Aid for Central America – been there, done that. – Re-posted 26 November 2018


I just listened to Geraldo Rivera slobber with emotion on "The Five" over the unwillingness of the US Government to allow one and all Latinos to immigrate to the US.  One and all!  I remember Rivera as the man who said tearily that he cared about 9/11  because he was from New York City.  And early in the Afghan War he once broadcast from the field while cowering behind a tank claiming that battle noise that was audible was an action nearby.  In fact the fight he referred to was 400 miles away.  He later admitted that.  Among his blubber points tonight  about tear gassed babies he mentioned that the US should try to help the Central American countries.  In fact the US has been in the business of promoting development in CA since the Kennedy Administration. I know I was there then, been there did that.  Hardly any of this ever works in CA because the latifundistas and other gente decente won't have it.   They like their grip on power and the abject dependency of the peones and campesinos.  A Jordanian general officer whom I once escorted to Ft. Bliss, Texas visited Ciudad Juarez and then told me that we Americans had a duty to conquer the s—–le  countries south of us and rule them justly.  I laughed and told him that we had tried similar things several times.  pl


"The Alliance for Progress"

" The program was signed at an inter-American conference at Punta del Este, Uruguay, in August 1961. The charter called for:

  • an annual increase of 2.5% in per capita income,
  • the establishment of democratic governments,
  • the elimination of adult illiteracy by 1970
  • price stability, to avoid inflation or deflation
  • more equitable income distribution, land reform, and
  • economic and social planning.[3][4]

First, the plan called for Latin American countries to pledge a capital investment of $80 billion over 10 years. The United States agreed to supply or guarantee $20 billion within one decade.[4]

Second, Latin American delegates required the participating countries to draw up comprehensive plans for national development. These plans were then to be submitted for approval by an inter-American board of experts.

Third, tax codes had to be changed to demand "more from those who have most" and land reform was to be implemented.[3]


Because of the program, economic assistance to Latin America nearly tripled between fiscal year 1960 and fiscal year 1961. Between 1962 and 1967 the US supplied $1.4 billion per year to Latin America. If new investment is included, the amount of aid rose to $3.3 billion per year during this time span while the total amount of aid was roughly $22.3 billion. " wiki


Every discussion of the ever approaching convoys seems to include assertions or implications that the US has neglected the Central American states in development aid.  This is not true.  For the last fifty years the US has spent large amounts of money and has strongly promoted economic  development in the region.  That effort began with the Kennedy era "Alliance for Progress" mentioned above.  It was a tremendous effort.

It was the doorway to a Brave New World in Latin America but that particular door did not stay open very long.

This was a Kennedy initiative.  LBJ continued it but the effort only lasted about ten years.  By the time that span of years had passed the US and LBJ were totally absorbed with its own internal turmoil brought on by the political effects of the Vietnam War.  The Alliance for Progress sputtered out like a wet fuse but the aid program for Central America revived and has continued to this day.  These are the funds from the US that Trump threatens to cancel.

For those ten years Latin America was overrun with academic specialists intent on applying their ideas to the vision Kennedy had for the region.  This was for a region in which illiteracy had been eradicated, fair prices in trade had been established and latifundismo eliminated through compensated land reform. USAID administered the civilian side of this program but there was also a military effort.

The US Army created an organization called the Latin America Special Action Force.  This was based at Ft. Gulick in the Canal Zone and was made up of the 8th Special Forces Group and a large number of attached small units of Corps of Engineers, Military Police, Army Medical Service, Military Intelligence,  Army Security Agency Agency (SIGINT), Psychological Operations and Signal Corps.  This organization existed for the purpose of providing officers and men for Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) across Latin America as part of the Alliance for Progress.  The MTTs trained indigenous personnel, supervised construction projects, and advised national police and military departments in that era of Cuban led revolutionary guerrilla war.

A Special Forces medical sergeant treating a boy's infected foot near Cochabamba, Bolivia was startled when the boy's father told him that he knew where Guevara was.  The rest is history.  That is how COIN is supposed to function.

It was exciting work in Latin America in those days.  pl

This entry was posted in Blood on the Border, government, History. Bookmark the permalink.