The Great Depression also triggered political changes in Latin America. The economic crisis caused people to lose faith in the ruling oligarchies and the ideas of liberal government. Liberalism, a belief in the individual and in limited government, was a European theory. People began to feel that it did not work in Latin America.
In the midst of economic crisis, authoritarian governments with strong nationalist goals gained power in many countries. Authoritarian rulers imposed stability and supported economic nationalism, but suppressed opposition political parties and silenced critics.
By the 1920s, an upsurge of national feeling led Latin American writers, artists, and thinkers to reject European influences. Instead, they took pride in their own culture, with its blend of Western and Native American traditions.
In Mexico, cultural nationalism, or pride in one's own national culture, was reflected in the revival of mural painting, a major art form of the Aztecs and Maya. Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco (oh ROHS koh), and other muralists created magnificent works that reflected Mexican culture and history. On the walls of public buildings, they portrayed the struggles of the Mexican people for liberty. The murals have been a great source of national pride ever since.
Nationalism affected how Latin American nations saw the United States. During and after World War I, investments by the United States in Latin America soared, while British influence declined. The United States continued to play the role of international policeman, intervening to restore order when it felt its interests were threatened.
During the Mexican Revolution, the United States stepped in with military force to support the leaders who favored American interests. This interference stirred up anti-American feelings, which increased throughout Latin America during the 1920s. For example, in Nicaragua, Augusto César Sandino led a guerrilla movement against United States forces occupying his country.
In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt took a new approach to Latin America. He pledged to follow “the policy of the good neighbor.”
Under the Good Neighbor Policy, the United States agreed to stop interfering in the affairs of Latin American nations. The United States withdrew troops stationed in Haiti and Nicaragua and lifted the Platt Amendment, which had limited Cuban independence.
|Nicaragua||1912–1934||20-year occupation to fight guerrillas; from 1926–1933, sought to capture nationalistic forces led by Augusto César Sandino|
|Haiti||1914–1934||19–year occupation after revolutions|
|Dominican Republic||1916–1924||8-year Marine occupation|
|Cuba||1917–1933||Military occupation and establishment of economic protectorate under Platt Amendment|
|Panama||1918–1920||Police duty after elections; protection of United Fruit plantations|
|Guatemala||1920–1921||Two-week intervention against unionists; support of a coup|
|Costa Rica / Panama||1921||Troop intervention in border dispute|
|Mexico||1923||Air Force defense of Calles from rebellion|
|Honduras||1924–1925||Two landings during election unrest|
|Panama||1925||Marine suppression of general strike|
|El Salvador||1932||Warship support of ruling general during revolt|
During the early 1900s, the United States regularly intervened in Latin American conflicts. What was the most common form of intervention?