Encyclopedia of U.S.-Latin American Relations
Publication Year: 2012
No previous work has covered the web of important players, places, and events that have shaped the history of the United States’ relations with its neighbors to the south. From the Monroe Doctrine through today’s tensions with Latin America’s new leftist governments, this history is rich in case studies of diplomatic, economic, and military cooperation and contentiousness.
Encyclopedia of U.S.-Latin American Relations is a comprehensive, A-to-Z reference featuring more than 800 entries detailing the political, economic, and military interconnections between the United States and the countries of Latin America, including Mexico and the nations in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.
With expansive coverage of more than 200 years of important and fascinating events, this work will serve as an important addition to the ...
- Entries A-Z
Copyright by Sage Publications, Inc.
About the Editors/Authors
List of Authors
Gabriel Aguilera California State University, Chico
Omar H. Ali University of North Carolina at Greensboro
David R. Andersen California State University, Sacramento
Dinorah Azpuru Wichita State University
Stephen Azzi Carleton University
John R. Bawden University of Montevallo
John Belohlavek University of South Florida
Mark T. Berger Naval Postgraduate School
Anastasia Bermúdez Instituto de Estudios Sociales Avanzados (IESA-CSIC)); and Queen Mary, University of London
Larry Birns Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
John F. Bratzel Michigan State University
John A. Britton Francis Marion University
Kendall Brown Brigham Young University
William H. Brown North Carolina Office of Archives and History
Alison J. Bruey University of North Florida
Jürgen Buchenau University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Christina Bueno Northeastern Illinois University
Joan Caivano Inter-American Dialogue
Peter Calvert University of Southampton
Elaine Carey St. John's University
David M. Carletta The Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy
David B. Castle Ohio University
Miguel Centellas University of Mississippi
Kevin Chambers Gonzaga University
Roslyn K. Chavda University of New Hampshire
Jack Child American University
Joel Christenson West Virginia University
Martin Christiansen University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Lawrence Clayton University of Alabama
Sharon C. Cobb University of North Florida
Jason M. Colby University of Victoria
Bradley Lynn Coleman U.S. Southern Command
Joanne Connor Green Texas Christian University
Christopher Conway University of Texas at Arlington
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera The University of Texas at Brownsville
Gisela Cramer Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Gregory S. Crider Winthrop University
William W. Culver Emeritus, State University of New York at Plattsburgh
José de Arimatéia da Cruz Armstrong Atlantic State University
Juanita Darling San Francisco State University
Melvin D. Davis University of North Alabama
Fernando G. De Maio Simon Fraser University
Gregory J. Dehler Front Range Community College
Helen Delpar Emerita, Emerita, University of Alabama
Arlene J. Díaz Indiana University-Bloomington
John W. Dietrich Bryant University
Dawn Mooney Digrius Stevens Institute of Technology
Oliver J. Dinius University of Mississippi
Scott Dittloff University of the Incarnate Word
Thomas J. Dodd Georgetown University
Michael E. Donoghue Marquette University
Susanne Eineigel University of Maryland
Dean Fafoutis Salisbury University
Tamara L. Falicov University of Kansas
José B. Fernández University of Central Florida
Susan Fitzpatrick Behrens California State University, Northridge
Nicola Foote Florida Gulf Coast University
Max Paul Friedman American University
Andrés Gallo University of North Florida
Justin D. García Temple University
Jolyon P. Girard Emeritus, Cabrini College
Philippe R. Girard McNeese State University
Ann B. González University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Luis A. González Indiana University-Bloomington
Alex Goodall University of York
Peter C. Grosvenor Pacific Lutheran University
Peter B. Gushue Pacific Lutheran University
Paul Haber University of Montana
Michael R. Hall Armstrong Atlantic State University
Gina Hames Pacific Lutheran University
William Head Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Office of History, US Air Force
Monica Henry Université Paris-Est Créteil
Andrew S. Hernández III Western New Mexico University
Sean M. Heuvel Christopher Newport University
Jesse Hingson Jacksonville University
James A. Holeman Arizona State University
Imtiaz Hussain Universidad Iberoamericana
Andrey Isérov Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow University
Matt D. Jacobs Ohio University
Peggy Ann James University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Eric M. Jepsen University of South Dakota
David Jervis Millikin University
Blake Jones Arizona State University
Halbert Jones Saint Antony's College, University of Oxford
Mark S. Joy Jamestown College
Daniel Joyce Princeton University
William C. Kelly Texas Christian University
Mee-Ae Kim College of Idaho
Betsy Konefal College of William & Mary
Glen David Kuecker DePauw University
Jonathan Laderoute Laurentian University
Michael LaRosa Rhodes College
George M. Lauderbaugh Jacksonville State University
Robert Lawless Wichita State University
Andrew Lefebvre University of Calgary
Thomas M. Leonard Emeritus, University of North Florida
Daniel K. Lewis California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Kyle Longley Arizona State University
Derric Ludens Dakota Wesleyan University
Lincoln Maiztegui Casas Instituto Preuniversitario de Montevideo
Mary Fran T. Malone University of New Hampshire
Andrae Marak Indiana University-Purdue University, Columbus
Daniel M. Masterson United States Naval Academy
Gelien Matthews University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
Eugenio Matibag Iowa State University
Rebecca Tinio McKenna Yale University
Alan McPherson University of Oklahoma
Carlos Meissner University of York
Andrew P. Miller Wilkes University
Patit Paban Mishra Sambalpur University
Stephen D. Morris Middle Tennessee State University
Graeme S. Mount Emeritus, Laurentian University
Oliver Murphey Columbia University
Greg Murphy U.S. State Department
Todd Myers Grossmont College
Lopita Nath University of the Incarnate Word
Jorge Ortiz-Sotelo Instituto Peruano de Economía y Política
Charlene T. Overturf Independent Scholar
Steven K. Paulson University of North Florida
Lourenço S. Paz Syracuse University
Thomas L. Pearcy Slippery Rock University
Luisa Peirano Universidad de Montevideo
Ronn Pineo Towson University
Julio Cèsar Pino Kent State University
Ursula Prutsch Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
Donald A. Rakestraw Georgia Southern University
Monica Rankin University of Texas at Dallas
Matthew A. Redinger Montana State University Billings
Matthew L. Rhoades University of Houston-Victoria
St. John Robinson Montana State University Billings
Ryan Salzman Southern Methodist University
Brinsley Samaroo University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
John Sanbrailo Pan American Development Foundation
Lia T. Schraeder Georgia Gwinnett College
Laura Isabel Serna University of Southern California
David M. K. Sheinin Trent University
James F. Siekmeier West Virginia University
Donald C. Simmons Dakota Wesleyan University
Cigdem V. Sirin University of Texas at El Paso
William E. Skuban California State University, Fresno
Joseph Smith University of Exeter
Jeffrey W. Steagall Weber State University
Steven L. Taylor Troy University
Aubrey A. Thompson Morgan State University
Ellen D. Tillman Texas State University in San Marcos
Teruyuki Tsuji Kwansei Gakuin University
César A. Vásquez Independent Scholar
Ivani Vassoler State University of New York–Fredonia
Klaus Veigel Frankfurt, Germany
Carlos Velásquez Carrillo York University
José D. Villalobos University of Texas at El Paso
Miriam Elizabeth Villanueva Texas Christian University
Christine J. Wade Washington College
Gregory Weeks University of North Carolina at Charlotte
W. Michael Weis Illinois Wesleyan University
Virginia S. Williams Winthrop University
Bruce M. Wilson University of Central Florida
Molly M. Wood Wittenberg University
Jasmine Noelle Yarish University of California, Santa Barbara
Jason Zorbas University of Saskatchewan
Cristóbal Zúñiga Espinoza State University of New York-Stony Brook
Until the end of World War II, only a few universities in the United States offered a Latin American studies program, including coursework on Inter-American relations. Otherwise, a survey of Latin American history or governments was standard fare at most colleges and universities. As U.S. interest in the region's culture and history grew with Latin America's participation in global affairs since World War II and the influx of immigrants from its territories, so too has Latin American studies’ place in college curriculums. Still, despite the proximity of Latin America to the United States, the average student of history and politics often misunderstood the region's due place in U.S. foreign policy. Certainly Latin America played an undeniable role in important periods in U.S. history, from westward expansion to gunboat diplomacy and above all to the Cold War against communism, but the unique trajectories of Latin American countries and the individuals who live there are not always presented or understood in their own right. Furthermore, widely available reference materials—whether the general print encyclopedias dominant until the 1980s or the Internet resources prevalent today—tend to offer limited depth and breadth about the impact of prominent U.S. figures on Latin America and vice versa. Meanwhile, owing to student reading habits, textbooks and monographs covering the subject have become more interpretative and shorter in length. A comprehensive and reliable resource that focuses specifically on the interaction between the United States and its southern neighbors has been lacking. The three-volume Encyclopedia of U.S.–Latin American Relations (EUSLA) is designed to fill the void.
Early surveys of U.S.–Latin American relations, such as J. Fred Rippy's Latin America in World Politics (1919), Samuel Flagg Bemis's The Latin American Policy of the United States (1947), Graham H. Stuart's The United States and Latin America (1955), and J. Lloyd Mecham's The United States and Inter-American Security, 1889-960 (1964), reflect the historical writing of the time, with attention to factual detail. More recent surveys of U.S.–Latin American relations are shorter in length and interpretative in content, as found in the works of Don M. Coever and Linda Hall, Tangled Destinies: Latin America and the United States (1999); Mark T. Gilderhus, The Second Century: U.S.-Latin American Relations since 1889 (2000); and, Joseph Smith, The United States and Latin America (2005). Kyle Longley's In the Eagle's Shadow: The United States and Latin America (2002) is a blend of interpretation and historical evidence. The individual volumes of Lester Langley's widely acclaimed nineteen-volume series on relations between the United States and individual Latin American nations (except Central America, which is treated as a unit) are brief; in addition to government relations, they include discussions on culture, economics, and politics.
Fidel Castro Ruz's Cuban Revolution significantly contributed to the rapid expansion of Latin American studies in the United States, Canada, and Europe and eventually in South Korea and China. Owing to the Cold War environment, Inter-American relations received special attention. The accompanying knowledge explosion is illustrated by more than nine hundred publications dedicated to the United States and Central America during the 1980s alone. The need for a comprehensive encyclopedia became apparent.
EUSLA's A to Z format provides its users with a comprehensive set of entries that cover the historical record from 1800 to the present. Because historical events do not occur in a vacuum, EUSLA provides the users with a contextual framework. First, the encyclopedia's introduction discusses the broad parameters at play in the various historical periods. Building on this, separate entries throughout the work explain U.S. relations with the individual Latin American nations over time. Biographies of both U.S. and Latin American figures focus on their mutual interactions. Economic organizations and even the development of certain key resources (such as bananas, coffee, copper, and oil) are analyzed for their impact on Inter-American interactions. A set of cross-references at the end of each essay directs the user to related entries, and the suggested reading list steers the user to the most pertinent works related to the entry.
Several individuals are responsible for bringing EUSLA to a successful conclusion. I am grateful to Acquisitions Editor Doug Goldenberg-Hart for bringing the project to CQ Press. There, the watchful eye and skillful management style of CQ Press Development Editor John Martino brought EUSLA to a successful conclusion. John proved to be more than a most competent individual; his personal demeanor made the bumps easier to glide across. Without the efforts of the CQ Press support staff—Liza Baron, Reed Cooley—and production team of Catherine Getzie, Belinda Josey, Tina Hardy, and Jacqueline Tasch, the final product would not have been possible. Words alone fail to adequately express my appreciation to the associate editors—Jürgen Buchenau (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Kyle Longley (Arizona State University), and Graeme S. Mount (Laurentian University–Canada)—for their continuing contributions and patience. The efforts of [Page xxvi]Paul Mosely and Vernon R. Payne at the University of North Florida are also appreciated. Mosely, a reference librarian, appeared never to tire of the continuous calls and e-mails for assistance in verifying historical accuracy or tracking down obscure materials. Payne, a graphic artist, meticulously completed the maps that appear throughout EUSLA, no easy task as he received advice and suggestions from several individuals. All of us are indebted to the 160 scholars whose expertise, contributions, and cooperation made the EUSLA a reality. And, to my late wife, Yvonne, who cannot share the joy of this accomplishment but remains an inspiration to myself and our six children.
Thomas M. Leonard
Distinguished University Professor Emeritus
University of North Florida
October 25, 2011
Introduction: The Context of U.S.–Latin American Relations
The United States and Latin America had vastly different colonial experiences, which affected their relationship after 1800. For their part, the British practiced noblesse oblige toward their North American colonies until 1763, when they finally attempted to impose British rule. The subsequent conflict resulted in the United States of America, confident of itself in both domestic and foreign affairs. In contrast, the Spanish governed their American colonies with a tight hand that left new Latin American nations in the 1820s without experience in governing at home or in conducting foreign affairs. Conventional wisdom thus concludes that the United States and Latin America carried these traditions into their mutual relations, the legacy of which remains today.
While scholars continue to debate conventional wisdom's argument, many other factors came forward to affect U.S.–Latin American relations. Nineteenth-century domestic considerations shaped the early foreign policy of each party and significantly contributed to their mutual relations during the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Latin America was motivated primarily by economic development, whereas U.S. policy became greatly influenced by the trappings of a burgeoning global power. With World War II and the Cold War confirming its role as world leader, the United States established a Latin American policy that increasingly relied on military assistance to maintain the established order. For the most part, elite civilian rulers gave way to military generals, a governmental system that lasted from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. Democracy and socioeconomic opportunity became the sacrificial lambs. During that time period, only President Jimmy Carter attempted to change U.S. policy. Starting in the 1980s, Latin America jettisoned its military rulers and returned to democratic governments, although the meaning of democracy varies from country to country. This transition resulted in a plethora of political parties, the majority of which represented deprived socioeconomic groups. At the same time, the Latin American governments accepted the neoliberal economic model, which in application meant the establishment of free markets, export expansion of primary goods, and a positive environment for direct foreign investment. By the mid-1990s, the system was in place, but the benefits thereof did not reach the downtrodden, and this played a significant role in the election of Latin America's current populist governments. The initial U.S. enthusiasm for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in the early 1990s gave way to greater concerns with international terrorism and a severe economic crisis. Despite presidential promises to the contrary, the United States has recently given little attention to Latin America. The vacuum led the Latin Americans to seek out other partners, notably the Chinese. One can only speculate about the future, but when Inter-American relations again are on the proverbial front burner, the United States may be dealing with a more confident Latin America.
The introduction that follows is designed to take the reader through the historical periods mentioned above and provide the ever-changing context of U.S.–Latin American relations.A Hesitant Beginning: 1800–1860
In the 1820s Secretary of State John Quincy Adams instructed the U.S. ministers assigned to the newly independent Latin American nations to find out everything possible about them, including potential markets for U.S. goods. U.S. ignorance about Latin America in the 1820s can be attributed, in part, to Spanish colonial policy, which largely closed the colonies to foreigners. Only a few outsiders—among them Thomas Gage, Ravaneu de Lusan, John Cockburn, John Roach, and one North American, John Rhodes—recorded their travel experiences to Spain's New World empire. There are no indications that any North American library held any of their works. Thomas Jefferson, however, did read Alexander von Humboldt's 1808 classic, “Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain,” which covered his travels to Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, and Cuba.
Latin America's colonial experience and isolation severely restricted its understanding of the outside world. A small number of Latin Americans may have read the works of Antonio de Aledo Bexar, Abe Renal, and Abbé Pradt, who described the U.S. economy and geography and discussed the country's revolution, constitutional government, and religious toleration. Certainly most of the early Latin American patriots had read the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and some of Tom Paine's writings, but personal contacts between Latin Americans and U.S. citizens after the American Revolution were negligible. Most of the Latin Americans who came north were on official business seeking to enlist U.S. support for the fledgling independence movements. A few, such as Guatemalan scientist José Felipe Flores, returned home to spread their favorable impressions of the United States. Latin American liberals applauded the great extent of civil and political freedom, religious toleration, social equality, and literacy, as well as the lack of pomp and ceremony. Others understood that the societies of both hemispheres differed greatly and suggested that the federal form of government might not apply to Spanish America. In particular, Latin American elites feared that any changes in the existing institutions would destroy their orderly world and privileged position. They remained Latin America's most pessimistic group about using the United States as a political or social model.
Despite their mutual isolation and ignorance, the United States and the Latin Americans shared three foreign policy objectives: a trans-isthmian canal to facilitate shipping between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, new markets, and opposition to the intervention of European powers in the New World. The mutual interests did not translate into common foreign policies.
Since its organization as an independent nation in 1783, the United States had pursued a foreign policy designed to protect its own interests from European and particularly British encroachments. A series of actions—refusal to support the French Crown during the French Revolution in 1792 despite treaty obligations, the Undeclared War with France from 1798 to 1800, the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Jefferson's War with the Barbary Pirates (1801–1805), the War of 1812, and the 1819 Transcontinental Treaty—all illustrated U.S. intentions to protect its commerce and expand its territory. Thus, in December 1823, when President James Monroe declared the western hemisphere off limits to further European colonization, knowledgeable Latin Americans viewed it as another expression of anticipated U.S. economic and territorial expansion, not as a mutual protectionist declaration. Within this context, one can understand Simón Bolívar's hesitancy to invite the United States to the 1826 Panama Congress.
For the next generation, U.S. diplomats trudged to Latin America but did not find the like-minded democracies that Monroe alluded to in his 1823 declaration, nor the economic opportunity that men like Adams and Henry Clay had anticipated. Instead, they found the newly minted countries steeped in Spanish tradition: government limited to the upper class, a state-supported church, and a military ready to maintain the established order. Two political parties, conservative and liberal, represented the elite and controlled the political arena. Party philosophies differed over Church privileges and the extent of foreign trade, and they diverged widely over the power of the central government vis-à-vis the individual states within a nation's boundaries. Struggles over centralized state power often erupted into violence, as in Argentina and Mexico, and led to the destruction of the United Provinces of Central America and the splitting apart of Gran Colombia. Still, as in colonial times, social and economic mobility remained greatly limited.
The United States stood in sharp contrast to Latin America during the same generation, 1820 to 1840. Political democracy reached new heights. Property qualifications all but disappeared as a voting requirement (except for women, blacks, and those Native Americans who remained outside the U.S. political system). Publicly supported education from primary school through universities became commonplace. The federal government recognized labor unions in its construction projects, and it refused to renew the National Bank charter in 1833 so that money could be more widely distributed to the “common man.” The confidence in the “American system” found expression in such terms as Jacksonian Democracy and Manifest Destiny. According to its originator, journalist John O'Sullivan, the latter term meant that God had granted the United States the right to spread its way of life from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. Some expansionists advocated that the United States should cast its influence as far south as the isthmus at Panama because all the nations from there north to the Rio Grande River were imprisoned by Spanish traditions and therefore denied economic, political, and social progress. President James K. Polk thought otherwise. He was persuaded by the need to incorporate Texas into the union and to take all the territory from there to the Pacific Ocean; this would expand agriculture and open Pacific coast ports to facilitate commerce with Asia. In his view, however, the United States was not yet ready to deal with large numbers of people steeped in a foreign culture. The aversion to foreign culture is illustrated by the U.S. rejection of Narciso López, a Cuban planter who, between 1849 and 1851, envisioned the island's annexation to the United States, and also by the adventures of William Walker in Central America between 1855 and 1858.
Since 1783 U.S. policymakers fixated on Great Britain as the main adversary to its western hemispheric interests, whether it was British commercial presence in Latin America, its rejection of the Monroe Doctrine, or its interest in constructing a trans-isthmian canal. The dream of a trans-isthmian canal dates to 1513, when Spanish conquistador Vasco de Gama Nüñez de Balboa trekked across the Panamanian isthmus. But early Spanish interest in building a passageway across Darien or Tehuantepe or dredging the San Juan River collapsed with the wars of independence. Independent Latin America and particularly Central America revived the dream just as U.S. political leaders and merchants awakened to the canal's significance for the evolution of the nation's worldwide commercial contacts. In the 1820s the Central Americans were the first to explore a possible canal, followed a decade later by a suggestion that a consortium of European banks undertake the project. Not until the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848 did the United States take notice of the British presence in Central America and its potential influence on the trans-isthmian canal. The issue was addressed in the 1850 Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which prevented the U.S. and Great Britain from acting alone in the construction, maintenance, or defense of such a canal anywhere in Central America. There the matter rested until the end of the nineteenth century.
While the diplomatic record and Latin American memoirs of contemporary figures along with newspapers of the time period are filled with protests and criticisms of U.S. policy, representatives of the Latin Americans governments met three times by 1865—Lima (1848 and 1864) and Santiago (1856)—to discuss possible unified reactions to U.S. expansion. Nothing came of these conclaves, but they did set a precedent for the future.The Development of Mutual Interests: 1865–1900
Between 1865 and 1900, significant changes took place within Latin America and the United States that tightened their relationship. During that thirty-five-year period, liberals came to occupy presidential palaces and control national legislatures across Latin America, and they brought with them a European-rooted positivist philosophy. In application, positivism is a more formal description for what has more recently become known as the “trickle down” economic theory. Lacking funds to undertake the enormous task of economic development themselves, the Latin American liberal elite-based governments turned to the outside world, opening a door with generous benefits to foreign investors, primarily Europeans and particularly the British, who had been in Latin America since the 1810s. The foreign investors provided the money to support massive infrastructure projects from docks and wharves to railroads and highways; the extraction industries, such as nitrate, copper, and oil; and agricultural pursuits in wheat, bananas, and henequen. An informal alliance between the in-country investment managers and the ruling elite further ensured stability. Latin American legislatures enacted laws to protect those investments and to ensure labor peace. As the Latin Americans developed their export-based economies, the historically static socioeconomic structure and closed political system remained in place.
During the same thirty-five year period beginning in 1865, the United States experienced an unprecedented industrial revolution. Visitors to the world's fairs marveled at its products, from sewing machines to typewriters, from women's clothing to domestic weavings, and from farm equipment to industrial machines. In 1891, for the first time in its history, the United States exported more manufactured goods than agricultural. And at Chicago's 1898 extravaganza, Pabst beer became the first non-German beer to win a world's fair blue ribbon. During the same time period, U.S. business interests increasingly clamored for access to world markets, raw materials, and investment opportunities. All of this was justified on the liberal notion of free trade and, at home, lack of government interference in the economy. In accordance with the goodwill of U.S. nationalism, a moral crusade would follow the flag abroad to uplift the peoples of the downtrodden underdeveloped world: Democracy would follow the dollar. In this Gilded Age of American history, U.S. industrialists lived more lavishly than their Latin American counterparts, while the workers in both hemispheres suffered immense socioeconomic indignities.
With two notable exceptions—Cuba and Mexico—the United States arrived as latecomers to Latin America's open economy in the late nineteenth century. Despite its colonial status, Cuba had long-time links to the U.S. sugar market and was dependent on the United States for its consumer goods and the machinery essential for its sugar and tobacco industries. U.S.-Mexican trade dated to the latter's pre-independence period, when goods were regularly exchanged at Santa Fe in present-day New Mexico and San Antonio in present-day Texas. U.S. business interests entered President Porfirio Diaz Mori's Mexican economy on the same favorable grounds as Europeans experienced in South America and soon came to dominate its railroad, mining, cattle, and oil industries. Elsewhere, in the late nineteenth century, U.S. economic consuls reported on economic opportunities and assisted U.S. businessmen in their respective countries. Secretary of State James G. Blaine's First International Conference of American States in 1889, hosted in Washington, D.C., and paid for by the United States, did not produce the economic results that Blaine anticipated. In the weeks before the conference convened on October 2, 1889, Blaine took the representatives from thirteen Latin American states on a railroad tour of the United States industrial belt, from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia as far west as St. Louis before returning to Washington, D.C. The reciprocal trade treaties Blaine expected did not materialize. Long linked to and currently benefiting from Europe's economic investments and markets and historically distrustful of the United States, the Latin American governments were in no mood to sign U.S. trade reciprocity agreements.The Road to Imperialism: 1900–1934
The factors that long motivated U.S. policy toward Latin America—economics, security, and spreading democracy—melded together in 1898 with the Cuban War for Independence and would soon include Panama, Central America, and other Caribbean nations.
Since 1895 Cuban rebels had been fighting Spanish forces for their independence. By 1898 the conflict included attacks on civilians and the means of production, including U.S.-owned sugar plantations and mills and their supporting infrastructure. Cuban civilians were victimized in reconcentration camps. Although its forces were on the verge of defeat, the Spanish government was not about to give up its crown jewel. The sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, served as the catalyst for U.S. entry into the war on April 22, 1898. U.S. victories led to diplomatic discussions.
The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from Spain in 1898 and charged the United States with establishing a functioning government. At the same time, the United States was determined to secure its own interests. U.S. officials found Cuba unprepared for the implementation of democracy, attributing this to the legacies of Spanish colonialism and the dominant numbers of uneducated Afro-Cubans. To address their concerns, the Platt Amendment, named after Senator Orville Platt (R., Conn.) was tacked on to the 1901 Cuban constitution as a condition of independence. The Platt Amendment forbade Cuba from pursuing an independent foreign policy or incurring an international debt not approved by the U.S. government; it granted the United States the right to intervene in Cuba in cases of political instability. The model established in Cuba became the basis of U.S. policy in the circum-Caribbean region for the next generation.
While the Cubans moved toward independence, the U.S. psyche fixated on a trans-isthmian canal, owned, constructed, operated, and defended by the United States. In 1900 the U.S. Congress approved the Panama site for the canal, and U.S. naval officials argued that Cuba and Puerto Rico were essential to the security of the Panama Canal.
In addition to the indignities of Spanish colonial rule, the Panamanians had suffered politically at the hands of the Colombia government since 1821; by 1900 they had legitimate reasons to seek independence. Tension between Colombia and Panama intensified during the nineteenth century and culminated with the outbreak of war on November 3, 1903. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt encouraged the revolt and supported the Panamanians by using U.S. naval ships to block the transportation of Colombian troops to the rebellious province. The fifteen-day conflict ended with the signing of the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty on November 18. The treaty secured Panama's independence, but it also furthered U.S. interests. The treaty granted the United States the right to own, construct, maintain, and defend a canal through the center of the new country, and like the Platt Amendment in Cuba, the treaty also limited Panamanian input on foreign policy and debt and granted the United States the right to intervene in the republic to preserve political tranquility.
The Cuban and Panama examples did not apply to the entire circum-Caribbean region, as illustrated by the Venezuelan debt crisis finally settled in 1903. The refusal of Venezuelan President José Cipriano Castro to honor his government's debt obligations to European bankers led to a combined British, German, and Italian naval blockade of Venezuela from December 9, 1902, until February 19, 1903, when Castro finally succumbed to the pressure. The incident prompted U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt to declare his corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in December 1903. According to the Roosevelt Corollary, any misbehavior by Latin American nations that invited aggressive European reaction provided sufficient cause for the United States to prevent European intervention in the affairs of Latin America. In practice, over the next generation, the United States intervened in the financial affairs of several circum-Caribbean regions as a means to secure the Panama Canal from foreign threats.
U.S. policymakers also reasoned that imposing a democratic government on the former Spanish colonies in the Caribbean region would bring not only political stability, but also socioeconomic betterment to all peoples. Such changes in Central America would keep violence from spilling into Panama, they reasoned, and possibly disrupt or destroy the trans-isthmian canal operations.
In its pursuit of democracy for Central America, the United States hosted and paid for conferences in 1907 and 1923, where U.S. policymakers attempted to outlaw revolutions, control armaments, and create national guards that served governments, not the personal whims of presidents. Also during the early twentieth century, the United States administered the customs houses in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Part of the collected funds went to the local government for its operations, while the remainder went to repay U.S. banks that had paid off the foreign loans. With its treaty system in place, the State Department rationalized that it brought democratic political stability to the circum-Caribbean region; helped to prevent revolutions from spreading from one country to another and eventually to Panama; and established an environment that would keep Europeans from intervening in the affairs of the Caribbean nations. The Panama Canal would henceforth be secure, but democracy never came to the Caribbean nations.
For sure, the U.S. dollar followed the flag. By the mid-1920s, one could not deny that Cuba was a de facto American colony. U.S. investors controlled the sugar industry from the fields through its shipping, mostly to the United States where it received a favorable tariff preference. U.S. businesses controlled the Cuban infrastructure, including docks and warehouses, as well as the railroads that brought the sugar to port and then to market. During the same time period, Cuba's dependence on U.S. consumer goods increased. North American companies built and controlled water, sewerage, and electric systems in Cuba's main cities; U.S. firms owned and operated the banking, communications, and tourist industries. Panama's economy never prospered, except for the cattle industry, which met the demand from the Canal Zone's U.S. residents (known as Zonians). Otherwise, the Panama Canal Company's commissary operation brought in U.S. goods free of transportation costs and Panamanian import duties, to the detriment of Panamanian merchants and consumers. In Central America and in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, U.S. companies dominated the banana, citrus, and sugar industries. In each instance, the United States was charged with responsibility for the nondiversification of local economies.
In his welcoming comments to the Sixth International Conference of American States in Havana on January 16, 1928, host Cuban President Gerardo Machado y Morales declared that the U.S. presence in Cuba benefited the country. Machado stood alone in this sentiment. Other Latin Americans, in and out of government, viewed U.S. political and economic interventions in the circum-Caribbean region as acts of political and economic imperialism that needed to be checked, and this would include the nationalization of U.S. business interests. Among the results of the Mexican Revolution (1911–1917) was the 1917 constitution, which provided the legal basis for the Mexican government's takeover of U.S. economic interests in the country. At the conclusion of World War I, most Latin American countries joined the League of Nations, seeing the institution as a vehicle to limit U.S. presence in the southern hemisphere, but they quickly became indifferent when the U.S. Congress voted against U.S. participation in the organization. Latin America's larger countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, used the International Conferences of American States starting with Rio de Janeiro in 1906 to pursue legal means that would halt U.S. interference in the circum-Caribbean region. From 1927 to 1933, Nicaraguan nationalist and rebel leader Augusto César Sandino spoke for the middle sector when leading his forces against Nicaragua's elitist government and for all Caribbean workers exploited by the local elites and U.S. companies operating in the region.
In addition to Latin American protests, internal factors also came to influence a shift in U.S. policy as announced in 1933. Journalists, scholars, and politicians pointed out that Europe's military and fiscal threats to the circum-Caribbean region ended with the termination of World War I in 1919. As secretary of commerce from 1921 to 1928, Herbert Hoover asserted that a U.S. withdrawal from the Caribbean region would enhance U.S. economic opportunities in the wealthier and more advanced South American nations. In 1926 the State Department privately admitted the failure of its pursuit of democracy in the Caribbean region. Two years later, when U.S. Marine body bags started coming back from Nicaragua as the result of the latest armed incursion, the U.S. public protested against intervention abroad.
At the Seventh International Conference of American States convened in Montevideo, Uruguay, in December 1933, Secretary of State Cordell Hull announced that henceforth the United States would be a good neighbor to Latin America by no longer intervening in its internal affairs. The announcement was followed by the withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nicaragua. The United States no longer concerned itself with the legality of a government, if it controlled the government machinery, met its international financial obligations, and apparently had the support of its people. The policy opened the door for long-time dictators such as Rafael Trujillo Molina in the Dominican Republic, Jorge Ubico y Castañeda in Guatemala, and the Duvalier and the Somoza families, respectively, in Haiti and in Nicaragua. These and other strongmen further secured their position by signing U.S.-initiated reciprocal trade agreements in the 1930s. The treaties were designed to stimulate the depressed U.S. economy by lowering trade barriers, but the Latin Americans already benefited from most-favored-nation clauses that guaranteed them the lowest tariff possible for their exports to the United States, while they lacked the means to pay for U.S. manufactured exports. The reciprocity treaties, however unintentionally, served a political purpose: how can one government deem another illegal if it has initiated a trade treaty with the other?
From 1935 until the outbreak of the European war on September 1, 1939, the Latin American nations believed that the United States used the rising war clouds in Europe and Asia as a cover to again intervene in Latin America's internal affairs. The skepticism prompted the Latin Americans to demand and receive reiterations of the 1933 Good Neighbor pledge at the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace in Buenos Aires in 1936 and the Eighth International Conference of American States in Lima in 1938.The Influence of Global Affairs: 1935–1991
From 1935 to 1991 U.S.–Latin American relations felt the strong impact of global politics. For the first decade, the western hemisphere came under attack from the Nazis and Fascists, in Germany and Italy, respectively, and from the militarists in Tokyo. Thereafter, the threat of international communism dominated the world scene. In both instances, the United States came to assume the opposition's leadership.
Before its entry into World War II in 1941, the United States completed its plans for hemispheric defense, which included an examination of Latin America's capabilities to contribute to the cause. The U.S. military found their Latin American counterparts wanting in terms of training and discipline, as well as modern tactics and equipment, and concluded that, at best, the Latin Americans could provide minimal assistance should the hemisphere come under attack from abroad. Some nations, like Argentina and Chile, did not join the war effort until membership in the postwar United Nations was dangled before them. Fear of further U.S. encroachments prompted the others to join the Allied cause under terms favorable to themselves. For example, the United States established defense sites from Uruguay to Panama in preparation for a potential foreign attack, but under severe limitations. Latin American governments limited U.S. authority to the site itself and stipulated by treaty that the sites would be returned to the host country within a year after the war's end. U.S. Army training units arrived in most Latin American countries under wartime military assistance agreements, but they often found the local governments militating against the intermingling of troops. This was particularly true among the dictators, who feared for their own security should their militaries become attuned to U.S. training and tactics. Nor was Latin America flooded with U.S. military assistance. Latin America received only 10 percent of the $440 million allotment of U.S. military assistance under the wartime Lend-Lease program. The wartime experience challenges the notion that the United States contributed to strengthening of the Latin American military, as asserted by many historians.
Again, Argentina and Chile did not cooperate with U.S. anti-Axis policies, which included deportation to Germany, internment in the United States, or some form of incarceration in the host country of German, Japanese, and Italian nationals and their descendents, who were deemed a threat to hemispheric security. Over the course of the war, many foreign nationals and their descendents lost their properties to nationalization schemes or the inability to pay taxes. Axis-based companies failed to escape the net.
The war's economic impact on Latin America varied widely. Some countries benefited immensely. Cuba, for example, prospered as it became the primary source of sugar after the loss of Eastern European and South Asian sources to the Axis powers. Chile became the Allies primary source for copper, a commodity necessary for the manufacture of ammunition. Venezuelan oil fueled both U.S. wartime industries and its military. Argentine beef and wheat remained available to the highest bidder, Allied or Axis. Mexico and Brazil also gained from U.S. largesse, which enabled them to produce needed wartime goods, such as uniforms and jeeps, and planted the seeds for postwar industrialization. These countries emerged from the war with surplus trade balances with the United States. On the other end of the spectrum, some nations emerged from the war with depressed economies; the primary products in Central America, for example—bananas and coffee—were not wartime necessities. As the United States cancelled wartime contracts with the more productive countries, the Latin American cry for a Marshall Plan-like stimulus program went unanswered. Instead, the Latin Americans were told that once the European economy recovered, those markets would again be open to Latin American goods.
The end of World War II also brought forward Latin America's “generation of rising expectations,” a diverse group of middle-sector people that included doctors, lawyers, architects, small businessmen, white-collar managers, skilled labor, and teachers and students. While their wealth and social position differed, the group as a whole traced its roots to the education system introduced by the liberals in the nineteenth century; foreign-owned companies provided their jobs and exposed them to foreign ideas regarding political participation and social opportunities. Some Latin Americans were also influenced by U.S.-generated propaganda that clearly identified World War II as a fight for democracy. Near the war's end in 1944, protests from these groups brought down dictators Maximiliano Hernández-Martínez in El Salvador and Jorge Ubico in Guatemala. Elsewhere, the socioeconomic needs of the urban poor contributed to the 1945 presidential election of Juan Domingo Perón Sosa in Argentina and the appointment of communists to cabinet posts in Chile in 1946 by Gabriel González Videla.
The communization of Eastern Europe by 1948, Mao Tse-tung's 1949 victory in China, the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, and the conclusion of President Harry S. Truman's National Security Council (NSC-68) convinced U.S. policymakers that the U.S. government had to assume the leadership role in the global struggle against communism. For the next two generations, U.S. officials targeted leftist movements in Latin America. Ignoring a caution from Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs Henry Holland that not all leftist movements were communist, the United States determined to eliminate the communist “cancer” from the hemisphere by whatever means necessary. Latin America became part of the U.S. Cold War policy.
Thus, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) directed a rag-tag opposition army to overthrow Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in 1954 and to organize and implement the Bay of Pigs operation in 1961, which failed in its attempt to oust Fidel Castro in Cuba. The CIA financed the presidential election of Chilean President Eduardo Frei Montalva in 1964 to ward off the possible victory of Marxist Salvador Allende Gossens. And when Allende was elected president in 1970, the CIA undertook clandestine measures to disrupt the economy, which contributed to Allende's ouster by the Chilean military in 1973. While Jimmy Carter's administration briefly shifted the focus from anticommunism to human rights, Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in January 1981 with a conviction that the Soviets were still determined to dominate the world. Reagan directed the 1983 military invasion of Grenada to rid the small Caribbean island of alleged communists and also to prevent the construction of a Soviet air base. His support of CIA-sponsored and directed clandestine operations against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua eventually blossomed into the Central American Wars of the 1980s, which brought Henry Holland's caution from 1955 into focus. The Latin Americans, and most of the free world, did not share Reagan's view of international communist expansion, but they accepted the argument that the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador represented legitimate challenges to the historic established socioeconomic and political order.
U.S. policy critics in the 1980s asserted that Latin American elites contributed to the creation of their own monster, first by snubbing the Alliance for Progress program in the 1960s because it required the elites to democratize their governments, something they would not do. The elites turned to their national military to retain order, which meant the suppression of any person or group who challenged the existing order. The United States became a willing partner by satisfying the appetite of Latin American militaries. For nearly a generation, Latin America endured military-bureaucratic governments, and the U.S. reputation as champion of liberty was further soiled.A New Era: 1992–Present
A decade prior to the end of the Cold War in 1992, winds of economic change swept across the western world, including Latin America, except for Cuba. Leaders in Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, Paris, and Tokyo proselytized a new economic policy variously identified as the Washington consensus, neoliberalism, and eventually globalization. Timewise, the emergence of neoliberalism coincided with Latin America's return to democracy, a popular way of saying that Latin America was shedding itself of military governments.
Neoliberalism called for the implementation of several measures, including disciplined fiscal policy, moderate interest rates, trade liberalization, openness to direct foreign investment, privatization of state-owned enterprises, deregulation, legal security for intellectual property rights, tax reform, and the redirection of public expenditures toward education, health, and infrastructure investment. To some, it was simply supply-side economics. In other words, Latin America needed to open its doors to foreign investment, encourage domestic investment by lowering taxes on the upper class, strip away protections from domestic industries, and protect the new investments from legal challenges. Effectively, neoliberalism promised expanded economic activity, which in turn would produce increased government revenues that could be spent on roads to reach the ports and education and health care, two of the most important concerns held by the masses of people across Latin America. Many analysts drew parallels between twentieth-century neoliberalism and late nineteenth-century liberalism.
Latin America's new democratic governments implemented the program, and a decade later the business reforms were accomplished for the most part. Statistics supported the claims that direct foreign investment would increase, export trade would expand, and gross national product would grow. The promise that neoliberalism would improve the quality of life for the masses, however, failed to come true. Studies revealed that 50 percent of all Latin Americans remained in poverty; that people had little hope for their children's future; and that the middle class, along with the rural and urban poor, had lost faith in democracy. Into this malaise stepped populist-type leaders, such as Venezuela's Hugo Chávez Frías in 1999 and Bolivia's Juan Evo Morales Ayma in 2006, who branded the United States with responsibility for Latin America's plight. Even the leaders of economically successful and socially conscious governments, such as Brazil and Chile, found fault with U.S. policies. Since the year 2000 U.S. policy toward Latin America has been at a nadir and further tarnished its image south of the Rio Grande River. Promises of improved relationships may have gotten lost in the fight against terrorism and the current U.S. economic crisis. As a result, Latin Americans reached out to the world and found new partners in Europe, China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and some African and Middle Eastern nations.Conclusion
U.S.–Latin American relations had an inauspicious beginning in the early 1800s, with each party knowing little about the other. During the course of the next one hundred years, each became frustrated with the other as they established the basis for their twentieth-century relationship. For the Latin Americans, a growing mistrust of U.S. intentions was fueled by the Monroe Doctrine, the application of Manifest Destiny, and the ever-increasing late nineteenth-century search for markets and raw materials. The U.S. use of arrogant power in Cuba and Panama at the start of the twentieth century, followed by a series of interventions in the internal affairs of circum-Caribbean nations until 1934, served as reason for the Latin Americans to distance themselves from their northern neighbor. For the Latin Americans, World War II and Cold War experiences further demonstrated the dominance of U.S. interests in hemispheric affairs.
Historically, U.S. policymakers, beginning with the diplomats sent south in the early nineteenth century, held a condescending view of Latin America. Their reports and those sent by their successors during the remainder of the century described closed political systems with a lack of economic development and miniscule social mobility, which the North Americans saw as the result of Spanish colonialism. Thus, U.S. policymakers found what they considered an inept collection of nations in the circum-Caribbean region when the United States entered the world political arena in 1898 and five years later determined to construct a trans-isthmian canal at Panama. There emerged a moral crusade to uplift these backward peoples as one means to secure the canal. That the dollar followed the flag was not the government's intention, except in those instances that helped debtor nations meet their international obligations. The same can be said for World War II and the Cold War; U.S. policy was designed to meet its own needs, not those of Latin America. The self-serving nature of U.S. interests was most evident during the 1990s with its proposal for Free Trade Association of the Americas and after that with the bilateral free trade agreements concluded with many Latin American nations. One must caution that Latin American governments were not shy about using U.S. policies to meet their own purposes.
Overall, U.S.–Latin American relations remind one of a roller coaster, a series of peaks and valleys. When U.S. interests in the southern hemisphere are threatened, Washington became deeply involved but then withdrew as the crisis passed. A strong argument can be presented that Inter-American relations are receding into the valley in the early years of the twenty-first century. The United States is turning inward to address its economic and financial crisis and, at the same time, is drawing down its international commitments. For the Latin Americans, U.S. congressional delays in approving or disapproving free trade agreements illustrate the point.
When, not if, the track of Inter-American relations rises from the valley floor to reach for another peak, the United States will find a vastly different Latin America than it historically has known. The idealistic and legalistic approaches to limiting U.S. interventions in the early twentieth century gave way to more pragmatic economic paths, as seen during World War II in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico and, starting in the 1970s, with the pursuance of Japanese and European direct investments. The Brazil-led opposition to the proposed Free Trade Association of the Americas was designed to break U.S. hegemonic influence and provide Latin America with a greater freedom of action. Since 2000, as the United States focused on the war on terror, Latin America acted independently to forge economic links beyond the United States. The future maturing of those links suggests a less cooperative relationship with the United States.
Yet, many factors will continue to connect the United States with Latin America. In addition to the mutual needs for markets and raw materials, there is a mutual need to address the flow of illegal drugs northward into the United States. Since the 1920s the policies of the United States and Latin America have been poles apart. The U.S. effort focuses on eliminating drugs at the source, namely their destruction in the growing fields and the interdiction of drugs traveling north. Both policies led to the U.S. interference in the internal affairs of many nations, including Colombia, Peru, Belize, and, more recently, Mexico. In contrast, the Latin Americans charge that the U.S. demand for illegal drugs fuels the growth of them abroad. The Latin Americans assert that only a forceful effort to eliminate drug use in the United States will curtail the demand to produce the drugs abroad. While this debate continues, the use of illegal drugs within Latin America steadily increased.
Another problem of mutual concern is the migration of people to the United States, to other Latin American countries, and beyond. The movement is not confined solely to lower socioeconomic groups, who strain the social safety nets of the more advanced nations, but also the loss of highly skilled white-collar workers, whose loss severely impacts economic development at home.
Both the United States and Latin America confront the same serious domestic socioeconomic problems: government debt, educational inadequacy, health care, an aging population, housing needs, high unemployment, poverty, and aged and crumbling infrastructures. Admittedly, the depth of these challenges varies between nations, but the fundamental question confronts each: how to address them and at what cost. At the local, state, and national levels of government, the United States is in the midst of that debate. In the newly established Latin American democracies, the issue was first addressed in the election of so-called leftist politicians since 1998 and, more recently, with the newly coined term progressive capitalism, which promises to continue the capitalist model but with greater emphasis on social needs. In other words, it is a rejection or at least a modification of the neoliberal economic model.
The multitude of domestic issues outlined above will impact the foreign policy of each hemispheric nation in the collective relationship. Within the hemisphere, it will play out in Cuba, an economically and socially troubled nation whose military is of no real threat. The Castro brothers have admitted that the communist model has failed and have asked for the world's assistance. Where will the aid come from? The United States stands alone in its continued policy of isolating Cuba, even as the original reasons pass into history. Latin America long abandoned the U.S.-sponsored embargo of the island, while today Venezuela and China have replaced the Soviet Union as primary props of the minimal sustainability of the island nation. The opportunity for a multilateral approach stands waiting.
The world vastly changed in the two hundred years of U.S.–Latin American relations. Not only has U.S. influence in the southern hemisphere dwindled, so too has the region's elitist rule. No one can predict the future, but for sure the United States will confront multistate interests in the region, and Latin American governments will have to take into account the needs of their peoples when pursuing a foreign policy.
List of Entries
- Abrams, Elliot
- Accessory Transit Company
- Acción Communal
- Acheson, Dean G.
- Act of Chapultepec, 1945
- Adams, John Quincy
- Adams-Onís Treaty
- Agee, Philip
- Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act
- Alarcón de Quesada, Ricardo
- Albright, Madeleine
- Alfaro Delgado, Eloy
- All Mexico Movement (United States)
- Allende Gossens, Salvador
- Alliance for Progress
- Amador Guerrero, Manuel
- Amapala Agreement, 1923
- Amazon Cooperation Treaty, 1978 (Amazon Pact)
- American Convention on Human Rights, 1969 (Pact of San José)
- American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, 1948
- American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD)
- American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) (Peru)
- American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, 1948
- Americas Barometer (Latin American Public Opinion Project—LAPOP)
- Amistad Mutiny, 1839
- Ancón Treaty, 1883
- Andean Pact, 1969
- Anglo-American Caribbean Commission
- Antarctica, Argentine, and Chilean Claims to
- Antarctic Treaty, 1959
- Anti-Americanism in Latin America
- Anti-War Treaty of Non-Aggression and Conciliation, 1933
- Aranha, Oswaldo
- Arbenz Guzmán, Jacobo
- Arévalo Bermejo, Juan José
- Argentina, Financial Crisis, 2000–2002
- Argentina, U.S. Relations with
- Arias Madrid, Arnulfo
- Arias Peace Plan
- Arias Sánchez, Oscar
- Aristide, Jean-Bertrand
- Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) (Puerto Rico)
- Arms Industry in Latin America
- Arms Transfers to Latin America
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Aspinwall, William H.
- Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
- Atkins, Edwin F.
- Atlantic Community Development Group for Latin America
- Atocha, Alexander
- Austin, Moses
- Austin, Stephen F.
- Austral Plan, 1985 (Argentina)
- Ávila Camacho, Manuel
- Bacon, Robert
- Baker, James A. III
- Baker Plan
- Balaguer Ricardo, Joaquín
- Baltimore Affair, 1891
- Banco del Sur (Bank of the South)
- Banking, Offshore
- Banzer Suárez, Hugo
- Barco Vargas, Virgilio
- Barletta Vallarino, Nicolás Ardito
- Barrios, Justo Rufino
- Batista y Zaldívar, Fulgencio
- Batlle y Ordóñez, José
- Bayard, Thomas F.
- Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961
- Beach, Moses Yale
- Beagle Channel Dispute (Argentina/Chile)
- Beals, Carleton
- Belaúnde, Víctor Andrés
- Belaúnde Terry, Fernando
- Belize, U.S. Relations with
- Belize, Guatemalan Claims to
- Benton, Thomas Hart
- Berenson, Lori
- Berle, Adolf A. Jr.
- Betancourt Bello, Rómulo
- Bidlack-Mallarino Treaty, 1846
- Bishops’ Conference, Medellín, 1968
- Bissell, Richard M. Jr.
- Black Warrior Incident, 1854
- Blaine, James G.
- Blue Book, Argentina
- Bogotá, Act of, 1960
- Bogotá Conference
- Bogotazo, 1948 (Colombia)
- Boland Amendments (1982/1984)
- Bolívar, Simón
- Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA)
- Bolivia, U.S. Military Antidrug Program, 1986
- Bolivia, U.S. Relations with
- Bolivian Revolution, 1952–1956, U.S. Policy toward
- Bonsal, Philip W.
- Bosch Gaviño, Juan
- Boston Fruit Company
- Bowers, Claude G.
- Bracero Program
- Braden, Spruille
- Brady Plan
- Brain Drain
- Brazil, Coup d'état, 1964
- Brazil, U.S. Relations with
- Briggs, Ellis O.
- Brooke, General John R.
- Brothers to the Rescue
- Brum Plan
- Brum Rodríguez, Baltasar
- Bryan, William Jennings
- Bryan-Chamorro Treaty, 1915
- Bucareli Agreements, 1923
- Buchanan, James
- Buenos Aires Conference
- Bunau-Varilla, Philippe J.
- Bunker, Ellsworth
- Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Regimes
- Burnham, Forbes
- Bush, George H. W.
- Bush, George W.
- Butler, Anthony
- Butler, Smedley D.
- Cabot, John M.
- Caffery, Jefferson
- Calderón Guardia, Rafael
- Calero, Adolfo
- Calhoun, John C.
- Calles, Plutarco Elías
- Calvo, Carlos
- Calvo Doctrine
- Camarena, Enrique
- Campos, Francisco Luiz da Silva
- Cañas-Jerez Treaty, 1858
- Caperton, Admiral William B.
- Caracas Conference
- Cardenal Martínez, Reverend Ernesto
- Cárdenas del Río, Lázaro
- Cardoso, Fernando Henrique
- Carías Andino, Tiburcio
- Caribbean, German U-boat Threat, World War II
- Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)
- Caribbean Basin Partnership Act, 2000 (United States)
- Caribbean Community Common Market (CARICOM)
- Caribbean Legion
- Carnegie, Andrew
- Carranza Garza, Venustiano
- Carrera Turcios, José Rafael
- Cartagena, Agreement of, 1969 (Andean Pact)
- Carter, Jimmy
- Castillo Armas, Carlos
- Castro Ruz, Fidel
- Castro Ruz, Raúl
- Cédras, Raoul
- Central America, Filibusters
- Central America: Unification Efforts since 1840
- Central American Arms Limitation Agreement, 1923
- Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI)
- Central American Common Market (CACM)
- Central American Conference, Washington, 1907
- Central American Conference, Washington, 1923
- Central American Court of Justice
- Central American Defense Council (CONDECA)
- Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, 2004 (CAFTA-DR)
- Central American Wars, 1980s
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Chaco War, 1932–1935
- Chamizal Boundary Dispute, 1864–1964
- Chamorro, Violeta
- Chamorro Cardenal, Pedro Joaquín
- Chamorro Vargas, Emiliano
- Chapultepec Conference
- Chatfield, Frederick
- Chávez Frías, Hugo
- Chiari Remón, Roberto Francisco
- Chicago Boys
- Chile, U.S. Relations with
- Chilean Development Corporation (CORFO)
- “Chileanization” of Foreign Properties
- China, People's Republic of, Relations with Latin America
- Chiquita Brands International
- Christmas, Lee
- Christopher, Warren
- Church Committee
- Cipriano Castro Ruiz, José
- Civic Action Programs
- Clark, J. Reuben
- Clark Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine
- Clay, Henry
- Clayton, John M.
- Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, 1850
- Cleveland, Grover
- Clinton, Hillary Rodham
- Clinton, William J.
- Coffee as an Export Crop
- Colombia, U.S. Relations with
- Commercial Bureau of the American Republics
- Committee For Political Defense
- Communism in Latin America
- Confederation of Central American States (1823–1839)
- Confederation of Latin American Workers (CTAL)
- Conference of American States on Conciliation and Arbitration, Washington, 1928–1929
- Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM)
- Contadora Peace Process
- Continental Treaty, 1856
- Contreras Sepúlveda, Manuel
- Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988
- Convention for the Maintenance, Preservation, and Reestablishment of Peace, 1936
- Coolidge, Calvin
- Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, Office of, World War II
- Costa Rica, U.S. Relations with
- Costa Rica-Nicaragua Boundary Dispute
- Cotonou Agreement, 2000
- Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
- Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON)
- Creole Affair, 1841
- Cristiani Burkard, Alfredo
- Cromwell, William N.
- Crowder, Enoch H.
- Cruzado Plan, 1985 (Brazil)
- Cuba, 26th of July Movement
- Cuba, Permanent Treaty with the United States, 1903
- Cuba, Rapprochement with the United States, 1960s–1990s
- Cuba, U.S. Embargo of
- Cuba, U.S. Relations with
- Cuban American National Foundation
- Cuban Americans
- Cuban Democracy Act, 1992 (United States)
- Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, 1996 (United States)
- Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
- Cuban Revolution, 1956–1959, U.S. Policy toward
- Cultural Imperialism
- Cuyamel Fruit Company
- D'Aubuisson Arrieta, Roberto
- Dance of the Millions
- Daniels, Josephus
- Danish West Indies, U.S. Acquisition of
- Darío, Rubén
- Dartiguenave, Philippe Sudré
- Dawson, Thomas C.
- De la Madrid Hurtado, Miguel
- de Lesseps, Ferdinand Marie
- Death Squads
- Debt Crisis, Latin America, 1870s, 1930s, 1980s
- Declaration of Reciprocal Assistance, 1940
- Defense Sites Agreements, World War II
- Democratic Revolutionary Front (El Salvador)
- Dependency Theory and Latin America
- Dessalines, Jean-Jacques
- Destroyers for Bases Agreement, 1940
- Díaz Mori, Porfirio
- Díaz Recinos, Adolfo
- Dickinson-Ayón Treaty, 1867
- Dictators, U.S. Policy toward
- Dillon, C. Douglas
- “Disappeared Ones” (Desaparecidos), Argentina and Chile, 1970s–1980s
- Dodds, Harold W.
- Doheny, Edward L.
- Dollar Diplomacy
- Dominican Republic, Conflicts with Haiti
- Dominican Republic, U.S. Intervention, 1965–1966
- Dominican Republic, U.S. Relations with
- Drago, Luis M.
- Drago Doctrine
- Dreier, John C.
- Drugs, U.S. War on
- Drug Trafficking
- Duarte Fuentes, José Napoleón
- Duggan, Laurence
- Dulles, Allen W.
- Dulles, John Foster
- Dumbarton Oaks Proposals
- Dupuy de Lôme, Enrique
- Dutch-Speaking Caribbean, U.S. Relations with
- Duvalier, François
- Duvalier, Jean-Claude
- Echeverría Álvarez, Luis
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL)
- Ecuador, U.S. Relations with
- Ecuador-Peru Boundary Dispute
- Eighth International Conference of American States, Lima, 1938
- Eisenhower, Dwight D.
- Eisenhower, Milton
- Eisenhower-Remón Treaty, 1955
- El Salvador, U.S. Relations with
- El Salvador–Honduras War
- Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense, World War II
- En Guardia
- English-Speaking Caribbean, U.S. Relations with: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Dominica; Grenada; Jamaica; Montserrat; St. Kitts and St. Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent; The Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands
- Enterprise for the Americas Initiative
- Environmental Protection, U.S. Influence on Latin American Policy
- Escobar Gaviria, Pablo
- Escudé, Carlos
- Estrada Cabrera, Manuel
- Estrada Doctrine
- Estrada Félix, Genaro
- Estrada Palma, Tomás
- European Economic Community and Latin America
- European Union and Latin America
- Evarts, William
- Evarts Doctrine
- Everett, Edward
- Export-Based Economies
- Export-Import Bank (EXIM)
- Fagen, Richard
- Falkland Islands
- Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) (El Salvador)
- Farnham, Roger
- Farquhar, Percival
- Federal Bureau of Narcotics
- Fifth International Conference of American States, Santiago, 1923
- Figueres Ferrer, José
- Filós-Hines Treaty, 1947
- First International Conference of American States, Washington, 1889
- First Meeting of American Presidents, Panama, 1956
- First Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Panama, 1939
- First Special Inter-American Conference (Washington), 1964
- Fish, Hamilton
- Flood, Daniel
- Floridas, U.S. Acquisition, 1810–1819
- Food for Peace
- Foraker, Joseph B.
- Foraker Amendment
- Ford, Gerald R.
- Ford Foundation
- Foreign Sales Corporations: 927 Industries
- Foster, John W.
- Fourth International Conference of American States, Buenos Aires, 1910
- Fox, Vicente
- France, Intervention in Mexico, 1862–1867
- France, Nineteenth-Century Interests in Latin America
- Frank, Andre Gunder
- Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
- Frei Montalva, Eduardo
- Freire, Paulo
- Frelinghuysen, Frederick
- Frelinghuysen-Zavala Treaty, 1884
- French Canal Company
- French Guiana, U.S. Relations with
- French-Speaking Caribbean: Guadeloupe, Martinique, U.S. Relations with
- Frondizi, Arturo
- Fuentes Macías, Carlos
- Fujimori, Alberto Keinya
- Fulbright, J. William
- Furtado, Celso
- Gadsden, James
- Gadsden Treaty, 1853
- Gage, Thomas
- Gairy, Eric
- Gaitán Ayala, Jorge Eliécer
- Galtieri, Leopoldo Fortunato
- García Iñiguez, Calixto
- García Moreno, Gabriel
- García Pérez, Alan
- Garfield, James A.
- Garvey, Marcus
- Gaviria Trujillo, César
- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
- Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
- General Treaty of Peace and Amnesty, 1923
- Germany, Nineteenth-Century Interests in Latin America
- Goethals, George W.
- Gómez Báez, Máximo
- Gondra Treaty, 1923
- González, Elián
- Good Neighbor Policy
- Gordon, Lincoln
- Gorgas, William C.
- Goulart, João Belchior
- Grace, W. R.
- Graf Spee Incident, 1939
- Grant, Ulysses S.
- Grau San Martín, Ramón
- Great Britain, Nineteenth-Century Interests in Latin America
- Great Depression, Impact on Latin America
- Grenada, U.S. Invasion of, 1983
- Greytown Incident, 1854
- Guani Doctrine
- Guantánamo Naval Base
- Guatemala, U.S. Invasion of, 1954
- Guatemala, U.S. Relations with
- Guatemala-Honduras Boundary Dispute
- Guatemalan United Revolutionary Front (URNG)
- Guayaquil and Quito Railroad
- Guerrilla Warfare
- Guevara de la Serna, Ernesto “Che”
- Guggenheim, Harry F.
- Guillaume Sam, Vilbrun
- Guyana, U.S. Relations with
- Guzmán, Abimael
- Haig, Alexander
- Haiti, Independence
- Haiti, Refugees from
- Haiti, U.S. Intervention under President Clinton, 1994
- Haiti, U.S. Relations with
- Harding, Warren G.
- Harrison, Benjamin
- Havana Conference
- Hay, John
- Haya de la Torre, Victor Raúl
- Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty, 1903
- Hayes, Rutherford B.
- Hay-Herrán Treaty, 1903
- Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, 1901
- Hearst, William Randolph
- Helms, Jesse
- Helms-Burton Law, 1996
- Hepburn Bill, 1902
- Hernández Martínez, Maximiliano
- Herrera, José Joaquín
- Herter, Christian A.
- Hise, Elijah
- Hise-Selva Treaty, 1849
- Honduras, U.S. Relations with
- Honduras-Nicaragua Boundary Dispute
- Hoover, Herbert
- Houston, Sam
- Huerta, Victoriano
- Hughes, Charles Evans
- Hull, Cordell
- Hull-Alfaro Treaty, 1936
- Human Rights
- Ibáñez del Campo, Carlos
- Immigration Act, 1924 (United States)
- Immigration Act, 1990 (United States)
- Immigration and Nationality Acts, 1952 and 1965 (United States)
- Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), United States
- Immigration Policy, United States
- Immigration Reform and Control Act, 1986 (IRCA) (United States)
- Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI)
- Institute for European-Latin American Relations (IRELA)
- Institute for the Integration of Latin America (INTAL)
- Institute of Inter-American Affairs (IIAA)
- Intellectual Property Rights
- Inter-American Charter of Social Guarantees, 1948
- Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN)
- Inter-American Coffee Agreement, 1940
- Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW)
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
- Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE)
- Inter-American Conference, Proposed, 1881
- Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Continental Peace and Security, Rio de Janeiro, 1947
- Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, Buenos Aires, 1936
- Inter-American Conference on the Problems of War and Peace, Mexico City, 1945
- Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (ICAC), 1996
- Inter-American Council for Commerce and Production (CICYP)
- Inter-American Council of Jurists (IACJ)
- Inter-American Court of Human Rights
- Inter-American Defense Board (IADB)
- Inter-American Defense College (IADC)
- Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
- Inter-American Dialogue
- Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD)
- Inter-American Federation of Labor (CIT)
- Inter-American Indian Institute (III)
- Inter-American Peace Force (IAPF)
- Inter American Press Association (IAPA)
- Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers (ORIT)
- Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, 1947
- Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, 1982
- Inter-American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, 1948 Pact of Bogotá
- Intergovernmental Council of Copper Exporting Countries (CIPEC)
- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
- International Bauxite Association (IBA)
- International Coffee Agreement (ICA), 1962
- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
- International Court of Justice (ICJ-CIJ)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- International Organization of Banana Exporters (UPEB)
- International Railway of Central America (IRCA)
- International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) Corporation
- International Tin Agreement (ITA), 1981
- Interoceanic Canal Commission (ICC) (United States)
- Iran-Contra Affair
- Iron Exporting Countries, Association of (APEF)
- Isle of Pines Treaty, 1925
- Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC) (Walker Commission)
- Jackson, Andrew
- Jagan, Cheddi
- Japan, Relations with Latin America
- Japanese Community in Latin America
- Jay-Gardoqui Treaty, 1785–1786
- Jay's Treaty, 1794
- Jefferson, Thomas
- Jewish Communities in Latin America
- Johnson, Lyndon B.
- Johnson Doctrine
- Juárez García, Benito
- Justice Studies Center of the Americas
- Keith, Minor C.
- Kellogg, Frank B.
- Kellogg-Alfaro Treaty, 1926
- Kemmerer, Edwin W.
- Kennan, George F.
- Kennedy, John F.
- Khrushchev, Nikita
- Kinney, Henry L.
- Kissinger, Henry A.
- Kissinger Commission
- Knox, Philander C.
- Knox-Castrillo Treaty, 1911
- Knox-Paredes Convention, 1911
- Korean War, 1950–1953
- Kubitschek de Oliveira, Juscelino
- La Matanza (El Salvador)
- Lagos Escobar, Ricardo
- Lansing, Robert
- Larkin, Thomas O.
- Latin American Economic System (SELA)
- Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE)
- Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA)
- Latin American Independence, 1803–1826, U.S. Policy toward
- Latin American Integration Association (ALADI)
- Latinos and U.S. Policy
- League of Nations
- Lehder Rivas, Carlos
- Lend-Lease Program, World War II
- Letelier de Solar, Orlando
- Leticia Controversy, 1922–1935
- Liberation Theology
- Lima, Declaration of, 1938
- Lima, Manuel de Oliveira
- Lima Conference, 1847–1848
- Lima Conference, 1864–1865
- Lincoln, Abraham
- Linowitz, Sol M.
- Lleras Camargo, Alberto
- Lodge, Henry Cabot Sr.
- Lombardo Toledano, Vicente
- Lomé Conventions, 1975–1994
- López, Narciso
- Louisiana Purchase, 1803
- Lucas García, Romeo
- Lula da Silva, Luiz Inácio
- M-19: 19th of April Movement (Colombia)
- Machado y Morales, Gerardo
- Madero, Francisco I.
- Magoon, Charles E.
- Mahan, Alfred T.
- Maine, Sinking of, 1898
- Malvinas/Falkland Islands Controversy and War (Argentina/United Kingdom)
- Managua, Treaty of, 1860
- Manifest Destiny
- Manley, Michael
- Mann, Thomas C.
- Mann Doctrine
- Marcy, William L.
- Mariátegui, José Carlos
- Mariel Boatlift, 1980
- Mariscal, Ignacio
- Maritime Canal Company
- Marshall, George C.
- Marshall Plan and Latin America
- Martí y Pérez, José Julián
- Masferrer Rojas, Rolando
- Matthews, Herbert L.
- Maximilian, Archduke Ferdinand, Emperor of Mexico
- McKinley, William
- McLane-Ocampo Treaty, 1859
- Meiggs, Henry
- Menchú Tum, Rigoberta
- Menem, Carlos Saúl
- Menocal, Aniceto García
- Messersmith, George S.
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
- Mexican-American War, 1846–1848
- Mexican-American War: California, U.S. Acquisition of
- Mexican-American War: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848
- Mexican Revolution, 1911–1917, U.S. Policy toward
- Mexico, U.S. Relations with
- Mexico City Conference
- Mexico City Olympics, 1968
- Mexico: Financial Collapse, 1994
- Mexico-U.S. Border and Drug Control
- Military, Role in Politics
- Miller, Edward G. Jr.
- Miranda, Francisco de
- Mobile Act, 1804 (United States)
- Monge Álvarez, Luis Alberto
- Monroe, James
- Monroe Doctrine
- Montevideo, Conference
- Montevideo, Treaty of, 1828
- Montevideo, Treaty of, 1960
- Montevideo, Treaty of, 1980
- Morales Ayma, Juan Evo
- Morgan, John T.
- Morrow, Dwight W.
- Moskito Coast
- Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) (Chile)
- Muñoz Marín, Luís
- Munro, Dana G.
- Munro-Blanchet Treaty, 1932
- Mutual Security Act, 1951 (United States)
- Nabuco, Joaquim
- Namphy, General Henri
- Napoleon III
- Nationalization of Foreign Owned Companies
- National Opposition Union (UNO) (Nicaragua)
- National Revolutionary Movement (MNR) (Bolivia)
- Nazi Activities in Latin America, World War II
- Neoliberal Economic Development Model
- Neruda, Pablo
- New Jewell Movement
- New Panama Canal Company
- Nicaragua, U.S. Relations with
- Nicaraguan-Costa Rican Conflict, 1948
- Ninth International Conference of American States, Bogotá, 1948
- Nixon, Richard M.
- Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
- Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
- Noriega Moreno, Manuel Antonio
- North, Oliver L.
- North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), 1992
- North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), 1992
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 1992
- No-Transfer Resolution, 1811
- NSC-68 (U.S. National Security Council)
- Obama, Barack H.
- Ochoa Sánchez, Arnaldo T.
- O'Donnell, Guillermo
- Odría Amoretti, Manuel A.
- Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean (United States)
- Offshore Assembly: “807 Industries”
- Oil, Expropriation of Foreign Companies
- Oil Shocks Since 1970, Impact on Latin America
- Olney, Richard
- Olney Doctrine
- Onís y González, Luis de
- Operation Blast Furnace
- Operation Bootstrap (Puerto Rico)
- Operation Condor
- Operation Intercept
- Operation Just Cause
- Operation Mongoose
- Operation Pan America
- Operation Snow Cap, 1988
- Operation “Urgent Fury”
- Operation Wetback, 1954
- Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (OPANAL)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Organization of Central American States (ODECA)
- Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
- Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
- Orinoco River Valley Dispute
- Ortega Saavedra, José Daniel
- Ortega y Gasset, José
- Ostend Manifesto, 1854
- O'Sullivan, John
- Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
- Padilla Peñalosa, Ezequiel
- Panama, Declaration of, 1939
- Panama, Independence of, 1903
- Panama, Isthmian Canal Interests, Nineteenth Century
- Panama, U.S. Invasion of, 1989
- Panama, U.S. Relations with
- Panama Canal, Administration of
- Panama Canal Expansion, 2007
- Panama Canal Treaties (Carter-Torrijos), 1977
- Panama Conference, 1826
- Panama Meeting
- Panama Railroad
- Panama Riots, 1964
- Pan American Airways
- Pan American Airways Airport Development Program
- Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)
- Pan American-Grace Airways
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
- Pan American Highway
- Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH)
- Pan-American Union
- Pani Arteaga, Alberto J.
- Paraguay, U.S. Relations with
- Pardo, Rodrigo
- Paris, Treaty of, 1898
- Partners of the Americas
- Pastor, Robert
- Pastora Gómez, Edén
- Pastry War, 1838–1839 (France/Mexico)
- Paz Estenssoro, Á. Víctor
- Pedro II, Emperor Dom
- Pérez de Cuéllar Guerra, Javier
- Pérez Jiménez, Marcos
- Perón Sosa, Juan Domingo
- Pershing, General John J. “Black Jack”
- Peru, U.S. Relations with
- Peurifoy, John
- Pierce, Franklin
- Pinckney's Treaty, 1795
- Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto
- Platt, Orville
- Platt Amendment
- Plaza Lasso, Galo
- Poinsett, Joel R.
- Point Four Program
- Polk, James K.
- Pope John Paul II
- Powell, Colin L.
- Prebisch, Raúl
- Preston, Andrew
- Prío Socarrás, Carlos
- Proposition 187, California
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Puerto Rico, U.S. Relations with
- Punta del Este, Charter of, 1961
- Punta del Este Meeting
- Quadros da Silva, Jânio
- Radio and TV Martí
- Reagan, Ronald W.
- Remón Cantera, José A.
- Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
- Rice, Condoleezza
- Rio Branco, Barão do
- Rio de Janeiro Conference, 1947
- Rio Group (Permanent Mechanism of Political Consultation and Agreement)
- Ríos Montt, Efraín
- Rio Treaty, 1947
- River Plate Basin Treaty, 1969
- Roa García, Raúl
- Rockefeller, Nelson A.
- Rockefeller Report, 1969
- Rodó Piñeyro, José Enrique
- Rogers, William P.
- Roman Catholic Church in Latin America
- Romero, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo
- Roosevelt, Franklin D.
- Roosevelt, Theodore
- Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
- Root, Elihu
- Root-Cortés Treaty, 1909
- Rosario Mining Company
- Rowe, Leo S.
- Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company
- Rubottom, Roy R. Jr.
- Rusk, Dean
- Saavedra Lamas Treaty, 1933
- Sacasa, Juan B.
- Salinas de Gortari, Carlos
- Samaná Bay, U.S. Interest in
- Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) (Nicaragua)
- Sandino, Augusto César
- San José Agreement, Declaration of, 1960
- San Juan River Canal Project
- Santa Anna, Antonio López de
- Santiago Conference, 1856
- Santiago Conference, 1923
- Santos Montejo, Eduardo
- Sarmiento, Domingo Faustino
- School of the Americas
- Scott, Winfield
- Scrymser, James
- Seabed Arms Control Treaty (SACT), 1972
- Seaga, Edward
- Second International Conference of American States, Mexico City, 1901–1902
- Second Meeting of American Presidents, Punta del Este, 1967
- Second Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Havana, 1940
- Seventh International Conference of American States, Montevideo, 1933
- Seward, William H.
- Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) (Peru)
- Shultz, George P.
- Sixth International Conference of American States, Havana, 1928
- Slacum, George W.
- Slidell, John
- Soccer War, 1969 (Honduras/El Salvador)
- Social Progress Trust Fund
- Somoza Debayle, Anastasio
- Somoza García, Anastasio
- Soulé, Pierre
- Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)
- South Korea, Relations with Latin America
- Soviet Union, Latin American Policy
- Spaeth, Carl B.
- Spanish-Cuban-American War, 1895–1898
- Spooner Act, 1902 (United States)
- Squier, Ephraim G.
- St. Louis Affair, 1939
- Standard Fruit and Steamship Company
- Standard Oil Company
- Stephens, John Lloyd
- Stimson, Henry L.
- Stroessner, Alfredo
- Sugar, U.S. Policy
- Summits of the Americas
- Suriname, U.S. Relations with
- Sutter's Fort, California
- System of Central American Integration (SITA)
- Tacna-Arica Dispute, 1883–1929
- Taft, William H.
- Taft-Bacon Mission to Cuba, 1906
- Taiwan, Relations with Latin America
- Taylor, Zachary
- Teller, Henry M.
- Teller Amendment
- Tenth International Conference of American States, Caracas, 1954
- Ten Years’ War, 1868–1878 (Cuba)
- Tequila Effect, 1994 (Mexico)
- Texas, U.S. Annexation of
- Texas (Lone Star Republic), U.S. Relations with, 1836–1846
- Third International Conference of American States, Rio de Janeiro, 1906
- Third Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Rio de Janeiro, 1942
- Thomson-Urrutia Treaty, 1914
- Timerman, Jacobo
- Tinoco Granados, Federico A.
- Tipitapa, Peace Treaty, 1927 (Nicaragua)
- Tlatelolco Treaty, 1967
- Tobar Doctrine
- Tobar Donoso, Julio
- Toriello Garrido, Guillermo
- Torricelli Bill
- Torrijos Herrera, Omar
- Transcontinental Treaty, 1819
- Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1825 (United Provinces of Central America/United States)
- Treaty of Union and Defensive Alliance, 1865
- Treaty to Avoid or Prevent Conflicts between the American States, 1923
- Trescot, William H.
- Trilateral Commission
- Trist, Nicholas P.
- Trujillo Molina, Rafael Leónidas
- Truman, Harry S.
- Tugwell, Rexford G.
- Tuna War, 1963–1975 (Ecuador/United States)
- Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) (Peru)
- Tupamaros (National Liberation Front) (Uruguay)
- Turcios Lima, Luis Augusto
- Tyler, John
- Ubico y Castañeda, Jorge
- United Fruit Company (UFCO)
- United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992
- United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, 1982
- United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA), 1989–1992
- United Nations Stabilization Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH), 2004–
- United Provinces of Central America, 1823–1839
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Costa Rica
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Cuba
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Dominican Republic
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Haiti
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions 1900–1934: Honduras
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Mexico
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Nicaragua
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Panama
- United States, circum-Caribbean Interventions, 1900–1934: Venezuela
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- United States and Andean Trade Preference Act, 1991
- United States and Democracy in Latin America
- United States and Reciprocal Trade Agreements, 1930s
- United States–Bolivian Anti-Narcotics Agreement, 1990
- U.S. Civil War, 1861–1865
- U.S. Confederate Exiles in Latin America (Confederados)
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- U.S. Economic Investments in Latin America
- U.S. Military Assistance Program
- U.S. Recognition Policy
- U.S. Revolution, 1776–1783
- Universal Interoceanic Canal Company
- Uruguay, U.S. Relations with
- Vaccaro Brothers Fruit Company
- Valentine, Washington
- Vance, Cyrus R. Jr.
- Vandenberg, Arthur H.
- Vandenberg Resolution
- Vanderbilt, Cornelius
- Vargas, Getúlio Dornelles
- Vargas Llosa, Mario
- Velasco Alvarado, Juan
- Velasco Ibarra, José María
- Venezuela, U.S. Relations with
- Venezuela-British Guiana Boundary Dispute, 1890s
- Venezuelan Crisis, 1902
- Videla Redondo, Jorge Rafael
- Villa, Francisco “Pancho”
- Virginius Affair, 1873
- Walker, William L.
- Walker Commission
- Walt Disney Studios and Latin America
- War of the Pacific, 1879–1883
- War of the Triple Alliance, 1864–1870
- Washington, Treaty of, 1871
- Washington Conference
- Wasmosy Monti, Juan Carlos
- Watermelon War, 1856
- Water Witch Incident, 1855
- Webster, Daniel
- Webster-Crampton Convention, 1852
- Welles, Sumner
- Wessin y Wessin, Elías
- Weyler Nicolau, Valeriano
- White, Francis G.
- Williams, Eric
- Wilson, Henry Lane
- Wilson, Woodrow
- Wood, General Leonard
- Woodrow Wilson Center, Latin American Program
- World Bank
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- World War I, 1914–1918
- World War II, 1939–1945
- W. R. Grace and Company
- Yon Sosa, Marco Antonio
- Yucatán State, Relations with Texas and the United States, 1840–1848
- Zamora Rivas, Rubén Ignacio
- Zapata Salazar, Emiliano
- Zapatista Uprising, 1994 (Mexico)
- Zedillo Ponce de León, Ernesto
- Zelaya López, José Santos
- Zemurray, Samuel
- Zimmermann Telegram