U.S. Troops Occupy Dominican Republic (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: The United States invaded the Dominican Republic to prevent a popular revolution aimed at reinstating the ousted leftist president, Juan Bosch. This unilateral action drew both internal and external protest, which helped erode the credibility of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.
The Power Struggle
After the Spanish American War of 1898, the Caribbean basin rapidly became “an American lake.” Debt instability in the Dominican Republic, a small nation the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, resulted first in U.S. control over Dominican customs revenues (1905) and then in military occupation from 1916 to 1924. U.S.-supervised elections in 1924 resulted in an inefficient, corrupt government. In 1930, General Rafael Trujillo won in a “fixed election.” An iron-fisted military dictator, he ruled as for the next thirty-one years, heading a regime unrivaled for its nepotism, corruption, and use of violence to stifle criticism.
With the coming of the Cold War, Trujillo was regarded as a dependable anticommunist ally. However, his excesses, much like those of Cuban dictator Juan Batista, caused disfavor in the United States by the mid-1950’s. In May, 1961, Trujillo was assassinated, and two years of instability followed as many different factions vied for power.
(The entire section is 1014 words.)
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