When the sun began to set on the British Empire - the largest the world had ever seen and the dominant world power for over a century – in the aftermath of World War II, the United States designated itself the new arbiter of international relations. Wielding economic imperialism as an Empire-building tool, the U.S., through interference in the internal affairs of countries around the globe, became the world’s dominant superpower. In particular, the United States developed a pattern of interfering in the domestic sphere of Latin American nations to protect the economic interests of American capitalists. Through a historical analysis of U.S. foreign policy regarding Latin America, this paper addresses the events preceding, the occurrence, and aftermath of the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. The coup returned the nation to a series of authoritarian dictatorships, sparking civil war and genocide against the Maya peoples, after a decade of democratic elections won through revolution in 1944. While the intervention was allegedly to stop the spread of communism in Latin America, in actuality, it served to protect private U.S. business interests. The case of the Guatemalan coup d’état demonstrates the effective sameness of U.S. national security and economic policy in both practice and oppression. It is but one example of U.S. foreign policymakers demanding intervention in the affairs of other sovereign nations to protect America’s elite. Both historically and in the case of Guatemala, said intervention has come at the expense of both the articulated values of the U.S. and the literal lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of citizens of other nations.
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