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GET UP, STAND UP: The Story of Pop and Protest Flash Points
About the Program
Revolutionary Music
Flash Points
Great Depression
U.S. Labor Movement
Civil Rights
Vietnam War
Birth of Bangladesh
Central American Wars
Ethiopian Famine
War in Iraq
Central American Wars
Protests in El Salvador
The push for land and social reforms in the years following World War II pitted the interests of the relatively few but wealthy landowners against those of the majority population, mostly poor peasants, in several countries in the region -- Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua -- and led to several decades of political turmoil and civil war. Policies that attempted to redistribute wealth and the growing strength of labor movements prompted fears of the spread of Communism within these nations as well as in the United States. In Guatemala, the ascendancy of the military in the 1960s provoked a guerrilla war in the 1970s and 1980s. El Salvador devolved into civil war between the ruling army and leftist guerrillas following the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980. The corrupt rule of Nicaragua's Somoza family ended after more than four decades with their defeat by the Sandinistas in a civil war in the mid-1970s. Sandinista leftist policies and links to Cuba and the Soviet Union led the United States to fund and support their armed opposition, the Contras, in the 1980s.

The U.S. government's aid to the right-wing governments and disregard for their appalling human rights records led several artists to pen songs in protest: "Lives in the Balance" by Jackson Browne, "They Dance Alone" by Sting, "The Circle" by Kris Kristofferson, and "Bullet the Blue Sky" by U2.

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(Photos: AP Photo/Douglas Engle)

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