The Alliance for Progress

The Alliance for Progress

We viewed the original Kennedy program for Latin America (Alliance for Progress) with a good deal of scepticism, but welcomed the proclaimed ideals behind it. For one thing, it gave recognition to the fact that money and grants in themselves, if poured down the bottomless pit of corrupt Latin American dictatorships, only serve in the end to strengthen such regimes. The Alliance for Progress, did, therefore, even if timidly, openly pose the need for internal social revolutions by which elitist rule would be replaced by popularly-based democratic rule, along with social and economic measures long urged by Latin American socialists and democrats.

It would be unfair to question what might have happened to the Alliance if Kennedy had lived. Certain examples—the story of Peru, for example —added to one’s doubts; on the other hand, the handling of the Venezuelan crisis was more promising.

Now, however, under Johnson the program has turned sour to the point where its former director, Teodoro Moscoso, has openly charged betrayal (New York Times, February 18, 1965):

“We are still using money,” says Mr. Moscoso, “but do we remember that there is a revolution going on?”

By revolution, the former head of the Alliance for Progress simply refers to the unrest prevalent in Latin American countries, coupled with their social and economic improvement. Kennedy, continues Moscoso, sought to understand and come to terms with this situation by supporting revolutionary changes in the structure of traditional Latin American society, that is, the dictatorship of militarists and landlords.

The shift away from the Kennedy conception of the Alliance began some time ago with the replacement of Moscoso by Thomas C. Mann, a conservative-oriented bureaucrat who immediately adopted a new tone toward Latin America. Recent military takeovers were either ignored or quickly extended diplomatic recognition; the program itself was more narrowly conceived in terms of “aid,” not the possible long-range structural changes which the influx of capital employed along certain directions might advance.

The Alliance for Progress thus seems destined to become another routine program, with its political content liquidated and its possible revolutionary implications dissolved.

Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

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