Aragorn Storm Miller of the University of Texas at Austin has written an analysis of US-Venezuelan relations from 1958 to 1968 that is simultaneously baffling and informative. In the aftermath of the popular uprising against military dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1952–1958), the Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy administrations vigorously supported constitutionalism and democratic civic life in Venezuela. The United States celebrated the elections of Rómulo Betancourt (1959–1964), Raúl Leoni (1964–1969), and Rafael Caldera (1969–1974) because these anti-Communists gave their oil-rich nation socioeconomic reform and moderate democratic capitalism. Under the aegis of the Alliance for Progress, the United States provided, between 1961 and 1965, $340 million in loans and credits to underwrite projects like building homes for the urban poor. Presidents Kennedy and Betancourt became fast friends, establishing a direct telephone line between the White House and Miraflores, the presidential palace...

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