American support for democracy, internal reforms and human rights initiatives has been faint-hearted and inconsistent. President Jimmy Carter enjoyed little success in conditioning American aid on liberalization of regimes in South America. The recent 'invasion' of Haiti left the country as bad off as it was before the Americans and the United Nations arrived. On the other hand, the United States should do more than simply promote free market reforms if it wishes the newly emergent democracies throughout the hemisphere to succeed.
The United States sought to defuse the revolutionary ferment stirred up by the Castro revolution throughout Latin America by offering economic aid, the Alliance for Progress initiated by the administration of John Kennedy. This never really got off the ground due to inflated expectations, elite resistance to reforms in Latin America and lack of funding by Congress as well as the diminished enthusiasm of President Lyndon Johnson for it. Gilderhus said LBJ "never persuaded Latin Americans that he knew or cared very much about them or their countries" (p. 184).
The experience of the Depression and the Second
In the short run all these efforts failed, including the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 by CIA-supported Cuban exiles, the abortive plots to assassinate Castro, etc. After the American-USSR standoff in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the United States basically sought to isolate the Castro regime through a policy of diplomatic and economic sanctions, which, while it was unpopular in Latin America, accomplished its purpose, principally because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the abysmal failures of the planned economy in Cuba.