The politics of individual Latin American countries cannot be understood fully if one examines only the internal workings of political systems. Especially during the cold war, many governments rose or fell primarily, or in part, because of external intervention or manipulation. The main external actor in the Americas was the United States. Among many electoral victories influenced by U.S. funding were those of Eduardo Frei Montalva in Chile in 1964, José Napoleón Duarte in El Salvador in 1984, and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro in Nicaragua in 1990. 1 Three of the most prominent U.S.-sponsored interventions or machinations against chosen enemies include the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected, mildly revolutionary government of Guatemala in 1954; the U.S. military intervention to block the return to power of the democratically elected but deposed President Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic in 1965; and CIA involvement in the destabilization leading to the overthrow of democratically elected President Salvador Allende in Chile. 2 All of this was done in the name of fighting "Sovietbacked Communists" as very loosely defined by Washington and the conservative elite of Latin America.
Yet, while the United States was the primary external actor in the internal affairs of Latin American countries, it was by no means the only one. In the 1980s, for instance, Israel--the biggest recipient of U.S. aid and loans in the world--became a surrogate