Avances del Cesor (Jun 2018)

Following the fibers, the bags and the grains: diplomatic (dis)connections between Argentina and Mexico during the Great War, 1917-1918

  • María Cecilia Zuleta

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15, no. 18
pp. 163 – 190


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This article is a historical study that contrasts two cases of economic diplomacy during the Great War, in Mexico and Argentina, both neutral countries, around the trading of hard fibers: jute and henequen.The article aims to reconstruct and analyse the diplomatic interactions that the governments of Argentina and Mexico undertook between 1917 and 1918 to overcome the problems that the allied organization of the economic war imposed on the global traffic of fibers, particularly binder twine and jute sacks. To do this, it examines the place of both economies in the fiber market - Mexico as a supplier of henequen, and Argentina as a consumer of jute and sisal hemp. 1917 was a critical year for the trade in hard fibers in the world. This study crosses the analysis of two coincident episodes that took place from late 1917 and the beginning of 1918: the “crisis of the jute sacks” in the Pampas, and the diplomatic mission of the Mexican Luis Cabrera in Buenos Aires. Its aim is to demonstrate that Argentina and Mexico were both part of the global framework of the fiber-cereals complex, which connected America, Europe and Asia. The article focuses on the connection and interplay of the global and regional dynamics with Mexican and Argentine processes, in order to improve knowledge about the impact of the Great War in Latin America.