Ferment in Latin American Politics
Concern Over Signs of Disunity and Unrest
The forthcoming goodwill visit to Rio de Janeiro of Secretary of State Acheson is a fresh reminder to the people of the United States of the basic strategic, economic, and political importance of the Latin American region in the world struggle against Communist imperialism. Because of the impressive development under the Good Neighbor policy of numerous mechanisms for inter-American cooperation, based on the affirmation of democratic and peaceful purposes, the solidarity and mutual goodwill of the 21 Western Hemisphere republics is easily taken for granted. Yet Nelson A. Rockefeller, who served as wartime Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, has noted that “disunity and unrest in many parts of Latin America are far more widespread and serious than most people of the United States realize”.
The successful garrison coup of Gen. Fulgencio Batista in Cuba in March and the forceful overthrow of the junta governing Bolivia in April are vivid warnings of how uneasy is the political situation in many countries to the south. Hot campaigns are now in progress for presidential elections in Mexico (July 6) and Chile (Sept. 4). Signs of political tension are evident in the prolongation of a “state of siege” in Colombia, the controversy over Communist influence in Guatemala, and the alleged discovery of plots against the ruling junta in Venezuela.
Disquieting propaganda continues to radiate from Buenos Aires. The Argentine ambassador to Ecuador recently was declared persona non grata for interfering in the tense campaign which led up to the Ecuadorian elections of June 1. Brazil has been disturbed by political agitation over economic questions and Communism. Despite striking differences among the individual republics, certain basic and substantially common factors are discernible behind much of the current disunity and unrest.