Forces of Change

It is nevertheless understandable that tensions should develop. There is great ferment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Modernization brings extensive and frequently unsettling change, accompanied by growing nationalism. Some in the region view the United States-with its disproportionate size and wealth-more as a hindrance and threat than as a source of support.

Thus, when this administration came into office, we had to reassess our approach. If the inter-American system was to realize the aspirations of its peoples, we would have to shape our role by the realities of the 1970s and tune our view to the perceptions of others.

One of my first decisions as President was to ask Governor Nelson Rockefeller to undertake a mission to twenty Western Hemisphere countries and to assess the needs of the region. His report identified the underlying forces of change: rapid population growth and urbanization, a revolution in communications and a rising tide of aspirations.

The response to these forces has been varied. In some countries, such as Mexico and Brazil, the rate of economic growth has been impressive; in many parts of the hemisphere there is swelling selfconfidence and a determination to modernize. But many sectors chafe at the inability of domestic structures to achieve swift solutions to pressing problems.

In their quest for change, the nations of the region have increasingly turned to new methods. They are creating institutions that they consider more national in character and more responsive to indigenous needs. Efforts to reconcile the often conflicting demands of social reform and economic growth and to meet the need for popular support have spawned statist, sometimes radical, approaches. In virtually all cases nationalism seeks greater independence from our predominant influence; in some a populist brand of nationalism has taken anti-U.S. turns.