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Richard Nixon and Economic Nationalism in Latin America: The Problem of Expropriations, 1969-1974

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During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Nixon administration confronted the problem of how best to protect US economic interests in Latin America during a period of rising economic nationalism. After extensive debate, the president approved a policy designed to deter expropriations and rein in nationalist economic sentiment by threatening to terminate US and international financial assistance to countries that expropriated American holdings without prompt and adequate compensation. As it turned out, however, this policy was little short of a disaster. Nixon's stance heightened American unpopularity during a period when US credibility in Latin America was already on the wane, and failed to have any restraining effect on either the number of expropriations by Latin American countries or the strength of economic nationalism in the area. Informed by domestic and bureaucratic pressures and the same ideological proclivities that have long characterized American relations with the underdeveloped world, Nixon's policy on the expropriations issue ultimately proved ineffective and even pernicious to US interests in Latin America.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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