Surviving Globalization in Three Latin American Communities


299 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55111-477-1
DDC 330.98





Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish studies at Queen’s University.


In the past year, several Canadian cities have been exposed to mass
protests in the name of anti-globalization and the process of worldwide
economic integration. The countries that suffer most from the perceived
evils of development and its agents (World Bank, International Monetary
Fund, etc.) are the so-called Third World countries of Africa, Asia, and
Latin America, the subject of this important study. The author seeks to
capture the essence of First World systems, capitalist, growth-oriented,
and rooted in the aforementioned globalizing policies, as opposed to the
community, traditional, and land-centred views of the poor
underdeveloped countries.

Heyck has produced a timely analysis of the problem in this study,
which is a mixture of theory and fieldwork, based on interviews with
representatives of the communities involved. The general introduction
sets out the background with a useful examination of the problem of
development and globalization and their influence on traditional
communities. The body of the text is divided into three parts, each with
a particular introduction to the areas under review, followed by
interviews with representatives from each group. Part 1 is devoted to
the rubber trappers of the western Brazilian state of Acre, hounded and
persecuted by government and private developers alike. Organized
destruction of the Amazon rainforest, with the constant abuse of the
rubber workers, is one of the most heinous crimes of contemporary Latin
American development. The heroic efforts and consequent murder of their
champion, Chico Mendes, have been well recorded. Six interviews with
active participants in the struggle give truth to the story.

Part 2, which focuses on the struggles of Bolivia’s Guaranн Indians
to survive in the face of oppression, is revealed and humanized by
interviews with nine of these landholders and harvesters. Part 3 deals
with the efforts of Nicaraguan women cooperativists, long engaged in a
dispute over possession and usage of the land, illuminated by the seven
interviews granted by these abused and exploited campesinas.

Each section has a 25-page introduction, notes, and a general
bibliography. Surviving Globalization provides an insightful examination
of three exemplary communities at the mercy of, and struggling against,
globalization, forever caught between traditional ways and values and
the inevitable modernization that attacks these groups at the grassroots


Heyck, Denis Lynn Daly., “Surviving Globalization in Three Latin American Communities,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024,