I was excited to read this week’s chapter because this topic of American imperialism and its rocky history has come up in conversation often in the past couple weeks. The U.S. has a long history of imperialism that is often overlooked because the ideas it imposes, such as democracy and capitalism, are widely seen as positive. My argument against my fellow American friends who feel strongly patriotic is that even though the U.S. provides surface value health and freedom to its citizens (as seen in the U.S. initiative to decrease mosquitoes born illnesses), we cannot look over its past and current conditions, no matter how they compare to other countries. In my opinion, the hostile conditions between the Latin American and the American visitor to the region stems from these numerous interventions by the U.S. in Latin America.
It is absolutely shocking that UFCO owned 40% of Guatemalan land. Clearly, the economic stakes for the U.S. in Guatemala were high. The economic imperialism of the U.S. is as important, if not more important than its political and social imperialism. When looking closer at the U.S.’s previous interventions, it seems like the underlying reason for a lot of them was money. America intervenes for its pure intentions of spreading democracy and peacem but truly seeks economic gain. This is seen in Guatemala, where the U.S. investors of UFCO, two of them were government officials, had large economic interests. However, the “Good Neighbor Policy” does the opposite by using money and other types of support with the ultimate purpose of spreading their political ideas.
One particular paragraph on page 191 characterizes the discussion that I’ve have been having with my friends. On one hand, America is this advanced, industrial, and modern land of incomparable opportunity, however on the other hand it is a culture of imposing consumers who have dominated much of Latin America. The question is whether we can overlook the harm done by the U.S. to appreciate the societal conditions it enjoys today (in comparison to other countries).
I really enjoyed this week’s reading and also found it very relevant and applicable to today. What the glamorous foreign cigarette was to Latin America then, is the Abercrombie of today. From the little time that I have spent in Latin America, I have found a strange dynamic of admiration and resent towards Americans. The U.S. is still working on imposing aspects of its culture and ideology on to Latin America.