Imaginary Hemispheres: Myriad Latin American Perspectives Engage Nelson Rockefeller in 1969

by Ernesto Capello

Jan 1, 2010
In the spring and summer of 1969, Nelson Rockefeller embarked on four ill-fated journeys to twenty Latin American countries on a "fact-finding tour" for U.S. President Richard Nixon. The voyages sought to forge a new multilateral American foreign policy and initiate a period of hemispheric collaboration; instead, they brought massive demonstrations, military repression, and a trail of blood, leading contemporaries and historians to view the trip as a public relations disaster. The research I conducted at the Rockefeller Archive Center over the course of two weeks in August 2009 with the support of a Grant-in-Aid suggests that this view does not accurately reflect the complexity of the encounters that the trip engendered. Indeed, the visits crystallized a series of transnational imaginaries that crossed class and political lines across the hemisphere. This represented my fourth trip to the Rockefeller Archive Center and the second with the support of a Grant-in-Aid.
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