The imperialistic policy towards Latin America carried out by the United States before the First World War continued in the interwar years. However, in the face of mounting protest against American interventions from critics both in the U.S. and in Latin American countries, the United States tried to maintain its influence on the area without direct rule or military operations. Both the Hoover and Roosevelt presidency sought to maintain American hegemony by endorsing and training strong local leaders, controlling the region's economic markets and resources and undermining unfriendly governments through both diplomatic and financial strategies. Roosevelt renamed this attitude the "Good Neighbor Policy".
Yet, the selection of local leaders to replace direct American rule often fell on cruel dictators such as Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Somoza in Nicaragua, Machado and Batista in Cuba. Direct occupation continued in Puerto Rico whose citizens were not allowed to elect their own governor until 1947.