The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolutionary Change in Latin America

The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolutionary Change in Latin America

The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolutionary Change in Latin America

The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolutionary Change in Latin America

Excerpt

Revolutions have been among the most dramatic political events in the twentieth century, possibly exceeded in their global repercussions only by the two world wars. Much of the attention of U.S. leaders and the U.S. public has been devoted to coping with revolutionary upheavals in Russia and China and in developing countries, such as Mexico, Cuba, and Vietnam. Revolutions in Latin America have been of special concern in the United States partly because U.S. vested interests there tend to be greater than in other developing areas and because the United States has long regarded Latin America as vital to its strategic interests.

The old regimes in Latin America have been vulnerable to revolutionary ferment because many have been characterized by poverty and dictatorship. Seeking to make government more responsive to popular needs, revolutionary leaders have overthrown old regimes and initiated revolutionary change in Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Cuba, and in the 1970s in Peru and Chile.

These societies have often been perceived as separate national entities when in fact they are an integral part of the international system. For this reason revolutionary change in these countries has had far-reaching international repercussions, particularly in the United States, which has interlocking relationships with virtually all its Latin American neighbors. Such revolutionary upheavals have affected U.S. economic interests, military arrangements, and political relations. Conflict with the old regimes has often been transformed into conflict with the United States.

The consequences of revolutionary change have been among the most demanding and frequently recurring problems the United States has been forced to face in Latin America since the early part of this century. In turn, U.S. responses to these revolutionary upheavals have had a deep and lasting impact on the societies concerned.

Revolutionary change burst to the surface in Mexico on the eve of World War I, in Bolivia and Guatemala during World War II, and in Cuba in the late 1950s. Revolutionary ferment appeared to be brewing in the Dominican Republic in the early 1960s, and revolutionary change itself began in. Peru and Chile as the 1970s began. The U.S. government and the public at large have focused more attention on . . .

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