Reform, democratization, and counter-insurgency: Evaluating the us experience in cold war-era Latin America

Journal Article

Current debate on US counter-insurgency doctrine is dominated by the notion that promoting 'legitimacy' and 'good governance' constitutes a central strategic imperative. This idea is hardly new; during the Cold War US officials often sought to encourage democratization and socio-economic reform as antidotes to revolution in Latin America. This article reviews four such cases - Venezuela during the first half of the 1960s, Guatemala throughout the 1960s, Nicaragua during the late 1970s, and El Salvador during the 1980s. The purpose is to bring a historical perspective to bear on current debates about the feasibility of US counter-insurgency strategy by evaluating the effectiveness of previous campaigns to promote improved governance in developing societies wracked by guerrilla violence. Keywords: Insurgency; governance; Latin America; Cold War; democratization; legitimacy; guerrillas; Alliance for Progress. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brands, H

Published Date

  • 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 290 - 321

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0959-2318

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/09592318.2011.573410