial transculturation
  • Before the conquest, the Indians did not have cows or oxen to plow tne eartn to plant their crops.(ibid,, 33) Colonial Transculuturation
  • They had neither camels, nor donkeys, nor mules to carry their loads; nor sheep, whether the common sort or fine merinos, for meat and wool; nor goats and pigs for meat and leather; nor dogs of the kind that hunt and care for livestock………………………………….neither wheat nor barley,  neither wine nor olive oil , neither fruit nor vegetables of the Spanish sort (pomegranates, oranges, apples, limes, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, etc) (34, Chasteen)  Transculturation
  • One must see, in order to believe, the indomitable character that emerges from this education, from this struggle of the isolated individual against nature. One must see the grave expressions of  the gauchos, fromed by beard and tousled hair like that of an Arab, to appreciate the disdain with which they regard the sedentary city – dweller who may have read many books but has no idea how to take down a wild bull, who has not the faintest notion how to catch and mount a mustang when finding himself on foot, alone, on the open pampa, who has never faced a puma’s attack by thrusting one poncho-wrapped hand in the mouth of the lunging animal while driving his knife into its heart with the other hand. Facundo, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (83, Chasteen)
  • On plains so wide open, where paths crisscross, where cattle recognize an animals hoof prints, distinguish them from a thousand others, and follow them for miles. One must be able to know whether the animal is direction its own movements or being led, whether its pace is rapid or slow, whether it bears burden or not. These are normal skills that all plainsmen must possess. (ibid, ibid 84)
    Chapter 5, the perils of progress
  • “The  lure and influence of Europe is everywhere in Latin American writings of the late nineteenth century “(107).
  • “The mythic gaucho no longer roved freely over a boundless landschape, butchering semi-wild cattle whenever he chose. Instead he beame a rural proletarian who sheared sheep for coutless hours under the watchful eye of an overseer to provide wool for the international market, as in the novel No Direction (1885)” (107, chasten).
  • “If the first arrival of Spanish in Texcoco brought missionaries of Christianity, this second Spanish mission brings a gospel of Science and nineteenth century Civilization –The Inauguration of the railway from Mexico to Texcoco (Chasteen 111).(railroads as progress of country?)
  • “One of those human types whom one encounters on the plains, stubborn as a mule, sly as a fox, savage as a tiger.” Eugenio Cambaceres, No Direction. (Chasteen 119)
  • “There goes Doctor Glow- whose tricks have just won him another million on the stock market- seated beside his wife and children, who put their precious little heads out the window of the family’s fancy new coach, which Glow is taking out for the first time today in celebration  of his recent financial triumph.”
  • “There goes an entire society, raise up by greed and speculation, celebrating the most scandalous orgy of luxury and ostentation that Buenos Aires has ever seen or will ever see gain, the vision of the apocalypse!”(both) –Julian Martel, The Stock Market, (Chasteen 128) The Perils of Progress
  • The Tango’s suggestiveness reenergized the hearts and minds and feelings of people who believed that they had already exhausted all the strong senuation capable of enlivening human existence without endangering it –Vicente Rossi, Black Stuff (159 Chasteen).
  • Also from black stuff  “In Europe everyone could intuit the black stuff hidden in the irresistible twists and turns of the suggestive dance. But European intellectuals insisted on proposing the most far fetched sorts of tango origins, firmly discarding the memory of black people, as always, after having thoroughly explode them. “(Chasten 160)
  • and – “No one, absolutely no one in Europe knew the geographic location of Argentina until only a few years ago. The European  press never published a single thing about us, as if we did not exist. The telegraph only transmits in one direction, after all: from there to here. (Chasteen 161)
  • Two short stories: Jose de la Cuadia, the Silver Sucres, 1932 (Chasteen 165) “He seemed oblivious to his surroundings and his face wore a dark frown. But the expression was merely external. In reality, he though about nothing, nothing at all.”
  • The new Saint: A story of Political Propaganda on the Ecuadorian Coast (1938) (Chasteen 169) “You’re going to make a pile of money this year, de Camilo.” “You never know. It depends on the price. And as far as I know, the price of rice in Guayaquil is rock bottom. Of course, who cares what we make, right? A poor man’s sweat does nothing but stink.” “Relax, de Camilo, you’ll see. The sucres are going to rain on you thicker than mosquitos in the marsh.”
  •  (170) “And, vaguely and slowly, he would make and ugly face signifying sadness.”
  • (171) The forest gave up all its secrets to him. He learned the magic of the plant kingdom: the herbs that cure and the herbs that kill, the trees that signal the presence of water or buried treasure that eared off thieves of malicious spirits.
  • Weekend in Guatemala, Miguel Angel Asturias (1956)( Chasteen 201 ) “And his accounts were crooked as a corkscrew! He never paid the workers what he really owed them. Indians who started to work on the old man’s plantation could never leave because the more they worked the more indebted they got. And when they died, their children inherited the debt and had to stay on the plantation…” (narrater explaining  why daughter can’t treat indians like people because of her father, the corrupt plantation owner.)
  • The Book: Born in Blood & Fire, Latin American Voices- John Charles Chasteen W.W. Norton & Company New York London, Copywright @ 2011– A book of narratives in the through the course of Latin American History.
  • Cronicles of the Encounter Chapter 1 (1 Chasteen) “Primary sources must be read with particular care. Often, the available primary sources offer no semblance of objectivity, and their biases must be taken into account when interpreting them. However, we cannot simply put primary sources aside because they are biased. All evidence, in fact, has a bias, its own point of view which must be considered.”

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