To what extent should the United States be proud of its policies towards Latin America?
We have been examining America’s
imperialistic actions in the Spanish American War. As you know
America has always been concerned with what goes on in the Caribbean,
the Monroe Doctrine is but one example of that. Today we will examine
several of the United States policies toward Latin America. As you
can well imagine they have mostly been dominated by imperialistic
Here is a good summary of US Latin American policy.
SELECTION ONE: The
During the early 19th
century, the inhabitants of Spain’s colonies in Latin America
revolted and began a series of wars for independence.
In 1823, President Monroe was faced
with two threats of foreign intervention in the Western Hemisphere.
Both threats were organized from several of the great European powers
such as Austria, France, Prussia and Russia. To combat such foreign
intervention, President Monroe issued the following policy now known
as the Monroe
Doctrine. It included the
1. The Western Hemisphere was closed to further
2. U.S. would not interfere with the existing
colonies of Europeans.
3. The U.S. would not interfere in the internal
affairs of any Europeans.
4. Any attempt by the European powers to intervene
in the Western Hemisphere would be regarded as “dangerous to our
(U.S..) peace and safety.
SELECTION TWO: U.S.
1. Since 1900, U.S. invades Cuba 4 times. It
proclaims it has the right to go into Cuba to preserve Cuban
independence. The US justified it’s actions because it had inserted
Amendment” into the the Cuban
Constitution after the Spanish American War.
2. President Theodore Roosevelt convinces Great
Britain, Germany and Italy not to invade Venezuela in 1902, to
collect debts owed to them by the Venezuelan government. Instead they
submit the matter for international settlement. This was part of
Diplomacy.” Essentially Dollar
Diplomacy refers to America’s protection of economic
3. 1903–the U.S. provokes Panama to revolt
against Colombia, and the U.S. warships blockade Colombia to prevent
the country from putting down the revolution.
4. 1904–T. Roosevelt claims the U.S. is the
“Policeman of the Western Hemisphere” and can intervene in the
affairs of any nation in the hemisphere if it affects the U.S.
5. 1905-1933–American Marines maintain order and
control over Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They also
protect U.S. investments in most of Latin America. This was also part
of America’s “Dollar
SELECTION THREE: Good
President Franklin Roosevelt and his
Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, labored to win Latin American good
will by a following policy that included the following
1. Friendship–respecting the rights of others.
Americans hoped to overcome the hostility that many Latin Americans
felt toward the U.S.
2. Trade–with the U.S. in the midst of the Great
Depression, American hoped to increase trade with Latin American and
spur economic recovery.
SELECTION FOUR: Results
1. 1933–At Montevideo Conference, the U.S. and
other American Republics declare, “No state has the right to
intervene in the external and internal affairs of another.”
2. 1934–American marines withdraw from
3. 1934–U.S. established the Import-Export Bank
to grant low interest loans for building and developing Latin
American natural resources.
4. 1936–At the Buenos Aires Conference, the
American Republics pledge together to consult each other in case of
threat to peace in the Americas.
5. 1936–U.S. surrenders the right to intervene in
the affairs of Panama.
6. 1938–At the Lima Conference, the American
Republics agreed that a threat against any one, is a threat to
SELECTION FIVE: Alliance
1. AID–the Latin American nations agreed to a 10
year $20 billion aid program.
2. Trade–the alliance nations agreed to expand
trade and to stabilize prices of Latin America’s products, especially
coffee and tin.
3. Reform–improve the conditions for the Latin
American masses by social and economic reforms : providing free
schools, reducing illiteracy, eradicating malaria, building public
housing, giving land to the peasants.
4. Organization of American States
(OAS) created to ensure cooperation between the United States and
member Latin American nations.
Any examination of the policies above should draw you to
some very clear conclusions about the relationship of the United
States and Latin America.
1. The United States has always acted in its own best
interest regardless of the impact upon Latin America. Often this has
included conquest, domination and interference.
2. The US has been a bully.
3. Latin American nations have grown to resent US interference.
4. Since the 1960’s the US has mostly tried to repair its
relationship with Latin America. (With the exception being Cuba.)