National security and counter-terrorism: the example of Latin America
|Faculté||Faculté des sciences de la société|
|Département||Département de science politique et relations internationales|
|Professeur(s)||Rémi Baudoui (2011 - )|
|Cours||Terrorism and international relations|
- Terrorism or terrorisms? Some epistemological considerations
- National security and counter-terrorism: the example of Latin America
- Internationalisation of struggles and emergence of international terrorism
- International relations and the fight against international terrorism
- The United States and the New International Order
- Middle East Geopolitics
- September 11, 2001 ruptures
- Al-Qaida and the "geopolitics of radical terrorism"
- Combating terrorism and rebuilding transatlantic relations
- Arab Spring Against Terrorism: Issues and Perspectives
- Homegrown jihadism: How to prevent terrorist catastrophe?
We will address the issue of terrorism and counterterrorism in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. It is a continent that will be hit by great political violence after the Second World War. This terrorism itself evolved over a period of some twenty years, allowing us to reflect on a first fight against terrorism, the political violence in Latin America, which will involve the United States. It is in Latin America that the beginnings of what will become the fight against terrorism on a global scale from 2001 onwards appear.
In a first part we will return to the theoretical questions of revolutionary warfare and protracted popular wars are the castro-marxist wars and their failure leading to a second model of guerrilla warfare, in the second part we will see how Latin America remains a "guarded hunt" and an area of intervention of the American power appearing the very issue of organizing the fight against terrorism.
Why question Latin America from the 1960s to the present day? There are three reasons:
- A modern history of political violence: it is the very foundation of a modern political violence, understood as modern, that it is going to involve military efforts, modern means and a revolutionary will to transform countries. There is renewed political violence on very specific ideological grounds.
- The passage to violent action as a political claim: it is the fact of making things change by going through violent action which for these groups is legitimate. If we cannot change anything by democratic means, which is all the more difficult in the context of dictatorship, then we must take up arms. Violent action is claimed to be a founding element of the struggle.
- Latin America - matrix of "terrorism" and "counter-terrorism"? Latin America is an interesting field in which to describe what is known as "modern terrorism". In essence, perhaps Latin America has been a place where modern terrorism and the counterterrorism model have been organized. In the aftermath of 9/11, when the United States sought to organize the global fight against terrorism, we found ourselves in a model that was reminiscent of Latin America. Appears a conceptualization of counterterrorism in the 1950s and 1960s. This Latin American question is interesting to understand as a potential matrix.
- 1 Latin America: from Revolutionary War to Protracted People's War
- 1.1 The Latin American Context in 1950
- 1.2 Castro-Guévarist guerrillas, 1960-1975
- 1.3 Revolutionary war concepts according to Che Guevara: 1928 - 1967
- 1.4 From theory to practice: rural guerrillas
- 1.5 From Theory to Practise: Urban Guerrillas
- 1.6 Weaknesses of the first wave of guerrilla warfare
- 1.7 The Second Wave of Guerrillas: 1975 - 1990
- 2 Latin America: a reserved domain of intervention for the American Empire
- 2.1 The origins: the place of Latin America in the imperial model: 1870 - 1920
- 2.2 The American Counterrevolution: 1945 to 1990
- 2.3 Operation Condor or "Dictators' Interpol": objectives
- 2.4 Democracy and the Fight Against Drugs: A Turning Point in United States Politics in Latin America Around the 1980s
- 2.5 Major developments in the United States' relations with Latin America
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 Annexes
- 5 References
Latin America: from Revolutionary War to Protracted People's War[edit | edit source]
The Latin American Context in 1950[edit | edit source]
Decolonizations occurred in the early 19th century between 1810 and 1835. From the 1950s onwards, Latin America entered a period of instability linked to complex regimes, particularly those linked to paramilitary regimes, which were political regimes based on military forces supported by civil-military forces that were refractory to a transition to democracy because they were authoritarian regimes that relied on the army to keep power in front of the people. They adopt aggressive positions towards their people, democracy does not perceive. Political life after 1945 seems to be marked by great instability, by a difficult gestation of democracy and by the omnipresence of the army in civil affairs.
The United States has always considered Latin America, the South American continent and Central America as its "custodial hunting ground", as its own territory that guarantees the very functioning of American democracy. Latin America is considered to be an exclusive zone of American interests, it is necessary to monitor what is happening there and, if possible, to intervene. This unfortunate tradition lasted until recently. The proximity and interference of the United States is preponderant. The Monroe doctrine, still applied, proclaimed in 1823 that all of Latin America was an exclusive zone of American interests.
In the post-war context begins the Cold War context and Latin America cannot be exempt from knowing which political model to promote. The alternative model to the capitalist - imperialist model is the Marxist model. Basically, there is no choice, to free oneself from the oppression of dictators, the only alternative is to seek Marxism which is a revolutionary doctrine giving theoretical arguments to fight. Revolutionary struggles are manufactured, and the incorporation into Latin America of the Marxist doctrine of the revolutionary struggle. From the 1950s onwards,"revolutionary struggles" were waged all over the continent.
There are two periods for two successive strategies:
- 1960-1975 -' The Castro-Guevarist guerrilla guerrillas: it is necessary to make the revolution on the Castro model because the great model which appears from the 1960s onwards is the successful Castro revolution. Cuba will become a role model. This model will guide the whole of Latin America, it is a rural model based on negotiations of agreements with farmers. This period ended around 1975 in failure.
- 1975-1990 - The second wave of guerrillas: it is the hypothesis of a protracted popular war. Castrism did not fail in Cuba, but it failed as a subversive force for the entire American continent. We're moving from a rural model to an urban guerrilla. In today's terrorism, the urban dimension dominates.
Castro-Guévarist guerrillas, 1960-1975[edit | edit source]
Castro-Guevarist guerrilla warfare is the most important guerrilla warfare that will take place around 1959. Batista set up by the Americans operates on the army and on a small part of the population, gradually settles in the mountain of revolutionary homes animated by Fidèle Castro and Che Guevara postulating that it is necessary to make a revolution and it must be in the depths largely inspired by Marxist inspiration. Little by little, a subversive framework is being built to overthrow a regime by organizing military forces in the mountains. It is a rural guerrilla warfare and during this time nothing happens on Batista's side.
The model that will appear is an insurrectional Marxist model. The basis of the discourse is to create an area uncontrollable by the army by equipping itself in the mountain and when the guerrilla is sufficiently organized, the conquest of power will be launched. This is the strategy of the foco: it is necessary to create insurrectional homes that make the revolution start. For Castro, we have to create Vietnams.
The reference is the Communist struggle in Vietnam against the pro-American regime. There is a revolutionary Marxist organization. The idea is to create Vietnams in an anti-imperialist logic because the United States is the "great Satan" and the exploiters of the Third World. There is a need for an armed struggle that fights against the violence of the State by another violence whose aim is to develop throughout the American continent through the Latin American Solidarity Organization[OLAS] founded in July 1962, which will decide the coordination of the Guévarist revolution on a continental scale. A continental revolution of revolutionary movements is needed to bring about a social, political and economic revolution in Latin America.
Revolutionary war concepts according to Che Guevara: 1928 - 1967[edit | edit source]
There are very important texts that define socialism by the action and violence that crystallizes in the guerrilla war which is the struggle of a minority against a majority.
Guevara is a medical student, Marxist revolutionary, right-hand man of Fidel Castro, prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court in Havana, minister of Castro, in charge of exporting the Cuban revolution first. With Guevara, we find the definition on archaic and violence-based bases of a revolutionary discourse. The guerrilla warfare since the 17th century has been theorized even in Switzerland, it is necessary to play surprise to be able to win without facing the opponent directly. You must use the trick in order to win by trying to exhaust the opponent.
This concept was taken up by Castro in the 1960s. There is a new war to be waged and for this to happen, we must fuel revolutionary homes everywhere, arm the movements and when the big day arrives, these revolutionary forces come into direct conflict with the army. But for this to happen, the people must follow what will be among other things the main reason for the failure of Che in Bolivia. In these cases there is no detail, the repression becomes very violent.
This movement was a success allowing the installation of a social-marxist regime with Fidel Castro. Guevara is responsible for exporting the Cuban revolution. The effective model of the Cuban revolution must be applied to other countries.
In his work La Guerre des Guérillas published in 1960, Guevara sets out some of the principles of revolutionary warfare:
- « strike the Achilles heel of imperialism »
- « Developing insurrectional homes[foco] to profoundly transform society »
- « Working among farmers. The guerrillas as an armed vanguard of the people » : the guerrillas must be the vanguard of the people. The people who cannot afford to revolt the guerrillas are the spearheads of the movement.
- « The People's Army as the nucleus of the party, not the other way around »
From theory to practice: rural guerrillas[edit | edit source]
All these movements appear at about the same time. The influences are, however, complex with pure Marxists, but there are also Trotskyists, pro-Castrists who have reinterpreted the revolution in Cuba and a whole series of other models. Movements based on the strategy of subversion appears in Guatemala, Venezuela and Bolivia.
In the idea of revolutionary doctrine, violence is an obligatory passage and the more violence there is and the better it is, we think that violence will attract the empathy of peasant populations.
The major project is that of Bolivia, because in Castro's Marxist analysis, the Cuban revolution has to be overturned, which has managed to rock the American power by setting foot on the continent by exporting the model. The stakes being a Marxist and anti-imperialist issue, we must build a camp. Marxists as "freedom fighters" must go to others. For historical and political reasons, the first interesting country is Bolivia because it is a dictatorship but its geography set steep with mountains. In the castrist imagination, there is the idea of setting up focos. Castro's going to send Che to organize this revolution. Bolivia had to become the hard core of the resistance to spread on the South American continent. To build this strategy, we find the strategy of the foco by sending men to the heart of the Bolivian Forest beginning their Marxist strategy.
Bolivia is going to be a big failure because the dictator in power had long been able to bribe Indian communities and peasant women. In the Bolivian case, there appears to be a mismatch between political plans and the means of the struggle. This discrepancy appears because the situation was very poorly analysed on Castro's side. Finally, there is no support from the peasant population that withdraws, instead of an insurrection, the guerrillas do not find support among the population. The guerrillas will be hunted down and pursued by the military and they must hide until they are surrounded, arrested and shot in 1967. We find testimony in Che's memoirs.
There is the failure of a first form of guerrilla warfare and the castrist model of struggle did not work. There have been revolutionary forces with Trotskyists, Leninists, Maoists but this complicates the movement without unity.
In 1960 in Guatemala the first revolts were a failure. However, they lead to the formation of the M13 which is a Trotskyist revolutionary movement founded on December 13, but also to the formation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces[FAR] which is a pro-Castrist movement. These two movements come into conflict making any revolution unlikely. It was also in 1960 that the Revolutionary Left Movement[MIR] close to castrism was born in Venezuela, then in 1963 it was the Forces Armées de Libération Nationale[FALN] for the "liberation of the Venezuelan people". The repression is bloody leading to a failure of the revolutionary attempts in 1969. In 1970 in Mexico, the Revolutionary National Civic Action[ANCR] was founded in Mexico, which advocated a Chinese ideology of bank attacks, destruction of buildings and kidnappings. However, counterinsurgency operations eliminate them. Finally, in 1978, Colombia had six revolutionary homes, including the creation in 1966 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia[FARC] close to the Communist Party, which were still in the news. Other fronts have a very short existence but conflicts between groups will lead to the failure of revolutionary attempts.
The guerrilla warfare has shown weaknesses. It is difficult to win a war against a revolutionary army. There is an awareness that peasants are not the expected Marxist-Leninist force questioning whether peasants are really a revolutionary force. On the other hand, there has been an underestimation of the American counter-intelligence forces, because Latin American forces are assisted by the United States, which will also help to train paramilitaries with the help of Europe and others. Perhaps the lack of social attachment is also due to the fact that it is intellectuals who carry the weapons and there is a difficulty in controlling indigenous populations. There is a problem of global coherence that causes this rural Marxist model to disappear.
From Theory to Practise: Urban Guerrillas[edit | edit source]
In the 1970s there appeared the second wave of guerrilla warfare which was urban, changing in nature and suggesting that violence should be guarded, but also widened towards cities because we are moving on to urban societies undergoing socio-economic changes that make political power and more urban than rural. Dictators need cities, because they are places where power is concentrated. This second guerrilla warfare will ensure the transition from rural to urban guerrillas and that is why it is necessary to promote the struggle in the city. It is also where there is the symbolic representation of power and the military.
This is the concept of an urban jungle, because in the end, the city can be the most suitable territory to hide and fight power. These urban guerrillas appeared at this time, who would think of the guerrilla tactics in the city.
In Brazil, in 1964, the National Liberation Alliance[ALN] was founded by Carlos Marighella, who theorized urban warfare. The revolutionary, revolutionary war of transformation must because it must go into the city acquire certain specific characteristics and in particular to set up weapons caches, places or hide in order to support the violent situation in the city. In Argentina in the 1970s, a complex set of complex movements coexisted in Argentina, including Trotskyist, Maoist, Castro-Guévarist, anarchist, Peronist[Montoneros] movements that would engage in violent action, but often lost themselves because they were in conflict with each other, weakening their capacity to resist. The complete dismantling of the montaneros took place in 1975. In Uruguay, the Tupamaros are marked by the Cuban revolution. The government set up the "death squadrons" from 1971 onwards, launching a counter-insurgency campaign to fight them effectively. All these movements appear in reaction to the failure of Che in Bolivia.
Weaknesses of the first wave of guerrilla warfare[edit | edit source]
Guerrilla warfare is inexperienced with small numbers and strategic weaknesses, while conflicts and the fragmentation of rural and urban guerrillas into chapels lead to counterproductive fragmentation. On the other hand, the guerrillas underestimated the role of the army in the anti-subversive struggle and underestimated the American aid provided in the coordination of the anti-subversive struggle. Added to this is a misunderstanding of the role of the peasantry in a dilemma between supporting the guerrillas or undergoing repression of dictatorships in place, partly explaining why there is a difficulty in mobilizing the peasantry.
The Second Wave of Guerrillas: 1975 - 1990[edit | edit source]
In 1979 the revival of the guerrilla warfare was due to the victory of the Sandinists in Nicaragua by triggering the Revolución Popular Sandinista [People's Sandinista Revolution]. It is a time when the United States will denounce the Soviet Union's interference in Nicaraguan affairs. The United States is alarmed by the Marxist-Leninist revolutions during the Cold War. All these movements that destabilize Latin America are under the influence of the Soviet Union. The condemnation of the Soviet Union's interference in Nicaraguan affairs has intensified American efforts to combat terrorism in Latin America. The discourse is that of a destabilizing enterprise of Latin America in an exclusive zone.
At that time, terrorism was defined as « individuals or groups threaten or resort to violence for political purposes, directly opposed to government authorities, so that actions taken, shocks, blows and intimidation aim to reach a wider group than victims alone. ». In this definition of terrorism by the U.S. State Department, there is the idea of subversion, of changing political regimes. Once the vital interests of the United States are at stake, there will be a reaction. From the 1980s to the 1990s, counterinsurgency wars will be waged by conducting local operations to structure the fight against terrorism.
In March 1982, a counterinsurgency war took place in Guatemala, allowing the military to regain power. The military strategy consisted in isolating the guerrillas physically on the Mexican border and socially by cutting them off from the peasants. Between 1979 and 1990 in El Salvador, the military state opposed the FMLN [Front Farabundo Marti of National Liberation] by conducting insurgent attacks against counterinsurgency. From 1980 to 1982, Colombia experienced an episode of guerrilla warfare in the mountains and occupied Bogota by M13. But the FARC's attacks are blocked as they begin a transition to protean violence.
Peru between 1970 and 1990 confronted the guerrillas of the Luminous Path, which is a Marxist-Leninist communist movement. Wars began in 1981 and from 1987 onwards, the Luminous Path was enriched by coca trafficking. This is called narco-terrorism. Some groups need a long war to build a war economy. These forms of violent actions in order to maintain power are obliged to organize territories economically in order to generate income, particularly through the trafficking of cocaine and heroin, but also through the refining of these products.
Narco-terrorism is interesting to analyze because we see a revolutionary drift towards a mafia-like drift. Narco-terrorism is a mixture of violence between so-called "ideological" violent actions and a violent act of producing market value.
Latin America: a reserved domain of intervention for the American Empire[edit | edit source]
It is important to understand the value of looking at this struggle in order to examine the means of the fight against terrorism..
The origins: the place of Latin America in the imperial model: 1870 - 1920[edit | edit source]
It is necessary to insist on the place of America in the American imperial model based on the Monroe doctrine of the name of the American president of the time defining American politics on the basis that the United States is a democracy, they must protect themselves from any interference in their territory of the old Europe and its monarchical regimes. This is going to be a paradox. On the one hand, we are not interested in Europe, in American history there is a complex relationship with Europe, on the other hand, this Monroe doctrine leads to another phenomenon which is to say that in a certain way it is out of the question for Europe to interfere in Latin American affairs. Latin America therefore falls under the authority of the United States.
In other words, the Monroe doctrine suggests protecting American democracy from all European autocratic regimes. It presupposes the extension of the American model of democracy to its continent. And thus the control of the affairs of the American continent. It is a logic of intervention in its area of influence.
The Monroe doctrine, in the long term, will initiate the containment policy of containing communism in the 1950s. Latin American affairs are in the hands of the United States and no one has the right to interfere. Under the principle of "American messianism", we must pay close attention to what is happening in Latin America.
It is interesting to study the constitution of the theory of American imperialism, making it possible to highlight that the security of the American continent is their own responsibility. As early as the 19th century, the Americans intervened on Latin America with the annexation of Hawaii in 1898, in 1908 - 1909 the takeover of Panama from Colombia and the idea of very active interventionism.
« The chronic injustice or powerlessness that results from a general loosening of the rules of a civilized society may ultimately require, in America or elsewhere - the intervention of a civilized nation - and in the western hemisphere, U.S. adherence to the Monroe doctrine may force the United States, albeit reluctantly, in blatant cases of injustice or impotence, to exercise a power of attorney. »
— Discours de Théodore Roosevelt, 1904
A strong interventionist policy will then be implemented. Republicans and Democrats protect the nation and interests through interventionism. It is a realistic management that can be political and economic interventions through the management of American interests on the American continent. In 1914, the United States intervened against the Mexican dictatorship to protect American firms. 1915 was the year the United States began the military occupation of Haiti, then in 1916 it was the Navy occupation of Nicaragua, and in 1917 it intervened in Costa Rica. In 1919 troops landed in Honduras, finally in 1920 they intervened in Guatemala. There is a mix of genders that explains the principle of active interventionism.
The American Counterrevolution: 1945 to 1990[edit | edit source]
This makes it possible to understand the American interventions in helping dictators in the 1950s and 1960s as a continuity. In 1947, the Cold War is looming. Already in February 1945, at the Chapultepec Pan-American Conference in February 1945, the United States reminded the Latin American regimes that the struggle against communism must be waged. This will allow this military interdependence to develop.
Between 1948 and 1956 U. S. aid to the Paraguayan dictatorship of General Stroessner was to be set up, in 1951 military aid was to be set up with Panama, while the dictatorship of Batista in Cuba was to receive financial and economic aid that would fail. After Fidel Castro's arrival in power, the Americans will begin to blockade Cuba. In 1965 the American intervention took place in Santo Domingo. It is a continent in which there is no question of allowing anything to be done that could harm American interests.
Operation Condor or "Dictators' Interpol": objectives[edit | edit source]
What will happen when these movements start to think that they will have to overthrow these dictatorships in order to change their political system and free themselves from American imperialism? The liberation of peoples can only be achieved by destroying the imperialist interests of the great powers in Marxist theory.
The United States has a military tradition in Latin America. Basically, the fight against communism will provide the United States with an additional argument for intervention. In any case, it is clear that they will present the communist from the 1960s onwards as the great risk of the American continent tipping over and for the American territory itself at the same time as they are in the midst of the Vietnam War.
Basically, faced with the revolutionary Marxist revolution, it is necessary to coordinate the anti-terrorist policy. Operation Condor is very interesting. Documents were recently discovered revealing everything that had happened in the American continent via the CIA.
The United States will guarantee its national security and in order to fight communism, it will, from the 1970s onwards, organize the fight against terrorism on a continental scale. In order to guarantee the national security of the United States, after the Cuban revolution, they will give themselves the means to fight communism on a continental scale. The fight against terrorism will be systematized by promoting the connection of the military between them.
In September 1973, the 10th American Army Conference[CEA] was held with the aim of « strengthening the exchange of information before countering terrorism and controlling subversive elements in each country. ». The challenge is the control of information, which is why we need to make a continental intelligence international. A first integrated information network will be set up from the military attachés who are those in embassies that have a power relations assessment function. We're going to organize an information exchange under the CIA's responsibility. It is the construction of a dirty war where Nixon and Kissinger will develop a counterrevolutionary device. What is very interesting is that in Operation Condor was discovered that there were anti-subversive training centres in which the French State was involved, because they had acquired expertise in this area with the conflicts in Algeria and Indochina.
The anti-subversive war can be described as a dirty war because it is entering a legal "no man's land" where everything is permitted, including the use of torture. November 25,1975 is the date on which the Condor operation in Santiago was formally constituted. There will appear elements that we find it after 11 September with the organisation of the centralisation of information on the Interpole model, the possibility of interviewing suspects of activism in a third country and thinking of anti-terrorist action in a transnational way.
« A third and most secretive phase of the operation involves the formation of special teams from member countries to travel anywhere in the world, in non-member countries (of Condor) to carry out sanctions up to and including assassination, against terrorists or supporters of terrorist organisations in Condor member countries. »
— FBI Attaché in Buenos Aires, 28 September 1976.
This system is to the benefit of dictatorships, which allows them to remain in place and function. Within the framework of the operation will be used the political assassination and disappearance of citizens. The multiplication of assassination attempts against progressive political personalities has led to a wave of terror that is gradually decapitating the Marxist and revolutionary movements.
The Condor program disappeared in the 1980s as the United States realized that these operations could cost its brand image. Condor's end is the success of the operation. The revolutionary Marxist movements will be decapitated by the effectiveness of this device. Condor's disappearance was effective in the early 1980s because there was less risk, a return to parliamentary regimes and the fear of disclosing these procedures.
Democracy and the Fight Against Drugs: A Turning Point in United States Politics in Latin America Around the 1980s[edit | edit source]
There is a distancing of the United States from the Condor model in the name of respect for democratic values. Between 1977 and 1981, President Jimmy Carter played a role in the democratization of Latin America in the name of human rights and political freedom. Beyond the struggle against Sandinists in Nicaragua, Ronald Reagan condemns the political regimes of dictatorships for the risks of deploying communism and promotes democratic alternatives that can curb the rise of Marxist regimes. The United States would not hesitate to invade Panama in December 1989 to drive out Noriega, a threatening dictator accused of being complacent with drug trafficking.
In 1989 there was a transfer of violence operations because there was less support for Marxist ideology with a refocusing of American policy on Latin America on a more pragmatic basis, with less ideology and more respect for democratic legality.
Major developments in the United States' relations with Latin America[edit | edit source]
In military terms, in the 1980s, the enemy was no longer communism; war changed direction and the fight against drug trafficking. It is a counter-power that can marry political powers, as was the case with Pablo Escobar. What appears on the political scene is "drug geopolitics". On the international scene, the new power that is being built is a cartel power through drugs that may have military political or geostrategic claims. Terrorism moves on the fight against drugs with the big cartels in Colombia. The United States will engage in the fight against drugs and cartelisation.
There is a perception that war changes direction and that the new enemy is no longer necessarily military regimes and communist regimes, but, first of all, regimes that rely on drugs and the international drug trade. In 1990 an unprecedented war was waged against the Cartel Medellín in Colombia. U. S. military aid is being used to help countries fight drug production and its derivative economy.
Conclusion[edit | edit source]
Latin America is a good example for understanding the major paradigms of terrorism and counterterrorism. It is also a matrix for the implantation of Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism and Maoism that have produced political violence. For the first time, there is the production of a material for analysing the strategic thinking of armed struggle with modern manuals of rural guerrillas and guerrillas in a system of asymmetric logic.
There is also the conceptualization of political violence as a "terrorist" act. Communism is fought on an anti-terrorist model with all the arbitrariness that this entails. The fight against terrorism operates on the basis of secrecy and not proclamation, these are public policies. Finally, for the first time ever with the Condor model, we have a transnational counterterrorism model. The post-9/11 period, which will propose questions of coordination of the fight against terrorism and the definition of terrorism, will be able to draw on American expertise in the fight against terrorism.
Annexes[edit | edit source]
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