U.S.-Latin Relations: Military interventions, another look

Yesterday I was guilty of what journalists call “burying the lede.” The most important information I wanted to present got put at the end of one of my lengthier, and more opinionated, posts. Not sure how many made it to the end.

So let me present the evidence again about U.S. military intervention in Latin America, by country this time:

  • Argentina: Troops sent in 1890
  • Chile: Marines fought Chilean rebels in 1891; CIA-backed coup in 1973, dictator installed who kills tens of thousands
  • Costa Rica: Troops sent in 1921
  • Cuba: Guantanamo Bay occupied from 1903 until the present; troops sent to oversee elections from 1906-1909; troops sent in 1912; occupied from 1917-1933; unsuccessful CIA-backed invasion in 1961; blockade since 1962; multiple assassination attempts against Cuban president from 1960 until the present
  • Dominican Republic: Troops sent during revolution in 1903; warships attack rebels in 1914; occupied from 1916-1924; marines land during campaign in 1965-1966
  • El Salvador: Warships sent during 1932 revolution; soldiers aid in civil war from 1981-1992, tens of thousands killed
  • Grenada: Invasion in 1983, occupation until next year
  • Guatemala: two-week intervention in 1920; CIA-backed coup in 1954, installing dictator who killed tens of thousands; Green Berets fight rebels in 1966-67
  • Haiti: Troops put down workers’ revolt in 1891; occupied from 1914-1934; blockade and troops restore President Aristide in 1994-1995; troops sent in 2004
  • Honduras: Marines intervened during revolution in 1903; troops sent in 1907; troops sent in 1911; troops sent in 1912; marines land during election campaign; two troop landings during elections in 1924 and 1925; military bases train fighters near Nicaragua border from 1982-1990
  • Mexico: Multiple interventions between 1914 and 1918
  • Nicaragua: Month-long occupation in 1894; troops sent in 1896; troops sent in 1898 and 1899; protectorate set up in 1907; marines sent in 1910; occupied from 1912-1933; U.S. supports rebels during revolt from 1981-90, tens of thousands killed
  • Panama: Troops sent in 1895 plus warships off the coast; troops intervene in election in 1908; marines sent during election in 1912; “police duty” from 1918-1920; troops sent in 1921; marines suppress strikers in 1925; troops kill Panamanian protesters in 1964; U.S. troops aid in ousting Panamanian president in 1989.
  • Puerto Rico: Occupied from 1898 until the present
  • Uruguay: Bombers deployed with nuclear threat in 1947

We haven’t had a foreign military intervention in about 200 years, so it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have foreign troops walking down the streets of your city. It’s hard to imagine having outsiders say, “No, we don’t like your election results; we’re taking over.” Try to put yourselves in their shoes.

Full chart can be found at History of U.S. Interventions in Latin America

3 thoughts on “U.S.-Latin Relations: Military interventions, another look

  1. Wesley N Dawson

    Your blog is still very much of interest to me & I still read it as regularly as I can. The work where I preach is becoming greater and more challenging every day. The church is growing both in numbers and in spirit and truth, largely due to congregational involvement.

    If you are not already planning to release all this information in a book, including an electronic edition I hope that you will do so. It is the kind of factual information that I am using a little at a time to move the congregation toward a view of Christians as the kingdom of God, and as strangers and pilgrims on this earth.

    Having worked for a time at Unclaimed Baggage Center, a local business which has become an international attraction, I met people from all over the world. Friend or foe, they all see the United States as policeman of the world. Yet, they all live in fear of this nation. It is my prayer that one day that one day the U.S. will refuse this distinction and bring all its troops home as no more that a defensive force, because I believe this view puts all of us in danger, even we who actually regard ourselves as citizens of a higher kingdom. Oddly enough, I also found that most Christians from other countries regard themselves as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven rather than a particular earthly nation, and are seldom involved in politics.


  2. Vern

    Have always wondered about those saying God bless America, if these were the behaviors they were expecting God to bless. It’s no wonder the U.S. is hated and God as well. God is misrepresented when people attach Him to a nation or politics. No such thing as a Christian nation. Our citizenship as believers is somewhere else. I can respect the government and generally obey it, but I will not mix it up with God or expect it to be godly.

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