A brief history of U.S. intervention
in Latin America and the Caribbean
(An extended version of this list is available
1823: The Monroe Doctrine declares Latin America to be in the United States "sphere of influence."
The U.S. provokes war with Mexico and acquires half of its territory, including Texas and California.
1855: U.S. adventurer William Walker invades Nicaragua with a private army, declares himself president, and
rules for 2 years.
1898: The U.S. declares war on Spain and as a result annexes Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii.
: With the Platt Amendment, the U.S. declares its unilateral right to intervene in Cuban affairs.
1903: The U.S. encourages Panama's independence from Colombia in order to acquire the Panama Canal rights.
1905: The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declares the U.S. to be the policeman of the Caribbean; the Dominican Republic is placed under a customs receivership.
: U.S. Marines invade Nicaragua and occupy the country almost continuously until 1933.
1914: Mexican refusal to salute the U.S. flag provokes the shelling of Veracruz by a U.S. battleship and the seizure of
parts of the city by U.S. Marines.
1933: U.S. Marines finally leave Nicaragua, but are replaced by a well-trained and well-armed National Guard under the control of Anastasio Somoza.
1954: The CIA
engineers the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Guatemala; 30 years of military dictatorship, repression, and violence follow.
: The U.S. attempts to overthrow the revolutionary Cuban government at the Bay of Pigs.
1965: Johnson sends 22,000 troops to the Dominican Republic to combat the constitutional forces trying to regain power.
1973: The CIA helps overthrow the democratic government of Allende in Chile in favor of a bloody dictatorship.
1981: The Reagan Administration begins the contra war against Nicaraguan civilians.
1983: The U.S. invades Grenada to overthrow a popular government.
1989: The U.S. invades Panama to arrest accused drug dealer Manual Noriega.
: The U.S. intervenes in the Nicaraguan election process through covert and overt means.