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Describes fundamental changes in South America since World War II. Spreading education and industrialization have transformed old institutions and created new ones. Modern institutions, less subject to oligarchic control, provide channels for middle-class and professional elements to make their views felt. Traditional institutions — the church, the state, the military — are now leaders of change, committed to structural reform and a greater international role. Underlying partisan disputes is a commitment to national development less dramatic but more enduring than the guerrilla uprisings of the 1960s. A new generation of political leaders and government technocrats is applying innovative techniques to reorient, rather than replace, existing structures. Under military as well as civilian governments, public and quasi-public corporations have arisen in key economic areas. Governments seek to channel foreign trade and investment toward national priorities. Existing conflicts simply do not fit the old stereotypes of left/right, revolution/reaction. The central challenge for the United States is to develop new relationships with South America outside the traditional assistance framework. (For the [Los Angeles Times] Opinion Section; based on R-1067.)

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