Spelling Tlatelolco

ILPI Publications > Background Papers

An overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean

5 July 2016

This article provides an overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean. A particular emphasis is placed on the Latin American and Caribbean nuclear-weapon-free zone. We discuss the terms of the Treaty and how the zone came to include states that were initially reluctant to join it. With this as a backdrop, we also consider the role of Latin American and Caribbean states in ongoing efforts to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.



In 1967, a large group of Latin American states established the world’s first nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in a densely populated area.[i] Adopted a year before the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Treaty of Tlatelolco was the first international agreement to legally codify the emerging norm that nuclear weapons were unacceptable weapons. The Treaty of Tlatelolco has since been hailed as a ‘beacon of light’, inspiring the creation of NWFZs in the South Pacific (1986), Mongolia (1992), Southeast Asia (1995), Africa (1996), and Central Asia (2006). The vast majority of the Southern hemisphere landmass is now covered by NWFZs.[ii] In a time when the NPT has been argued to suffer from a crisis of credibility,[iii] the regional prohibition treaties have managed to remain relevant and important.

While the Treaty of Tlatelolco has now entered into force for all 33 countries in the zone of application, it is important to remember that universalization was a long and difficult process. 40 years elapsed between the first proposal of a NWFZ in Latin America in the early 1960s, and Cuba’s ratification of the Treaty in 2002. The eventual success of the process was in a large part testament to the ingenuity and dedication of the participants in the negotiation process. The eventual text managed to reconcile conflicting points of view and produce a comprehensive yet flexible agreement.

This background paper looks at the establishment of the Latin American and Caribbean nuclear-weapon-free zone, the somewhat unusual terms of the Treaty, and how the NWFZ came to incorporate states that were initially reluctant to ratify it. With this as a backdrop, the paper also examines the growing role of Latin American and Caribbean states, both collectively and in national capacities, in global efforts to prohibit and eliminate all nuclear weapons.


The Treaty of Tlatelolco was conceived in the early 1960s, one of most tense periods of the Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which saw the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war, demonstrated to the world the imperative of nuclear abstinence. In the famous words of Graham Allison, ‘[h]aving peered over the edge of nuclear precipice’, the superpowers ‘edged backwards toward détente’.[iv] Détente, ca 1969–1979, saw increased cooperation and goodwill between the superpowers, particularly on nuclear arms control.Submarine

For Latin America and the Caribbean, the Cuban Missile Crisis provided urgency to regional disarmament initiatives.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, the Cuban Missile Crisis provided urgency to regional disarmament initiatives.[v] A US-approved denuclearization plan had been proposed to the Organization of American States (OAS) by Costa Rica in 1958, but had been rejected on the grounds that it would reinforce unwanted US hegemony in Latin America.[vi] Yet the idea of keeping Latin America free from the dangers of nuclear war remained popular (the rejection of the Costa Rican proposal was less a rejection of the idea of a NWFZ than some of the pro-US terms that were embedded in it).[vii]

Just a month before the Cuban Missile Crisis, Brazil had proposed the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Just days after the Soviet Union announced it would remove its missiles from Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador came up with a similar proposal.[viii] They explicitly noted their desire to prevent a similar crisis from occurring again,[ix] and received enthusiastic support from the Mexican government, which circulated a letter proposing the declaration of Latin America as a NWFZ.

The idea was generally well received (Argentina and Cuba being the notable exceptions) and this led to Brazil and Mexico jointly announcing the declaration to the Geneva Committee on Disarmament in May 1963.[x] Brazil took the proposal forward in the form of a resolution tabled at the UNGA on 27 November 1963. The resolution received overwhelming support. The United States voted in favour of the resolution, but made it clear that its support was conditional on the zone not affecting its interest in continuing to transport nuclear weapons through the Panama Canal. The Soviet Union, for its part, conditioned its support on the support of the United States.[xi]

Although most of Latin America supported the initiative, Argentina, and especially Cuba, remained sceptical.

Although most of Latin America supported the initiative, Argentina, and especially Cuba, remained sceptical. Their scepticism reflected the same concerns that had led to the rejection of the Costa Rican proposal three years earlier. The sceptics argued that while an effective NWFZ would indeed remove the threat of nuclear proliferation from Latin America, such a zone would also fix the nuclear status quo, reinforcing a handful of states’ monopoly of nuclear weapons.[xii]

The obstacles to the creation of the NWFZ increased with the Brazilian military coup in April 1964. The change in the Brazilian government precipitated an end to its enthusiastic support for the NWFZ. It moved to align itself with the Argentinian position and opposed limits to its freedom of action on nuclear issues.

It was clear that a cleavage was developing over the proposed NWFZ, with Mexico (supported by most Latin American countries) on one side, and Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba on the other.While the former argued for the institution of strict international verification measures in the name of common security, the latter opposed a treaty that would put limits on their national sovereignty.[xiii]

The diplomatic skill and perseverance of Alfonso García Robles—who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his efforts—is widely regarded as having been critical for the success of the negotiations.

Despite Brazilian and Argentinian efforts to delay the start of negotiations, in November 1964, Mexico, on the initiative of then Deputy Foreign Minister Alfonso García Robles, convened a ‘Preliminary Meeting on the Denuclearization of Latin America’. This preliminary meeting provided the occasion for the establishment of a Commission for the Denuclearization of Latin America to be based in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City.[xiv]Robles

The Commission, over the course of four sessions held between March 1965 and February 1967 and with the participation of 21 Latin American and Caribbean states (Cuba did not join),[xv] drafted what is today known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco. The Treaty of Tlatelolco, formally the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean and its Additional Protocols,[xvi] was opened for signature on 14 February 1967.[xvii]

The conflicting agendas of Argentina and Brazil on one side and the Mexican position on the other were manifest throughout the negotiation process and reflected in the text of the final document. The diplomatic skill and perseverance of Alfonso García Robles—who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his efforts—is widely regarded as having been critical for the success of the negotiations.[xviii]

The terms of the Treaty

A tale of flexibility and compromise

The Tlatelolco Treaty was the first NWFZ in the inhabited world, and even if treaties such as the Antarctic Treaty had been negotiated a decade earlier, the drafters had no clear template to work from. Yet, in the words of the IAEA, the Treaty established a ‘total, absolute and non-discriminatory prohibition’ of nuclear weapons.[xix] The Treaty’s authors deserve credit for including a number of innovative features that have given the Treaty a unique flexibility that eventually proved crucial for allowing it to enter into force. These features were largely borne out of the necessity of keeping Brazil and Argentina on board in the negotiations, although in retrospect, they also appear to have foreseen the difficulties of other non-proliferation efforts. It is not surprising that the influence of the Tlatelolco Treaty is evident in the UN’s 1999 guidelines for the creation of NWFZs.[xx] This section examines the terms of the Treaty with a special focus on some of the unusual features of the text.

Key provisions

The Treaty of Tlatelolco contains a Preamble, thirty-two articles, and two Additional Protocols.[xxi] In general terms, the Treaty prohibits the production, testing, and possession of nuclear weapons within the Latin American and Caribbean region (Articles 1, 4). It also prohibits receiving, deploying, or installing nuclear weapons within the zone as well as ‘any form of possession of any nuclear weapons, directly or indirectly, by the Parties themselves, by anyone on their behalf or in any other way’ (Article 1b). With the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in the negotiators’ memory, the watertight wording expressed the determination on behalf of the Latin American states involved to remain independent of the superpowers’ disputes, arms racing, and influence.[xxii] The detailed stipulation against possession contrasts with that of the NPT, which has no specific reference to the possession of nuclear weapons.[xxiii]

Parties to the Treaty undertake to use their nuclear technology for exclusively peaceful purposes (Article 17); however, what constituted peaceful purposes was contested. Article 5 of the Treaty defines the concept of ‘nuclear weapon’, the first international agreement to do so. However, its definition does not include peaceful nuclear explosions and does not explicitly prohibit the manufacture of ‘nuclear explosive devices’ as the NPT does.[xxiv] Indeed, Article 18 of the Treaty permits peaceful nuclear explosions for the purpose of technological development, including the right of states parties to receive aid in conducting these explosions from other states outside of the region. This concession was vital to obtaining the support of Brazil and Argentina for the NWFZ project. At the time it was believed by many that nuclear explosions could in fact have peaceful purposes (PNEs), and that the right to conduct such explosions should not be restricted.[xxv]

During the negotiations, Article 29 on entry into force, proved one of the most contentious articles. While Argentina and Brazil wanted strict conditions for entry into force, other states were reluctant to include conditions that might make entry into force difficult. The result was a compromise: Argentina and Brazil dropped their demand that entry into force be made conditional on security guarantees being made by all nuclear powers, but were met on their demand that entry into force be conditional on universal ratification, i.e. that all eligible states had ratified the Treaty. [xxvi] However, a provision was included stipulating that this latter condition could be waived on a voluntary basis. This gave the Treaty vital flexibility.

While the Tlatelolco Treaty has flexible entry-into-force requirements, it does not allow reservations and does not—as the NPT did pre-1995—require extension after a certain period of time (Article 28).[xxvii] That said, Article 31 does provide a procedure for withdrawal if a state party feels that extreme circumstances have altered its supreme interests or its security.[xxviii] Article 30 permits amendments to the Treaty. Amendments can be proposed by any contracting party and put to the General Council at any time. Adoption of an amendment requires a two-thirds majority among the parties and universal ratification (which, as under Article 29, may be waived).Tlatelolco, 2016

The Treaty also creates an administrative agency, Organismo para la Proscripción de las Armas Nucleares en la América Latina y el Caribe (OPANAL), charged with overseeing the implementation of the Treaty and, in cooperation with the IAEA, of overseeing the application of, and compliance with, appropriate safeguards. The IAEA has concluded bilateral and multilateral agreements with states parties and OPANAL that are tailored to the individual states. OPANAL is headed by a secretary general who is elected by the states parties at the General Assembly (Conferencia General) to a four-year term. The secretary general is supported by an advisory council (Consejo) comprised of five representatives elected for four years alongside the secretary general. OPANAL is the only permanent international secretariat for a NWFZ.[xxix]

Additional Protocols

In addition to the Treaty itself, two Additional Protocols accompany the Treaty inviting states outside the region to commit to maintaining Latin America and the Caribbean completely free of nuclear weapons.[xxx] Additional Protocol I applies to the four states which, de jure or de facto, either control or are otherwise responsible for territory within the region: France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It requires these states to commit to certain articles of the Treaty and thereby maintain Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Additional Protocol II applies to all of the world’s nuclear-armed states.[xxxi] In practice this has meant China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Protocol II requires these states not to use nuclear weapons against states in the region that are parties to the Treaty, and to respect the Treaty’s provisions prohibiting the testing, manufacture, possession, and deployment of any nuclear weapons anywhere in the zone. As of 1992, when France became the last state to ratify Protocol I, both Additional Protocols have been signed and ratified by all relevant states.[xxxii]

A relevant activity that is not prohibited under the Treaty or its Additional Protocols is transit.[xxxiii] Non-contracting parties bound by the Additional Protocols, such as the United States, have the right to transport their nuclear weapons through the zone, whether by sea or by air, as long as the movement is in fact transit and not a form of deployment. Since the Tlatelolco zone includes large sea areas of vital importance to certain nuclear-armed states, the Treaty would probably not have been successful in attracting support from all of the nuclear-weapon states without this option. The decision to allow the transit of nuclear weapons was made during the meetings of the Preparatory Commission in Mexico City, and was emphasised in the statement by the United States when it ratified the Additional Protocols. Latin American states, however, remain bound by their obligation to not possess nuclear weapons in any form or for any period of time, and thus cannot take active part in transit.[xxxiv]

The long road to universalization

With the exceptions of Cuba and Guyana, all states that were initially eligible had signed the Treaty within three years of its adoption.[xxxv] Within 8 years, the Treaty had entered into force for all but 5 of the 22 eligible states,[xxxvi] since these 17 states had opted to waive the condition of universality as a precondition for entry into force laid out in article 29.[xxxvii] The remaining 5 countries, while few in number, represented almost half of the total landmass and population of Latin America. The Argentinian government signed the Treaty in 1967, but did not pursue ratification domestically. Chile and Brazil, for their part, ratified the Treaty, but did not waive the condition of universality as a precondition for entry into force.

Argentina and Brazil, as the countries with the most advanced nuclear programmes in the region, were seen by many as potential proliferators. Their respective governments engaged in nuclear competition during the 1970s and 1980s, which appeared from the outside as a race to acquire nuclear weapons.[xxxviii] Argentina’s and Brazil’s ambiguous nuclear postures and opposition to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—on the grounds that it discriminates between nuclear and non-nuclear powers—exacerbated this perception.[xxxix] Furthermore, both Brazil and Argentina continued to express an interest in peaceful nuclear explosions (PNE) long after most countries had abandoned the idea of using nuclear bombs for non-military purposes (PNEs were permitted under article 18 of Tlatelolco) As PNEs are almost indistinguishable from ‘military’ nuclear explosions, carrying out a PNE would, in reality, make the country that undertook such an explosion a de facto nuclear-armed state.

Cuba was invited to join in the drafting of the Treaty in 1964, but refused to participate. For a long time, the Cuban government’s strained relations with the United States was used to justify Cuba’s opposition to the Treaty. Cuba’s close ties with the Soviet Union and the experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis made many governments and commentators suspicious of its intentions. In sum, with significant countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba outside the Treaty, the effect and integrity of the NWFZ was considerably weaker than it could have been. The next section assesses the non-proliferation threat Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba posed, and analyses how and why they finally decided to join the regime.

Argentina’s and Brazil’s nuclear nationalism

Brazil and Argentina have vied for leadership in South America ever since gaining independence in the first half of the nineteenth century. However, the two countries have not engaged in direct, armed conflict since 1825. Although mutual suspicion and tensions always existed,[xl] there was arguably never a serious risk of armed conflict breaking out during the post-World War II period.[xli] That said, in the cultural, political, and economic fields, competition had long been significant.[xlii] That they should be rivals in nuclear technology was almost inevitable.[xliii]

Brazil had played a key role in the formation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. But the military coup in 1964 brought to power a nationalist military regime that did not share the previous government’s enthusiasm for the zone project. Argentina was never really keen on the idea of a zone before their military coup in 1966, and even less so afterwards. These governments were especially opposed to the infringements on their sovereignty that the Treaty was seen to codify. Both governments implemented policies aimed at economic independence and autonomy from the wider world.[xliv] Developing a technologically-independent nuclear programme was seen as an important element of this agenda.[xlv] Both countries invested heavily in the development of capabilities for nuclear energy production. These policies enjoyed widespread support from the populations of both countries.[xlvi]

While the two states’ policy towards Tlatelolco was ambivalent—Argentina had signed and was technically on the path to ratification while Brazil had ratified on the condition that the Treaty would enter into force once gaining adherence from all eligible parties—their opposition to the global non-proliferation regime—the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—was explicit. During the 1968 UNGA debate on the NPT, the Argentinian delegate famously declared that ‘all it [the NPT] does is disarm the disarmed’., The Brazilian delegate argued that ‘Brazil will not accept any non-proliferation commitment which might lead to a new form of dependency’.[xlvii] The Brazilian and Argentinian governments used this reasoning to justify their refusal to join the NPT and, though never stated quite so vociferously, to fully bring into force the Tlatelolco Treaty.

The behaviour and rhetoric of the Argentinian and Brazilian governments—both, as it happened, military dictatorships—was reminiscent of that of the Indian government, which conducted a ‘peaceful’ nuclear explosion in 1974 and a series of un-peaceful ones in 1998. Both countries were believed by many to have secret weapons programmes. Accordingly, there was considerable suspicion in the international community about the intentions of both Argentina and Brazil.


Argentina’s nuclear programme began in the 1950s under the Atoms For Peace programme,[xlviii] and was carried out by the National Commission for Atomic Energy (Comission Nacional de Energia Atomica, CNEA).[xlix] Argentina had a number of nuclear facilities, including two foreign-supplied nuclear power plants (Germany supplied the first in 1973 and the second was supplied by Canada in 1983). These facilities were sold to Argentina on the condition that they were submitted to IAEA safeguards that would verify that the enriched uranium would only be used for civilian purposes. However, during the same period the CNEA built a separate uranium enrichment plant called Pilcaniyeu.[l] Because it was indigenously built (and Argentina had not ratified the Tlatelolco Treaty or the NPT), this facility remained outside the scope of IAEA safeguards. Argentina maintained and still maintains that these facilities were developed with the sole intention of ensuring nuclear self-sufficiency and developing civilian nuclear exports.[li] However, unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facilities also put Argentina unmistakably on the threshold of building nuclear weapons.[lii] Indeed, it was Argentina’s announcement, in 1983, of successful uranium enrichment at Pilcaniyeu that turned latent suspicions of Argentina’s nuclear intentions into widespread international alarm.[liii]

There is considerable dispute about whether any of this is credible evidence of a nuclear weapons programme. Writing in the Non-proliferation Review in 2000, retired Argentinian Ambassador Julio C. Carasales argues that during the 1970s and 1980s, Argentina’s only objective was mastery of the fuel cycle and nuclear independence.[liv] Moreover, in a heated exchange in the same publication, Carasales states that the accusations that Argentina had a nuclear weapons programme are based on ‘rumours’ and ‘hearsay’, and are ‘without proof’. Certainly, the desire for technological autonomy is hardly incriminating in itself; there is barely a developing country in the world that at some time hasn’t pursued this policy. Equally, opposition to the NPT—an inherently discriminatory Treaty—does not necessarily imply a desire to acquire nuclear weapons. Moreover, the Argentinian premier made a personal call to warn the Brazilian president in advance of the 1983 announcement and invited him to inspect the facilities personally. This is hardly the behaviour of a country racing towards acquiring a nuclear weapon. Perhaps the best evidence supporting Carasales’ argument is that nuclear weapons never materialised, despite Argentina’s mastery of the fuel cycle. Carasales does concede, however, that Argentina’s policy probably was intended to keep the option available in case Brazil did develop a nuclear weapon, but that still falls short of having a dedicated nuclear weapons programme.[lv]


From the late 1970s, Brazil’s military initiated the secret Brazilian Autonomous Programme of Nuclear Technology (PATN, Programea Autônomo de Tecnologia Nuclear), more commonly known as the ‘parallel programme’.[lvi] PATN was widely considered a serious proliferation threat. It was borne out of the military’s frustration with the vast and deeply unpopular civilian-controlled official programme begun in 1975. Concerned by Argentina’s advancing nuclear programme, the military government did not want to be left behind. PATN split responsibilities between the navy, the air force, and the army, which all worked on different paths towards the same goal: the enrichment of fissile material. Under pressure to keep up with Argentina’s nuclear programme, it was the PATN navy nuclear initiative that bore fruit. The first successful enrichment of uranium took place sometime in 1986 and was announced to the world in September 1987.[lvii]

Shortly after the announcement, details began to emerge about the PATN’s secretive funding practices and of an alleged nuclear test shaft hidden deep in the Amazon jungle.[lviii] This caused outcry amongst the Brazilian public; while there was a consensus broadly in favour of nuclear energy independence, there was a strong public opinion opposed to the bomb and deep distrust of the military. The new constitution of 1988 reflected the growing demands for making PATN transparent, mandating legislative oversight over all nuclear activities. The civilian government used this constitutional mandate to launch a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) to investigate PATN in 1990.

The inquiry revealed the existence of plans by the Air Force for two nuclear weapons and determined that the test shaft in the Amazon could have no other purpose than to serve as a nuclear testing site.[lix] Moreover, the CPI also refused to accept the military’s argument that PNEs could be distinguished from non-peaceful nuclear explosions. The CPI’s findings increased the domestic and international pressure on Brazil to end the programme. However, the CPI was impressed by PATN’s technological accomplishments, and did not recommend that the programme be disbanded. Instead the commission pressed for vastly increased transparency, verification measures and increased legislative oversight.[lx] The military accepted the price of openness for continued involvement in nuclear affairs. In the same year, Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello, in an effort to draw a line under the affair and increase public trust, invited the press to photograph him symbolically filling in the test shaft.[lxi]Collor

Some authors suggest that while one objective of PATN was to achieve ‘latent technological deterrence’,[lxii] manufacturing actual nuclear weapons was not its main goal. Latent technological deterrence is the belief that developing the ability to make a bomb would be sufficient to deter another actor, for example Argentina, from aggressing. There are numerous examples of army officials expressing this idea, for example Navy Minister Fonseca in 1987: ‘We don’t need the bomb now, since there is no foreign enemy in sight. What we need is to retain the technology to have the capability to fabricate it should circumstances require.’[lxiii] In his examination of PATN’s motives, Michael Barletta concludes that ‘the preponderance of evidence available from official statements, private interviews, government documents, and independent analyses leads to the conclusion that what the Brazilian government and military services sought was the nuclear option[lxiv] (emphasis added).

In the end, whether or not Argentina and Brazil intended to build nuclear weapons—or at which level of government such a desire could be found—is open to interpretation. However, if one concludes, as some have, that the primary objective was ‘a race for prestige’,[lxv] specifically the prestige associated with mastery of the fuel cycle, then the subsequent expansion of transparency and confidence-building measures in the late 1980s makes more sense.[lxvi]

Accession at last

The transition from military dictatorship to democratic civilian rule (1983 in Argentina and 1986 in Brazil) precipitated an improvement in relations between the two countries, as well as a broader change in the development ideology of the two governments.[lxvii] Rather than continuing the agenda of economic autonomy and self-sufficiency, the new civilian governments wanted to open up their economies to increased international cooperation.[lxviii] Furthermore, the Argentinian and Brazilian nuclear programmes both suffered from an association with the discredited military regimes. In addition, the nuclear programmes were seen as having unacceptably high costs—both economic and reputational. Hoping to improve their international reputations and attracting foreign direct investment,[lxix] both countries started moving towards a rapprochement with their neighbours and the international community at large. In the nuclear realm this rapprochement began with, first, pledges of the peaceful nature of their nuclear programmes and, second, the beginnings of a bilateral cooperation scheme aimed at building confidence and trust between the two countries.[lxx]

From 1989, under international pressure, the bilateral cooperation between Argentina and Brazil was increasingly formalised.[lxxi] In November 1990, President Menem of Argentina and President Collor of Brazil agreed to establish two corresponding monitoring agencies, the ‘Common System of Accounting and Control’ (SCCC) and the ‘Brazilian–Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials’ (ABACC). These institutions were formalised in the Agreement for Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy (the Guadalajara Treaty), in which the parties also renounced the testing, use, manufacture, production, and acquisition of nuclear weapons, as well as—importantly—PNEs.[lxxii]

Argentina and Brazil quickly commenced negotiations with the IAEA with a view to according the IAEA a role in verifying the bilateral agreements. These negotiations led to the Quadripartite Agreement,[lxxiii] which was adopted in Vienna on 13 December 1991. The safeguards adopted were virtually identical to those required under the NPT,[lxxiv] so one might ask why the two countries did not just join the NPT? One possible answer is that a quick accession to the NPT was seen as too much of a U-turn. After all, both countries had criticised the NPT for being an unfair instrument of superpower hegemony for decades.[lxxv]

On the 26th of August 1992, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico proposed a number of amendments to a series of articles of the Tlatelolco Treaty relating to verification (articles 14–16, 19, and 20).[lxxvi] These amendments recognised that the only body with the technical capacity to carry out satisfactory inspections was the IAEA (rather than OPANAL, the administrative agency established by the Treaty, see 4.1). The amendments also involved altering control procedures to better protect commercial and technical secrets, but without altering the effectiveness of the inspections.[lxxvii] OPANAL’s General Conference unanimously approved the amendments and Argentina and Chile ratified the amended Treaty on 18 January 1994, while Brazil followed on 30 May later that year.[lxxviii] Critically, all three countries used their right to waive in accordance with Article 29, meaning that the Treaty immediately entered into force for these states, rather than being conditional on all other countries ratifying as well.

The direct role the Tlatelolco Treaty played in non-proliferation is hard to measure, but it certainly had a positive effect in reinforcing the regional norm of nuclear abstinence. Particularly during the military governments’ reign, Argentina and Brazil were keen to be viewed as ploughing an independent course, outside Western influence. International norms, such as that of non-proliferation, could have fallen into this bracket were it not for the Tlatelolco Treaty. The Tlatelolco Treaty made the norm of non-proliferation undeniably regional as well as global. Brazil and Argentina could legitimately criticise the NPT for its discriminatory two-tier system, but could not level similar accusation at the Tlatelolco Treaty. Moreover, although both had avoided implementing the Treaty, both Argentina and Brazil were ostensibly in favour of the principle, given that they had both signed the Treaty. It can be argued that this exerted political pressure not to develop nuclear weapons.[lxxix] For example, in 1984, when the Brazilian Air Force proposed a PNE, the Brazilian President Figueiredo commissioned a political and legal evaluation of testing PNEs. The review carried out by the National Security Council (CSN, Conselho de Segurança Nacional) concluded that any such test would violate the spirit of the Tlatelolco Treaty, if not its legal obligations. Following the review, Figueiredo opposed the proposal and expressed to the air force that his decision was final.[lxxx] This is just one example, but it is likely that political if not legal commitment to the Treaty contributed to Argentina and Brazil preferring a strategy arguably aimed at latent capability rather than one aimed at a decisive push towards building a bomb.[lxxxi]

Cuba: The last outsider

The Cuban Missile Crisis may have highlighted the need for a NWFZ Treaty to the rest of Latin America, but Cuba remained a stubborn outlier in the process. It declined invitations to take part in the preliminary negotiations and remained the only eligible country in the region not to have signed the Treaty by 1971.

From the 1960s until 1990, Cuba showed little interest in joining the Treaty. It repeatedly stated that it would not consider participation in the Treaty until Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were incorporated into the NWFZ,[lxxxii] and until the United States agreed to formally renounce the use of military force against Cuba and withdraw from Guantanamo.[lxxxiii] Moreover, the economic support and security afforded to the regime during this period by the Soviet Union reduced Cuba’s will and need to co-operate with its neighbours.[lxxxiv] Soviet assistance gave Cuba the means and confidence to pursue an openly antagonistic foreign policy towards the United States. This involved an estimated 300,000 military personnel[lxxxv] being sent abroad between 1975 and 1990 to fight in what Castro called ‘the globalized revolutionary struggle against the US’.[lxxxvi] Unsurprisingly, this contributed to perpetuating the poor relationship with the United States that Cuba’s decision not to join the Treaty was conditioned upon.

Yet the proliferation threat from Cuba was never as serious as it appeared. One positive outcome of the Cuban missile crisis was that the Soviet Union pledged never to station nuclear weapons on Cuba. Cuba had, and still has, a very acute economic dependency on foreign oil, and nuclear power has long been viewed as a potential solution. However, the civilian nuclear programme, initiated in the 1970s and named the ‘Project of the century’, was beset with funding and logistical problems from the outset.[lxxxvii] The programme, which commenced in the 1980s, never reached completion, and was mothballed in 1992.[lxxxviii] Despite unsubstantiated claims by a small number of defectors that the programme had a military purpose, the United States was most concerned with the risk of a meltdown and nuclear fallout, rather than the development of nuclear weapons.[lxxxix]

Unlike Argentina’s and Brazil’s change in policy towards the Treaty, the change in Cuban attitude was undeniably prompted by external events, specifically the end of the Cold War. The rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union saw an equally rapid cessation of the financial and military aid to Cuba. The abruptness of this change devastated the Cuban economy and prompted a reconfiguration of Cuban foreign policy.[xc] Now that it could no longer rely on the Soviet Union for security and financial support, Cuba quickly set about addressing its isolation through an ‘institutionalist’ foreign policy.[xci] This entailed immediately recalling their foreign military personnel and setting about on a charm offensive with every available international institution and regime they could join. One part of this strategy involved laying the groundwork for, and eventually acceding to, the Tlatelolco Treaty.

The Cuban government reportedly first expressed its intention to join the Treaty in the winter of 1990, joining OPANAL as an observer state in 1991.[xcii] At a meeting of OPANAL in August 1992, Cuba declared its intention to sign the amended Treaty along with Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. It followed through with its promise on 25 March 1995. The change in policy was formally implemented with ratification on 23 October 2002. The long delay between signing and ratification can be ascribed to continued concerns relating to the United States.[xciii] The Cuban government declared that accession was ‘an act of solidarity with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean [undertaken] despite the fact that the United States, the only nuclear [weapons] power in the Americas, was maintaining a hostile policy towards Cuba’.[xciv] Cuba’s accession brought all 33 states in the Latin American and Caribbean region under the Treaty, and completed the long process that began thirty-five years prior.[xcv]

The role of the region in global disarmament efforts

The preamble of the Treaty of Tlatelolco makes clear that the goal of the NWFZ is not limited to the denuclearization of Latin America and the Caribbean alone: ‘general and complete disarmament under effective international control is a vital matter which all the peoples of the world equally demand’.[xcvi] While approaches to global disarmament vary across countries, all Latin American and Caribbean nations remain committed to the end goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. A number of states in Latin America and the Caribbean have been working to further global disarmament and are active in international disarmament bodies, speaking both as independent nations and as a region. If we consider the number of statements made at the most recent UNGA meetings and NPT related forums, certain countries in the region stand out as particularly active, namely Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, and Mexico.

There have been initiatives to promote disarmament in the region. In 2010, Uruguay co-hosted a conference on enhancing disarmament in the Latin American and Caribbean region.[xcvii] In February 2014, Mexico hosted the second conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.[xcviii]

The role of OPANAL

OPANAL is an active participant in several international forums. For example, in 2011, OPANAL’s Secretary General, on behalf of the 33 members of the Tlatelolco regime, suggested the creation of a joint coordination initiative amongst representatives of the world’s NWFZs to the First Committee of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly.[xcix]

OPANAL has also been an active participant in the dialogues aimed at the creation of a NWFZ in the Middle East. In 2011, OPANAL’s Secretary General presented the history of Latin America’s NWFZ during the IAEA Forum on Experience of Possible Relevance to the Creation of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East,[c] and advocated for the use of this experience in working towards an effective solution for regional peace and stability in the Middle East.[ci] During the NPT Review Conference in 2015 OPANAL stressed the importance of implementing the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and of holding a conference on the region as soon as possible. During this statement OPANAL also reaffirmed their commitment to ‘raise awareness on the multiple and catastrophic humanitarian consequences’ of nuclear weapons.[cii]

Important substantive highlights of the Tlatelolco regime mentioned at the conference include the large amount of flexibility for states parties to procedurally determine when the Treaty will enter into force, and the willingness to separate out political disputes by addressing both de jure and de facto control of territory, rather than attempting to determine rightful political sovereignty before proceeding. The importance of mutual trust between states was also highlighted.[ciii]

Groupings and coalitions

Latin American and Caribbean countries also organise themselves in regional groupings. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) are comprised of states from the Caribbean[civ] and South America respectively, with some overlap. For instance, both Guyana and Suriname are members of both. In addition, Belize is a member of CARICOM. Certain states also have observer status,[cv] e.g. Mexico has observer status in both CARICOM and UNASUR. All 33 states in the region are also members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). CELAC was founded in December 2011, succeeding the Rio Group and the Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean on Integration and Development (CALC). CARICOM, UNASUR and CELAC all regularly make statements in disarmament forums such as the NPT review cycle and UNGA First Committee.

Many countries in the region are also members of groups and coalitions like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Group of 77, and the New Agenda Coalition (NAC). NAM is a group of states considering themselves not aligned with or against either of the Cold War blocs. NAM represents 2/3 of UN members and 55 per cent of the world’s population. Given the size of NAM, it has the potential to play a significant role in international negotiations if the members act concertedly. In recent years, NAM has consistently underlined the necessity to start negotiations within the Conference on Disarmament ‘on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified timeframe.’[cvi] Most of the countries in the region are members of the NAM, with a few notable exceptions, including Argentina,[cvii] Brazil, and Mexico,[cviii] who all maintain observer status.

Brazil and Mexico are both members of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), [cix] a group composed of six ‘middle powers’ from across the globe, seeking to create a nuclear-weapon-free world. Middle powers are sometimes described as the ‘do-gooders’ in international politics, often acting as mediators and bridge-builders. Middle power diplomacy has been claimed to have had ‘a crucial role in the establishment of the nuclear non-proliferation regime’, which includes the NPT, the various nuclear arms reductions treaties, the test ban treaties, and the nuclear materials export regulations.[cx] The NAC was established in 1998 as a response to the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament efforts following the NPT’s indefinite extension. It played a key role in the 2000 NPT Review Conference, brokering agreement on the 13 steps for nuclear disarmament. Since its establishment, the NAC has consistently submitted resolutions calling for a world free of nuclear weapons to the UN First Committee. The latest resolution, entitled ‘Towards a nuclear-weapon free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments’ was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015.[cxi]

Tlatelolco as a stepping-stone to NPT

All states in the region are parties to the NPT. Notably, the Tlatelolco Treaty was arguably instrumental in the integration of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile into the NPT. The verification safeguards that were a legal requirement of the Tlatelolco Treaty were all but indistinguishable from those required for the NPT. Thus, acceding to the Tlatelolco Treaty significantly shortened the distance to join the NPT. The only obstacle that remained to joining the NPT was principle. Both Argentina and Brazil had been long-term critics of the NPT regime, and so joining would require a U-turn. However, Argentina, and eventually Brazil, came to the conclusion that acceding to the NPT would provide sufficient benefits to be worth any political loss of face. It would grant them access to nuclear technology markets, help them acquire foreign direct investment, and give them additional credibility as a non-proliferator, strengthening their voices on disarmament issues.[cxii] The Tlatelolco Treaty can therefore be seen as a useful stepping-stone towards integration into the global non-proliferation regime.[cxiii]

The groupings of the region, particularly CARICOM and CELAC, have given numerous statements to the meetings of the NPT review cycle. Of the countries in the region, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Mexico have taken the lead in these debates.

The UNGA First Committee

The UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security is one of six main committees of the UN General Assembly. The First Committee meets for a 4–5 weeks in October every year, and is open to all UN member states. The First Committee discussion pertains to disarmament-related matters and provides space for each state to discuss their positions and to work together to approach these issues. However, while the First Committee offers many opportunities in principle, it often fails to make good use of its potential. The discussions in the First Committee are often seen as largely static in the sense that ‘there is limited acknowledgment of other states’ perspectives, and a lack of flexibility in re-examining one’s own perspective’.[cxiv] This has allegedly turned the First Committee into a resolution-generating machine, in which repetitive and largely redundant resolutions are voted on every year, instead of a political forum for debate on disarmament-related issues.[cxv]Lomonaco

At the First Committee’s debates on nuclear weapons, Latin American countries have played leading roles. Mexico, in particular, has a long tradition as a global leader on disarmament issues. In recent years, the number of Latin American and Caribbean states taking an interest in nuclear disarmament appears to have risen. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of Latin American and Caribbean states that held national statements rose from 6 in 2012 to 11 in 2015. Most Latin-American countries have also co-sponsored one or more resolutions on nuclear weapons in the First Committee.[cxvi]

The Conference on Disarmament

The Conference on Disarmament (CD)[cxvii] is a multilateral negotiating forum for disarmament and arms control. The CD was created at the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Disarmament in 1978, succeeding the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD, 1969–78). The CD has remained deadlocked since 1996. All CD decisions are made by consensus, which, in part, accounts for the deadlock. With the exception of 1998 and 2009, the CD has not been able to reach consensus on its programme of work since 1996. This has blocked discussions and negotiations on any and all substantive issues.[cxviii]

The membership process of the CD is established in the forum’s Rules of Procedure and is disputed because it is the CD member states that decide on membership. The CD originally had 40 member states. In June 1996, 23 countries were admitted as members to the CD, following a long process over several years of negotiations and lobbying. Most of the large Latin American states are members of the Conference on Disarmament, i.e. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.[cxix] The CD now counts 65 members, including all the nine nuclear-armed states. A number of non-member states vying for membership have aligned themselves in the Informal Group of Observer States (IGOS).[cxx] Five states from the Latin American and Caribbean region are members of IGOS: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Uruguay.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans the testing of nuclear weapons in all environments. The Treaty was negotiated at the CD in Geneva, but failed to achieve consensus. It was therefore transferred to the UN General Assembly, where it was adopted by majority vote in 1996. With the exception of Cuba and Dominica, all states in the region have signed and ratified the CTBT. Special significance was given to certain countries in the region, named in Annex 2 of the Treaty, whose ratification is mandatory for the Treaty to enter into force. These are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

UNSC Resolution 1540

The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1540 in 2004, obliging all states to ‘refrain from supporting by any means non-State actors from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems’.[cxxi] The Resolution’s adoption under Chapter VII of the UN Charter makes it legally binding on all UN member states. The 1540 Committee was established to monitor and oversee the implementation of the resolution. All UN member states were obliged to submit reports to the Committee within six months after its adoption of the resolution on its plans to implement it.[cxxii]

All Latin American countries except Haiti have submitted 1540-reports. For most states, limited interest combined with limited capacity and resources have possibly made the implementation of Resolution 1540 a secondary priority.[cxxiii],[cxxiv]

All Latin American countries except Haiti have submitted 1540-reports.

Few Latin American countries have WMD capabilities or materials that make them a proliferation concern. There are, however, some challenges related to WMDs and non-state actors in the region. In parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, well established smuggling networks could potentially be used for proliferation purposes.[cxxv] For instance, in 2008 the Colombian group FARC tried to buy uranium, indicating that some of these groups are indeed considering trade with, or even use of, WMD related materials.[cxxvi]

NWFZ Conferences

Globally, the states parties and signatories to NWFZ treaties constitute a significant diplomatic caucus of non-nuclear-weapon states (114 states as of 2016). Perhaps realizing the potential that lies in numbers, the Mexican government initiated a process of collaboration between the states parties and signatories to the various NWFZ treaties, plus Mongolia, by inviting to a conference in Tlatelolco in April 2005. The conference expressed its ‘deep concern over the lack of progress to date on the application of nuclear disarmament measures’ and urged the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.[cxxvii] Follow-up conferences were held in New York in 2010 and 2015.

The Nuclear Security Summit

The Nuclear Security Summit is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the world. The summits have been held four times with a two-year interval since 2010. World leaders have met to discuss measures to prevent nuclear terrorism and secure vulnerable nuclear materials. From the Latin American and Caribbean region, only Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have attended the Summits.

From the Latin American and Caribbean region, only Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have attended the Summits.

The Humanitarian Initiative

The Humanitarian Initiative is an effort by non-nuclear-weapon states at reframing the international debate on nuclear disarmament. The Initiative grew out of the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which states that any use of nuclear weapons would have ‘catastrophic’ humanitarian consequences. Piggybacking on this formulation, the Norwegian government invited all interested states and organisations to a conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Oslo in March 2013.

The first states to endorse the Pledge was the whole of the Latin American and Caribbean region, which endorsed the Pledge en bloc after the annual CELAC meeting in January 2015.

At the Oslo Conference, Mexico announced that it would hold a follow-up conference in Nayarit in February the following year, thus ensuring that the ‘Humanitarian Initiative’ became a sort of process or movement rather than a stand-alone conference. 146 states attended the conference in Nayarit, making it significantly more popular than the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting the same year. A third humanitarian-impact conference was held in Vienna in December 2014. There, the hosts issued a Pledge to ‘stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons’ and invited other states to endorse the pledge.

The first states to endorse the Pledge was the whole of the Latin American and Caribbean region, which endorsed the Pledge en bloc after the annual CELAC meeting in January 2015. At a meeting of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament in 2016, established by a UNGA resolution promoted by Mexico, a group of nine states—all parties to a NWFZ treaty—proposed to commence negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons in 2017. Six of the nine states (Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico) are Latin American.[cxxviii]


As the world continues to grapple with the issues of non-proliferation and disarmament, the experience of Latin America and the Caribbean in creating the Tlatelolco regime remains important. One should be careful not to generalise too much from the experience of one disarmament regime in a region almost unique in its absence of serious armed conflict.[cxxix] Nonetheless, the Tlatelolco experience does provide some lessons that advocates of nuclear disarmament would be wise to heed. The Latin American NWFZ demonstrates quite clearly the wisdom in creating a treaty with the long game in mind. The flexible entry-into force-requirements allowed the Treaty to gain vital impetus at its inception while it also kept the more reluctant countries tied to the Treaty’s principles. It also allowed the Treaty to pick up momentum when favourable changes in geopolitics and domestic conditions permitted it. Using this formula the Treaty of Tlatelolco created the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in the inhabited world, and has successfully expanded to include every state in the region. The product of ingenuity, dedication, and above all patience, the Tlatelolco Treaty has consolidated the region’s reputation for peaceful cooperation. The Treaty’s permanent secretariat, OPANAL, is active in both building regional consensus and in enhancing the region’s presence in international organizations. While it remains to be seen how future disarmament efforts will unfold, Latin American states are well positioned to play a significant role in the continuing efforts aimed at reaching the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

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[i]        Speech by Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs United Nations, given on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the Signing of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Available here: https://unoda-web.s3-accelerate.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/assets/HomePage/HR/docs/2012/2012-02-14-Opanal-Mexico.pdf (accessed 30 May 2016).

[ii]       Ibid.

[iii]      Alexander Kmentt (2016) ‘The development of the international initiative on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and its effect on the nuclear weapons debate’, International Review of the Red Cross.

[iv]      Graham T. Allison cited in Monica Serrano (1992) ‘Common Security In Latin America 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco’. Available here: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/3582/1/B12_-_Common_Security_in_Latin_America_The_1697_Treaty_of_Tlatelolco.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[v]       Monica Serrano (1992) ‘Common security in Latin America: The 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco’. Available here: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/3582/1/B12_-_Common_Security_in_Latin_America_The_1697_Treaty_of_Tlatelolco.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[vi]      Ibid.

[vii]     Ibid.

[viii]    Sergio Duarte, op. cit.

[ix]      Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[x]       Ibid.

[xi]      Ibid.

[xii]     Ibid.

[xiii]    Ibid.

[xiv]     Ibid.

[xv]      Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.

[xvi]     Tratado para la Proscripción de la Armas Nucleares en la América Latina y el Caribe.

[xvii]    Davis. R. Robinson (1970) ‘The Treaty of Tlatelolco and the United States: A Latin American Nuclear Free Zone’, The American Journal of International Law 64(2), pp. 283-285. Available here: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2198666?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xviii]   E.g. William Epstein (1976) The Last Chance. London: Collier Macmillan, pp. 55–60.

[xix]     IAEA-BULLETIN (1981) Available here: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/magazines/bulletin/bull22-3/223_403598186.pdf (accessed 30 May 2016).

[xx]      The UN guidelines can be found here: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/54/42%20(SUPP) (accessed 30 May 2016).

[xxi]     The full text of the Treaty of Tlatelolco is available here: http://nwp.ilpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Treaty-of-Tlatelolco2.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xxii]    Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[xxiii]   A number of non-nuclear weapon states in Europe continue to host US nuclear weapons on their soil. Whether this constitutes a breach of their commitments under the NPT is disputed.

[xxiv]   Full NPT Treaty text is available here: http://nwp.ilpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Non-Proliferation-Treaty1.pdf

[xxv]    Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[xxvi]   John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[xxvii]  The NPT’s parties voted to extend it indefinitely after the first 25 years at the NPT Review and Extension Conference in May 1995.

[xxviii] The language of Article 31 is similar to that of Article 10 in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was negotiated shortly after the Tlatelolco Treaty was concluded.

[xxix]   For more information about OPANAL, including its structures and competencies, see http://www.opanal.org/ (accessed 8 June 2016).

[xxx]    Treaty of Tlatelolco, Additional Protocol I available here: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/tlateloco_p1/text Additional Protocol II available here: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/tlateloco_p2 (accessed 8 June 2016).

[xxxi]   Since the Treaty of Tlatelolco was concluded before the NPT, the term and category of nuclear-weapon states was not yet established.

[xxxii]  Status of Signature and Ratification, Treaty of Tlatelolco available here: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/tlatelolco (accessed 8 June 2016).

[xxxiii] Davis Robinson, op. cit.

[xxxiv]  Ibid.

[xxxv]   The zone of application would later be expanded to include the Caribbean, increasing the total number of eligible states from 23 to 33. There was initial confusion surrounding the eligibility of Guyana to join the Treaty; however, that was later resolved, and Guyana has been a full party to the Treaty since 1995.

[xxxvi]  The expansion of the Treaty to the Caribbean in the 1990s increased the number of eligible countries to 33. It was undertaken with amendments in July 1990 and May 1991. The former added the words ‘and the Caribbean’ to the official name in recognition of the Caribbean members while the latter reworded Article 25 relating to the zone of application. These amendments addressed the confusion surrounding the eligibility of Guyana and Belize and also paved the way for Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, the Grenadines, Dominica, and Saint Kitts and Nevis to sign and ratify the treaty.

[xxxvii]          Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[xxxviii]         John. R. Reddick (1995) ‘Nuclear Illusions: Argentina and Brazil’. Available here: http://www.acamedia.info/politics/IRef/StimsonC/redick.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xxxix]  Eventually these three countries all did accede to the NPT: Argentina and Chile did so in 1995, while Brazil waited until 1998.

[xl]      Specifically, in the 1970s the main source of tension of the period related to the Paraná River, which flows from Brazil into Argentina and led to Argentina taking the case to the UN and temporarily closing their border with Brazil. See Albergaria de Queiroz (2012) ‘Hydropolitics in South American International Relations: A Perspective on Water Governance at the Prata Basin – Between Conflict and Cooperation’ (1960-1992) in Sai Felicia Krishna-Hensel (ed), New Security Frontiers: Critical Energy and the Resource Challenge, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp. 139-172. Available here: https://www.ucb.br/sites/100/114/Documentos/FAQChapter6Final.pdf (accessed 8 June 2016).

[xli]     This is a widely held view on both sides, for examples see here: Julio. C. Carasales (2000) ‘The So Called Proliferation that Wasn’t the Story of Argentina’s Nuclear Policy’. Available here: cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/carasa64.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016); and here: Michael Barletta (1997) ‘The Military Nuclear Program in Brazil’. Available here: https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/barletta.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xlii]    From economics to football, fierce non-violent rivalry between Argentina and Brazil has been ever present in their relations.

[xliii]   Julio. C. Carasales (1995) ‘The Argentine-Brazilian Nuclear Rapprochement’. Available here: http://cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/carasa23.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xliv]    For a more detailed examination of what this policy for technology involved in practice see Emanuel Adler (1987) The Power of Ideology: The Quest for Technological Autonomy in Argentina and Brazil. Berkeley Los Angeles London: University of California Press.

[xlv]     Ibid.

[xlvi]    Michael Barletta (1997) ‘The Military Nuclear Program in Brazil’. Available here: https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/barletta.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xlvii]   Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[xlviii]  History and description of the Atoms for Peace programme is available here: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/magazines/bulletin/bull37-1/37105862124.pdf (accessed 30 May 2016).

[xlix]    Itty Abraham (1993) ‘Pakistan-India and Argentina-Brazil: Stepping back from the nuclear threshold?’. Available here: http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/occasionalpaper15.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[l]        John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[li]       Julio. C. Carasales (2000) ‘The So Called Proliferation that Wasn’t the Story of Argentina’s Nuclear Policy’. Available here: cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/carasa64.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[lii]      This is widely considered to be the most difficult obstacle to overcome for countries looking to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

[liii]     John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[liv]     Julio C. Carasales (2000), op. cit.

[lv]      Ibid.

[lvi]     Michael Barletta, op. cit.

[lvii]    Ibid.

[lviii]   John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[lix]     Michael Barletta, op. cit.

[lx]      Ibid.

[lxi]     Paulo Sotero and Leslie Elliott Armijo (2007) ‘Brazil: To Be or Not to Be a BRIC?’, Asian Perspective 31(4), pp. 43-70. Available here: http://www.cebri.com.br/midia/documentos/brazil.bric.pdf (accessed: 07 June 2016).

[lxii]    Ibid.

[lxiii]   Quoted in an interview given to the Brazilian newspaper Veja 4 May 1987, p. 94, cited in Michael Barletta, op. cit.

[lxiv]    Ibid.

[lxv]     Ibid.

[lxvi]    The majority of the transparency measures and all of the legal ones were undertaken after the capacity to enrich uranium had been achieved (1983 in Argentina, 1987 in Brazil). The link is impossible to prove and given that democratization happened at this time, it may just be a red herring.

[lxvii]   Scott D. Sagan (1996) ‘Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? Three Models in Search of a Bomb’, International Security 21(3), pp. 54-86.

[lxviii]  Ibid.

[lxix]    John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[lxx]     Julio C. Carasales (1995), op. cit.

[lxxi]    Ibid.

[lxxii]   The Agreement between Argentina and Brazil for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy is available here: http://www.abacc.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/bilateral_agreement.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[lxxiii]  Full text available here: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/infcirc435.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[lxxiv]  Ibid.

[lxxv]   John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[lxxvi]  IAEA Bulletin (1995) Regional Report available here: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/magazines/bulletin/bull37-1/37104693336.pdf (accessed 30 May 2016).

[lxxvii] John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[lxxviii]          IAEA Bulletin (1995), op. cit.

[lxxix]  Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[lxxx]   Michael Barletta, op. cit., p.18.

[lxxxi]  Ibid. Similar sentiment is expressed in Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[lxxxii] Monica Serrano, op. cit.

[lxxxiii]          Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado and Alexander Belkin (1994) ‘Cuba’s Nuclear Program and Post-Cold War Pressures’, The Nonproliferation Review 1(2), pp. 18-26. Available here: http://www.nonproliferation.org/wp-content/uploads/npr/benjam12.pdf (accessed 7 June 2016).

[lxxxiv]          Jorge I. Dominguez (2001) ‘Cuban Foreign Policy and the International System’ in Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach (eds), Latin America in the New International System, London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 183-206. Available here: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~jidoming/images/jid_cubanforeign.PDF (accessed 30 May 2016).

[lxxxv]  Between 1975 and 1990 Cuba sent more than 300,000 troops abroad to assist communist groups and governments in the developing world.

[lxxxvi]          Fidel Castro cited in Isaac Saney (2005) ‘African Stalingrad: The Cuban Revolution , Internationalism and the End of Apartheid’. Available here: http://www.normangirvan.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/saney-african-stalingrad-pdf-111.pdf (accessed 30 May 2016).

[lxxxvii]         Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado (1998) ‘Nonissue: Cuba’s Mothballed Nuclear Power Plant’. Center for International Policy.

[lxxxviii]        Ibid.

[lxxxix]          Ibid.

[xc]      Jorge I. Dominguez, op. cit.

[xci]     Ibid.

[xcii]    Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado and Alexander Belkin, op. cit.

[xciii]   The full text of Cuba’s official signing statement is available here: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/a/tlatelolco/cuba/sig/mexico+city (accessed 30 May 2016).

[xciv]   The full text of the statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry when Cuba ratified the Tlatelolco Treaty is available here: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/cuba/tlatelolco.htm (accessed 30 May 2016).

[xcv]    For a complete list of dates, see: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/tlatelolco (accessed 30 May 2016).

[xcvi]   The Treaty of Tlatelolco.

[xcvii]  Newsletter No. 2, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, December 2010, available here: http://www.unlirec.org/newsletter_eng.aspx (accessed 8 June 2016).

[xcviii] L. J. Røed (2014) ‘A brief introduction to the humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons’, International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI). Available here: http://nwp.ilpi.org/?p=2394 (accessed 27 May 2016).

[xcix]   Amb. Gioconda R. Ubeda ‘Declaration of the Member States of the Treaty of Tlatelolco’, in the General Debate of the First Committee of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly Conference proceedings, October 2011. New York, USA.

[c]       See ILPI nutshell paper on the Middle East zone process at http://nwp.ilpi.org/?p=1225

[ci]      Amb. Gioconda. R. Ubeda (November 2011) ‘Opening Remarks,’ in IAEA Forum on Experience of Possible Relevance to the Creation of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East Conference proceedings, Vienna, Austria.

[cii]     Statement by Secretary-General of OPANAL to the NPT Review Conference 2015, New York, 30 April 2015. Available here: http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2015/statements/pdf/opanal_en.pdf (accessed 8 June 2016).

[ciii]    Ibid.

[civ]     The only Caribbean states not members of CARICOM are the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

[cv]      Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela have observer status in CARICOM; Mexico and Panama have observer status in UNASUR.

[cvi]     Statement by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at the General Debate of the First Committee on All Disarmament and International Security Agenda Items. New York, October 3, 2011, p. 3. Available here: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com11/statements/3Oct_NAM.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[cvii]    Argentina was a member of NAM 1973-1991, but withdrew as its foreign policies became more aligned with those of the United States.

[cviii]   Countries in the region not members of NAM are Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, and Uruguay (all observer states).

[cix]     NAC is composed of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa. Sweden and Slovenia were founding members, but subsequently left the group. For information on the New Agenda Coalition, see the joint declaration available here: http://www.ccnr.org/8_nation_declaration.html (accessed 8 June 2016).

[cx]      Rian Leith and Joelien Pretorius (2009), ‘Eroding the Middle Ground: The Shift in Foreign Policy Underpinning South African Nuclear Diplomacy’, Politikon 36 (3), pp. 345–361, p. 345–346.

[cxi]     GA Resolution A/RES/70/51, ‘Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments’, 07 December 2015, available here: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/51 (accessed 20 May 2016).

[cxii]    John. R. Reddick, op. cit.

[cxiii]   The UN outlines holds a similar view: https://unoda-web.s3-accelerate.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/assets/content/speeches/oda-ny/rydell/2012-08-30_RR_Astana_PNND.pdf (Accessed 8 June 2016).

[cxiv]   Reaching Critical Will (2016) ‘UN General Assembly First Committee’. Available here: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/unga (accessed 8 June 2016).

[cxv]    Ibid.

[cxvi]   Ibid.

[cxvii]  See ILPI ‘In a nutshell’ on the Conference on Disarmament for more information. Available here: http://nwp.ilpi.org/?p=1191

[cxviii] Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) (2015) ‘Conference on Disarmament (CD)’. Available here: http://www.nti.org/learn/treaties-and-regimes/conference-on-disarmament/ (accessed 9 June 2016).

[cxix]   The Latin American and Caribbean states that participate in the Conference on Disarmament are: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. See http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/(httpPages)/6286395D9F8DABA380256EF70073A846?OpenDocument (accessed 8 June 2016).

[cxx]    See for instance statement given by the Philippines on behalf of IGOS in February 2011, available here: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/cd/2011/statements/part1/22Feb_Philippines.pdf (accessed 27 May 2016).

[cxxi]   1540 Committee, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004). Available here: http://www.un.org/en/sc/1540/ (accessed 24 May 2016). Resolution available here: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/328/43/PDF/N0432843.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 24 May 2016).

[cxxii]  Dominique Dye (2008) ‘African perspectives on countering weapons of mass destruction’. ISS paper 167, September. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, p. 1-3; United Nations, ‘United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)’, available here: http://www.un.org/sc/1540/ (accessed 8 June 2016); United Nations, ‘1540 Committee: National Reports’, available here: http://www.un.org/en/sc/1540/national-implementation/national-reports.shtml (accessed 8 June 2016).

[cxxiii] Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) (2015) ‘Latin America and the Caribbean 1540 Reporting’. Available here: http://www.nti.org/analysis/reports/latin-america-caribbean-1540/ (accessed 8 June 2016)

[cxxiv]  Kai Ilchmann (2014) ‘United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004): Identification of effective implementation practices after a Decade of its Existence’. Presentation February 25, 2014, Dehli, India. Available here: http://www.idsa.in/system/files/UNSCR1540_kilchmann.pdf. (accessed 8 June 2016).

[cxxv]   Ibid.

[cxxvi]  Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) (2015) ‘Latin America and the Caribbean 1540 Reporting’, op. cit.

[cxxvii]          See ‘Declaration for the Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones’, CZLAN/CONF/5, available here: http://www.nti.org/media/pdfs/NWFZ_Conference_Declaration.pdf?_=1316542949 (accessed 13 June 2016).

[cxxviii]         The remaining three are Indonesia, Malaysia, and Zambia.

[cxxix]  Monica Serrano, op. cit.