Alberto G. Flórez-Malagón
François Chevalier fellow
University of Ottawa
Drinking imperialism. Alliance for Progress’ "Poisoned Milk" and the Sterilization Anxiety in Latin America, 1961-1970
Alberto G. Florez-Malagon holds a B.A. in Political Science from Universidad de los Andes and a M.A. and a PhD in History from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Before his appointment with the University of Ottawa he was a Senior Program Officer in the Program of Peace, Conflict and Development at the International Development Research Center, IDRC, in Ottawa. He has worked in Colombia as an associate professor at Javeriana and Los Andes universities, as well as for the Colombian Institute for Development of Science and Technology (COLCIENCIAS) where he directed the National Social Sciences and Humanities Program. He was a visiting fellow and lecturer at Universidad Andina in Ecuador, and Laval, Concordia and McGill universities in Canada. He has published several books and articles on local dynamics of conflict, rural studies, environmental history, historiography, cultural studies and transdisciplinarity in Latin America. His current research interests revolve around cultural and power issues, mainly the strategies for the historical construction of ideologies and identities with emphasis in Latin America.
This project studies the role of rumors as political weapons in the context of the Cold War in Latin America in the 1960s. It reveals the particular case of powdered milk donated by the United States to Latin American public schools as part of the development program "Alliance for Progress" (1961-1970), and how this "sterilizing gringo milk" generated discursive resistance promoted mainly by Leftist groups. These attacks on the Alliance’s milk were made through rumors that circulated widely in popular sectors and were linked to other anti-American practices. The project concentrates on the case of Colombia, as an example of a trend that can be detected throughout Latin American. Why it was possible to make a credible case for what was imagined as "poisoned milk"? The explanation seems to rely on the sterilization anxiety generated by the promotion of birth-control practices in the region, which took the form of conspiratory theories oriented towards regulating the growth of Latin American populations. This helped to connect U.S. milk donations with a strategy of biocontrol exerted through a fictional non-consulted program of sterilization across the region.
- Ustedes los pobres, nosotros los ricos. Las industrias culturales extranjeras y el gusto social en Bogotá, Colombia (1940-1970) (Centro Editorial Javeriano, 2019), 320 pp. (Forthcoming)
- "La invención del cocacolo: “americanización” y diferenciación social en Bogotá en la década de 1950", Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes, (2018) 43:3, 315-336.
- "Cinema and social differentiation: the impact of Mexican films in Bogotá, Colombia, 1940–1970", Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes, (2014) 39:2, 244-261.
- El poder de la carne: Historias de ganaderías en la primera mitad del siglo XX en Colombia, editor (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2008). 439 pp. ISBN 9789587161595
- Una isla en un mar de sangre. El Valle de Ubaté durante la Violencia (Centro Editorial Javeriano-CEJA/La Carreta Editores, 2005), 253 pp. ISBN 9589766420