July 5, 2022

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More than a century of American interventions in Latin America

Written by Marta Dennis Valley

Historian, journalist and contributor to Prensa Latina

The initial plan for the attack was drawn up at the camp of Major General Calixto García, on June 20, 1898, in Aserradero, on the southern Cuban coast, 30 kilometers west of Santiago.

That afternoon, Major General William R. Shafter, commander of the US Army’s Fifth Corps, and division commander, Admiral William Sampson, are there to meet with Calixto Garcia.

On June 22, the first landing of American troops took place in the village of Daiquirí, in the southwest of the city, formerly occupied by the troops of the Liberation Army under the command of General Demetriu Castillo Doni (1858-1902), who expelled him. Spanish.

With Cuban forces at the front, the Americans advanced on Vermisa to the northwest and Siboney on the coast. The next bridgehead was built in this last place – along the current highway, only about 16 kilometers from Santiago de Cuba.

Two days later, the bulk of the Fifth Army began to be unloaded, an operation that ended on June 26.

The US Army’s Fifth Corps consisted of about 20,000 men (more than 900 commanders and officers), divided into two infantry divisions, a cavalry division, an independent brigade, artillery, engineers, and a battalion with captive airship.

They had about 40 boats, including tanks, several rafts and other smaller boats, as well as road transport and ambulances. The expedition left Tampa on June 16.

In July, the main events occurred where the Liberation Army was the decisive element in the occupation of Santiago de Cuba by United States forces, in the summer of 1898.

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twentieth century sylvus

In search of markets, on the eve of the 20th century, new crusades for marines and gunboats emerged from what was the world’s leading industrial and agricultural product at the time.

Its financial capital shrieked for more room to expand inside a suit about to burst its seams on the borders of the Atlantic and Pacific.

The miracle occurred in the Cuban campaign of 1898, which was a wonderful prelude to successive interventions in Central America and the Caribbean, whose power would cover all sectors and enforce the will of the United States throughout the following century.

The influence of 1898 in America had evidence of bullets and blood, trade treaties made “at gunpoint” and a vast area of ​​influence which, in the course of a few decades, dislodged European powers to rule also in South America; He also got to exploit the Panama Canal.

In 1904, American businessman Minor C. Keith, founder of the United Fruit Company, obtained from Guatemala a concession of land, docks, and railroads, cementing the breakthrough that had begun in 1901. His Atlantic Coast real estate concessions were extended with the support of Washington.

The United States, present in Cuba and Puerto Rico since 1898, occupied Haiti (1915-1934) and the Dominican Republic (1916-1924).

The list was endless until the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1954), the organization of a mercenary invasion against Cuba (1961), the fascist military coup in Chile (1973) and the conquest of Granada (1983).

The United States planted and reinforced many dictators in the region: in Cuba, Gerardo Machado (1925-1933) and Fulgencio Batista (1952-1958). He supported the bloody dictatorships of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1930-1961) in the Dominican Republic, and François Duvalier (1957-1971) in Haiti.

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in Guatemala, Carlos Castillo Armas (1954–1957); In Venezuela, Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1952–1958).

A look at the landscape of the area

In 1898, under the pretext of “protecting foreign lives and interests,” the United States sent ships and sailors to Nicaragua during an internal uprising.

In 1909 the first armed intervention took place in that country. In 1912, American forces and warships bombed and attacked Managua, Masaya, Granada, Corinto and other Nicaraguan cities. This second military intervention lasted until 1925.

There were further interventions until 1936 when Anastasio Somoza, chief of the National Guard, a body organized by the Marines, took power after the assassination of Augusto César Sandino (1895-1934), who had fought the interventionists for many years.

Sandino had between two and six thousand soldiers, columns commanded by generals, and dealt such severe blows to the invaders that Washington withdrew the Marines in 1933, having planned how to eliminate it.

Tacho Somoza (1896-1956) was grateful for Washington’s persistence in his long dictatorship from 1937, which his sons inherited, Louis and Anastasio, until the popular victory of 1979, led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

In 1905 the Dominican Republic struggled to get a grip on its custom of having North American warships in Dominican waters. A strong secession from the Marines in 1916 imposed an American military occupation regime and established a pro-American dictatorship.

In 1965, the United States unleashed a bloody intervention against the constitutional movement in the Dominican Republic.

Washington officials, in 1914, took $500,000 from a Haitian bank to transfer it to the National City Bank.

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Faced with Haiti’s refusal to accept control of its customs, on July 27, 1915, American forces landed in Port-au-Prince and imposed a puppet president and treaty that made it a Yankee protectorate.

In 1925 American forces caused dozens of deaths and injuries in Santana Park in Panama City, the first of several massacres committed against the Panamanian people. The most recent was in 1989, more than three thousand victims, most of them civilians from the poorest regions of the country.

Arb / MDV