Shortly after President John F. Kennedy took office in 1961, he launched the Alliance for Progress. The program has had an important legacy; the current Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Dr. Arturo A. Valenzuela, has described the Alliance for Progress as "a signature effort by President Kennedy to strengthen the common bonds between the United States and Latin America by addressing universal aspirations to rise above the challenges of poverty and autocracy that faced the region in the 1960s." Kennedy recognized how poverty and lack of freedom could put democratic institutions at risk. The Alliance supported the construction of housing, schools, airports, hospitals, and clinics throughout the region, and President Kennedy became a hero for generations of Latin Americans.
Click here to watch a video from original archival footage, housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, documenting President Kennedy's commitment to Latin America and the Alliance for Progress.