Keeping the Backyard Safe | Sojourners

Keeping the Backyard Safe

In the commitment to freedom and independence, the peoples of this hemisphere are one. In this profound sense we are all Americans. Our principles are rooted in self-government and non-intervention.
--President Ronald Reagan, February 24, 1982

I spent 33 years and four months in active service as a member of the ...Marine Corps.... And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business...Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank to collect revenues in...I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909 to 1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903.
--Major General Smedley D. Butler, writing in 1935

The following is a list of U.S. military interventions in Central America and the Caribbean from 1898 to 1965. Most were undertaken to protect U.S. property and business interests during times of political upheaval or instability. The list does not include the several U.S. incursions into Mexico during the same period.

1898-1902 Cuba. Military occupation following the Spanish-American War.

1898 Nicaragua. To protect American lives and property at San Juan del Sur.

1899 Nicaragua. To protect U.S. interests during an insurrection.

1901 Colombia (State of Panama). To protect U.S. property during revolutionary disturbances.

1902 Colombia (State of Panama). To keep railroad lines open across the isthmus.

1903 Honduras. To protect the U.S. consulate and shipping facilities during revolutionary activity.

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