Cold War Influence in Latin America

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Cold War Influence in Latin America
The United States and the Soviet Union competed against each other during the Cold War in the second half of the 20th Century like a chess game, with the world as their chessboard and countries as pawns in their game. For the Russians, a critical part of the chessboard was Cuba and Latin America. The Russians believed that if they could align themselves with countries in the western hemisphere, America’s “backyard”, it would help the Soviet Union counter the strong political influence and military presence America had in Europe, which made the Russians feel threatened. The Soviet Union tried to align itself politically, militarily, and economically with as many Latin American countries as it could. In
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not supported the overthrow of Arbenz, civil unrest in Guatemala may not have occurred, and Guatemala might have been able to avoid its terrible 30-year long civil war. Cuba is the country best known for being at the center of the Cold War conflict between the U.S. and Russia because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet Union’s strategy, and the anticipated U.S. response to the Russian strategy, is described in an October 19, 1962 telegram from Andrei Gromyko, Russia’s Foreign Minister, to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [Virtual Archive]. The Central Committee was the highest organization within communist Russia. Gromyko seems to have written the telegram to inform the Central Committee that the Russian strategy in aligning itself with Cuba seemed to be working. In the telegram Gromyko expressed his belief that “a USA military adventure against Cuba is almost impossible to imagine” because of “assurances given to us that the USA has no plans for in Cuba (which undeniably commits them in many respects)” (Gromyko). Instead, Gromyko believed that the U.S. efforts would be to try weakening Cuba by obstructing its economy, thinking that over the long term Russia would not be able to continue supporting Cuba with foreign aid in order to offset U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba (Gromyko). Gromyko’s telegram accurately describes U.S. policy regarding Cuba around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962.
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