The United States and the Armed Forces of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, 2000–2014

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About the Book

Tracing the U.S. government’s efforts to shape the armed forces of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean from 2000 to 2014, this narrative concentrates on the Army but also discusses Air Force and naval forces, including the Marines and the Coast Guard. Police forces in those regions are also covered.
Mexico’s ongoing struggle with drug cartels is discussed extensively. Venezuela and Cuba receive considerable attention. This study is the first to examine in detail the armed forces of countries such as the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Sections on Haiti and Panama, countries supposedly without armies, reveal the decisive role the U.S. has played in determining their military policies.
The text weaves the histories of these armed forces into the broader context of the politics, economics and international relations in the region. A clear and brief introduction to the relations of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean with the United States is provided.

About the Author(s)

René De La Pedraja (Ph.D., University of Chicago) lived in Latin America for many years, researching and writing numerous publications. He is a professor of history at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

Bibliographic Details

René De La Pedraja
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 332
Bibliographic Info: 15 maps, tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9508-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1776-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


List of Maps ix

List of Tables ix

Preface 1

1. Venezuela: The April 2002 Coup

The Break with the U.S. Government 5

The Attempt to Topple Hugo Chávez 12

The Coup Within the Coup 17

The Counter Coup 19

2. The Expansion of the Armed Forces of Venezuela

The Venezuelan Military Until December 2006 26

The Military and the Presidential Election of 3 December 2006 34

3. Unconditional Allies of the United States

Guatemala: Settling Old Scores with the Army 38

Rebuilding the Army of El Salvador 43

Improving the Armed Forces of Colombia 49

4. Reluctant Mexico

The Role of the Armed Forces in Mexico 55

The Presidency of Ernesto Zedillo, 1994–2000 63

The Presidency of Vicente Fox, 2000–2006, and El Chapo Guzmán 73

5. The Militarization of Colombia and Venezuela

Colombia: Sustaining the Momentum 81

The Venezuelan Military After the Reelection of Hugo Chávez in December 2006 88

6. Shaping the Arsenals of the Armed Forces 93

Nicaragua: Surface to Air Missiles 95

Venezuela: Arms Buildup 99

Mexico: Fighter Jets 105

7. New Complications

Colombia: False Positives 108

Scandals in the Colombian Army 114

Jamaica: Trouble in Paradise 120

8. Central America Turns to the Left

Nicaragua: The Return of the Sandinistas 127

Guatemala: The First Leftist President of the ­Twenty-First Century 130

El Salvador: The FMLN in Office 135

9. Honduras: The Coup of June 2009

The Presidency of José Manuel Zelaya 144

The Path to the Coup 150

The Coup of 28 June 2009 158

10. Mexico: The Armed Forces Embrace the United States

The Start of the Vicente Calderón Presidency 165

The Military Offensive Against the Drug Cartels, 2008–2010 171

The Battle for Monterrey 184

The Hunt for El Chapo Guzmán 189

11. Mexico: The Presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto 194

Pursuing the Drug Lords 195

The Challenge of Michoacán 198

12. Countries Without Armies

Costa Rica: Creeping Militarization 206

Panama: The Struggle to Demilitarize 211

Haiti: Flawed Demobilization 221

13. An Inconvenient Ally: The Armed Forces of the

Dominican Republic

The Military of the Dominican Republic 227

14. Defiant Cuba 238

Preserving the Revolutionary Legacy 240

The U.S. Vision for Cuba and the Caribbean 251

15. Trying to Dismantle the Bush Legacy 258

Three Explanations 267

Chapter Notes 275

Annotated Selected Bibliography 309

Index 311