Poage noted that Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia’s agriculture produced “magnificent” sugar and coffee as a complement to American agriculture. All three countries, he believed, should be good markets for domestic grain. The natives of Peru cultivated potatoes in the tradition of their ancestors, though exorbitant land prices strangled individual growth. Fruits were plentiful in Chile, but Poage was especially interested in Argentina, whose own beef and wheat industries were directly competitive with American agriculture. Argentinian beeves were prevented from being imported into the United States because of their proclivity to carry hoof and mouth disease — an affliction that could infect and kill many of their northern cousins. Congressman Poage likened the possible destruction to the plight of the native South American, many of whom were eradicated due to contact with European diseases.
In Paraguay, Poage was initially struck by the lack of contemporary structural components — many buildings still had dirt floors — but found that the country quickly modernized on his return trips. Paraguay’s rapid economic development helped convince Poage that “some countries are far better off with the economic stability of a benevolent dictator than under the turmoil of the constant change of a more democratic government.”
(Click on the images below to view detailed records for each item in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.)
Congressman Poage poses with two llamas outside the airport in La Paz, Bolivia, 1960
Congressman Poage observes earth-moving equipment in Guyana, November 26, 1972
Congressman Poage (in hat) and a group of onlookers observe a bull in Venezuela, 1960