Professor shares Latin myths

By John Alfaro/reporter

The caudillo, a Spanish military or political figure, is a real presence in Latin American history, a University of North Texas professor told students during the speech The Latin American Caudillo: History and Myth on NW Campus. 

Samuel Manickam spoke to approximately 60 students about the history and myth of this figure going all the way back to the Aztecs.

“His objective may be consolidation of power, but his impact on his country may be both negative and positive,” said Manickam referring to the role the insurgent plays. 

Manickam talked about Porfirio Diaz, who was president of Mexico for 30 years from 1884 to 1911. 

“This caudillo brought peace and prosperity, but the poor and indigenous suffered under his rule,” he said. 

Manickam said knowing about the caudillo and the history of Latin America is essential for those of Hispanic origin. 

“Living in the U.S. as a Latino, it’s very important for them to know their own history,” he said. “We must know our history.”

NW student Kim Flowers said she had never heard of the caudillo before listening to Manickam speak.

“When you think about caudillos, they do have positives,” she said.

NW Spanish professor Jesus Gonzalez, whose department sponsored the event, said he also learned something new.  

“I didn’t know the caudillo went all the way back to the Aztecs,” he said.