Developed from a November 2002 congress on Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean in the cold war, the articles in this rich compilation argue for the agency of Latin America’s governments and popular sectors, putting them in dialogue with each other, with their own national histories, and with the superpowers. A much-needed corrective to emphasis on the hegemony of the superpowers, it positions Latin America at the axis of cold-war politics.

Several propositions link the contributions: that the region was not just the superpowers’ playground but possessed local agendas shaped by popular forces; that the Soviet Union was far from the ideological hegemon of the socialist camp; and that Latin Americans were crucial participants in shaping relations with the Soviet Union, the United States, and within Latin America. The first of the book’s four parts reviews the historiography of the cold war, repositioning...

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