Arms Aid to Latin America

October 5, 1962

Report Outline
Latin Generals and United States Arms
United States Program of Military Aid
Case for and Case Against Ending Aid
Special Focus

Latin Generals and United States Arms

Criticism of Military Aid to Latin America

A resurgence of military influence in Latin American countries, notably Argentina and Peru, has raised demands in the Congress of the United States for review of this country's 10-year-old policy of arms aid to other republics of the Western Hemisphere. Toppling during the decade of a number of Latin American dictator generals—Odria in Peru, Rojas Pinilla in Colombia, Perez Jimenez in Venezuela, and Batista in Cuba—led to the assumption that democratic processes were graining strength in a region long addicted to military dictatorship. Now, however, it looks as if that assumption had been premature.

Constitutional processes took a beating recently in Peru; Argentine generals and admirals, after throwing out one President and installing another, have been feuding among themselves in a struggle for continuing political power; and Cuba has fallen under, not a new military, but a Communist dictatorship. The wisdom of continuing the hemisphere arms aid program was called into question primarily by the return of military rule in Peru last July, Political maneuvering by Argentina's armed forces, behind a facade of civilian government, only tended to reinforce the position taken by the program's critics.

The present military aid program was initiated in 1951 with the aim of enabling Latin American armed forces to make an effective contribution to hemisphere defense. The emphasis shifted in 1961 to preservation of internal security in the respective countries. Since the Peruvian military coup, however, it has been asserted that weapons and other military aid obtained from the United States have been used too often to interfere with constitutional government and to keep dictators in power. Whether disclosure of massive Soviet military assistance to the Castro government in Cuba, and proposals of some states for special collective defense measures in the Caribbean, will quiet such criticism and again shift the emphasis of the U.S. program is not yet clear.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Latin America
Sep. 14, 2018  Turmoil in Central America
Jun. 05, 2012  China in Latin America
Mar. 2008  The New Latin America
Jul. 21, 2006  Change in Latin America
Mar. 14, 2003  Trouble in South America
Nov. 09, 2001  U.S.- Mexico Relations
Sep. 19, 1997  Mexico's Future
Jul. 19, 1991  Mexico's Emergence
May 05, 1989  New Approach to Central America
Mar. 06, 1987  Soviets' Latin Influence
Dec. 26, 1986  Pinochet's Chile
Nov. 08, 1985  Troubled Mexico
Apr. 10, 1981  Latin American Challenges
May 05, 1978  Central America and the U.S.A.
Sep. 23, 1977  Mexican-U.S. Relations
Jun. 04, 1976  Relations with Latin America
Oct. 21, 1970  Chile's Embattled Democracy
Jun. 24, 1970  Mexico's Election and the Continuing Revolution
Apr. 02, 1969  Economic Nationalism in Latin America
Jul. 19, 1967  Guerrilla Movements in Latin America
Dec. 28, 1966  Militarism in Latin America
Oct. 20, 1965  Common Market for Latin America
Aug. 04, 1965  Smoldering Colombia
Jun. 23, 1965  Inter-American Peacekeeping
Dec. 11, 1963  Progress of the Alianza
Oct. 05, 1962  Arms Aid to Latin America
Dec. 13, 1961  Land and Tax Reform in Latin America
Jul. 26, 1961  Commodity Agreements for Latin America
Jan. 11, 1961  Revolution in the Western Hemisphere
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Jan. 13, 1960  Expropriation in Latin America
Jul. 02, 1958  Economic Relations with Latin America
Mar. 02, 1954  Communism in Latin America
Jun. 20, 1952  Political Unrest in Latin America
Sep. 18, 1950  War Aid from Latin America
Oct. 31, 1947  Arming the Americas
Jul. 24, 1946  Inter-American Security
Jan. 02, 1942  Latin America and the War
Jul. 10, 1941  Export Surpluses and Import Needs of South America
Jun. 04, 1941  Economic Defense of Latin America
Jun. 25, 1940  Politics in Mexico
Nov. 01, 1939  Pan American Political Relations
Oct. 10, 1939  United States Trade with Latin America
Apr. 07, 1938  Protection of American Interests in Mexico
Mar. 04, 1936  Peace Machinery in the Americas
Sep. 27, 1933  Trade Relations with Latin America
Oct. 16, 1928  Pan American Arbitration Conference
Jan. 12, 1928  The Sixth Pan American Conference
Jan. 10, 1927  American Policy in Nicaragua
Dec. 27, 1926  Relations Between Mexico and the United States
Arms Control and Disarmament
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean