Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Ana Maria Bidegain

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Christine Gudorf

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Oren Stier

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Liberation Theology, Repression, Religious Transformation, Christianity, National Security Doctrine, CIA

Date of Defense



This thesis aims to explore the political, social and religious opposition to Liberation Theology in Latin America during the 1960s to 1990s, and the transformation of Christianity. During this period, most Latin American countries underwent social struggles and political repression in which opposition and persecution arose from dictatorial and military governments who labeled those committed to the poor as communists. Liberation Theology emerged as an ecclesial and theological trend committed to the poor, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in Latin America. This thesis traces the origins, development, expansion and repression of Liberation Theology. This work maintains that under the Cold War context and the National Security Doctrine, Liberation Theology became a target of political repression because its commitment with the poor placed it as subversive and communist. This research reveals how it was repressed with violence and the promotion of counteracting religious groups, leading to changes in Christianity.





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