The Caribbean orbit of American influence



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Statement of the problem. It is the purpose of this thesis to show how the Monroe Doctrine was modified to enable the United States to deal with each complicated situation as it arose in the countries bordering on the Caribbean. Doubtless these modifications furthered the interests of the United States, but they also created antagonisms in the Latin-American countries, and caused them to seek friendship and economic relations in Europe. All the countries bordering on the Caribbean are of strategic importance in the defense of the United States, as well as of the entire hemisphere. The United States has always sought closer cultural and economic relations with the Latin countries. The present "good neighbor" policy is but another aspect of this traditional quest for security for ourselves and for our neighbors. The writer has attempted to present as a unified whole, the commercial and economic inter-relationship of the Caribbean countries, beginning with the issuance of the Monroe Doctrine and ending with the repercussions of the present conflict in Europe as they have affected the Western Hemisphere. Procedures and sources of data. Available primary and secondary source materials were used to substantiate the historical sequence. Interpretation of recent trends was based on articles appearing in Current History and The Annals of the American Academy. Books containing descriptive information of these countries were suggested by the Pan- American Union. Trade figures were obtained from the United States Department of Commerce, Houston Branch Office, Division of Foreign Trade and Statistics. The resume of current economic conditions was based on Commerce Reports of recent date. Other information concerning imports and exports was based on Commerce and Economic Resources of Our Outlying Territories and Possessions and South America's Trade. Summary and Conclusions. The Monroe Doctrine defined Europe's relation to the New World; but the United States' relation to the Latin-American nations was not mentioned. There were times when it seemed that the Doctrine had been abandoned, only to be revived with new vigor. While the United States was expanding territorially, the Monroe Doctrine was enforced as a unilateral policy. The development of the Panama policy gave added importance to the Caribbean region. Enmity and hatred among the Latin countries were engendered by the haughty, impatient, and aggressive policies of the United States; order was valued more than liberty, and dollars more than democracy. Mexico and Cuba being nearest, the influence of the United States has been felt most strongly in these two countries. Present conditions in Mexico have made adherence to the "good neighbor" policy difficult. The deplorable conditions in Puerto Rico present a challenge which the United States must meet. All of the islands and countries bordering on the Caribbean are of strategic importance in the defense of the Panama. Stable political and economic conditions in these countries are of increasing importance to the United States. The actions of the United States had their origin in the defense of the nation. This fundamental problem of defense is more important now than ever before; but it has been the desire of several Administrations to accomplish this, without arousing Latin-American antipathy toward the United States. In fact, perfect defense of the Americas depends upon the co-operation of all the countries with one aother. Goodwill usually comes as a result of a better understanding based on close economic and trade relations. A relationship of lasting value can be built if the United States shows a sincere desire to help the Latin republics solve their problems, and enter into mutually beneficial trade relations.Such a solution would contribute to the defense of the democratic ideal in the Western Hemisphere.