Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Kirk Tyvela's The Dictator Dilemma

I read Kirk Tyvela's The Dictator Dilemma: The United States and Paraguay in the Cold War am writing a review for The Latin Americanist. I really liked it.

The “dictator dilemma” was often at the core of U.S. policy toward Latin America during the Cold War. U.S. policy makers professed commitment to democracy, yet commonly supported pro-U.S. dictatorships to advance U.S. security interests. The dilemma played out clearly in Paraguay, where dictator Alfredo Stroessner ruled by force and won elections with around 90% of the vote from 1954 to 1989. Kirk Tyvela’s book is a deeply researched and compelling addition to the literature on U.S.-Latin American relations.
You'll have to wait until later in the year to read the rest. But it's a great read.

One thing I liked in particular was his attention to Paraguayan sources. He used Paraguayan archives but only to the extent that they exist, which is minimal. That is the big challenges for future scholars, which will require close consultation with local experts of whatever country (and hopefully publishing collaboration as well). Are there untapped primary sources? The literature on U.S.-Latin American relations cries out for it.


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