Central and South America 1959–94: Ideological Conflicts and Revolutions

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Map Code: Ax01872

In 1959, after Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship and made Cuba the first Communist state in the western hemisphere, the US were determined to keep governments sympathetic to communism out of Latin America. The US immediately imposed a trade embargo on Cuba and began assisting in the suppression of Cuban-inspired guerrilla conflict and urban uprisings, which were erupting throughout the sub-continent. They provided military aid and soldiers to countries such as the Dominican Republic (1965) and supported the 1973 Chilean coup d’état when right-wing army chief Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected left-wing President Allende. The CIA supported the right-wing Contras in their opposition to the democratic socialist Sandinistas, who had established a revolutionary government in Nicaragua. The US did not always support the right-wing regimes. After Haiti’s first democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown by a right-wing military Junta in 1991, the US used diplomacy and trade embargoes to restore Aristide to power in 1994.

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