by Luis Vega
The 1959 Cuban Revolution of Fidel Castro and his comrades sent waves of protest around the world especially in Latin America. People in those countries once again felt a sense of nationalism that they have never experienced before. It did not matter if you were Cuban or even a part of Latin America. Many people became aware of the instabilities that stagnated their countries from the levels of progress that they felt they could achieve. In addition to inspiration that Castro provided by his actions, his words were even deeper when he denounced capitalism and imperialism and promoted revolution to the point where he felt people should stand up for what they believe in and take arms if necessary.
His unique triumphant victory served as a catalyst for the rest of the world, and brought about concerns for the United States who already was knee deep in other issues. The United States was fighting the Vietnam War, and the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In one way or another the United States was fighting communism in each of the these wars, and the fact that Castro announced it as the new Cuban form of government sent fear abroad to the United States. This was a problem because, not only did the United States have to deal with communism in Southeast Asia, and in Eastern Europe, it now had to deal with it 90 miles away from its shores.
Support and Determination
The Cuban Revolution was a big turning point for Latin America because it proved that with the right amount of support and determination government can fall victim to a coup and a revolutionary attempt may successful with the right people leading it. The United States now had to rethink how it gave support and who it gave support to in terms of economic aid, and military sponsorship.
With communism now 90 miles from its shores the United States made attempts on Castro’s life, and attempts to restore democracy into the transforming island. Although it wasn’t prevalent right away Castro and the Cuban government would sponsor many left wing militias, in the attempts to give rights to the people, and have everyone live equally. Castro sponsored the legendary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and a small group of Cuban military men to fight in what is know known as the “Democratic Republic of Congo” in Africa.
The situation in Africa was already going on during the time when Castro won the leadership of Cuba, but it gave him and the other top officials in his government the right to say that they promoted equality for all peoples not only the elite upperclassmen. And the most significant part about the help he gave in Africa was that it was not in Latin America, it was on the other side of the globe. Along with his charismatic appeal this gave Castro much support from his large Afro-Cuban population. The superpower that is known as the United States became very skeptical of helping out other nations especially those in Latin America, and to drive the point home the United States did not assist any nations that had economic or political affiliations with the small communist country.
So what did the United States support after the Cuban Revolution? This information ranges from a variety of countries from Chile in the Southern most part of South America to Mexico. The Central Intelligence Agency and the United States government supported the overthrow of many leaders in over 10 countries from 1959 until now. One particular situation to take observation of is Panama in 1989 and the overthrow of Manuel Noriega.
Stooges and the States
The Panamanian natives were subject to harsh brutality by the military regime of the late 1980’s. Yes Noriega was a brutal leader committing many crimes, from the alleged killing of former Panamanian president General Omar Torrijos to drug-trafficking. Since he was a C.I.A. stooge the United States left him alone to continue his killings and harsh rule until he wanted to eschew them from their economy and at the time the United States had vested interest in Panama being as that they controlled the Panama Canal until the year 2000.
The Panama Canal brought in a lot of capital for the United States being as you can transport billions of tons of goods from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean without having to go around South America. Now that Noriega claimed that the Canal belonged to Panama and the United States is encouraged to leave as soon as possible or suffer the repercussions, is when the United States decided to take action against Noriega and the regime. What it all boils down to is the amount of vested interest that the United States has in a particular place.
These are just a couple of examples of how the United States works. It all depends on capital and the amount of vested interest that the United States has in a particular place. United States of America really wasn’t interested Cuba until Castro and the Cuban government starting claiming and seizing all lands, and it didn’t matter whether they were privately owned or publicly owned. It was when the United States couldn’t make money off of Cuba did it become a problem. And to add insult to injury Castro claimed communism as the form of government for Cuba which sent the United States into fear and shock. Now money was being stripped from the pockets of the American government and communism was only 90 miles away from Florida at time when the world was on the brink of World War III.
The battle between the United States and the Soviet Union would have brought on nuclear devastation. The United States will turn a blind eye if they have a lot of capital invested in a particular place and they see that you are violating human rights policies. It did not only happen in Panama, but it also happened in Cuba pre-Castro, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia just to name a few. The issues between Latin America and the United States go way beyond Cuba and the revolution or even “Communism vs. Democracy.” It has do with vested interest, and how money is involved in the deal. The United States is known for saying one thing and doing the complete opposite. This is happening but not limited to Latin America it has a great deal to do with the rest of the world as well. For example the United States is promoting democracy in Iraq, and Afghanistan. How come it is not doing the same in regions of Africa that desperately need the help as well such as the Sudan, or Rwanda 10 years ago? Here’s why, because the United States does not have a great deal of capital invested to those areas so there is no reason to be involved.