Events in Latin America during the Cold War

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Events in Latin America during the Cold War

The Cold War was the period of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the end of World War II until the early 1990s. It was a time of political and military tension, nuclear arms races, and proxy conflicts. Latin America was not spared from the effects of the Cold War, and the region experienced many significant events throughout this period.

The Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution was one of the defining moments of the Cold War in Latin America. In 1959, Fidel Castro led a revolt against the Cuban government, which was backed by the United States. With the support of the Soviet Union, Castro overthrew the government and established a socialist state.

The United States responded by imposing an economic embargo on Cuba, and attempts to overthrow the Castro regime. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, in which the Soviet Union placed missiles on the island, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Chilean Coup

The Chilean coup of 1973 was another significant event in the Cold War in Latin America. President Salvador Allende, a socialist who was democratically elected, was overthrown in a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet with the support of the United States.

The United States had been providing economic and military assistance to Chilean right-wing groups opposed to Allende, and the CIA had been involved in covert operations to undermine his government. The coup led to the establishment of a military dictatorship that lasted until 1990.

Nicaraguan Revolution

The Nicaraguan Revolution, which lasted from 1978 to 1990, was another event in the Cold War in Latin America. The Sandinistas, a group of Marxist revolutionaries, overthrew the Somoza dictatorship that had been backed by the United States for decades.

The Reagan administration, which was fiercely anti-communist, saw the Sandinistas as a threat and provided support to the Contras, a group of right-wing rebels fighting against the Sandinistas. The conflict led to a bloody civil war that lasted for over a decade.


The Cold War had a significant impact on Latin America, and many of the region’s defining moments during this period were influenced by the geopolitical tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. From the Cuban Revolution to the Nicaraguan Revolution and the Chilean coup, the region experienced political upheaval and violence that left a lasting impact on its people and politics.

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