Patrick Iber: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America

Patrick Iber (University of Texas at El Paso) sends news about his newly published book, Neither Peace nor Freedom. The Cultural Cold War in Latin America.

Dear Manuel,
Thanks for reminding me to send you this announcement! I had planned to after getting the last H of/de US-MEX newsletter.
Un abrazo

My book, Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America, was released to an unsuspecting public on September 14, 2015 by Harvard University Press. It ships (Amazon, Powell’s). It can be purchased in bookstores. There is an electronic edition.

​About the book

During the Cold War, left-wing Latin American artists, writers, and scholars worked as diplomats, advised rulers, opposed dictators, and even led nations. Their competing visions of social democracy and their pursuit of justice, peace, and freedom led them to organizations sponsored by the governments of the Cold War powers: the Soviet-backed World Peace Council, the U.S.-supported Congress for Cultural Freedom, and, after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the homegrown Casa de las Américas.

Neither Peace nor Freedom delves into the entwined histories of these organizations and the aspirations and dilemmas of intellectuals who participated in them, from Diego Rivera and Pablo Neruda to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Patrick Iber corrects the view that such individuals were merely pawns of the competing superpowers. Movements for democracy and social justice sprung up among pro-Communist and anti-Communist factions, and Casa de las Américas promoted a brand of revolutionary nationalism that was beholden to neither the Soviet Union nor the United States.

But ultimately, intellectuals from Latin America could not break free from the Cold War’s rigid binaries. With the Soviet Union demanding fealty from Latin American communists, the United States zealously supporting their repression, and Fidel Castro pushing for regional armed revolution, advocates of social democracy found little room to promote their ideals without compromising them. Cold War politics had offered utopian dreams, but intellectuals could get neither the peace nor the freedom they sought.


“Erudite and engaging, Iber brilliantly combines the new histories of the global Cold War and the Cultural Cold War, and by doing so transforms our understanding of both.”—Hugh Wilford, author of America’s Great Game and The Mighty Wurlitzer

“Iber’s new account of the Cultural Cold War in Latin America is the best I know in any language, setting the standard for study of the region’s intellectual conflicts and politics in the twentieth century. Grounded in deep research in archives on three continents, it is judiciously framed, sharp in its questions and insights, often brilliant, always clear in its arguments, and remarkably wise in its conclusions.”—John Womack, Jr., Harvard University

About the cover art

The cover comes personally from Mexican artist Arturo García Bustos, now 93, who studied with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, was part of the TGP, and produced works of art for the (pro-Soviet) Peace movement that is discussed in the book. This image was produced during a visit to Arbenz’s Guatemala in favor of the land reform. 

Here’s the bibliographic information of Patrick’s book.
​Patrick Iber. Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. Link to Harvard University Press.

Iber NPNF flyer.pdf