THE DOMINICAN INTERVENTION THAT WORKED MSG. Hughes --- Mill Sci 221 --- 13-03-2017 --- CDT. Larriva, Eric

On April 27th, 1965, a small team of United States marines landed ashore on the western outskirts of Santo Domingo. They were en route to the Hotel Embajador, a makeshift sanctuary for thousands of foreign nationals caught in the middle of the Dominican Republic’s civil war.

Just three nights earlier, a band of military officers toppled the country’s president and declared a state of rebellion. The officers initially sought to restore Juan Bosch, an ousted president whose régime had fallen to a rightist group of rebels in 1963. But the self-styled “constitutionalists” soon lost control as radical militias steered the country toward socialist revolution.

The United States and President Lyndon Johnson feared that the Dominican unrest was a staging point for what he termed a “Second Cuba.” Cuba’s fall to Fidel Castro’s Marxist revolutionaries had given the Soviet Union a satellite from which to aid socialist movements-moderate and militant alike-throughout the Americas. Another Marxist republic in the Caribbean would only add momentum to the Cuban/Soviet cause.

The trigger for decisive US action came on the morning of Wednesday, April 28th. Rebels under the command of Colonel Francisco Caamaño shattered state forces with a massive assault. The few remaining loyalists hunkered down in two bases near the capital, pleading with US officials to intervene before the rebels launched a final offensive. In an evening address to the American people, Johnson gave the green light for the US military to take action:

US troops struck just past midnight on Sunday, May 3rd. Marines first established a corridor between the Embajador and the US embassy, then formed a perimeter around the city’s diplomatic quarter. On the other side of the city, Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division secured the west bank of the Ozama River, Santo Domingo’s eastern boundary. Over the next two days, US troops formed a second corridor that ran through the middle of the city and linked the 4th MEB with the 82nd Airborne.

Fortunately for the United States, the Dominican unrest was restricted to the capital, allowing US forces to encircle and isolate the rebellion before it could become a nationwide insurgency.

The greatest obstacle for U.S. forces wasn’t the rebellion, but political interference from Washington. Johnson’s insistence on micromanagement, as well as his mistrust of leaders in the field, led to sudden and frequent changes in command.

Johnson ultimately sought an aura of international accord for the military endeavor, handing over operational control to the Organization of American States. The OAS formed a small peacekeeping force that entered Santo Domingo in late May, then forged an armistice between Dominican factions, and established a provisional government ahead of a general election set for the following year.

THE JUNE 1ST, 1966 ELECTION PITTED TWO FORMER PRESIDENTS AGAINST EACH OTHER: JUAQUÍN S BALAGUER ON THE RIGHT AND JUAN BOSCH ON THE LEFT. BALAGUER EMERGED AS THE MORE DYNAMIC CANDIDATE, TOURING THE COUNTRY AND HOSTING LARGE RALLIES WITH A VOW TOWARDS STABILITY.

BALAGUER WON BY A LANDSLIDE AND HIS AMBITIONS FOR A STABLE COUNTRY AND PROFICIENCY IN PUBLIC SPEAKING BEGIN TO UNITE THE COUNTRY.

The United States succeeded in restoring stability to the island nation, but Bosch-the living symbol for the constitutionalist uprising-would serve as a lingering casualty of that success. But by the time the last US troops left the island nation on September 21st, 1966, the Dominican Republic had fallen from public radar as Americas Vietnam Intervention became front and center. In total, 27 Americans were killed in action during the 16-month occupation as opposed to American losses in Vietnam reaching 9,000 by that year’s end

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