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Central America: Crisis in the Backyard
The five republics south of Mexico seemed until the late 1970s the most secure region of domination for a us imperial system in retreat after the trauma of South East Asia. [*]  Many saw Nicaragua’s 1979 Sandinista victory over the Somoza dynasty as merely vindication of theories of the inevitable collapse of dependent capitalism in the most grossly archaic outposts of the periphery. But the rapid emergence of revolutionary challenges in El Salvador and Guatemala, and the decomposition of the ruling bourgeois alliances in those countries, forced greater scrutiny of events in Central America. Now, economic disaster threatens to engulf Costa Rica, long one of Latin America’s most sophisticated models of bourgeois consensus rule. And Honduras—archetypal banana republic—is undergoing a vertiginous descent into militarism under a facade of democratic legitimation. In these two countries, where internal social formations have not reached a critical point of rupture, the crude new geopolitics of Reaganism have accelerated their domestic contradictions by selecting them as instruments in a strategic design.
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