Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-9-2018

Major Department or Program



David F. Schmitz


Between 1969 and 1972, Bolivia experienced three successful military coups and four different presidents. Two of them, Generals Alfredo Ovando Candía (September 1969-October 1970) and Juan José Torres (October 1970-August 1971), proclaimed themselves leftist nationalists. At the time, the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon was operating under a foreign policy framework that prioritized anticommunism along with support for authoritarian dictators in an effort to create stability and stop the spread of communism abroad. This thesis examines how this policy framework came under strain in U.S.-Bolivian relations between 1969 and 1972. Since Ovando and Torres were leftist military dictators, they presented Washington with a dilemma of whether to maintain support based on the leaders’ military status or to withdraw it based on their leftism. Ultimately, the Nixon administration decided to use diplomacy to persuade Ovando and Torres to moderate their leftist rhetoric and positions, as Washington attempted to resolve the conflict between its policies of anti-leftism and support for military governments.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Nixon, Richard M. -- (Richard Milhous) -- 1913-1994‚ Ovando Candia, Alfredo -- 1918-1982‚ Torres G., Juan José -- (Torres González) -- 1920-1976‚ Communism‚ Nationalists‚ Cold War‚ Authoritarianism -- Developing countries‚ Economic policy‚ Social sciences‚ United States -- Foreign relations -- Bolivia‚ Whitman College 2018 -- Dissertation collection -- History Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Included in

History Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).