The prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America
On April 29, 1963, five Latin American Presidents issued aJoint Declaration which constituted the starting point making possible the denuclearization of Latin America. At the initiative of the then President of Mexico, Adolfo López Mateos, letters were sent on March 21, 1963, to the Presidents of Bolivia (Victor Paz Estenssoro), Brazil (Joao Goulart), Chile (Jorge Alessandri) and Ecuador (Carlos Julio Arosemena) inviting them to collectively make
“a Declaration to announce our willingness to sign a multilateral agreement with the other Latin American countries, in which a commitment is made not to manufacture, receive, store or test nuclear weapons or nuclear launching devices.”
This Declaration emphasized the hope that the rest of the Latin American nations could join, in order to constitute a of liberation card from any nuclear threat for Latin American and Caribbean people.
Preliminary Meeting on the Denuclearization of Latin America (REUPRAL)
Following the closure of the eighteenth session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs commenced active consultations with the other Latin American republics regarding the procedures that could be more effective in achieving the purposes established in Resolution 1911 (XVIII) on the “Denuclearization of Latin America”. The outcome of these consultations was the Preliminary Meeting on the Denuclearization of Latin America, held from November 23 to 27, 1964, in which most of the Latin American republics that had voted in favor participated. The sessions of that Meeting were held in one of the buildings of the Independence Unit of the Mexican Institute of Social Security located in San Jerónimo Lidice, in Mexico City.
Preparatory Comission for the Denuclearization of Latin America (COPREDAL)
In the second resolution, whose significance would be difficult to overstate, REUPRAL acting as a Constituent Assembly established the Preparatory Commission for the Denuclearization of Latin America and discussed the very specific task of preparing “a draft multilateral treaty for the denuclearization of Latin America”. It was also recommended that in its work, the Commission gives priority to the following questions:
- The definition of the geographical boundaries of the zone free of nuclear weapons
- The study of methods of verification, inspection and control
- The realization of efforts to: a) achieve the collaboration of all Latin American Republics; b) ensure that States internationally responsible for territories located within their zone, apply to those territories accepted areas of the treaty of denuclearization to coordinate action, and c) obtain the commitment of the nuclear powers, that the legal status of the denuclearization of Latin America would be strictly respected in all its aspects and consequences.
Preliminary Meeting for the Constitution of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (REOPANAL)
From June 24 to 28, 1969, the Preliminary Meeting for the Constitution of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America was held in Mexico City. It approved eight projects covering the following items: the Rules of Procedure of the General Conference; the Agreement between OPANAL and the Government of the host State; the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of OPANAL; the Staff Regulations of the OPANAL Secretariat; the Financial Regulations of OPANAL; the OPANAL Budget for 1969-1970; the Scale of Assessments, and the establishment of a Working Capital Fund for OPANAL.