Internal Security and Military Assistance to Latin America in the 1970s

A First Statement

by David Ronfeldt, Luigi R. Einaudi


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An assessment of the significance of internal security as a hemisphere-wide rationale and objective for U.S. Military Assistance Programs (MAP) to Latin America. The major insurgency threats have diminished, but insurgency and other forms of domestic political violence remain problems that require some local governmental attention. Many Latin American militaries are now able to cope with these problems. Though internal security assistance remains a salient objective for many Latin American militaries, most expect MAP to serve other objectives as well. Because insurgency is affected so strongly by local political conditions, U.S. military assistance alone will have a marginal influence on insurgency outcomes; moreover, MAP can promote other objectives more effectively. It is concluded, therefore, that retention of internal security as the dominant rationale and objective of MAP, as during the 1960s, may be appropriate for certain countries and situations, but not as a general policy for the hemisphere.

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