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The Latin American Anticommunist International: Chile, Argentina and Central America, 1977-1984

Avery, Molly (2022) The Latin American Anticommunist International: Chile, Argentina and Central America, 1977-1984. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004400


The Latin American Anticommunist International: Chile, Argentina and Central America, 1977-1984, addresses both Chilean and Argentine support for the Extreme Right counterrevolutionary movements in Guatemala and El Salvador. Drawing on archival research in seven countries and online documents from several more, this thesis reveals the extent of the connections between the civil wars in Central America in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the anticommunist dictatorships that dominated the Southern Cone in this period. Despite the thousands of miles separating these two subregions of Latin America, the military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina understood events in Central America as a direct threat to the anticommunist struggle on which they staked their legitimacy at home. In response, the two dictatorships used bilateral channels and transnational ties cultivated through international organisations such as the World Anti-Communist League to provide ideological and material support to both the armed forces and semi-autonomous Extreme Right ‘death squads’ in Guatemala and El Salvador, offering their own ‘models’ of anticommunist governance as solutions for their besieged allies to the North. This thesis places the Chilean and Argentine dictatorships’ response to the conflicts in Guatemala and El Salvador in the context of the wider international history of this period. It shows how the Extreme Right Chileans, Argentines, Guatemalans and Salvadorans at the heart of this story also worked together – and with allies in the United States – to coordinate a transnational response to the rise of international human rights scrutiny, democracy promotion and associated shifts in US foreign policy in the region. In doing so, it demonstrates how this ‘Latin American Anticommunist International’ exerted an influence on the political systems that emerged at the end of the Cold War.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Molly Avery
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Harmer, Tanya

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