Courtesy Reuters

Nicaragua: in Again, out Again

PROBABLY most critics of interventions by the United States in Nicaragua censure the sending in of our marines without having any very clear understanding of either of the two factors jointly responsible, namely, the general policy of our government and certain conditions peculiar to a politically backward and economically undeveloped country like Nicaragua. Similarly, it may be said that most of these critics applaud the withdrawal of the marines without considering whether it signifies a change in American policy or in any of the fundamentals of the Nicaraguan situation; few stop to inquire whether the withdrawal marks merely another incident in an interminable sequence of in and out movements.

On February 13 Secretary Stimson announced that the United States will withdraw all of the marines after the Nicaraguan elections of 1932 and that the present forces in occupation, aggregating about 1,500 men, will be reduced to 500 before next June. The decision is in harmony with traditional American policy which has in principle quite definitely, though in practice at times somewhat falteringly and inconsistently, opposed intervention.[i] Let us examine it in the perspective of the full history of American interventions in Nicaragua since the first one in 1909.

The criticism to which the American intervention in Nicaragua has long been subjected, both in the United States and in Latin America, undoubtedly played a part in determining President Hoover and Secretary Stimson to withdraw the marines at this time. The criticism took concrete form when the United States Senate on January 5 passed a resolution calling on the State Department for full information on the course and conduct of the present occupation of Nicaragua since it began in 1926. If Mr. Stimson's announcement was made in answer to these criticisms it probably has been effective; it has been hailed with approval by the liberal press and by liberal spokesmen in Congress. Unfortunately, however, it does not close the Nicaraguan chapter. The movements of the marines are the consequences rather than the causes of our policy.

At the same time

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