In 1969, Nelson Rockefeller embarked on four ill-fated diplomatic tours of Latin America that inspired violent clashes between the state and the street. Contemporary observers and subsequent scholars have dismissed Gov. Rockefeller’s goodwill effort as an unmitigated failure. In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Ernesto Capello explored recently released documents, including selections from the thousands of solicitations sent to Rockefeller by ordinary citizens, which demonstrate the need to reevaluate Rockefeller’s Presidential Mission as a critical moment in the way Cold War Latin America imagined its neighbors to the north.
Ernesto Capello received his doctorate in Latin American history from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and is Associate Professor of History at Macalester College. He is the author of City at the Center of the World: Space, History, and Modernity in Quito as well as numerous articles regarding transnational frameworks of citizenship. Currently an NEH fellow at the Library of Congress, he is developing two book projects, one concerning the idea of the equator in French and Ecuadorian geographical science, and one concerning hemispheric identities that crystallized during Nelson Rockefeller’s 1969 Presidential Mission to Latin America.
Report from the Field: Jason Steinhauer, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress.