History's Little Brickbat - Nixon In Latin America - 1958

(Nixon in Caracas - It wasn't kisses they were throwing) A look back at our previous stabs at foreign policy tonight. This one has to do with the i

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(Nixon in Caracas - It wasn't kisses they were throwing)

A look back at our previous stabs at foreign policy tonight. This one has to do with the ill-fated Vice-President Nixon Goodwill tour of Latin America in 1958.

The reaction was particularly hostile towards Nixon and it came as something of a surprise to the White House.

Initial reaction was Communist sympathizers whipping up anti-American sentiment, and targeting Nixon during his visit as a show to the world that the U.S. was losing support in the Southern Hemisphere.

But it seems the Anti-American sentiment had very little to do with Cold War posturing - we were simply the bad guys and no one in Washington wanted to admit it.

Shortly after the visit was cut short, CBS Radio ran a special edition of their "Radio Beat" discussion series and asked the question "what went wrong?"

The broadcast, from May 15, 1958 featured Moderator Stuart Novins and Galo Plaza, former President of Ecuador. Adolf A. Burleigh, former Assistant Secretary of State. Serafino Romualdi, Inter-American Representative for the AF of L/CIO (and also, it was later found, a long time CIA agent). Robert Alexander, Associate Professor of Economics at Rutgers University, Frances Grant, Secretary General of the Inter-American Center for Democracy and Freedom and CBS news correspondent Wells Church, who was traveling with the Nixon party.

This one hour panel discussion focuses on why the U.S. presence in Latin America has cultivated such a degree of hostility, and what has happened to U.S./Latin American relations since the end of World War 2.

Stuart Novins:

“ Vice-President Nixon is back in Washington. He and Mrs. Nixon have had a grueling personal experience. It’s not pleasant, to the say the least, when what starts out as a goodwill trip ends in booing, stone-throwing and a situation dangerous enough to cause the White House to alert Marines and paratroopers. It’s fair to say, I think, that this also was an unpleasant experience for most Americans. The realization that we are not liked is always shocking. But sober second thoughts follow the initial impact. Is it that we are not liked by large segments of South American, or is it simply that the Communists don’t like us? Does it matter whether we’re liked or not? Do we need to reexamine our national policies relating to South America? Is there a real communist threat there?"

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