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From Development to DictatorshipBolivia and the Alliance for Progress in the Kennedy Era$
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Thomas C. Jr. Field

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452604

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452604.001.0001

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“Bitter Medicine”

“Bitter Medicine”

Military Civic Action and the Battle of Irupata

(p.67) Chapter 3 “Bitter Medicine”
From Development to Dictatorship

Thomas C. Field

Cornell University Press

This chapter demonstrates the dual process by which President John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress improved President Víctor Paz's efforts to maintain Bolivia's noncommunist orientation. First, civic action programs of the Alliance for Progress fueled a rapid militarization of development. Second, Kennedy's Special Group on Counterinsurgency allocated $100,000 through United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to equip a pro-Paz Indian peasant militia that planned to attack the left-wing miners of Siglo XX, who were mounting a fierce campaign to block mass firings and other labor reforms required by Alliance for Progress development programs. The remainder of the chapter narrates the battle in the village of Irupata between armed miners and Indian peasants and undercover soldiers from Paz's presidential guard regiment.

Keywords:   John F. Kennedy, Alliance for Progress, Víctor Paz, civic action programs, Special Group on Counterinsurgency, Siglo XX

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