As director of the Social Sciences Institute and professor of law at the National University of Montevideo, Aldo E. Solari is deeply interested in those social and political aspects that have characterized the intellectual life of Uruguay during the last thirty years. One of these is the ideology of tercerismo, “the kind of position that is an active struggle against both imperialisms, ending in favor of liberty” (p. 184). In four images Solari traces the historical background of Uruguayan tercerismo in relationship to international events, freedom of the spirit, imperialisms, internationalism, democracy, and the identification of a great menace: the United States. Then he considers the spread of this ideology and the obstacles that it might encounter in the future. For him tercerismo is a democratic ideology peculiarly Uruguayan. His idea of democracy is a system which will give the citizen freedom and social justice and will not repress him in any way. From the very beginning he admits that his book is militant and therefore emotional.
To judge from this book, the preservation of Uruguay’s identity in the face of the overwhelming superiority and power of the United States was the most important task confronting the Uruguayans. In an attempt to demonstrate the damaging influence of U.S. imperialism, he charges that the Cuban Revolution could have realized the “golden dream” of tercerismo if the United States had not spoiled it all. He condemns U.S. industrialization, mass production, and the suppression of the individual and identifies Latin American evils in general and Uruguayan problems in particular as products of U.S. imperialism. (Nevertheless, he concedes that tercerismo is unable to offer an answer to the economic ills of his country.) He is also critical of the Alliance for Progress, which he sees as nothing but a United States instrument to preserve present conditions in Latin America. Furthermore, he maintains that U.S. imperialism has so disrupted the economic structure of Latin America, that no assistance will be able to remedy such damage. Thus it has been unable to find a clear image of itself.
The reviewer has lived in Uruguay and cannot accept many of the conclusions presented. They are propaganda, not scholarship. Given the author’s objectives, the controversial nature of the subject, and the scarcity of material, however, this is probably the best that we can expect for the time being, and the author deserves praise for handling an immensely difficult task.