Jeffrey Gould’s portrayal of labor struggles over the course of several decades in El Salvador’s important shrimp port—Puerto El Triunfo—gives readers a close-up view of labor activism in that industry and El Salvador more broadly during the Cold War and the ensuing entrenchment of neoliberalism. It’s the story of surprisingly successful labor organizing in the 1970s, brutal repression against union leadership as civil war erupted in 1980, and frustrated attempts in the late 1980s to thwart new attacks on labor rights. Weaving together insights from interviews, local union archives, and court records, Gould brings to this study the nuanced analysis and compassion that mark his earlier works on Nicaragua and El Salvador. He has also created a companion documentary film on Puerto El Triunfo’s labor movement (www.puertoeltriunfofilm.com).

El Salvador’s shrimp industry boomed in the 1970s, becoming the country’s third-largest...

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