The Cold War was far from cold in Latin America, with hundreds of thousands killed and millions displaced. US fingers were not directly on the triggers, but Washington supplied the guns, the bullets, the marksmanship training, and the surveillance technologies to track targets. Security assistance throughout this period maintained its focus on labor radicalism, but repression of industrial workers changed the dynamics of political contention. Repression of Ecuadorian radicals in coordination with the FBI in the s, for example, led some to develop programs of armed self-defense or to go into hiding underground and organize clandestinely.
This dynamic became even more pronounced across Latin America in the s. In turn, new forms of insecurity seemed to demand deeper security assistance.
- The Morning After;
- The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases.
- Race and Intelligence: Separating Science From Myth.
Alarmed liberal members of the US Foreign Service were well-aware human rights violations were occurring in the mids, thanks to US technical aid, but to security advisors abuses only signaled the need for more assistance, training, and technical reform.
Paraguay, for example, is widely acknowledged to have had one of the most consistently repressive governments in the region. Paraguay did, however, serve as a regional beachhead for CIA covert operations, and there is some evidence that the United States unofficially funneled weapons to paramilitaries and right-wing death squads beginning in the s through there. In contrast, in Ecuador the United States directly initiated a public safety program, introducing arms, training, and advanced equipment for surveillance and riot control. Thierry and Robert J. This termination did not dramatically reconfigure relations with Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay, which for different reasons did not have public safety programs by that time.
These countries had become nodes in new regional networks of security assistance that bypassed the United States, even if their anticommunist orientation aligned with US demands. Argentina also was by the s providing security assistance and training to Central American forces engaged in civil wars.
The termination of public safety assistance caused US security aid to take on new guises, most notably narcotics control. In the s, overseas police assistance resumed, managed by the Department of Justice. With the defeat and dissolution of many urban guerrillas, priority shifted to narcotics control as the new cover for the suppression of rural insurgency. But at the same time, the global economy was shifting. Key to the transformation was the glut of petrodollars that grew with rising oil prices, coinciding with the end of the Bretton Woods system of currency controls.
That money sought profitable outlets, and one was as loans to Latin American countries.
The foundation was set for the hemispheric wave of debt crises beginning in In the s, militaries across the hemisphere engaged in brutal campaigns against peasants, including many indigenous groups. After its curtailment in the s, US security assistance ballooned in the s. Scholars and investigative journalists have documented the degree of US awareness and even encouragement of abuses.
In addition, the United States returned to the oldest form of intervention in the s and s, abrogating the sovereignty of Grenada, Haiti, and Panama by military invasion. Beginning in the late s, new legal restrictions from Congress attempted to limit assistance to gross violators of human rights, but exceptions still abound. Strict prohibition in the United States made narcotics extremely lucrative and fed money laundering and real estate speculation.
The composition of elites in Latin America began to shift, particularly with the massive windfalls attendant to privatization of state-held infrastructure and assets in the s. No longer concerned only with domestic affairs, Latin American elites joined a transnational class of investors, and their relationship to local security concerns shifted as well.
Suppression of urban and rural worker militancy gave way to suppression of political protests against new frontiers of accumulation, particularly resource extraction through mining or logging or the construction of hydropower dams.
At the same time, the safety threat posed by narco-violence was used to justify new forms of accumulation, with, for instance, the social cleansing of downtown Ciudad Juarez through large-scale gendered violence opening the possibility of urban revitalization and gentrification. For decades, the diagnosed threat was organized labor or communist guerrillas, whose aims entailed curbing capitalist exploitation. The heirs of these groups remain targets, with US security assistance aiding the killing of environmental activists and US personnel involved in the killing of civilian bystanders in Honduras , for example.
Indigenous populations also remain highly vulnerable , particularly as ongoing commodity booms render their land and subsurface areas increasingly profitable to multinational speculators. Nominally, the bulk of US security assistance now is oriented toward suppressing narcotics.
Today, however, this perceived threat and the interests of the ruling faction merge, with transnational rentier capitalists and cartel leaders pursuing the same goals of extraction- and finance-oriented profit-making, with logistics of legal and illegal forms of accumulation fully entangled. The decline of the so-called Pink Tide, the left-leaning governments in the hemisphere, continues, and right-wing leaders rising in power across Latin America often maintain close links to each other, as well as to their own militaries and intelligence agencies.
Alongside these transformations, the same logic that connects military and industrial interests still obtains. Its intensity and centrality to capitalism have only deepened, with security assistance and outright war making itself as a primary guarantor of corporate profitability on a global scale. Yet cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and other drugs from Latin America remain widely available. The long counterrevolution continues, but hope for its conclusion is not extinguished.
If the long counterrevolution does flicker to a close, it will have been defeated country by country, as well as transnationally, just as it grew. Stuart Schrader is lecturer and assistant research scientist in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. This book demonstrates the deep links between Cold War counterinsurgency efforts by US security officials to upgrade police in the third world and domestic police reforms that manifested as the "war on crime.
Stuart was a Dissertation Proposal Development fellow. Social Science Research Council. The SSRC is an independent, international, nonprofit organization. It fosters innovative research, nurtures new generations of social scientists, deepens how inquiry is practiced within and across disciplines, and mobilizes necessary knowledge on important public issues.
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The Long Counterrevolution: United States-Latin America Security Cooperation – Items
New vistas in studying religion and public life. Kujenga Amani facilitates the exchange of ideas about diverse aspects of peacebuilding in Africa. Rural Banditry in Zamfara state, Northwest Nigeria. Amanda Coffie. Counterintelligence and the suppression of labor organizing Starting before World War II and continuing into the Cold War, the new period of security assistance differed from the previous by empowering local elites who were seen as reliably amenable to US political and economic demands.
Welcome - Dr. Dean C. Allard Opening Remarks - Dr. Edward J. Thomas C. Gary E. Weir General Discussion Speakers' Biographies. Allard Director of Naval History. When I was talking with Jon Sumida as we shared coffee, I asked, "who was it who said that amateurs study strategy and professionals study logistics? In any case, at least since the days of the French Revolution, when those famous musket factories were established in the parks of Paris to provide French armies with the means to repel foreign invaders, it has been a truism in military history that modern warfare involves the mobilization of the total economic resources of the nation.
The ability to enforce economic discipline is a commentary on the powers of the modern nation-state, whether that state is in the democratic or authoritarian tradition. In listening to today's papers, it may be useful to bear those broad historical perspectives in mind. And yet, historians of modern military affairs, especially since World War II, also should bear in mind another tradition that may echo the era of limited war that is supposed to have preceded the French revolutionary era in Europe.
American Latino Theme Study
The wars that the United States fought after , including the protracted conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, certainly did not involve general industrial mobilization. It is possible that our examination this morning of the World War II case will throw some light on the reasons American postwar conflicts saw, at best, only limited economic mobilization. On behalf of the Naval Historical Center, I welcome all of you. I know we can look forward to a stimulating morning. From August 2nd, to February 24, , the world watched in amazement as the United States orchestrated the rapid buildup in the Persian Gulf of an allied air, land, and sea force of over , men and women.
United States Participation in World War One
The American ability to deploy forces by sealift and airlift half-way around the globe from the U. East and West coasts, from Europe, and from the Western Pacific awed most observers.
Equally impressive was the ability of U. Civilian workers at a number of American defense plants worked long shifts to keep material flowing to the troops in the field. The speed and skill with which the country mobilized resources for war had much to do with the allied coalition's victory in the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq. The figures are mind-boggling.