Invasion and Intervention in the Caribbean Area

July 22, 1959

Report Outline
Unrest in the Region of the Caribben
Changes in U.S. Policy in Caribbean Area
Collective Security and Latin Dictators

Unrest in the Region of the Caribben

Task of coming Meeting on Caribbean Tension

Foreign ministers of the 21 American republics will face a task of exceptional difficulty when they meet at Santiago, Chile, August 12, to consider means of quieting the unrest that has been mounting in the region of the Caribbean Sea since Cuban revolutionists under Fidel Castro swept to power at the end of last year. The Council of the Organization of American States, which called the meeting by unanimous vote on July 13, said the situation in the Caribbean urgently required cooperative efforts for “greater realization of the objectives of peace and security, …exercise of representative government, and respect for human rights.” The problem will be to devise effective action to those ends within the bounds of the basic inter-American policy of non-intervention in internal affairs.

The Caribbean question came before the O.A.S. Council, July 2, when the Dominican Republic accused Cuba and Venezuela of complicity in two invasions of its territory a fortnight earlier, and asked aid in repelling another assault which it charged was in preparation. The Dominican appeal was brought under the Inter-American Treaty of Mutual Assistance, concluded at Rio de Janeiro in 1947 to afford protection in cases of aggression. Prospects of action under that treaty threatened seriously to disrupt the machinery of inter-American cooperation, for Cuba and Venezuela at once declared they would not give entry to any group named to investigate the charges. The Dominican Republic agreed later to the alternative of consultation on the whole problem of Caribbean unrest.

Effect Of Cuban Revolution On Exiled Latins

Agreement to proceed in this manner averted a threatened break-up of the O.A.S. but made no easier the problem of resolving the basic conflicts underlying Caribbean tensions. Success of Fidel Castro's revolutionary movement in Cuba not only threw into sharper relief the continuing existence of dictatorships in certain other Latin American countries, notably the Dominican Republic; it also injected drama and stirred new hope in movements dedicated to restoration of democratic processes in the nations still deprived of them. Within a few months expeditions were launched against three countries—Nicaragua and Panama in addition to the Dominican Republic.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 18, 2005  Haiti's Dilemma
Feb. 01, 1985  Caribbean Basin Revisited
Jan. 13, 1984  Caribbean Basin Policy
Jan. 11, 1980  Caribbean Security
Jul. 08, 1977  Puerto Rican Status Debate
Oct. 24, 1969  West Indies: Power Vacuum
Apr. 13, 1966  Dominican Dilemma
Nov. 21, 1962  Security in the Caribbean
Jul. 22, 1959  Invasion and Intervention in the Caribbean Area
Nov. 06, 1957  Caribbean Problems and Prospects
Jun. 14, 1943  Problems of the Caribbean Area
Jun. 10, 1940  Foreign Possessions in the Caribbean Area
Latin American Conflicts
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
War and Conflict