Us-Latin American Relations

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US-Latin American Relations


The complex relationship between Latin America and the United States began officially in 1823, with the assertion by President James Monroe of U.S. hegemony in the Western Hemisphere through the Monroe Doctrine. From the later 19th century to World War I (1914-18), U.S. influence increased southward through economic investments, military engagements, and hemispheric alliances. The First Pan-American Conference was held in 1889 in Washington, D.C., and from this emerged what would become the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948. U.S. policies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were supported by "gunboat" diplomacy and dollar democracies that served to protect growing U.S. investments and collect Latin American debts (Livingstone, pp. 12-35).

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 1947 Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance was drafted. This treaty constituted the Latin American equivalent of the Truman Doctrine in Europe. The pact asserted that an attack by any state against an American state was considered an attack on all American states and would be countered by the assistance of the other American states. The Rio Pact circumvented the United Nations and provided impetus for later U.S. covert and overt interventions against reformist democracies during the cold war, in the name of combating communist aggression. This paper in this connection will discuss the US-Latin American relations, and will discuss it from different perspective (Esparza Henry and Daniel, pp. 54-85).

US Sponsored of Guatemala

From the time of its colonization at the hands of Spanish Conquistadors in the early 1500's, Guatemala has suffered under the oppression of dictator after dictator. These dictators, who ruled only with the support of the military and only in their own interests, created a form of serfdom; by 1944, two (2) percent of the people owned seventy (70) percent of the usable land. In 1944, however, in a democratic election, Jorqe Ubico was replaced with Juan Jose Arevalo.

The liberal Arevalo pushed dramatic reforms including Social Security, Health Care, and the creation of a department within the Guatemalan government to look after the affairs of the nation's Mayan (native) population. In 1951 Arevalo was succeeded Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. Guzman, as well as continuing Arevalo's reforms, implemented his own liberal reforms including a radical redistribution of land. This program involved the redistribution of one hundred and sixty thousand (160,000) acres of uncultivated land owned by an American owned firm that was then called United Fruit Company (and is now called Chiquita). Under previous governments United Fruit had managed to acquire forty-two (42) percent of the nation and had been granted exemption from all taxes and duties on both imports and exports. Though United Fruit was compensated for the land, many people both within the company and with strong ties to the company began to fear that more land would be taken from the company at the hands of the Guzman regime. Some of these people included Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, CIA Director Allen Dulles, the Assistant to the Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs John Moors ...
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