Making Sense of the Argentine-Brazilian Rapprochement, 1979-1982

G L Gardini

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This article challenges some traditional interpretations of the question of the Itaipú dam as a turning point of Argentine-Brazilian relations from rivalry to friendly cooperation. It is argued that the basic problem between the two countries throughout the 1970s was not the question of the dam itself but the changing relative economic power, aggravated by the often naïve geo-political thinking characterising both military administrations. Because of this, to turn the sign of bilateral relations from conflictive to cooperative, a sequence of confidence-building experiences, rather than a single agreement, however important, was bound to be required. This sequence occurred between 1979 and 1982. Finally, the article argues that, tempting as it might be, there are no good grounds to trace later schemes for regional integration back to that period. To suggest otherwise is misleading, since integration, unlike the first phase of rapprochement, was organically linked to the project of democratisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-71
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


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