The United States and Latin America in the 1990s: Beyond the Cold War

The United States and Latin America in the 1990s: Beyond the Cold War

The United States and Latin America in the 1990s: Beyond the Cold War

The United States and Latin America in the 1990s: Beyond the Cold War

Synopsis

A superb contribution.... At a time when U. S.-Latin American relations face a critical turning point, policymakers would benefit from a careful reading of this fine book.

Eduardo A. Gamarra, Florida International University

Excerpt

On October 27, 1983, President Ronald Reagan went before the television cameras to explain the U.S. invasion of Grenada. Although he cited several reasons for the action, including threats to the safety of U.S. citizens, his focus was on the need to contain communist adventurism. Grenada, he said, "was a Soviet-Cuban colony, being readied as a major military bastion to export terror and undermine democracy. We got there just in time." In his ten-minute discussion of Grenada, Reagan mentioned the Soviet Union and Cuba fourteen times.

Seven years later, on December 20, 1989, President George Bush went before the television cameras to explain the U.S. invasion of Panama. Although he, too, cited several reasons for the action, he centered on threats to the safety of U.S. citizens by a single individual, General Manuel Antonio Noriega: "As President, I have no higher obligation than to safeguard the lives of American citizens. And that is why I directed our Armed Forces to protect the lives of American citizens in Panama and to bring General Noriega to justice in the United States." In his brief speech, Bush never mentioned the Soviet Union or Cuba.

What happened during the seven years that separated the invasions of Grenada and Panama? In international relations, these were the years of glasnost and perestroika, the years of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the years of communist breakdown in Central Europe and, soon thereafter, of the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself. They were also the years of the continuing economic emergence of Japan and the European Community, as well as of dramatic changes in the global economy. In Latin America, they were the years of violent turmoil in Central America, of severe economic decline followed by economic restructuring elsewhere in the region, as well as of a continuing turn away both from military . . .

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