Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1



The United States policy towards the Caribbean and Central America during the 1980s repeats an interventionist pattern which occurred early in the twentieth century. Then, the United States set up strong national governments which organized export economies and local political power. Today, social and political developments in the region have outgrown the political scheme created at the beginning of the century. Thus, the recurrent United States intrusion in the region to recreate the old political structures. An historico-sociological analysis becomes necessary to place current events in perspective and shed light in understanding the pattern of regional political development.

This study shows that the political instability that followed President Ulises Heureaux's assassination in 1899 forced a series of changes on the U.S. policy toward the Dominican Republic. First, the U.S. sought to collaborate with local political elites in order to organize a strong national government by supporting the regime of Ramon Caceres (1906-1911) and signing the Dominican-American Convention of 1907. However, the assassination of Ramon Caceres in 1911, and the political instability that ensured, led the United States policy makers to exclude local political elites from developing a strong national government. Second, nationalist resistance combined with North American opposition to President Woodrow Wilson's military occupation forced a new change on U.S. policy toward the Dominican Republic. After 1919 the U.S. began to modify its policy of excluding local political elites in organizing national government.


Presented at the 11th Annual Conference of the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies, Rutgers University, April 1990.

Required Publisher's Statement

Credit goes to MACLAS Latin American Essays, Volume IV, the original place of publication.