In Empire’s Workshop, Greg Grandin argues that the United States engineered a destructive domestic fusion of religious fundamentalism, hawkish neoconservatism, and nationalism - to justify it’s engagement in a jingoistic, self-serving foreign policy in Latin America. Furthermore, his work details the preemptive clash against perceived communist elements, and places the ideological disagreements regarding private-property, as the primary mover in US actions. By examining the Guatemalan coup of 1954, which Grandin describes as the Central Intelligence Agency’s “first full-scale covert operation” in Latin America, we can assess the prototypical reasoning behind US intervention. Moreover, the thorough assessment of the motivations of American
The number one reason the U.S. involved themselves with El Salvador was because the Communist political party started becoming a magnificent threat to the nation. Communism is the belief directed from Karl Marx, where everyone is essentially treated equal. In El Salvador during the 1980s, the Communist group, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (a.k.a. FMLN), and three other political parties were pushing for more power. Since these groups were
The Iran Contra affair is historically defined as the “Reagan administration scandal that involved the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for its efforts to secure the release of hostages in Lebanon and the redirection of the proceeds of those sales to the Nicaraguan Contras.” As the Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries, known as the Contras, began their efforts to retaliate against the Socialist Sandinista Regime, American government forces stepped in to support the Contra cause in a hope to support the world-wide elimination of Communism. To understand the entire history of the scandal, many individuals, groups, policies, and deals must be researched and put together to tell the complete history of the Iran Contra affair.
Also, the growing presence of the Soviets and Cuba in Nicaragua escalated the cold war and in order to ‘draw the line” the Reagan administration “doubled economic aid for El Salvador to a hundred and forty four million dollars” (pg 40). According to Danner, “the priorities of American Policy in El Salvador had become unmistakable” (pg 41).Second, The American government was “opposed to dispatching American combat forces to Central America” (pg 22) and in order to prevent another Nicaragua, Congress agreed to “reform” the Salvadoran Army by financing, training and arming its troops to fight the FMLN. As Danner notes, “the Americans had stepped forward to fund the war, but were unwilling to fight it”. Third, the Monterrosa led Atlacatl led batallion through American funding descended in El Mozote with “the latest M-16’s, M-60 machines guns, 90 millimeter recoilless rifles, and 60- and 81 millimeter mortars”(pg 39) and with a list of names massacred an entire village because “communism was cancer”(pg 49). The U.S. government was clearly responsible for the Massacre at El Mozote because without the funding, supporting, and training of El Salvador troops the war would have been tilted in the guerillas favor as they had managed to hold the disorganized army in certain areas. In contrast to neighboring departments El Mozote and its inhabitants of born-again Christians did not fit in as guerilla sympathizers. In fact, the training at American hands
In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was plagued with a stagnant economy – it had no incentive to promote communism in Central America. Ignoring the USSR’s economic weakness, Reagan asserted squashing the Salvadoran rebels would stem the spread of communism and would reestablish American preeminence in Central America. Reagan believed that enforcing anti-communist ideology would protect American national security interests by protecting the United States from its Bolshevik enemies.
Americas Watch. 1991. El Salvador’s Decade of Terror: Human Rights since the Assassination of Archbishop Romero. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Death squads and disappearances caused mental anguish to so many citizens of countries plagued with war all over Latin America, just like Lupe and her family. Gabriel Garcia Marquez poses the question, “why could social justice not be a goal for Latin America?” Countries in Latin America like Nicaragua, Guatemala, EL Salvador, Argentina, and Chile were striving for social justice. Some even had democratic elections and were on the right path but the fear of communism that plagued the United States since the beginning of the Cold War halted any of the progress Latin American countries could have even made. Any sort of progress, whether it was farmers and peasants like José forming unions and organizations fighting for human rights, or democratically elected presidents like Arbenz or Allende that fought for agrarian reform and nationalization of resources was completely shut down either directly or indirectly by the United States. Social justice was definitely a goal for Latin America. The region is not filled with savages that can’t grasp democracy; even Marquez “rejected the idea that ‘violence and pain’ was the natural condition of the region.” The United States halted and set aside any progress for social justice in Latin America because it feared losing its powerful influence in the
The Soviet Union placed missiles with the nuclear capabilities in Cuba that “is capable of striking Washington, D.C., the Panama Canal, Cape Canaveral, Mexico City or any other city in the southeastern part of the United States, in Central America or in the Caribbean area” (document 7b). In response, the United States established a air and naval blockade around the island to prevent Fidel Castro from receiving more deadly weapons (document 7a). The U.S. also maintained close surveillance of Cuba and its military actions (document 7b). In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas established and strong military force in the country to combat non-communist after the revolution. The EPS (the Sandinista People’s Army/Ejército Popular Sandinista) and the PA (Sandinista Police/Policía Sandinista) were trained personnels from Cuba Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (document 8a). However, Violeta Chamorro challenged the Sandinista Nicaragua’s presidential election so democracy and freedom could be brought to Nicaragua. The lives of Latin Americans changed due to the cold War. Some lost their privacy, other lost their
Reading the book Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez, has been very informative to me and has changed my perspective on U.S. foreign policy. Each account of the families from the different Latino countries has similar underlying trends that can be found because of the U.S. involvement in their countries. Every single instance of U.S. involvement in Latin American countries seems to evolve around the idea of greed and profit. The U.S. is like a business that only cares about the income of money and not about the morality of their actions. On top of all the injustice the U.S. government has employed, they don’t bother to own up to their mistakes and they tend to sweep their involvement under the rug. For example, the Iran-Contra scandal mentioned in the book of the Reagan administration was the result of using drug money from Iran to buy weapons for the Nicaraguan contra rebels against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. It infuriates me that the U.S. would support a dictator that suppresses the rights of its citizens and all the while they want to take down the established, popular Sandinista government. The U.S. wants to do all this so that the new government will support U.S. interests in Nicaragua. When the scandal was uncovered, all Reagan could say was “I’m sorry” and “It won’t happen again” even though our involvement had the result of many lives lost in that war/rebellion. Unfortunately, this theme did not only occur in Nicaragua
Before addressing the contemporary concerns surrounding immigration and undocumented immigrants, it is fundamental to address the historical antecedents to today’s widespread undocumented immigration population as well as the elicited political response carried out by the Reagan Administration during the 1980s. In the heart of the Cold War, the United States actively supported and funded the El Salvadorian government — a military government that ran
Additionally, he emphasized how the Sandinistas and its Marxist-Leninist regime represented destabilization to its neighbors. Even though his statements were powerful, they needed to be supported with actions. Therefore, strong financial and military support of the Contras against the communist Nicaraguan government, and the aid given to the government of El Salvador in their fight against the communist guerrillas were critical. In the case of Nicaragua's contra guerrillas, which were created to fight the revolutionary Sandinista government, Reagan referred to the Contras as "the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers" and the United States spent $1 billion on them; the fighting in Nicaragua killed as many as 50,000 people while Honduras served as a staging ground for US Nicaraguan
In the book The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War, author Greg Grandin traces Guatemala’s evolutionary period from the late 19th century to the early 1980s. What he dubs as ‘the last colonial massacre,’ the Panzós Massacre of 1978 was the mass murder by the Guatamalan army of 35 Q’echi-Mayan men, women and children who had gathered in the town square demanding democractic representation, land reform and higher wages. Outrage over this massacre led many Guatemalan peasants to join the communist Guerilla Army of the Poor (EGP) which prompted violence and repression by the US backed right-wing government. Grandin’s thesis is that Cold War terror unleashed or excused by the United States, weakened the advancement of democracy
As Charles Bergquist observes, "Crises in Colombia tend to generate cycles of violence instead of mutations in the political regime." The reason is simple: regime changes in Colombia tend to produce very little change in anything other than nominal rule. Since Colombia's independence from Spain in the early 19th century, Colombia has seen a series of civil wars and secessions (Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama the last coming rather conveniently at a time when the U.S. was prepared to pay millions for a canal through its nation preparation that later resulted in a multi-million dollar redress to Columbia). Colombia's political history, therefore, has been colored by outside influences pulling on the two dominant liberal and conservative parties, with violent exchanges, and long periods of instability being the consequences. While regime changes have occurred, they have not produced significant improvements. Rather, Colombia in the 20th century has become a nesting ground for paramilitary forces and drug traffickers, with U.S. Central Intelligence operatives contributing heavily to the violent conflict that has risen between regimes. This paper will examine the regime types that preceded the Rojas Pinilla regime in mid-20th century Colombia, analyze their similarities and differences, and discuss the extent to which Rojas Pinilla reached his goals and objectives.
The ELN operate in Columbia additionally, they have ties to Cuba, as well as other Latin American countries. The objective of the ELN is to topple the current Colombian government and establish a communist model (Stanford, 2012). The ELN’s motivation stems primarily from the revolution in Cuba, as well as a large Catholic influence.
The USSR had recently funded a communications site on Nicaraguan soil to help them communicate with other socialist nations. With a rising fear of the USSR and other socialist nations, the US immediately accused it of being a spy base. Not shortly afterwards the US began to take action against Nicaragua by issuing an economic blockade. Because the Nicaraguan economy relied so heavily on imports, this had a profound effect and contributed to the collapse of the Nicaraguan economy. “It was impossible to spend even a day in Nicaragua without becoming aware of the huge and unrelenting pressure being exerted on the country by the giant standing on the northern front” (p.24).