U.S. Interventions in Latin America

  • U.S war with Mexico

    U.S war with Mexico
    The U.S., fulfilling the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, goes to war with Mexico and ends up with a third of Mexico's territory.
  • U.S. interventions in Nicaragua.

    U.S. interventions in Nicaragua.
    Tennessee adventurer William Walker and his mercenaries take over Nicaragua, institute forced labor, and legalize slavery.
  • U.S. interventions in Panama

    U.S. interventions in Panama
    First of five U.S. interventions in Panama to protect the Atlantic-Pacific railroad from Panamanian nationalists.
  • U.S. declares war on Spain

    U.S. declares war on Spain
    U.S. declares war on Spain, blaming it for destruction of the Maine. (In 1976, a U.S. Navy commission will conclude that the explosion was probably an accident.) The war enables the U.S. to occupy Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
  • rebellion in Panama

    rebellion in Panama
    When negotiations with Colombia break down, the U.S. sends ten warships to back a rebellion in Panama in order to acquire the land for the Panama Canal. The Frenchman Philippe Bunau-Varilla negotiates the Canal Treaty and writes Panama's constitution.
  • Marines helps Diaz

    Marines helps Diaz
    U.S. Marines help Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz crush a strike in Sonora.
  • Marines occupy Cuba

    Marines occupy Cuba
    Marines occupy Cuba for two years in order to prevent a civil war.
  • Jose Santos proposes company to pay taxes

    Jose Santos proposes company to pay taxes
    Liberal President José Santos Zelaya of Nicaragua proposes that American mining and banana companies pay taxes; he has also appropriated church lands and legalized divorce, done business with European firms, and executed two Americans for participating in a rebellion. Forced to resign through U.S. pressure. The new president, Adolfo Díaz, is the former treasurer of an American mining company.
  • regime of Miguel Dávila in Honduras has irked

    regime of Miguel Dávila in Honduras has irked
    The Liberal regime of Miguel Dávila in Honduras has irked the State Department by being too friendly with Zelaya and by getting into debt with Britain. He is overthrown by former president Manuel Bonilla, aided by American banana tycoon Sam Zemurray and American mercenary Lee Christmas, who becomes commander-in-chief of the Honduran army.
  • crisis in Nicaragua

    crisis in Nicaragua
    Nicaragua occupied again by the U.S., to shore up the inept Díaz government. An election is called to resolve the crisis: there are 4000 eligible voters, and one candidate, Díaz. The U.S. maintains troops and advisors in the country until 1925.
  • U.S attack Mexico

    U.S attack Mexico
    U.S. bombs and then occupies Veracruz, in a conflict arising out of a dispute with Mexico's new government. President Victoriano Huerta resigns.
  • U.S. Marines occupy Haiti

    U.S. Marines occupy Haiti
    U.S. Marines occupy Haiti to restore order, and establish a protectorate which lasts till 1934. The president of Haiti is barred from the U.S. Officers' Club in Port-au-Prince, because he is black.
  • Pancho Villa

    Pancho Villa
    Pancho Villa, in the sole act of Latin American aggression against the U.S, raids the city of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17 Americans.
    "Am sure Villa's attacks are made in Germany." --James Gerard, U.S. ambassador to Berlin
  • President Carlos Herrera

    President Carlos Herrera
    President Coolidge strongly suggests the overthrow of Guatemalan President Carlos Herrera, in the interests of United Fruit. The Guatemalans comply.
  • U.S. establishes a military academy

    U.S. establishes a military academy
    U.S. establishes a military academy in Nicaragua to train a National Guard as the country's army. Similar forces are trained in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • "Nicaraguan-Mexican-Soviet"

    "Nicaraguan-Mexican-Soviet"
    Marines, out of Nicaragua for less than a year, occupy the country again, to settle a volatile political situation. Secretary of State Kellogg describes a "Nicaraguan-Mexican-Soviet" conspiracy to inspire a "Mexican-Bolshevist hegemony" within striking distance of the Canal.
  • Rafael Trujillo

    Rafael Trujillo
    Rafael Leonidas Trujillo emerges from the U.S.-trained National Guard to become dictator of the Dominican Republic.
  • U.S rushes warships to El Salvador

    U.S rushes warships to El Salvador
    The U.S. rushes warships to El Salvador in response to a communist-led uprising. President Martínez, however, prefers to put down the rebellion with his own forces, killing over 8000 people (the rebels had killed about 100).
  • Marines leave Nicaragua

    Marines leave Nicaragua
    Marines finally leave Nicaragua, unable to suppress the guerrilla warfare of General Augusto César Sandino. Anastasio Somoza García becomes the first Nicaraguan commander of the National Guard.
  • Sandino assassinated

    Sandino assassinated
    Sandino assassinated by agents of Somoza, with U.S. approval. Somoza assumes the presidency of Nicaragua two years later. To block his ascent, Secretary of State Cordell Hull explains, would be to intervene in the internal affairs of Nicaragua.
  • Ricardo Adolfo

    Ricardo Adolfo
    Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia deposes Panamanian president Arias in a military coup-- first clearing it with the U.S. Ambassador.
  • Tiburcio Carías

    Tiburcio Carías
    The editor of the Honduran opposition paper El Cronista is summoned to the U.S. embassy and told that criticism of the dictator Tiburcio Carías Andino is damaging to the war effort. Shortly afterward, the paper is shut down by the government.
  • Maximiliano Hernández Martínez

    Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
    The dictator Maximiliano Hernández Martínez of El Salvador is ousted by a revolution; the interim government is overthrown five months later by the dictator's former chief of police. The U.S.'s immediate recognition of the new dictator does much to tarnish Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy in the eyes of Latin Americans.
  • Army school in Panama

    Army school in Panama
    U.S. Army School of the Americas opens in Panama as a hemisphere-wide military academy. Its linchpin is the doctrine of National Security, by which the chief threat to a nation is internal subversion; this will be the guiding principle behind dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Central America, and elsewhere.
  • José Figueres Ferrer

    José Figueres Ferrer
    José Figueres Ferrer wins a short civil war to become President of Costa Rica. Figueres is supported by the U.S., which has informed San José that its forces in the Panama Canal are ready to come to the capital to end "communist control" of Costa Rica.
  • Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán

    Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán
    Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, elected president of Guatemala, introduces land reform and seizes some idle lands of United Fruit-- proposing to pay for them the value United Fruit claimed on its tax returns. The CIA organizes a small force to overthrow him and begins training it in Honduras. When Arbenz naively asks for U.S. military help to meet this threat, he is refused; when he buys arms from Czechoslovakia it only proves he's a Red.
  • Fidel Castro

    Fidel Castro
    Fidel Castro takes power in Cuba. Several months earlier he had undertaken a triumphal tour through the U.S., which included a CIA briefing on the Red menace.
  • Cuba

    Cuba
    Eisenhower authorizes covert actions to get rid of Castro. Among other things, the CIA tries assassinating him with exploding cigars and poisoned milkshakes. Other covert actions against Cuba include burning sugar fields, blowing up boats in Cuban harbors, and sabotaging industrial equipment.
  • Velasco Ibarra

    Velasco Ibarra
    CIA-backed coup overthrows elected Pres. J. M. Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador, who has been too friendly with Cuba.
  • Juan José Arévalo

     Juan José Arévalo
    A far-right-wing coup in Guatemala, apparently U.S.-supported, forestalls elections in which "extreme leftist" Juan José Arévalo was favored to win.
  • The free market in Nicaragua

    The free market in Nicaragua
    The free market in Nicaragua:
    The Somoza family controls "about one-tenth of the cultivable land in Nicaragua, and just about everything else worth owning, the country's only airline, one television station, a newspaper, a cement plant, textile mill, several sugar refineries, half-a-dozen breweries and distilleries, and a Mercedes-Benz agency." --Life World Library
  • Dominican Republic

     Dominican Republic
    A coup in the Dominican Republic attempts to restore Bosch's government. The U.S. invades and occupies the country to stop this "Communist rebellion," with the help of the dictators of Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
  • Guatemala

    Guatemala
    U.S. sends arms, advisors, and Green Berets to Guatemala to implement a counterinsurgency campaign.
  • José Alberto Medrano

    José Alberto Medrano
    Gen. José Alberto Medrano, who is on the payroll of the CIA, organizes the ORDEN paramilitary force, considered the precursor of El Salvador's death squads.
  • Salvador Allende

    Salvador Allende
    Salvador Allende Gossens elected in Chile. Suspends foreign loans, nationalizes foreign companies. For the phone system, pays ITT the company's minimized valuation for tax purposes. The CIA provides covert financial support for Allende's opponents, both during and after his election.
  • José Napoleón Duarte

    José Napoleón Duarte
    U.S. stands by as military suspends an election in El Salvador in which centrist José Napoleón Duarte was favored to win. (Compare with the emphasis placed on the 1982 elections.)
  • Uruguay

    Uruguay
    Military takes power in Uruguay, supported by U.S. The subsequent repression reportedly features the world's highest percentage of the population imprisoned for political reasons.
  • Jimmy Carter

    Jimmy Carter
    Election of Jimmy Carter leads to a new emphasis on human rights in Central America. Carter cuts off aid to the Guatemalan military (or tries to; some slips through) and reduces aid to El Salvador.
  • Panama canal

    Panama canal
    Ratification of the Panama Canal treaty which is to return the Canal to Panama by 1999.
    "Once again, Uncle Sam put his tail between his legs and crept away rather than face trouble." --Ronald Reagan
  • The U.S. starts pouring in $100 million

    U.S., seeking a stable base for its actions in El Salvador and Nicaragua, tells the Honduran military to clean up its act and hold elections. The U.S. starts pouring in $100 million of aid a year and basing the contras on Honduran territory.
    Death squads are also active in Honduras, and the contras tend to act as a state within a state.
  • Torrijos of Panama is killed

    Gen. Torrijos of Panama is killed in a plane crash. There is a suspicion of CIA involvement, due to Torrijos' nationalism and friendly relations with Cuba.
  • Efraín Ríos Montt

    Efraín Ríos Montt
    A coup d’état brings Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt to power in Guatemala, and gives the Reagan administration the opportunity to increase military aid. Ríos Montt's evangelical beliefs do not prevent him from accelerating the counterinsurgency campaign.
  • Boland Amendment

    Boland Amendment
    Boland Amendment prohibits CIA and Defense Dept. from spending money to overthrow the government of Nicaragua-- a law the Reagan administration cheerfully violates.
  • U.S. spends $10 million

    U.S. spends $10 million to orchestrate elections in El Salvador-- something of a farce, since left-wing parties are under heavy repression, and the military has already declared that it will not answer to the elected president.
  • U.S. invades Panama

    U.S. invades Panama
    U.S. invades Panama to dislodge CIA boy gone wrong Manuel Noriega, an event which marks the evolution of the U.S.'s favorite excuse from Communism to drugs.
  • global Communism

    global Communism
    The U.S. battles global Communism by extending most-favored-nation trading status for China, and tightening the trade embargo on Castro's Cuba.