From an interview with John W. Ford, former adviser to the secretary general of the Organization of American States, in the Foreign Service Journal.
If the Contadora countries invoke the Rio Treaty (for collective inter- American security), do you think the United States would or should countenance its use?
Certainly, I think the United States would be very happy to have the Contadora countries recognize that there is aggression and subversion in Central America that must be curbed. But the nation that invokes the Rio Treaty should be sure that it can get the votes to support action and should orchestrate its implementation.
And there is a real problem in dealing with outlaw nations that respect no treaty. Cuba has never renounced the Rio Treaty. . . . Yet it has repeatedly violated the treaty and the OAS Charter through countless interventions in the internal affairs of Latin American states.
And at least three of the Contadora countries themselves intervened in Nicaragua in 1979 when the target was the brutal Somoza dictatorship. These same nations now insist on free elections in Nicaragua, but this sounds like hypocrisy.
They talk a lot about nonintervention, but they send in troops, arms, patrols and aircraft to overthrow a government. So they tend to be selective in choosing when and where to condemn aggression. If the sanctity of borders were honored, there would never be export of revolution.
The sanctity of borders must be preserved at all costs, but the principle of nonintervention cannot be used as an excuse to permit the interventions of others. The weak countries in Latin America that are unwilling to take an appropriate initiative in such situations are the ones most likely to suffer in the long run.