Alliance for Progress

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Alliance for Progress,

Span. Alianza para el Progreso, U.S. assistance program for Latin America begun in 1961 during the presidency of John F. KennedyKennedy, John Fitzgerald,
1917–63, 35th President of the United States (1961–63), b. Brookline, Mass.; son of Joseph P. Kennedy. Early Life

While an undergraduate at Harvard (1936–40) he served briefly in London as secretary to his father, who was
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. It was created principally to counter the appeal of revolutionary politics, such as those adopted in Cuba (see Fidel CastroCastro, Fidel
(Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz) , 1926–2016, Cuban revolutionary, premier of Cuba (1959–76), president of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers (1976–2008).
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). It called for vast multilateral programs to relieve the continent's poverty and social inequities and ultimately included U.S. programs of military and police assistance to counter Communist subversion. The charter of the alliance, formulated at an inter-American conference at Punta del Este, Uruguay, in Aug., 1961, called for an annual increase of 2.5% in per capita income, the establishment of democratic governments, more equitable income distribution, land reform, and economic and social planning. Latin American countries (excluding Cuba) pledged a capital investment of $80 billion over 10 years. The United States agreed to supply or guarantee $20 billion. By the late 1960s, however, the United States had become preoccupied with the Vietnam War, and commitments to Latin America were reduced. Moreover, most Latin American nations were unwilling to implement needed reforms. The Organization of American States disbanded the permanent committee created to implement the alliance in 1973.


See A. F. Lowenthal, ed., Exporting Democracy: The United States and Latin America (1991).

Alliance for Progress


an “aid” program to the countries of Latin America, announced by US president J. F. Kennedy in March 1961.

The Alliance for Progress was inaugurated in August 1961 at the Economic and Social Conference of the Organization of American States. A ten-year program for the decade 1961–71, it provided for grants to the countries of Latin America totaling $2 billion a year, including $1.1 billion from the US government and $900 million from US and Western European private investors. In practice, the alliance was a tool to strengthen Latin-American dependence on the USA and to counteract revolutionary change in the region. Grants of aid were made conditional, first, on the Latin-American countries’ promise to stimulate private investment and guarantee the North American monopolies’ capital investment in Latin America against nationalization and, second, on mandatory US monitoring of the uses to which the aid money was put. A large part of the investment went to pay for deliveries of American goods and to cover budget deficits.

By the late 1960’s, it had become apparent that the Alliance for Progress was ineffective. Between 1960 and 1969 the real per capita income in Latin America rose 1.7 percent, compared to the projected figure of 2.5 percent. The foreign debt of the Latin-American countries grew from $10 billion in 1960 to $17.6 billion in 1970, and the export problem grew worse. Latin America’s share in the US market dropped from 21 percent in 1960 to 13 percent in 1970. In the early 1970’s, major socioeconomic reforms, including nationalization, in several Latin-American countries dealt a serious blow to the imperialist policy of the USA. In the early 1970’s the US government essentially conceded defeat on the Alliance for Progress.

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