The U.S. Lurches into Cooperation with
the Argentine Military
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICANS WERE key actors in the counterrevolutionary efforts that took place in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s. In other words, the military and political struggle, especially the anti-Sandinista venture, was not the exclusive result of a sophisticated strategy formulated and implemented by the United States. True, the administration of Ronald Reagan and many U.S.-based groups and individuals--some of them strongly supported by U.S. congressmen--played a crucial role in encouraging military and paramilitary demobilization efforts, but the war in Central America was driven by a combination of indigenous forces and international players that responded to specific threat perceptions. 1 The origins of a devastating conflict such as the Contra war were largely shaped by international coalitions that resulted from complex linkages between ideological actors. This book is focused mainly on the dynamics of the rightist side of that ideological confrontation (see, in particular, chapter 5).
Argentina, traditionally an aggressive actor in foreign policy, perceived empty spaces left by the Carter administration in the hemispheric anti-Communist conflict and took the opportunity