Conspiracy theories are fun and ridiculous, but after reading enough of them they can leave you doubting your own existence. Combined with the mysterious reputation that surrounds South and Central America, it’s no surprise that there is no shortage of kooky conspiracy theories from those regions.
The Mayans Predict a Global Apocalypse
Perhaps one of the most famous conspiracy theories coming out of Central America was the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. It predicted that the world would end on December 21, 2012. In fact, there was even a disaster movie named 2012 that chronicled the horrific weather patterns and seismic activity that would lead to the end of the human race as we knew it. The Mayan civilization lived in Central America for 2,000 years and became a thriving society that made huge advancements in the fields of engineering, mathematics, and astronomy. Their calendar even measured 365 days a year. So it interested researchers and civilians alike when, once the Mayan written language was cracked, they discovered that their calendar ended on December 21, 2012. While some assumed that the Mayans just didn’t feel like writing their calendar any further in the future, others wondered if they knew something we didn’t. As you can probably tell, the 2012 conspiracy theory was disproved when nothing happened on the morning of December 22, 2012.
Hugo Chavez Infected with Cancer by the CIA
Infamous Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez died of complications from pelvic cancer in April 2013, which sparked a new interest in a popular conspiracy theory that he originally purported himself: that the US government had infected him with cancer in order to bring him down. This theory first started circulating when Chavez first discovered that he had cancer in 2011. Chavez wondered about the possibility of the CIA infected him with cancer.Cancer cells already reside in our body, but our immune system kills them. If Chavez was really “infected”, his immune system would have to have been compromised in order for the cancer to take effect. Chavez also noted how noted leaders of Latin America had all seemingly gotten cancer diagnoses at the same time, perhaps a tactic used by the CIA to get rid of Latin American leaders they disapproved of. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2011 after being a smoker for 40 years. Another Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, was diagnosed in 2009 with a cancer of the lymphatic system. Paraguay’s president Fernando Lugo was also diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Even Cristina Kirchner, the former president of Argentina, was diagnosed in 2011 with thyroid cancer, but was later reported that she was misdiagnosed and didn’t have cancer after all. Perhaps it has less to do with secret CIA agents infecting Latin leaders and more to do with the likelihood of cancer appearing in humans later in life, perhaps after poor health choices. The US Department of State has called Chavez’s claims “reprehensible”.
Hitler Escaped to Argentina
Another well known conspiracy theory of South America indicates that Hitler did not commit suicide in Germany, but escaped to Argentina and lived there until the end of his days. Some theories say he commit suicide at the age of 101, others say he died in the 1960s after raising two daughters. There are claims that his skull in Berlin, suffering a fatal gunshot wound, actually belonged to an unknown woman. Another reason this theory caught on was the supporting evidence that Nazis traveled to Argentina, among other countries, following WWII to seek refuge, though many were eventually tracked down and tried for their crimes against humanity.
Emily Kaltman writes for Estancia Churrascaria in Austin, Texas. She enjoys writing about Latin America and history.
Photo Credit: ranma_tim
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