We have long needed scholarly studies of inter-American relations by Latin Americans. Such works might present the “other side” of bilateral negotiations with the United States, too little studied by Americans for lack of documentary sources or of interest. They might examine the local effects in Latin America of American businesses, business methods, and business values. They might reevaluate the policy decisions of U.S. presidents and Secretaries of State, building on the already considerable research of American scholars, but adding fresh perspective and insight.
Unfortunately this little polemic does not fill the bill. Originally published for Mexican readers by Cuadernos Americanos, it has now been translated—presumably for the same American masochists who acclaimed C. Wright Mills’ simplistic diatribes. Alonso Aguilar, a professor of economic planning and Latin American development at the National University of Mexico, has used his academic training to retell the old one-sided story with the aid of carefully selected anti-Yanqui quotations and evidence, sometimes inaccurate and often taken out of context.
Thus we learn that the United States of Monroe’s day “was not really interested in strengthening the independence of Latin America” and that the Monroe Doctrine might well be called the “Adams Doctrine” (p. 25). Polk rationalizes the Mexican War with the same doctrine. After using the “Maine” episode to justify its intervention of 1898 in Cuba, the United States hypocritically forces a protectorate on the Cubans through the Teller [sic] Amendment. More recently, anticommunism is nothing but a mask for Wall Street and the CIA, and the Alliance for Progress is “an alliance for the preservation of the status quo” (p. 12). The Bay of Pigs figures prominently; the missile crisis of 1962 is not mentioned.
The record of inter-American relations, Heaven knows, is painful for both sides to read. But United States scholars have made serious efforts to study it with objectivity. It is time for Latin American scholars to grow up a little.