CENTRAL AMERICA: The Land of the Smoking Gun

Terrorism and turmoil imperil U.S. hopes for moderate reform

"We are in the wildest country and among the wildest people we have ever seen," wrote one of Conquistador Hernan Cortes' commanders about Guatemala in 1524. It was only the first of many unflattering stereotypes of Central America. In the U.S. in the 1850s, the heyday of Manifest Destiny, the region was regarded chiefly as an inviting target for territorial expansion. By the turn of the century, the United Fruit Co. was cheered on as it went buccaneering through the region, buying governmental...

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