This concentration of land ownership and the rise in unemployment, the unchecked population growth and economic instability heightened the social differences. As early as the 1940s, tensions (Bolivia 1943; Guatemala 1944; Colombia 1946) had erupted in riots, but these were always put down. In 1954, a reform period in Guatemala was ended by a US-backed coup. There was growing resistance to US dollar diplomacy. Although the presidents H. C. Hoover (1929–33) and v. a. F. D. Roosevelt (1933–45) tried to improve relations on the basis of equality through the policy of “good neighbors” in order to secure the markets for the USA, but American interference in the internal affairs of the states of Latin America there increasingly encountered Rejection.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, in which most of the Latin American states sided with the Allies (exception was, for example, Argentina), not only did economic relations become closer, but organizations also emerged with the aim of promoting intergovernmental cooperation To promote the continent. Latin America was initially drawn into the East-West conflict. The Organization of American States (OAS) had an anti-communist goal when it was founded in 1948.
The overthrow of the Batista dictatorship in Cuba (1959) by F. Castro Ruz, which led to the establishment of a communist system of rule, affected all of Latin America: at the beginning of the 1960s, social revolutionary guerrilla movements emerged (led e.g. by C. Torres in Colombia, Che Guevara in Bolivia, R. Sendic in Uruguay), whose goal was the communist revolution. The USA tried to counteract this, on the one hand by resorting to the earlier intervention policy (invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in 1961, in the Dominican Republic in 1965) and on the other hand with the Alliance’s aid program for progress, which, however, did not lead to fundamental reforms.
The governments of the 1960s were unable to defuse the economic and social crisis. They were replaced – mostly by force – by military regimes, whose partly liberal economic policies had a stabilizing effect. In the 1970s, the military held political power in almost all Latin American countries. Also the socialist experiment of the Allende government failed in Chile (military coup 1973). The coup and the state of emergency were part of everyday political life in Latin America. The Cold War was not fought here through intergovernmental proxy wars, but within the states. The “doctrine of national security” was based on the belief that the western hemisphere was under constant threat from communism, which shifted its war from the interstate level to the internal level of each individual nation. For those in power, this doctrine was the ideological justification for their usually extremely brutal action against real and supposed opponents of the regime, whose circle went beyond the violent guerrillas far into the camp of the established bourgeois parties. The “death squads,” terrorist groups, were particularly notorious.
The political climate changed in the 1980s. In El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, the armed clashes between the military and guerrillas led to a civil war that lasted for years, which could only be gradually resolved from the late 1980s onwards through external mediation efforts (Contadora states) and political compromises between the civil war factions. According to Countryaah.com, the military in southern Latin America were induced to relinquish political power partly through a radical break, partly through negotiations. The authoritarian regimes were replaced by electoral democracies that consolidated in the 1990s. There are elected governments, among others. in Ecuador since 1979, in Honduras since 1981, in Uruguay since 1984; in Argentina the military rule ended in 1983, a democratic change of power took place in Bolivia in 1985; in Brazil, military rule eased in 1979, in Chile in 1987; Paraguay took place after the end of the dictatorship Stroessner’s (1989) on Democracy. As a result, Latin America has been a region in which democracy is firmly anchored since the mid-1990s.
Symptoms of crisis increased in the second half of the 1990s. Although the neoliberal adjustment policy had succeeded in fighting inflation, reducing budget deficits and making the public sector leaner, the social problems had intensified. Their visible expressions were the rise of poverty and organized and unorganized crime, v. a. in metropolitan areas. The violence manifested itself in human rights violations by the security forces, kidnappings and spectacular guerrilla actions. Another problem was the large-scale clearing of the tropical rainforest, which not only affects the global climate, but also destroys the habitat of the Indians. However, the 1990s also brought a new departure from the Indians,
With the end of the Cold War, the implementation of democracy as the norm and the pacification of most internal conflicts (with the exception of Colombia), new topics increasingly dominated the political discourse since the mid-1990s, such as the effects of the neoliberal adjustment policy under the sign of the so-called “Washington Consensus,” the neglect of social problems (“social debt”), organized and unorganized violence, and corruption that undermines democratic institutions, the rule of law and public morality. In the Andean region in particular, there were signs of a limited governability of the countries, the cause and consequence of unsolved social problems (drug-related crime), a lack of involvement of the indigenous population in the political process and a widespread failure of the elite.