The Role of United States in Latin America Essay Sample

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There has been a long international relationship between Latin America and the United States. However, the relationship reduced in the 19th century leaving the US with a significant association with the nearby Mexico and Cuba and little relationship with the rest of Latin America. The relationship between the US and the Latin American countries can be traced from the European intervention an establishment of territories in South America. The US started to have a significant impact in the Latin America in the pursuit to end European intervention in the region (Dominguez & de Castro, 2016).

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The first major role of the US in the Latin America was the introduction of Monroe Doctrine, a policy issued by President James Monroe in 1823 opposing the continuation of European colonization in the region. Though the doctrine stated that the US would not get involved in the existing colonies, it was a defining part of history in the role of US in the Latin America. The Monroe Doctrine was announced at a point when almost all North and South American countries had gained independence or were just about to take freedom from the colonial masters. Thus, the US became an essential element in the freedom of the Latin America since it prevented any intention of re-colonizing the independent nations.

In the early 20th century, the role of The US in the Latin America was intensified by the reinforcing of the Monroe Doctrine with the Roosevelt Corollary Doctrine. The reshaping of the policy was aimed at preventing a foreseen credit crisis in Venezuela where it was feared that European powers could invade the nation. Under the new policy, the US deployed military force to ensure internal stability in the Western Hemisphere countries (Dominguez & de Castro, 2016). The continued application of the doctrine led to US interventions in Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua. The support offer to Latin American countries by the US intensified their control into the affairs of the countries.

The US interfered with the affairs of Latin American countries after independence for example in the fighting of the communism. They supported some of the revolutionists in the countries such as in Cuba and Mexico. Military support was offered to the US allies in several countries such as Mexico, Honduras, Chile, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua (Taffet, 2013). The Dollar diplomacy and the Big Brother policy played a significant role in the fueling of the US interference in the Latin American countries affairs. The US also had economic support to the countries as well as trading policies. At times, in support of revolutionist against unpopular US regime, they sanction financial aid temporally. A good example was the withdrawal of funding in Chile during the Salvador Allende presidency and immediate restoring of it after Augusto Pinochet overthrew him.

During the Cold War, the US activities in the Latin America intensified (Taffet, 2013, p. 2). The involvement included interference with the internal affair of Latin American countries. Regimes that were in support of US relations were strengthened while those that opposed got several sanctions including support to those intended to revolutionize the country showing support for US policies. Most of the US interference was seen as efforts to retain their economic and political power intensified by the need to remain an upper power and reduce chances of neighbors cooperating with USSR.

After the cold war ended, some presidential regimes have come out highlighting that the US interference with Latin American countries is almost drawing to a close. Despite the assurance, till some of the Latin American countries administration feels there is still meddling of activities by the US. However, the level of interference is relatively lower currently.

How Cold War shaped Role the United States in the World

The war began in 1947 after the World War II ended in 1945. The war was between the United States and the USSR following the Truman Doctrine by the US. The Soviet Union was determined in expanding its communist agendas an idea that the western democracies were opposed to and America was in the forefront campaigning for a free-market capitalist world. In the Truman Doctrine, US pledged it support to any nation that was threatened by USSR expansionism. The war, which did not involve direct combats between the two superpowers ended in 1991.

The cold war was a significant milestone towards shaping United States role in the world. It led to the United States engage in negotiation of with other nations such as USSR on the production of ammunitions. A treaty was signed limiting the production of Anti-Ballistic Missile by the USSR and Nixon. Also, in 2010, present Obama signed a treaty with Russia to reduce the number of weapons if the effort to reduce the existing tension. The US also took a front-line in negotiation to end war and invasion of countries. For example, it helped in ending of the France, Britain, and Israel in Egypt after the construction of Suez Canal, a move that involved an agreement between the US and USSR.

As a result of the cold war, the US has been trying to carry out research on different issues that may affect the world such as climate change and terrorism. The US has taken front place in fighting terrorism in all over the world, with the clearest example the pursuit to hunt down Osama Bin Laden of al Qaeda (Gibson, 2015). The US has also been offering support to countries affected by terrorism either financial or military support. There has been researching on several topics in the US trying to conserve the climate that resulted from the competition between the two top powers, US and USSR. New discoveries such as a visit to the moon and the setting of satellites have emerged. The cold war has made the US emerge as an innovation center that makes it easy to carry out several activities in a more modernized way all over the world.

Emerging countries received economic aid from the US in efforts of looking for their support and becoming their ally (Kaufman, 2010, p. 83). Also, the USS took a step and as result of the cold to prevent oppression of less develops countries from super powers. For example, after the war, the US vowed to protect nations around USSR such a Greece from dictatorial and forced entry into treaties and agreements. President Truman, come up with a doctrine that helped countries with military and financial support for countries faced with communism threat. Also, a plan to strengthen the economies and governments of Western Europe countries through the Marshall Plan was introduced.

The US took its place in taking center stage to offer military training and advice to countries threatened by the communist. For example, helping in the establishment of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and South Vietnam showed the role of the US in preventing nations from communists. Therefore, the US has taken several roles in the world as result of the cold war such as a research and innovation center, negotiations, and offering of military and financial aid to allies.


Dominguez, J. & de Castro, R. (2016). Contemporary U.S.-Latin American relations (2nd ed.). Routledge.Gibson, B. (2015). Sold out?. New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kaufman, J. (2010). A concise history of U.S. foreign policy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.

Taffet, J. U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War. Oxford Bibliographies Online Datasets.

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