Czechoslovak-Latin American Relations 1945-1989: The Broader Context
ABSTRACT: After 1945, Czechoslovakia resumed its diplomatic and economic rela- tions with Latin American countries; disrupted during the occupation of the Second World War. At that time, Czechoslovakia had the most diplomatic offices in the region of the entire Soviet bloc. Communi- cation between Prague and Moscow showed that the Soviet desires’ to use the Czechoslovak position in Latin America to its benefit. Accordingly, those Latin American regimes that sought opportunities to establish contact with the Soviet Union in the early 1950s, such as Bolivia or Guatemala, did so through Czechoslovakia. According to the documents of the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the years 1954, 1956 and 1957, relations with Brazil, Argentina and Mexico were considered as the most important by the Czechoslovak authorities. Hence, they also continued to be among the priorities of Czechoslovak foreign policy in Latin America until 1989. Czechoslovak relations to Latin America were predominantly determined by political and economic factors. Politically, Czechoslovakia focused on country’s relations with to us and on its political orientation; economically, the opportunities for Czechoslovak exports of machinery products, respectively of entire investment units and the import of raw materials and agricultural products were essential. Over time, Czechoslovak authorities increasingly emphasised the economic side of relations to Cuba, whose debt to Czechoslovakia was constantly growing. By the end of the 1980s, Czechoslovakia was either maintaining diplomaticrelations with all countries in the region, or considering their recovery with the exception of small island states in the Caribbean, which had recently gained independence.
KEYWORDS: Czechoslovakia, Latin America, international policy, diplomatic relations, commerce