The United States And Latin America

2504 words - 10 pages

American attitudes towards Latin America can be summed up as an extension of larger global directives, and the exclusion of foreign powers in the region. This was highlighted especially during the Cold War as US involvement was essentially in competition with the USSR. Latin America was therefore a mere pawn in the larger context of US-Soviet competition for global dominance. The actions and methods used are also characterized by the lack of an international authority, or an atmosphere of inter-state anarchy, which shaped their calculations in the endeavor to increase their influence over Latin America. When one analyzes the situation, it seems only rational that the United States treated its southern neighbors so, due to the geographical proximity and seemingly endless source for raw materials and labor. The history between the United States in Latin America is one that clearly exhibits both historical and contemporary interference by the American government for ideological, political, economic, and social reasons. Ideological differences took center stage during the Cold War era as the US made concerted efforts to not only contain the spread of communism through containment, but to support anyone who opposed communism. Whatever rhetoric espoused by the US to justify their interference, the actual reason remains the same. Similar to the criticisms of Russian involvements in neighboring European countries, the United States has pursued an almost identical policy, albeit much more clandestine and everlasting. Interestingly enough, we see the US supporting caudillo regimes that would be considered fascist by European standards.
During the height of the cold war, the proliferation of tyrannical “banana republics” eventually caused a backlash in public opinion with the fall of the Soviet Union. We see this continue today, as the US has shifted its priorities from containment, to more ambiguous policies such as the “War on Drugs”. While the Cold War does not mark a significant distinction from US involvement in Latin America pre-Cold War, the inclusion of ideology in US foreign policy decisions did mark a change in attitudes and focus. While US policy can be described as rational to a certain point, the Cuban dilemma caused an irrational fear in US foreign policy makers to avoid a second-Cuba. The fear of a “second Cuba” can be seen in the various interventions by the US in Latin America during this period.
The motivation behind US endeavors during the Cold War was to interfere with Latin American countries politically to counter the spread of communist ideologies that were seen by the US as being directly opposed to its economic and philosophical interests. The US’ economic interests were spread and consolidated through corporations operating within Latin America such as Alcoa, United Fruit, and others. It is through these corporate interests, which were under threat of nationalizion in their respective countries by leftist governments taking...

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