chapter  4
6 Pages

The Sixties and Official Aid

There is agreement amongst different writers that the 1959 Cuban Revolution marked a qualitatively significant turning point in US attitudes towards Latin America, and this had a predominant influence on the magnitude and nature of aid, characterising the Alliance for Progress. Washington became increasingly anxious that because of Cuba's example and international efforts, revolution might rapidly spread through Latin America. It became fashionable to view the whole of Latin America as facing only two alternatives: reform or revolution.1 The US needed to rapidly demonstrate a show of strength to ensure that the frrst prevailed. John Kennedy many times repeated that 'the promotion of democracy and reform were the ultimate answer to Castro and the Communists'. The new Administration believed that economic development and social reform, spurred by North American

32TheSixtiesandOfficialAid

aid,couldblunttheappealofradicalism. Morebroadly,theAllianceforProgressprogramme,andinpartic-

ular,itsinitialrhetoric,wasstrongly·influencedbyaveryimportant segmentofLatinAmericanthinking.Thefirstblueprintforthe AlliancewasprovidedbytheQuintadinhaproposals.ParticularlyinfluentialduringtheearlystagesoftheAlliance,wasthememorandum writtenbyPrebisch,Mayobre,FelipeHerreraandothereminentLatin AmericaneconomistsanddeliveredtoPresidentKennedyjustbeforehe launchedhisnewprogramme.ItcalledontheUStoco-operatewith thoseLatinAmericancountrieswillingtomakestructuralsocialand economicchanges(withparticularemphasisonlandtenure,education andtaxreform);tocapturethesupportofthemasses,byconvincing them'withclearandpalpableevidencethattheprogramisnotmotivatedbyadesiretocreatelucrativefieldsofinvestmentforforeign privatecapital'andtolaunchanexternalprogrammeoflong-term supplementarycapitalassistanceandcommoditypricestabilisation.