Bilateral Cooperation of European Small States with Countries in Latin America

Berthold Molden (Wien)

Freitag, 17. April 2020, 16:00–17:30, U 1

What role did actors play in a subordinate position in the global power structure during the Cold War? Was it possible for small states and secondary actors to cooperate? – Despite their dependence on the superpowers – sometimes even beyond the limits of ideology. Based on empirical sources, the contributions of this panel relate to transnational and transcultural links between state and non-state actors (such as business, solidarity groups, and cultural workers). The participants of this panel will highlight the possibilities and limitations of interactions between Europe (especially Central Europe) and Latin America.

The Cultural Cold War in Latin America – The House of the Czechoslovak Culture in Cuba

Kateřina Březinová (Prag)

This paper is a case study of the cultural engagements between Czechoslovakia and Cuba, with particular focus on the “House of the Czechoslovak Culture” in Havana. Established in May 1962 and launched into action in the presence of some of the most distinguished authorities from both countries, the “Casa de la cultura checoslovaca” was the first cultural and information center established by a foreign country in Cuba. I argue that the war for the hearts and minds was not limited to the superpowers only. As the traditional diplomacy within the Soviet Bloc was compromised and directed in a top-down manner from Moscow in Cold War years, I am especially interested in the action of some of the minor Eastern European players and their exploitation of soft-power channels to promote political and economic interests and their way of life in Latin America, in our case in Cuba. Until recently, the question of how the Cubans process their country’s relationship with the Soviet Bloc has been examined tangentially, even though for nearly three decades countries like Czechoslovakia exported their distinct cultural and pedagogical models to the island.

The Role of Austrian-Czech Players in the 1954 Overthrow of Guatemala’s Revolutionary Government and the Following Bilateral Austrian Development Projects in Guatemala

Martina Kaller (Wien)

Together with Marcus Brunner and Wolfgang Dietrich, I investigated the Austria’s bilateral engagement in development cooperation from 1960 onwards. Guatemala was not only declared the favorite country in Latin America for bilateral development aid but also the host of the only Austrian School in the Americas. This research demonstrated the deep involvement of Austria, internationally insignificant in the development business from 1960 to 1989, in the political affairs of this small country in Central America that was in war for three decades (1966–1996). These years coincide with Austrian development aid that also included the import of ammunition (Hirtenberger etc.).

Austria and Nicaragua. Between Solidarity and Realpolitik in the Last Phase of the Global Cold War (1978–1989)

Laurin Blecha (Wien)

The Nicaraguan Revolution in 1978/79 was a symbolic as well as political turning point in contemporary Central American history. But, also from the perspective of Global History the revolution represents a paradigm change: a cross class-uprising against the dictatorship of the Somozas, was mirrored in the centres by new social agents and movements, ideologically heterogeneous and also hoping to change politics in the Euroatlantic world. In Austria, politicians from the left to the right as well as the civil society reacted to the revolution and it became a small, but constant object of discussion in the Austrian society. Where these interconnections and networks special or share they common global patterns in the relationship of two relatively small countries? What does it tell us, when two rather different societies establish long-lasting relationships in an ideological biased world?


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