Friday, March 11, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1885


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, March 11, 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked Congress to appropriate $500 million to promote economic development, social progress and political freedom in Latin America.  

The ten year program, called the Alliance for Progress, was designed to assist the people of Latin America to..."build a hemisphere where all men can hope for a suitable standard of living and all can live out their lives in dignity and freedom."

Contrast JFK's proposal with that today of Republican presidential candidates, notably Donald J. Trump, who call for a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

Eight years ago, Rodolfo F. Saenz wrote..."The people of Latin America remember with nostalgia the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and its 'Good Neighbor Policy,' and the days of President John F. Kennedy and its 'Alliance for Progress.'"

Mr. Saenz, writing in 2008, said the United States was in the process of expanding the 88 mile fence on the southwestern border with a 700 mile fence but that there were many who wanted more walls.  He concluded...

"Many Latin Americans now see the United States of America as the Country that is building a wall because it does not like us."

Back in 1961, however, the Kennedy administration hoped to reverse the steadily deteriorating relations between the United States and Latin America. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library calls the Alliance... "the largest United States aid program created for the developing world."

President and Mrs. Kennedy made a goodwill visit to Mexico City in late June 1962.  Mexico's president, Adolfo Lopez Mateos "hailed (JFK's) the opening of a new era of understanding between the two nations." 

Unfortunately, that new era has passed into history.


"Alliance for Progress (Alianza para el Progreso),"

"America's Crisis:  At the Beginning of the Third Millennium," by Rodolfo F. Saenz, AuthorHouse, 2008.

"Looking Back:  The Alliance for Progress and Its Legacy," by Lauren Monsen,

"Mexican Chief Hails JFK's Visit," September 3, 1962, Eugene Register Guard.

Mrs. John F. Kennedy & the President
Mexico City
June 30, 1962
Photo by Robert Knudsen
JFK Library Image