Pacification and Reconstruction in Central America: The International Components

  • Laurence Whitehead
Part of the Institute of Latin American Studies Series book series (LASS)


When viewed from the standpoint of global strategy, the Central American crisis of the 1980s is too easily reduced to a merely local exemplar of late Cold War regional clashes. Equally, when viewed from an ‘area studies’ perspective, acute awareness of the local specificities of the crisis sometimes obscures from view the overall international conflict and its logic. This chapter seeks to navigate a course between these twin misperceptions. It draws attention to the local factors affecting the timing and course of the crisis, and to their partial lack of correspondence with the timetable of bi-polar conflict. It also highlights those characteristics of isthmian politics which proved relatively favourable and which facilitated the process of peace-making. These characteristics also generated widespread international support for subsequent reconstruction (relative, that is, to the poor outcome of other regional conflicts). But both these observations need qualification, and the regional experience must still be situated in the context of the victory of the West in the Cold War.


European Union United Nations International Component Foreign Minister Peace Process 
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Copyright information

© Institute of Latin American Studies 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence Whitehead

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