Banana Wars - Greed and profit motivate early Republiscams.
History is history and one of the interesting stories in history are the ugly reality of the Banana Wars conducted by the United States against the poor peasant countries of northern Latin America.
The Banana Wars were a continuing stream of military occupations and gunboat and financial interventions conducted by the United States in Central America and the Caribbean. Largely they benefited American businesses and in particular, "Filthy Rich Immoral American Businessmen" whom we would call Republiscams today.
Starting with with the Spanish-American War in 1898 and fortified by the Teddy Roosevelt Doctrine (Corollary) that stated we had the right to intervene when there were any financial disputes between Latin American countries and/or Europe and the US.
It was an American Self Interest thing that allowed the US to dictate economic terms to the Latin American countries and any foreign debtors they may have. The European armies could not reach us so we became the bully on the block called North and South America.
The United States conducted military operations and occupations in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. There was no denying that these Marine incursions were largely economically and politically motivated, even though these countries posed no viable threat to us whatsoever.
The United States Marine Corps carried the largest part of the burden in these landings on foreign shores. During this time the Marines developed a Small Wars Manual, "The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars" in 1921.
On occasion, U.S. Naval gunfire and U.S. Army troops were also used but these measures proved to be very clumsy (Not anywhere near as effective as landing the Marines who projected fear and intimidation in the natives. Shoot first and ask questions later was an effective negotiating tool.
We used our rifles and gunboats to back the United Fruit Company in its efforts to maximize profit from the production of bananas, sugar cane, tobacco and several other products throughout the warm Latin American countries north of the Equator. We used that illegal excuse to also advance our political interests. If we did not like the policy of the country, we landed the Marines, killed lots of people and forced a change in the government to a “Leader” or "pliable men" who were willing to do our bidding for a price (bribe). We used strong arm tactics with our force of arms to keep those crooks, who did our bidding, in political power.
• Mexico, The United States invaded Mexico with large forces twice in the Twentieth Century. We also conducted the Border War with Mexico from 1910-1919 in which there were numerous brief American incursions into Mexico to kill Yaqui Indians, banditos and confused Mexican revolutionaries. The 1914 U.S. occupation of Veracruz was a blatant violation of international treaty. It came about after the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Henry Land Wilson encouraged and plotted with Mexican General Victoriano Huerta to overthrow Mexican President Madero. After Madero was out of office, the US then conveniently refused to recognize the government of Huerta and landed the US Marines to take that part of Mexico near Vera Cruz so that American Oil Companies could drill in the Tampico area under contract enforced by the United States force of arms. In 1916 and 1917 US General John Pershing and his army invaded Mexico to chase Pancho Villa. He believed that the United States should take northwestern Mexico and Baja California from Mexico for our further expansion. Pershing's men shot and killed a lot of Mexican peasants and Indians, but did not catch Pancho, who originally was a bandit who took up some revolutionary ideas and causes during the Mexican revolution.
• Honduras, The US allowed the United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit Company to take land from the peasants and pay them slave labor wages. Those two immoral companies dominated the country's key banana export sector and associated land holdings and railways. The US inserted troops in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925 to “pacify” the population.
• Nicaragua The US inflicted numerous armed intermittent landings and naval bombardments in the years leading up to 1912. From 1912 to 1933 our military had a continuous “presence” in the country. We enforced low paying slave like labor from the peasants.
• Panama U.S. interventions in the Isthmus of Panama go way back to 1846 when we negotiated with the then developing country of Columbia (New Cartagena) the imperial right of the United States to land troops on the Panama Isthmus to maintain “peace and order” according to our interpretation of the terms. We landed troops and were engaged in numerous confrontations during the years that followed, especially when we decided that we would build a railroad across the isthmus after gold was discovered in California. In 1903 the United States openly supported the partition of Panama away from Columbia so we could negotiate the building of the Panama Canal that we intended to hold on to.
• Cuba and Puerto Rico The U.S. invaded both Cuba and Puerto Rico in 1898. The U.S. kept Cuba under military governorship from 1898-1902 and again from 1906–1909, 1912 and 1917–1922. We took Puerto Rico as a colony for American Expansion and hold it to this day. It is interesting to note that when it was determined that Cuba with a large poor population was too much to support, we cut it free but reserved the right to intervene any time it suited us. Ironically, we also took the Philippines and the eastern Samoan islands at the same time, but decided to hold on to them regardless of expense because we foolishly wanted an American Naval presence in the Pacific. Eventually that Naval Presence was to get us into World War II.
• Dominican Republic, US action in 1903, 1904, and 1914; occupied by the U.S. from 1916-1924. American investments were worked by laborers who were paid slave-like wages.
• Haiti, The U.S. occupied the country from 1915–1934. We even helped them write their constitution which we insisted allowed for foreign ownership of Haitian farms and businesses while keeping the Haitian as essentially a low paid slave labor class.
U.S. Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler saw action in Honduras in 1903, served in Nicaragua enforcing American policy from 1909–1912, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in Veracruz in 1914, and a second Medal of Honor for bravery while "crush(ing) the Caco resistance" in Haiti in 1915. In 1935, Butler related his opinion of what was going on in his famous book War Is a Racket. The following is a quote from General Butler:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”