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Subsequent Interventions

As the Cold War stretched on, periodic U.S. interventions into Latin America continued. In Brazil, Washington signaled its support for a 1964 military coup against the leftist, constitutional government of President Joào Goulart; 21 years of military dictatorship followed. In Bolivia, the United States dispatched CIA operatives and Special Forces personnel to advise, equip, and train Bolivian troops seeking to capture Ernesto “Che” Guevara-the famed Argentine revolutionary and Castro collaborator who had traveled to Bolivia specifically to raise a guerrilla militia and ignite a Marxist revolution similar to Cuba’s. The intervention succeeded, and in October 1967, Guevara was captured and executed. In Chile, the United States intervened through the CIA-first in a failed attempt to prevent the 1970 election of socialist Salvador Allende as president (whose platform called for nationalizing key economic sectors and foreign firms, plus extensive land reform)— then in another failed effort to keep Allende from assuming power, and finally (and successfully) to facilitate his removal from office. The 1973 coup that deposed Allende (examined more closely in Chapter 8) led to a brutal 18-year dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet. In the Caribbean state of Grenada, a 1983 U.S. military invasion removed a radical, leftist leadership that itself had overthrown a pro-Marxist, revolutionary regime, and in Nicaragua, the United States intervened throughout most of the 1980s through a proxy military force (the CIA-created contra guerrillas), in a failed bid to topple the revolutionary Sandinista government.