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Central America Military Guide


Costa Rica

El Salvador





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The sources of domestic conflict in the region can be found in inequitable socioeconomic systems and weak political systems that persist in many countries. US interests in Central America are modest. The Central American nations do not possess raw materials or economic investments that are critical to the United States. The region assumed strategic importance, however, when viewed from a broader perspective that takes into account two factors. Central America forms an integral part of the larger Caribbean Basin, where developments are easily transmitted from nation to nation. European powers, and later the Soviet Union and its allies, sought to exploit "targets of opportunity" along the southern perimeters of the United States.

Adverse regional trends could erode the global position of the United States, especially if conditions in Central America should deteriorate to the point where the Soviet Union gained a military position in the region or the United States has to divert its military power to intervene. Victorious guerrilla leaders could call for a protracted war to "liberate" all of Central America. Such a war would generate a refugee problem for the United States.

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