Courtesy Reuters

Urgencies in Latin America

THE ALLIANCE THAT LOST ITS WAY

JACQUES Maritain, the French philosopher whose thought has inspired the development of the Christian Democratic movement, maintains that history moves simultaneously in opposite directions: while the energies of society are debilitated by inaction and the passage of time, the creative forces of freedom and the spirit tend inevitably to revitalize the quality of those energies.

The evident historical importance of the Alliance for Progress, both as a human activity and as a conceptual program, makes it impossible for it to escape the workings of this general principle; thus, the generous initial concepts, the commitments and the hopes which arose after the early success of some of its programs have gone hand in hand with the renewed attacks against democracy, the loss of markets for Latin American primary commodities, the decline of foreign investment, the consolidation in power of unjust régimes and the acceptance of alternative, evolutionary processes which only retard the revolutionary changes that so many of these countries need.

The Alliance for Progress is committed to the achievement of a revolution which, as a political instrument, should be placed at the service of democratic ideas and the interests of the majority so that it will bring forth a substantial change in the political, social and economic structures of the region. This change must be swift, and the responsibility for bringing it about belongs not just to a group of leaders or to a technocratic élite but to the whole of society. The Latin American origins of the Alliance for Progress were specially evident in the non-Marxist political parties which had no links with the national oligarchies and were strongly opposed to the traditional Latin American Right.

The Latin American revolution, as a force for rapid and substantial change, has been germinating for the last decade; it is now a permanent and dynamic torrent which is weakening the political and social institutions of the continent. The form taken by this drastic change will depend

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