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US and Latin American Foreign Policy STAGE 4: The Cold War 1950-1988.

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Presentation on theme: "US and Latin American Foreign Policy STAGE 4: The Cold War 1950-1988."— Presentation transcript:

1 US and Latin American Foreign Policy STAGE 4: The Cold War 1950-1988

2 US Foreign Policy towards Latin America : The Cold War clearly dictated priorities of the US National Security = Keep communism out of the hemisphere at all costs. This “anticommunist crusade” meant institutionalizing alliances (see OAS) in the region, propping up right wing authoritarian regimes, forcing governments in the region to go after domestic leftist subversives and if necessary, intervening militarily to overthrow leftist regimes. Fear of Soviet menace - Greatly exaggerated as stated by Smith!

3 Harrry S. Truman 1945-1952

4 Truman’s Policies towards LA: 1945 – 1950: a continuation of the Good Neighbor Policy In fact, US is still concerned with fascism at this point (See Perón!) 1950-1952: Turning point – Reevaluation of nonintervention as perceived communist threat grows. See Miller and Kennan analysis (Smith, 126-27) National Security within the hemisphere becoming paramount!

5 ESTABLISHMENT OF OAS Established as a means for hemispheric cooperation in Bogota in 1948 (The Bogotazo!) The issue of intervention vs. nonintervention was debated a lot during the late 40’s/early 50s. It was ultimately decided that intervention by decree of all member states was legitimized Read pgs 123-128 of Smith

6 Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953 - 1960

7 Ike’s Policies towards LA: Ike and his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, took office after blasting Truman and the Dems for being soft on communism worldwide, including LA! Situation: A democratic surge in LA in the mid 40’s had led to a growth in leftist political parties. By the late 40s- conservative backlash By early 50s Ike’s administration reaches out to right wing military establishments in LA Dulles: “Do nothing to offend the dictators, they are the only people we can depend on.” Why? Because they are staunch anti-communists and this is the PRIORITY!

8 Ike and LA authoritarians team up In order to curb the rise of communist influence in LA they work together in three ways: 1) virtual elimination of LA communist parties 2) reassert state control over labor movements 3) Block the USSR from making diplomatic inroads in the region ALL were extremely successful

9 Guatemala 1954 The first American military intervention in Latin America for over 20 years Goodbye Good Neighbor! Stage 4 is official See pages 135- 139 of Smith

10 Vice President Nixon’s Trip to LA in May 1958 Met with constant anti-American protests – especially here in Venezuela! Blamed by Ike on Communists Nixon: The US should give “a formal handshake for dictators; an embraso [sic!] for leaders in freedom.” Led Ike to give LA more economic assistance

11 CUBAN REVOLUTION 1959 Alarms Ike on his way out the door Passes on to his successor a “plan” to overthrow Castro…

12 Assessment of Ike in LA Ike’s foreign policy “left deep scars on Latin America” (Smith, 142) President Figueres of Costa Rica: “Intervention is considered a worse evil than communism, especially since intervention never applied to foster a democratic cause.”

13 John F. Kennedy 1961 - 1963

14 BAY OF PIGS – April 1961 The plan given to Kennedy by Ike. FIASCO! See Castro power point notes and Smith pgs 165-169

15 JFK’s Policies towards LA: Attempts to make political comeback after failure of Bay of Pigs JFK’s dilemma: How to promote political democracy, a healthy centrist middle, without courting dictators or allowing communism to flourish in the hemisphere?? Also- establish true economic reform for LA as well. The Answer….

16 The Alliance for Progress A Marshall Plan for Latin America (August 1961) 1)LA nations need to set up plans for development 2)Redistributive reform (LAND REFORM) 3)Sustained US economic assistance See goals and measures of program on Pages 150- 151 of Smith

17 Assessment of AFP Some Success: Economic growth for Latin America in the early 1960s (see pg 153 for numbers) Socially – more bad news than good. Very little changes for the better because LAND REFORM was not implemented

18 WHY DID THE AFP NOT MEET ITS GOALS? Only modest levels of US aid Misreading of social facts in region. Middle class in LA not the same as in the USA In LA Social Change and Political Conflict go hand in hand (unfortunately!) The miscalculation that a healthy center would grow

19 Oh and don’t forget the POLITICAL FAILURES of the AFP At the end of the day, DICTATORSHIPS, continued to flourish despite initial anguish by Kennedy Between 1962-63: Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, the DR and Honduras all experienced military coups! WHERE’S THE HOPE FOR DEMOCARCY IN LA? Answer: NOT A PRIORITY

20 Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1968

21 LBJ’s Policies towards LA: Considered JFK’s idelaistic AFP a “thorough-going mess!” Brings in THOMAS C. MANN who brings back the Ike approach to LA. “I know my Latinos,” Mann once said. : They understand only two things – a buck in the pocket and a kick in the ass.”

22 Mann Doctrine (pg 157-158) Bye-Bye Alliance for Progress Tenets: Promote economic growth but no social reform! Protect US investments (sound familiar?) Do not bend over backwards for democratic institutions in LA Intervention justified to OPPOSE COMMUNISM See Brazil - 1964 (pg 158 of Smith) AND the DR (pgs 169-172)

23 Richard M. Nixon 1969 - 1974

24 Nixon’s Policies towards LA: Rockefeller report (pg 159): “The US has talked of partnership, but it has not truly practiced it.” Could there be a change of approach in US policy? NO Rockefeller’s answer: Cozy up more to the Latin American military man. That is the meaning of “partnership” during Nixon’s administration.

25 Chile and Allende 1970-73 See pages 172-178 of Smith for in-depth analysis of US/CIA involvement. Also, Keen reading.

26 Jimmy Carter 1977-1980

27 Carter’s Policies towards LA: HUMAN RIGHTS was at the top of his foreign policy agenda not just in LA but all over the world…( least most of it. Iran was not included!) Witdrew support for right wing military regimes in Chile (Pinochet), Nicaragua (Somoza), Guatemala and Argentina because of human rights violations

28 Nicaragua - 1979 Denying economic aid to an increasingly repressive Somoza regime led to victory for Ortega and the Sandinistas in 1979! Carter might have meant well, but in terms of Cold War foreign policy, his priorities were mixed up! The American political right slams the Carter administration for failing to halt spread of communism in the hemisphere!

29 Ronald Reagan 1981-1988

30 Reagan’s Policies towards LA: Reagan immediately rolls back the “missteps” made by Carter in not squashing communism in LA. Takes a similar approach to Ike, LBJ and Nixon in terms of foreign policy in the region. Stop communism from spreading at all costs. THE REAGAN DOCTRINE (see next slide) See Alexander Haig quote (Reagan’s Secretary of State on pgs 178-179) International communist conspiracy! Talk about exaggeration!!

31 REAGAN DOCTRINE DEFINED Reagan Doctrine: (grew out of spirit of Nixon Doctrine) “Support for freedom fighters across the globe is self-defense!” Win back the “gains” made by the Soviet Union during Détente era. Explains Reagan’s bold approach to the USSR during his first term. Ratcheted up supplying the mujaheddin in Afghanistan (especially during second term) Also very effective in Latin America: Grenada 1983: US sent in the marines to overthrow semi-Marxist/pro Castro regime in tiny Caribbean island. Only moment in history US forces fought Cuba directly Nicaragua 1980’s: Communist Sandinista forces (w/ help from Cuba) seized power from Somoza family in 1979. Reagan, throughout his two terms actively sought to covertly overthrown them. Trained/ equipped Contra forces w/o Congressional approval. So…the USA secretly sold arms to Islamic Iran (HUH??!!!) to generate revenue to support this force in Central Amerca. This shady deal was uncovered. Big scandal! Iran-Contra affair. Dragged El Salvador and Honduras into the mess as well… In Angola, Mozambique – Reagan Doctrine not as effective.

32 REAGAN TAKES IT TO A NEW LEVEL: More direct/indirect US interventions to stop communism in Latin America than any other Cold War president! Grenada (pgs 178-182) El Salvador (182-83) Nicaragua (184-188)

33 Assessment of American Foreign Policy in Latin America during the Cold War (pgs 162-163, 188-89) The Priority for the USA: Strengthening its position in relation to the USSR “An enemy of my enemy is my friend” The US needed to uphold friendships in the hemisphere, even if it meant dictatorial ones. Smith: “In the long run it was the perceived exigency of global issues, rather than a concern with Latin America, that gave shape to US policy.

34 Assessment (continued) Thus, Stage 4 was all about continued American interference in the internal affairs of Latin American states. Both Democrats and Republicans attempted to forcefully overthrow each and every [Smith’s emphasis] socialist government in Latin America! Washington clearly miscalculated and exaggerated the perceived threat of Soviet influenced communism in the hemisphere. Castro and the Sandinistas only turned to the USSR after the US adopted harsh policies towards them.

35 Assessment (cont) Despite these misperceptions, overall the US SUCCEDED in halting communism in the hemisphere. The Bay of Pigs was the only unsuccessful intervention endeavor. The Sandinistas held on the longest, but eventually succumbed to American pressure… All other leftist regimes were suppressed either directly or indirectly by the USA Smith: “Intervention worked”

36 LATIN AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY DURING THE COLD WAR NO CAN DO: It was no longer possible to seek protection from a rival European power No chances of establishing subregional hegemony (Brazil and Argentina and now…Chavez!) Appeal to international law to back up idealistic diplomacy (UN and OAS controlled by the US and the World Court ignored by the US!)

37 So…what were the options?? Defy the USA and pursue a SOCIALIST PATH Seek support of US by taking the Anti- communist road Or…NON-ALIGNMENT. Gravitate to neither the East or West. Attempt to establish political, economic, cultural independence

38 Option #1: Care to Defy?? The Socialist Path Leftist ideology = extremely attractive message in LA - appealed to the oppressed – presented promise to Latin Americans HOW? Est. Communist Political Parties: could not gain momentum in LA because of religious reasons and too closely aligned with Soviet ideology Est. Socialist parties: more flexible than communism, meant more success in Latin America. Preached anti-imperialist/nationalist message (Arbenz in G’mala and Allende in Chile)

39 A major obstacle: US interference! Any attempt to establish a leftist regimes was met with stiff resistance from Washington. Therefore the only alternative was…


41 THE CUBA MODEL Cuba set the standard for armed revolution in LA beginning in 1959. Castro and Che were big advocates 1 st wave - 1960’s (Guatemala, Venezuela Colombia, Peru and Bolivia – where Che met his fate) Round 2 - mid 1970s to 1980s (Guatemala, Colombia and Peru) Most notable: El Salvador 1970-1990 Nicaragua and the Sandinistas 1979-1989

42 A DIFFICULT PATH Castro and Ortega were the only armed revolutions successful in seizing political power in LA during the Cold War! Why the high rate of failure? Revolutionary movements needed extensive resources, not only their own, but widespread social support and military backing from governments in power.

43 Fidelistas and Sandinistas Both rebelled against corrupt governments that were receiving little support from the US (Eisenhower and Carter turned away from Batista and Somoza respectively) Most important of all: these right wing rulers were abandoned by EVERYONE including their natural supporters – landowners and buisnessmen!

44 Why couldn’t relations be established between the USA and these governments? According to Smith - possible in principle but not in practice! Incompatible for both sides! Revolutionary/Nationalist fervor in Latin America was rooted in anti-imperialism. It was the lynchpin of their political appeal! Naturally gravitated to the Soviet camp

45 THE USA VIEW For the United States, hostility towards these leftist regimes was the sign of the times. Smith argues that this pushed both the Cuban and Nicaraguan governments into the arms of the USSR. This rigid, Cold War framework approach did the most to promote Soviet involvement in the hemisphere.

46 Option #2: The Anticommunist Crusade The Cold War promoted leftist revolutionary to a certain extent. The CW promoted authoritarian regimes to a GREAT EXTENT. First and one of the most successful examples of dictatorships(in terms of longevity): Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua - 1930’s to 1979 Trujillo 1930-1961 Batista 1952-1959 What To Do List: SEE SMITH, PAGE 200

47 Dictatorship “Lite”- bureaucratic authoritarianism 1960s – 1980s Controlled by professional armed forces Multinational, local and state business alliance Strong anti-communist “national security” policies Brazil beginning in 1964 Pinochet in 1973 Argentina in 1976

48 Oxymoron: Promoting Anticommunism and Democracy Best example: LA reaction to Jimmy Carter’s human rights campaign Unfair! Carter open to criticize human rights abuses in Latin America (Brazil, Guatemala, Chile and Argentina) but not in other parts of the world? Iran and the Philippines? Pinochet tests the US. Defiance! (page 206)

49 A THIRD WAY: NON-ALIGNMENT Version #1: Economic development 1948 Economic Assistance for Latin America (ECLA) Industrialization and regional integration See 207-210 of Smith

50 Version #2: Foreign Policy Definition of NON-ALIGNMENT Avoid the East and West camps Promote “international self-assertion” of former colonial countries Militant anti-colonialism Pioneers: Tito in Yugoslavia and Nehru in India – NAM launched in 1955 Denounce the Two Imperialisms – The US and USSR

51 CASTRO – Politically savvy! Most outspoken and popular NAM Latin American leader. Through sheer charisma, was able to deflect criticism and avoid being defined as a Soviet lackey very much dependent on their economic aid. That is, until late 1979 when Castro failed to denounce the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. His NAM status took a hit.

52 Assessment of Latin American Foreign Policy during the Cold War Polarized the region as it was brought into the clash of ideologies between the superpowers. Some of the tension was real – Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 Some hyped up - Central American in the 1980’s. “The Cold War took a heavy toll on Latin America” – Smith pg 215

53 Beneficiaries and Losers LA political right flourished throughout the CW with the exception of during the Carter administration at the end of the 1970s Socialist alternative was a much more difficult road – only TWO out of THIRTY guerilla movements seized power in LA during the CW A Third Path: A source of PRIDE but few incentives. Not a friend of the USA or Soviets??? What options do these nations have?? More benefits to be had by aligning with the superpowers! - Smith, however, argues that it was successful in the long run because it preserved Latin American political integrity and SOVEREIGNTY. Look no further than Fidel!

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