Theater festivals held throughout the region in the 1960s and ’70s provided a place for the interchange of ideas and techniques and gave artists a safe forum for presenting politically controversial works in such cities as Caracas, Venezuela; Bogota, Colombia; and Havana. Festival theater was criticized by some as rootless and soulless, and the totalitarian regime in power from 1976 to 1984 in Argentina— the most drama-conscious nation in South America— attempted to destroy any theater critical of the government. (Pottlizer)
In other words, Mexico has always been a free nation that celebrates the freedom of the individual. While there is a heavy degree of nationalism, that nationalism has never been translated into militarism. In countries such as Argentina and Brazil, there existed traditions of totalitarian regimes and militarism. From this, the ability of an artist to express him or herself in a free manner has routinely been suppressed and, in some cases, the suppression and repression was performed in a manner that was downright brutal.
As such, the dramatic movements that came out of such repressive regimes lacked the political bite that Mexican drama and theater contained because the Mexican theater that was developed both domestically and within the United States was not subject to the same degree of militarism and repression. Hence, creativity was allowed to flow freely as opposed to being contained within a certain specific area that denied the dramatic movements the ability to grow and flourish.
Instead, many South American theatrical movements stagnated for many years and did not reach the potential that they would have under more benevolent circumstances. The Politics and Histories of Mexican and South American Theater Pg 6 This is not to say that there were never subversive or politically challenging drama movements in other parts of South America.
However, one can never discount the impact that political repression will have on the arts and the fear that it will impart in members of the artistic community. As such, it is generally a given that any artistic movement within a society that has limited freedom will never reach the full potential that it is capable. There will always be similarities and differences between the multitude of Mexican theatrical movements and those movements that exist in other South American nations.
While these various theatrical movements will share a similarity in terms of consistent themes of the right of self determination of the indigenous peoples as well as a perpetual methodology of political statements, Mexico’s ability to make these statements will be dramatically different than the other countries/nations as Mexican theater benefited from the freedoms accorded both in the domestic boundaries of Mexico and within the Mexican-American communities inside the United States.
As such, Mexican theater developed its political criticism in a manner that was different than other South American countries that existed under more repressive right wing and left wing regimes that were more removed from the rest of the world.
Works Cited Anon. Date Unknown. “Chicano Theater. ” 22 November 2006 http://www.fortunecity.com