Courtesy Reuters

Big Business and "Dependencia"


THE winds of economic nationalism are blowing strong in Latin America. This is evident in the nationalist and progressive régime in Peru, the rise and fall of the leftist government in Bolivia, the changes of policy in conservative countries like Colombia and Argentina and the spectacular election of a socialist government in Chile. There are also the numerous acts of nationalization in various countries, most of which have gone largely unnoticed, while others like the nationalization of petroleum in Peru and Bolivia, natural gas in Venezuela, aluminum in Guyana and copper in Chile have reached the headlines. Furthermore, there are restrictive foreign investment statutes unanimously endorsed by the Andean Pact nations, the limitations of various kinds imposed on foreign subsidiaries even in countries, like Mexico, otherwise favorable to foreign investment, the unaccustomed incisiveness of the Latin American protest against President Nixon's New Economic Policy voiced in the meetings of the Special Co-ordination Commission of Latin America, the Inter-American Economic and Social Council of the Organization of American States and the World Bank- International Monetary Fund Annual Conference, as well as the formal withdrawal of Argentina from the Inter-American Committee of the Alliance for Progress.

This last act, which does not come from a socialist Allende or a nationalist General Velasco Alvarado but from the conservative General Lanusse, marks the final collapse of the Alliance for Progress. Based on the assumption of cold-war confrontation, the Alliance was designed ten years ago to stop Castro's influence and win friends in Latin America. Now both the Alliance and the cold war are over, and there have been neither communist nor capitalist victors. The politico-ideological confrontation has been replaced to a large extent by an economic confrontation between the national interests of Latin America and those of the United States. The recent burst of nationalism is in fact a reaction to long-term and increasingly intolerable dependence on foreigners. The development strategy of industrialization as a substitute for imports was supposed

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