Nicaragua became a protectorate of the United States when, to protect American interests in the country, President Taft approved sending a contingent of American marines to the country to deter revolution.
The Bryan-Chamorro Treaty between Nicaragua and the United States was ratified. In exchange for three million dollars, Nicaragua granted the US exclusive rights to build a canal and naval base in that country.
Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which prohibited American assistance in training, equipping, or advising the anti-Communist rebel Contras in Nicaragua. A second and third Boland Amendment passed in 1983 and 1984 closed loopholes in Boland, which allowed for humanitarian aid and further limited US government support for the Contras.
Members of the CIA and the National Security Council, including several top-level Reagan advisers, were tried and found guilty of violating the Boland Amendment and other federal laws in order to support and arm the anti-Communist rebel Contras in Nicaragua without Congress’s knowledge. Though Reagan claimed no direct involvement in a secret plan to arm the Contras using profits made from arms sold to Iran, the Iran-Contra affair blemished the President’s administration.
The contras were a counterrevolutionary force aligned against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, which had overthrown the previous dictatorial government in 1979. The contras received training and funds from the American CIA under Reagan’s administration in the early 1980s, even though Congress had banned such aid with the 1984 Boland Amendment. The National Security Council diverted money and support to the contras through secret weapons’ sales to Iran. The Iran-Contra Affair was uncovered in 1986 and a public outcry ensued. Several high-...
William Walker may be largely forgotten today, but to Americans in the 1850s, he was a major celebrity, one of many so-called filibusters who would swoop into Central American countries to conquer and spread the ideals of American-style democracy—exploits neatly summed up by the often-used phrase of the era, “manifest destiny.”