Venezuela and The Monroe Doctrine

Venezuela and The Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was articulated in President James Monroe’s seventh annual message to Congress on December 2, 1823. The European powers, according to Monroe, were obligated to respect the Western Hemisphere as the United States’ sphere of interest.

The Monroe Doctrine is the best known U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere. The doctrine warns European nations that the United States would not tolerate further colonization or puppet monarchs. The doctrine was conceived to meet major concerns of the moment, but it soon became a watchword of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere.

The Monroe Doctrine was invoked in 1865 when the U.S. government exerted diplomatic and military pressure in support of the Mexican President Benito Juárez. This support enabled Juárez to lead a successful revolt against the Emperor Maximilian, who had been placed on the throne by the French government.

Almost 40 years later, in 1904, European creditors of a number of Latin American countries threatened armed intervention to collect debts. President Theodore Roosevelt promptly proclaimed the right of the United States to exercise an “international police power” to curb such “chronic wrongdoing.” As a result, U. S. Marines were sent into Santo Domingo in 1904, Nicaragua in 1911, and Haiti in 1915, ostensibly to keep the Europeans out. Other Latin American nations viewed these interventions with misgiving, and relations between the “great Colossus of the North” and its southern neighbors remained strained for many years.

In 1962, the Monroe Doctrine was invoked symbolically when the Soviet Union began to build missile-launching sites in Cuba. With the support of the Organization of American States, President John F. Kennedy threw a naval and air quarantine around the island. –Information excerpted from Milestone Documents [Washington, DC: The National Archives and Records Administration, 1995]
James Monroe – A history of economic and mental control

Enslaved forced laborers built the White House.
The first presidents of the United States, except for John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, enslaved African descent people. George Washington is well known for enslaving African descent people. Thomas Jefferson enslaved around 175 African descent people. James Madison, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson enslaved African descent people and Martin Van Buren enslaved an African descent person.

William Henry Harrison enslaved African descent people before becoming president in 1841.

John Tyler and James K. Polk enslaved African descent people during their presidency.

Zachary Taylor was the last president to enslave African descent people while living in the White House.

A Former Plantation Begins To Tell A Fuller Story of Slavery In America

Just outside Charlottesville, Va., the roads lose their markings as they wind through the woods, passing an occasional church, a cemetery and a plantation known as Highland, owned by America’s fifth president James Monroe. For the first time in its 225-year history, the site has begun telling the stories of the African-American men and women who were enslaved there, and consulting with their descendants.

Until recently, however, the enslaved weren’t much talked about.

Venezuela Debt Crisis
The Venezuela debt crisis began in 1901 when Cipriano Castro, Venezuela’s president, defaulted on millions of dollars in bonds owed to European nations. The creditors, especially Germany, Italy, and Great Britain, threatened military intervention if the debts were not repaid. President Castro, who refused to engage in settlement talks, did little to resolve the escalating crisis.

Initially, President Theodore Roosevelt believed that that the European nations were justified in intervening in Venezuela in order to protect their citizens and property. In fact, Hermann Speck von Stenberg, a German diplomat and personal friend of the president, wrote the president to explain Germany’s intention to collect its debt. Theodore Roosevelt’s response in July 1901 approved of Germany’s plans. He also warned the Germans not to annex any territory.

Later, Castro ignored a final ultimatum demanding payment of the debt. In response, German, British, and Italian forces seized several Venezuelan vessels, bombarded coastal forts, and established a naval blockade of the country in December 1902. President Roosevelt became leery of continued European intervention in the region. He responded to the crisis by pressuring all parties to reach a settlement.

By January 1903, the boycott had devastated Venezuela’s economy. A desperate Castro asked President Roosevelt to negotiate a settlement. Not surprisingly, Roosevelt jumped at the opportunity to restore order in the western hemisphere.

The British were eager to get out of Venezuela and endorsed the proposal. The crisis abated in February 1903 when Venezuelan leaders agreed to reserve 30% of the country’s custom duties until all of the debt claims had been settled.

Theodore Roosevelt did not wish to see European intervention in the western hemisphere again so he announced the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904. –Source: Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University


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To understand the issue of racial identity in Venezuela, it is necessary to go back into history.

Venezuelans of African descent
Between 1576 and 1810, about 500,000 enslaved Africans were transported to Venezuela via Portuguese, Catalan, French, English, Belgium and Dutch slave ships.

Slavery was official abolition in Venezuela on March 24,1854.

Following World War II, former dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez encouraged the immigration of Europeans, Italians, Portuguese and Germans to help develop the country.

Hugo Chávez was the first Venezuelan leader to embrace his African and indigenous heritage. He was often called ‘the black’ (el Negro) by the white ruling class of Venezuelan elites.
The Chavez government took a series of measures to combat racism against people of African descent.

The 1999 constitution criminalized discrimination, and for the first time ever, the 2011 census allowed citizens to classify themselves as Afro-Venezuelans.

The leaders of the opposition movement against Hugo Chávez where the white elite Venezuelans.

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