Monday, September 26, 2011
Legacy of the Alliance for Progress
Here is a quick article discussing the Alliance for Progress, a well-intentioned and initially effective US plan in the 1960s to invest in economic development in Latin America. The article laments the corruption of the plan in the 1960s that converted it from an ambitious Marshall Plan-type affair that left countries with political autonomy, into a tool to fight Communism in the hemisphere. The article rightly points out that nowadays much of the US diplomatic and development presence in Latin America is dedicated to ineffectual efforts in the War on Drugs (though it is incorrect to point to Plan Colombia as a current example, as it ended some years ago). I also like the shout-out to Bogota's Kennedy neighborhood, which was set up as a build-it-yourself neighborhood with infrastructure contributions from the US. As I understand, families were given parcels of land on a grid of streets and infrastructure, and each family built its own house with its own labor and resources. My wife's parents met there as children.