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Latin American perspectives a program of comment and analysis about current Latin American problems and their historical setting. The commentator for these programs is Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Here now is Dr. Gardner. What sorts of regimes will arise in the developing nations as they confront the tasks imposed on their political systems by the challenges of modernization. How will a particular nation view change. Who will lead the process and what political methods will be developed to carry it out. How effective will given solutions be and what further problems will they raise for the political system. These and other questions are raised and faced by Robert H Dick's in his volume Columbia the political dimensions of change. A recent publication of Yale University Press. We have in this work an
approach to the country Colombia particularly within the period 1934 to the present. Colombia was in 1030 for a distinctly modern nation. Its economy was still relatively primitive and agricultural and the state had never truly adopted as a goal of government policy the promotion of economic development the social mobility was not wholly absent. Status was still mainly founded on birth and privilege not merit equitable distribution of the material products of the society had received almost no attention nor had protection of the underprivileged despite the existence of some legislation concerning such matters as workman's compensation. Education was still the province of the few well over half the nation was illiterate
and there was as yet little conception of education as a means to augment the pool of skills available to the society. The nation though its legitimacy seemed established was a vague and distant entity to the masses and a subject for underlying contempt to the elite who looked abroad for real culture. And lastly in the 1980s political participation was limited edition to the ranks of political leadership was largely restricted to the sons of the landed commercial and industrial elite. It was then with 1934 and the accession to the presidency of locus that we date Columbia's take off on the road to modernization. Social economic and political fight is from about that date that Colombian leadership groups became
irrevocably confronted with the issues and dilemmas posed by the modernization process and at least partially committed to their resolution. But why you may ask. Study Columbia has indeed author Dick's house within Latin America and the group of developing nations that Latin America represents. Columbia is just about an average one its gross national product per capita two hundred sixty three dollars per annum. Places that eighth among the 20 Latin American countries on an index of urbanization. Colombia is in seventh place. Colombia is eighth in the percentage of persons employed in non agricultural pursuits and also in the percentage of those over the
age of 15 who can read and write. It is 11th on an index of the degree of exposure of its populace to mass media as measured by the number of daily newspaper readers per 1000 population. In consequence then Colombia is seized upon as a possible average performance in Latin America. The thought being that if there be lessons learned from the Colombian experience or the study of it that these lessons have wider relevance than for Colombia alone. One of the most important developments in Colombia in recent years has been an answer to the ceaseless change and rather pointless programs that the nation has known in recent decades. In the 30s the liberal moment held for a bit and then we have with
the 40s dictatorship and reversion. We have in the middle 50s a revulsion against the dictatorship. But such a touch and go situation between liberals and conservatives that neither had a clear majority or mandate from the people. And so it was that when finally a dictator was overthrown in the 1950s 957 to be exact an unusual formula for Colombia's future was worked out by the leading politicians who realized that they were in somewhat a dead heat and in a measure of inability to command majority support. And so a measure of cooperation such as they had never demonstrated previously in the 20th century was called for. This gave rise to what's called the bases of the National Front. There are three pillars that support the president conduct of politics
in this sizable South American country. For one thing it is held that between the Conservative and Liberal party there will always be parity in all public elected bodies and in all executive departments and administrative posts. Neither one will try to run off with the loot or all the honors all the offices they will be divided systematically equally between the two parties. As for the presidency a post you can't exactly cut into two pieces. They agreed upon a second basic principle and that was alternation the presidency every four years. They conceived this incidentally on a 16 year basis which meant that four years of liberal rule would be followed by four of conservative followed by four of liberal and four more of conservative. In addition to parity in public offices and alternation in the presidency
it was agreed in this formula of the national front that there would be required a two thirds vote in the National Congress to promote the passage of laws to bring into effect new programs. It was assumed that if you got a two thirds vote for any measure that you had a measure that was so popular that it was not the whim of one party but indeed it forced. You're getting this two thirds support for it a bipartisan cooperation on the desirable legislation. It might be added that the National Front program has had more than its share of headaches. I would remind you that Colombia is a large and populous country and has a number of circumstances that can pose problems. Colombia embraces an area of more than four hundred forty thousand square miles and it counts a
population today of about 18 million people. The literacy rate is at about the fifty eight to 60 percent level. More than 52 percent of all of its exports come to the United States and about 47 percent of all of its imports are from the United States. And so the stability the well-being of Colombia is of very considerable significance to us and we in consequence are concerned about the system of government that the National Front has come to represent. Politically the National Front seems at peace and the restoration of constitutional order in terms of economic matters. It aims at recovery and stability growth and diversification at regional development.
Now in terms of the thinking of 16 years within the presidency and how it was to be passed from party to party. Columbia happily was able to think for at least 10 years in terms of its economic planning. It established at the beginning of the 1960s a 10 year plan this ten year plan incidentally has helped it in several respects though it has not proved to be the open sesame to total success from an economic standpoint. It has helped it in reference to the United States in at least two ways. But one thing when early in the 60s this country formulated the ideas of the Alliance for Progress. It was willing to enter into the sponsorship of Alliance for Progress programs in a given Latin American countries. If those countries had clearly defined ideas about what they themselves were going to do. Needless to say the country Colombia
with a 10 year blueprint laid down was able to impress Washington with a greater measure of cooperation a greater measure a vision a greater measure of continuity of concern about its economic development than did the average Latin American country. Suffice it to say that Colombia then enjoyed somewhat an inside track relationship to the powers that were in Washington in the early days of the Alliance for Progress. It's not an incidental fact at all to recall that among the very few Latin American countries visited by President Kennedy who of course formulated initially the Alliance for Progress. Columbia was a prominent one. In addition to the Alliance for Progress. Gaining Colombian attention and US support the Peace Corps has likewise had a greater focus of attention upon Colombia
than any other Latin American country. There have been more men and women of our Peace Corps go into multiple activities in Colombian life in the last half dozen years than in any other one Latin American country. This too has been a willingness of our country to identify ourself with their meaningful program. Today Colombia stands for economic integration of Latin America for agrarian reform. For the control of monopolies. Indeed the president who took power in August of 1966 entering the third of these four four year cycles president yet has strep all came up with the unusual idea that students were to be required to attend their classes at the university. Breaking up the tendency toward strikes and the disruption of educational procedures Colombia in recent months too has announced a desire to establish an interim oceanic
The Institute on Man and Science
Response to keynote address
Producing Organization
Institute on Man and Science
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the response to the keynote address given by Paul Martin. Responses are given by Albert Wilson, astrophysicist, Douglas Aircraft; and Harold Williams, United States Army, assigned to urban civil disturbances.
Other Description
A lecture and discussion series on major current problems like urban decay; pollution; space exploration; and the role of science in finding solutions. Talks were held during the summer of 1968 at the Institute on Man and Science, New York.
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Producing Organization: Institute on Man and Science
Speaker: Williams, Harold
Speaker: Wilson, Albert George, 1918-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-33-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:24:56
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Chicago: “The Institute on Man and Science; Response to keynote address,” 1968-09-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “The Institute on Man and Science; Response to keynote address.” 1968-09-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: The Institute on Man and Science; Response to keynote address. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from