Tango War: U.S. Legacy in Latin America

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Black and white photo of military ship with large Nazi flag on its bow
Growing U.S. pressure to remove Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro from office raises specters of earlier interventions in the region, including the United States' role in Latin America during World War II. Mary Jo McConahay, author of The Tango War: The Struggle for the Hearts, Minds and Riches of Latin America During World War II (St. Martin's Press), discusses the legacy of this little-publicized story. Free.
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 244
Latin American Studies Program
Juanita Darling
Event extras: 

Mary Jo McConahay has been fascinated by the history of World War II since she listened to the stories of her father, a veteran U.S. Navy officer. By the time she set out to satisfy that childhood curiosity, she had gained a deep understanding of Latin America that began when she covered the wars in Central America as an award-winning journalist and a shrewd comprehension of economics from her reporting in the Middle East.

She found a web of deception and kidnappings that reached across the Americas, protecting war criminals while uprooting and splitting families, affecting people decades later in San Francisco, where she is now based. Spies, villains and even an occasional hero emerge in tales where Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Orson Welles become the bit players in dramas starring hitherto unknown actors.

What she learned about what happened then lays a foundation that helps explain today’s sharp right turn in Brazil, the Central American asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border and Venezuelan trepidation at U.S. threats, even as the country collapses.