What issues has Latin America's instability posed to the United States?

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Throughout recent history, Latin America has had a significant impact on the United States due to its proximity and close trade relations. There are many economic and political ties between the two regions. Cuban instability has perhaps had the greatest impact on the United States in comparison to instability in other Latin American countries.

Economic Issues Related to Instability

Latin America is the single largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States of America. Any instability in the Latin American supply chain has a corresponding impact on oil prices and availability in the United States. Any instability in regions that supply oil leads to a spike in prices on the American market, which in turn raises the cost of food and other goods that require transportation.

Political Instability

President Kennedy cited Latin America as being "the most critical area in the world." While the United States takes an active role in the development of many different countries around the world, close proximity makes political instability in Latin America of particular concern. The Cold War is a good example of this complex political relationship at work. Between 1947 and 1989, Latin America became a battlefield between capitalism and communism. In an effort to minimize the instability created by these competing ideals, the United States put pressure on nearby Latin American nations to declare their opposition to the Soviet Union. The Rio Pact in 1947 is a primary example of this.

American military intervention has often been the result of instability in Latin America. 1959 marked a period of unrest in Cuba after Fidel Castro's defeat of Batista. Castro's regime nationalized American companies and cut ties between Havana and Washington. In response, the Kennedy administration placed a trade embargo on the island of Cuba, which has had lasting economic effects on both nations to this day. Both the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations used military intervention to further destabilize the Cuban Revolution and isolate the island from other Latin American countries. These tensions reached a peak at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, and since that time, Cuba and the United States have had strained relations. American government officials feared that communism would spread from Cuba throughout Latin America and potentially to the United States if left unchecked.

In summary, instability in Latin America has historically impacted the United States economically and politically.

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