These quotes all relate to the question of American imperialism in Latin America. Roosevelt and McKinley defend American imperialism, while Carnegie feels imperialism will drag America into foreign entanglements. Guevara and Castro write from the perspective of Latin Americans who oppose American imperialism and its effects on Latin America. Guevara...
These quotes all relate to the question of American imperialism in Latin America. Roosevelt and McKinley defend American imperialism, while Carnegie feels imperialism will drag America into foreign entanglements. Guevara and Castro write from the perspective of Latin Americans who oppose American imperialism and its effects on Latin America. Guevara and Castro, writing about 60 years after the Spanish-American War, speak about the effects of American imperialism and the willingness of Cubans to revolt against it.
Roosevelt was in particular a proponent of American imperialism, and he abetted a revolt in Panama, then part of Colombia, to break away from Colombia so that he could acquire the rights to build a canal across the isthmus. He writes the following:
In short, the experience of over half a century had shown Colombia to be utterly incapable of keeping order on the Isthmus. Only the active interference of the United States had enabled her to preserve so much as a semblance of sovereignty.
Roosevelt says that American intervention was necessary in Colombia because the Colombians could not maintain control over their own affairs. He casts imperialism in a positive right, asserting that Americans intervened in Colombia to help the Colombians, not themselves. Similarly, McKinley argues that the intervention in Cuba during the Spanish-American War was to help the Cubans. He writes, "The spirit of all our acts hitherto has been an earnest, unselfish desire for peace and prosperity in Cuba, untarnished by differences between us and Spain, and unstained by the blood of American citizens."
Carnegie is the lone dissenting voice who argues that American interventionism will hurt the US. He writes, "As long as we remain free from distant possessions we are impregnable against serious attack." In other words, remaining unentangled from other nations' affairs will keep America safe.
Guevara and Castro write of the harm that American imperialism has caused in Latin America. Guevara writes the following:
In most countries the large landholders realized they couldn't survive alone and promptly entered into alliances with the monopolies—the strongest and most ruthless oppressors of the Latin American peoples. U.S. capital arrived on the scene to exploit the virgin lands and later carried off, unnoticed, all the funds so "generously" given, plus several times the amount originally invested in the “beneficiary” country. The Americas were a field of interimperialist struggle.
He writes of the alliance between American capital and Latin American elites that deprived Latin America of proper development that could sustain its people. Castro also endorses the struggle against imperialism in Cuba:
We are on the frontline, a small country with few economic resources giving battle on the frontline for our sovereignty, destiny, and right. It is necessary to be very conscious that our country is facing the most fierce empire of the contemporary times. It must also be realized that imperialism will not stop trying to destroy the revolution, hinder the revolution. It must always be borne in mind that imperialism hates us with the hatred of the masters for the rebellious slaves.
He places the Cuban Revolution against the backdrop of a larger anti-imperialist struggle against the US. While Roosevelt and McKinley write of American intervention as beneficial to Latin America, Guevara and Castro clearly see the harm that intervention has caused in Latin America and the way in which it has resulted in underdevelopment. You may also see other connections between these documents.