US Influence 1896–1952


Map Code: Ax01002

The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 opposed any further European colonization in the western hemisphere, effectively placed Latin America under US guardianship. In this context, the Spanish-American War (1898–1902), which led to Cuba and Puerto Rico being seized from Spain, was cast as supporting liberation from a colonial aggressor. However, until President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the ‘Good Neighbour’ Policy (1933), US interpretation of the Doctrine became increasingly self-serving. The ‘Banana Wars’ (1898–1934) resulted in the occupation, for varying periods, of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras, while Panamanian secession from Colombia was facilitated, to enable the building of the Canal. Interamerican conferences, initiated by the US in 1889 to assert its diplomatic influence, increasingly became occasions for Latin American states to voice disapproval of US hegemony. Post World War II, US policy experienced another transmutation, with anti-communism being added to economic expedience as grounds for intervention.

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