Since 1979, United States policy in Central America has been based on an assumption that revolutionary movements led by Marxists must represent a serious threat to U.S. interests and security. On this point, the difference between liberals and conservatives is merely one of emphasis or accent.
Such an assumption is not shared by most governments in Western Europe and Latin America. In part, these countries base their positions on their understanding of the originas of the present crisis—that is, the history, both remote and recent, of Central America.
(Original publication 6/85)
About Phillip Berryman
Phillip Berryman was a pastoral worker in a barrio in Panama during 1965-73, the years in which the new liberation theology and pastoral practice in Latin America were taking shape. From 1976 to 1980, as Central American representative for the American Friends Service Committee, he was in a privileged position to observe the deepening crisis in the region. In 1980, he returned from Guatemala to the United States and now lives in Philadelphia with his wife and three daughters, continuing to do research and writing. He is the author of The Religious Roots of Rebellion and Liberation Theology, and has published numerous reviews and articles in such journals as Commonweal, America, and The National Catholic Reporter.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“Berryman provides an in-depth analysis of [U.S. policy in Central America]. To fifteen years of direct experience in Panama and Central America as a pastoral worker and later as regional representative of the American Friends Service Committee, he adds a profound historical knowledge and keen political insight. He here gives us with admirable conciseness and objectivity not only the essential facts, but also a framework of meaning. He has also outlined alternatives designed to protect legitimate U.S. interests in the region while permitting Central Americans to pursue their search for a just and prosperous society.”
-National Catholic Reporter
“Inside Central America deserves the attention of every American. If the message of this important book is not heard and heeded, the United States may have its own Afghanistan in Central America.”
-Robert F. Drinan, S.J.
“A first-rate effort to inject some reason and facts into the national debate over U.S. policy in Central America. The author…knows [the region], and its peoples’ aspirations to be rid of oppressive governments and foreign domination, deeply…. Berryman begins with a concise history of the region and ends with a chronology of negotiations there between 1980 and 1984. He writes of a complex event in a clear, simple style…. A useful primer for anyone trying to understand contemporary Central America’s hazardous state.”