History of the Americas
November 14th 2012
U.S foreign policy impact on Latin America’s Cold War
The mid 20th century was characterized by years of conflict and political tumult in most of Latin America. As countries within this hemisphere were striving to gain independence and global recognition, the U.S and USSR both competed to gain influence in Latin America by engaging in what one could define a “precipitous escalation of superpower competition” (Brands 3). Washington’s effort to prevent the spread of extra-hemispheric penetration in Latin America indeed resulted in their attempt to concretize their ideals of modernization and democracy by “remaking the region in their own images”. (Brands 38) The U.S’s implementation of modernization through the Alliance for progress, counterinsurgencies and military intervention however, did not succeed in democratizing Latin countries. Contrarily, the U.S’s effort to export what it considered to be the only socio-political model suitable to a country increased internal political turbulence in Latin America, by radicalizing its political polarization and ultimately proving the U.S’s continuous interference with the rest of the hemisphere. The Cuban revolution (1953-1959) was a major turning point that triggered the political uprising in Latin American countries. Castro’s revolt in Cuba was the ultimate eruption of Cuba’s history of U.S influence and control and “crystallized dissatisfaction with the status quo” (Brands 25). Consequently, Castro’s spread of the “foco” was partially a response to the anti-imperialism and “yankeephobia” that characterized Catro’s public discourse. The ideals that pervaded Cuba rapidly spread to Cuba’s neighboring countries, eventually making of Cuba an example for Latin America: “we Costa Rican campesinos also want a Revolution like Cuba’s”. (Brands 25) Castro and Guevara’s visits to Latin American universities in 1959 and 1960 also resulted in a successful spread of...