Pan Americanism

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pan Americanism


a political doctrine based on the idea of an alleged historical, economic, and cultural commonality shared by the USA and the other countries of the Americas. The doctrine is contrary to the facts and is constructed on a distorted interpretation of the historical process. It has been used by North American imperialism as a justification for the economic, political, and often outright military expansion of the USA into Latin America.

As early as the beginning of the 19th century, the USA attempted to strengthen its influence in Latin America under the guise of supporting the Latin-American countries in their joint struggle for independence. In 1823 the USA proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine, whose formula of “America for the Americans” was directed against the intervention of reactionary European powers in the affairs of the Americas; subsequently, however, the formula came to be interpreted as “America for the USA.” From the late 19th century, the USA used inter-American conferences (the First Pan American Conference was held in 1889–90) and the Pan American Union to carry out its expansion in Latin America and to drive other capitalist countries, especially Great Britain, from the region. During the era of imperialism, the USA used the argument of a community of interests of the American states to justify numerous interventions in Cuba, Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin-American countries.

US expansion in Latin America under the cover of Pan Americanism became especially intense during and after World War II (1939–45). Seeking to consolidate its economic, military, and political position in Latin America, the USA took an active part in the creation of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948. In 1961 it promoted the Alliance for Progress, a program of “aid” to the countries of Latin America. US military, political, and economic pressure on the Latin-American states was reinforced by ideological penetration. The ideological campaign, particularly after World War II, took the guise of a struggle against “communist interference” in the affairs of the western hemisphere.

Playing the role of the defender of the countries of Latin America against the “communist threat,” the USA helped prepare an invasion of Cuba by counterrevolutionaries in 1961 and succeeded in having Cuba expelled from the OAS in 1962. However, the growth of the anti-imperialist movement in Latin America, along with the general trend toward détente and international cooperation, has increasingly undermined the ideological foundations of Pan Americanism.


Antiasov, M. V. Sovremennyi panamerikanizm: Proiskhozhdenie i sushchnost’ doktrin panamerikanskoi “solidarnosti.” Moscow, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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