Punta del Este Meeting (1962)

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Punta del Este Meeting (1962)

The eighth meeting of the foreign ministers of the nations belonging to the Organization of American States, held 22-31 January 1962, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The Punta del Este meeting took place as a direct result of diverging policies among the OAS nations toward the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro. Since gaining power in 1959, Castro had been aligning himself increasingly with Marxist-Leninist ideology and the Soviet Union, a development that led many Latin American nations, particularly those in the Caribbean and Central America, to seek a strong, unified resistance to this perceived threat.

The idea to convene the OAS foreign ministers was first proposed by Peru and Colombia, which sought firm sanctions against Cuba. Other nations, including Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, were more neutral in their position toward Cuba, while the representatives of the United States, under the Kennedy administration and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, generally took a hard-line stance against Cuba but disagreed among themselves about the severity of the diplomatic actions to be taken.

Among the provisions issued at the end of the conference was a statement sharply refuting the compatibility of Marxism-Leninism with the Inter-American System. Specific proposals excluding Cuba from participation in the OAS and preventing sales of arms to Cuba were adopted, though suggestions of direct intervention in Cuba, desired by some hard-line nations, did not receive wide support.

In the end, the Punta del Este meeting did not radically alter the course of inter-American relations with Cuba, which already had been determined by Castro's ongoing acceptance of Soviet patronage. The meeting and its resulting compromise did, however, illustrate the difficulty of collective action among the increasingly divergent nations of the OAS.

See alsoCastro Ruz, Fidel .


F. Parkinson, Latin America, the Cold War, and the World Powers, 1945–1973 (1974).

Additional Bibliography

Gilderhus, Mark T. The Second Century: U.S.-Latin American Relations since 1889. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 2000.

Piotti de Lamas, Diosma E. and Alfredo Traversoni. América Latina y Estados Unidos en el siglo XX: Aspectos políticos, económicos y sociales. Montevideo: Fundación de Cultura Universitaria, 1996.

Sheinin, David. Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2000.

                                                John Dudley