This book consists of eleven papers which were read at a 1964 conference on Latin American problems held at the Center for Strategic Studies at Georgetown University. Norman A. Bailey of Queens College is represented by an essay broadly generalizing about Latin America and by a paper describing what he calls neoliberalism in Latin America. Bailey includes in his list of neoliberal groups all of the organizations which he found there advocating free enterprise as the desirable form of economic organization. In an essay entitled “Geopolitical Factors in Latin America” Lewis A. Tambs of Creighton University argues that if Bolivia were “strongly held and organized” (p. 36), it would be the “Heartland” of South America and would dominate the continent. Donald M. Dozer of the University of California at Santa Barbara is represented by one essay tracing the history and prospects of the Panama Canal and another summarizing the varying interpretations of the Monroe Doctrine.
Fernando Guillén Martínez of the Comité de Acción Ciudadana of Bogotá contributes an essay on paternalism and individualism as they affect government in Latin America. J. Peter Grace, president of W. R. Grace and Co., analyzes the role of private capital imports in stimulating the Latin American economy. Eudocio Ravines, a newspaperman from Lima, writes an essay on the role which ideology and the intellectuals play in Latin America. Edward Bernard Glick of Temple University, in an essay on the nonmilitary uses of the military, argues that the Latin American military ought to be and is engaged in useful civic action projects. Paulo Ayres Filho of the Instituto Pinheiros of São Paulo describes and justifies the 1964 Brazilian military coup d’etat as a necessary step to eliminate the danger of a Communist takeover of Brazil. Frank Brandenburg of the Committee for Economic Development ends the book with an essay pointing out the possible relevance of the Mexican experience for the other large Latin American countries.
Except for the fact that all eleven of the essays deal with the same geographic area, it is difficult to see their connection with each other. Some, particularly those by Dozer and Brandenburg, are scholarly interpretations. Others are full of sweeping generalizations and difficult to prove and therefore of little value. There is no index, although some of the essays contain footnotes and statistical tables. Brandenburg supplies a bibliographical note on entrepreneurship in Latin America, and Bailey a list of the neoliberal organizations he has found in Latin America. Paulo Ayres Filho’s essay contains a list of the Communist front organizations functioning in Brazil in 1964.
Probably the most pertinent comment in this book is Eudocio Ravines’ suggestion that victory over communism will not be economic or financial but “ideological and political, . . . a conquest of the minds of millions of Latin Americans: it will be fundamentally a spiritual work, a heroic creation of thought” (p. 138). Let us hope that Latin American political leaders and the United States policy makers begin to understand this and act accordingly.