U.S. Involvement in Central America

Three Views from Honduras

by David Ronfeldt, Konrad Kellen, Richard Millett

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This study, completed in September 1988, is based on interviews conducted in 1985 and 1986 with three Hondurans: Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, Cesar A. Batres, and Victor Meza. It reports on the way U.S. involvement in Central America is apparently being perceived in Honduras and how this may affect local political and military behavior, including security cooperation with the United States. The interviews substantiate the enduring and pervasive importance of nationalism as the prism through which local elites look at security issues. The interviews acknowledge the benefits Honduras obtains from U.S. involvement in the region. They also illuminate a growing sense of the costs and risks a small country faces in an alliance with the United States against an external threat that the small country faces to a lesser degree and that the United States seems unable to handle directly in an efficient way. Finally, the interviews warn about a slowly growing, unexpected potential for anti-Americanism in a country that has never been anti-American. The significance of the interviews seems to extend beyond Honduras, reflecting broader trends in strategic thinking in Latin America, suggesting that Latin American strategic thinking about the United States is entering a new phase.

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