Us Policy Towards Latin America

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US Policy towards Latin America

US Policy towards Latin America

During the Cold War era, the United States feared the spread of communism and, in some cases, overthrew democratically elected governments perceived at the time as becoming left-wing or unfriendly to U.S. interests. Examples include the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, the 1973 Chilean coup d'état and the support of the Nicaraguan Contras. The '70s and '80s saw a shift of power towards corporations, and a polarization of the political election systems of many of the Latin American nations. Recently, several left-wing parties have gained power through elections and have not been attacked. In particular Venezuela has been critical of U.S. foreign policy. Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador currently have governments sometimes seen as aligned with Venezuela. Left-wing governments in nations such as Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay are more centrist. The right-wing governments in Chile and Colombia have closer relations with the U.S. (Mellander 1999 102)

The 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which began the United States' policy of isolationism, deemed it necessary for the United States to refrain from entering into European affairs but to protect Western hemisphere nations from foreign military intervention. The Monroe Doctrine maintained the autonomy of Latin American nations, thereby allowing the United States to impose its economic policies at will.

US Secretary of State James G. Blaine created the Big Brother policy in the 1880s, aiming to rally Latin American nations behind US leadership and to open Latin American markets to U.S. traders. Blaine served as United States Secretary of State in 1881 in the cabinet of President James Garfield and again from 1889 to 1892 in the cabinet of President Benjamin Harrison. As part of the policy, Blaine arranged for and lead as the first president the First International Conference of American States in 1889. A few years later, the Spanish-American War in 1898 provoked the end of the Spanish Empire in the Caribbean and the Pacific, with the 1898 Treaty of Paris giving the US control over the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam, and control over the process of independence of Cuba, which was completed in 1902.

Roosevelt was able to reverse a previous decision by the Walker Commission in favour of a Nicaragua Canal, and pushed through the acquisition of the French Panama Canal effort. Panama was then part of Colombia, so Roosevelt opened negotiations with the Colombians to obtain the necessary permission. In early 1903 the Hay-Herran Treaty was signed by both nations, but the Colombian Senate failed to ratify the treaty.

The Good Neighbor policy was the foreign policy of the administration of United States President Franklin Roosevelt toward the countries of Latin America. The United States wished to have good relations with its neighbors, especially at a time when conflicts were beginning to rise once again, and this policy was more or less intended to garner Latin American support. Giving up unpopular military intervention, the United States shifted to other methods to maintain its influence in Latin America: Pan-Americanism, ...
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