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Estados Unidos de Centroamerica/United States of Central America

Population

14,000,000

Capital

San Jose, Costa Rica (from 1945)

Head of State

Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia (1944-1945, CR), Jose Figueres Ferrer (1945-1948, CR), Jacobo Arbenz Guzman (1948-1951, GT/LA), Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo (1951-1961, GT), Salvador Cayetano Carpio (1961-1971, ES), Omar Torrijos (1971-1981, PA), Daniel Ortega (from 1981, NI)

Ruling Party

Partido Unionista (Guatemala, Los Altos), Partido de los Trabajadores Centroamericanos (Costa Rica, Honduras), Revolutionary Isthmian Party/Partido Istmeño Revolucionario (Panama), Frente Sandinista (Nicaragua), Fuerzas Populares de Liberacion Farabundo Marti (El Salvador)

HistoryEdit

The United States of Central America refounded as a continuation of previous Central American federations in the years 1944 to 1945. The key difference between the 1945 unification and the last attempt at unity in 1921-1922 was the support of the United States of America. The abortive federation of 1921-1922 had not included either Panama or Nicaragua, as both countries were under US occupation, and US hostility soon brought an end to the union.

By 1945, the US saw the formation of a Central American federation as a bastion against the spread of Axis influence from Latin American states further south.

After Great Britain withdrew from the war with Germany in Spring 1941, the USA was suddenly isolated internationally, having lost its main European ally. By the end of 1941, with the Soviet Union under attack by both the European Axis and Japan, virtually the entirety of the Old World was hostile to US interests.

Axis influence was also spreading in the New World. Various Latin American regimes were attracted by the authoritarianism, dynamism and racial supremacism of the Axis powers. In the northern part of the continent, the US was able to use its economic and military might to corral the states of the region into a Declaration of Neutrality and Independence vis-a-vis the European powers.

Beyond its immediate neighbours, the US could not impose its will on smaller states. Argentina became overtly pro-Axis after the June 1943 coup. The new Argentine regime rapidly made common cause with Brazil, where President Getulio Vargas was considered to be an Axis sympathiser and in concert both countries began to intervene in their neighbours' internal politics. Along with Argentina and Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay formed a powerful bloc of pro-Axis Latin American states.

Though tied economically to the USA, many of the Caribbean republics aped Axis policies. Arnulfo Arias, the president of Panama, began incorporating fascist imagery into his regime soon after coming to power in October 1940. He was removed from power by a US-backed coup in October 1941 led by Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia.

Under instructions from the Roosevelt administration, de la Guardia began negotiating with Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia, president of neighbouring Costa Rica, on cooperation between the two states in alliance with the USA and Mexico. Calderon was constitutionally forbidden to stand again for the presidency of Costa Rica and so in May 1944, he stood down, announcing that the age of dictatorship in Central America was over, and immediately became the first president of the new United States of Central America, consisting of the State of Panama and State of Costa Rica. By this time Costa Rica and Panama had become, with US support, the training ground for a small army of Central America exiles and dissidents.

Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador was perhaps the most pro-Axis of Central American leaders. An attempted military coup was folowed by repression and a general strike in May 1944 which drove Hernandez into exile in Guatemala, serving to destablise the regime of President Jorge Ubico y Castaneda.

Here the events of the Salvadorean revolution were reversed, with general strike in July 1944 preceding a military coup in October 1944. Ubico had tried to save his regime by standing down, but his handpicked successor, an extreme pro-Axis former police chief named Roderico Anzueto, was an even less acceptable face of the regime. Hastily convened elections handed power to Juan Jose Arevalo. El Salvador and Guatemala joined the USCA in October 1944 and March 1945 respectively.

Tiburcio Carias Andino of Honduras had been a close ally of Ubico, and so it was to Honduras that Ubico and Hernandez fled. Honduras had also experienced coup plots since 1943, and demonstrations against the regime from May 1944, inspired by the Salvadorean example. In October 1944 a group of Honduran exiles and their supporters using El Salvador as a base invaded Honduras and ousted Carias Andino. Honduras joined the USCA in April 1945.

Only Nicaragua remained untouched by the wave of revolts. Anastasio Somoza Garcia pledged not to run again for president, and in May 1945 handed the presidency to his nominee, Dr Leonardo Arguello. This was seen as insufficient by Somoza's enemies, while Somoza himself thought Arguello too liberal. By the end of the month Somoza had deposed Arguello and resumed his presidency. In June 1945, Nicaragua was invaded from both north and south, Somoza appealed to the Axis for support but none arrived before he was overthrown after some fifty days of vicious fighting. Nicaragua joined the USCA in August 1945.

With the conquest of Nicaragua, all of Central America was united. Federation proceeded rapidly, with the formation of pan-Central American institutions and parties. Jose Figueres Ferrer, whose Caribbean Legion had been integral to its formation, took over the presidency from Calderon.

The first popularly elected president was the Guatemalan Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. In 1951 Arbenz became head of state of Guatemala, trading places with Arevelo, who became president of the whole federation. Recognising that the demographic dominance of Guatemala would ensure a Guatemalan perpetual presidency, Arevelo proposed the creation of a separate State of Los Altos out of the western departments of his country. Los Altos was declared a separate state on February 2, 1958, exactly 120 years after Los Altos' original independence date. Jacobo Arbenz Guzman became the first president of Los Altos, his third presidency in less than two decades.

Subdivisions of the United States of Central AmericaEdit

  • Panama, from 1944. Population: 2,000,000. Capital: Ciudad de Panama.
  • Costa Rica, from 1944. Population: 2,000,000. Capital: San Jose.
  • El Salvador, from 1944. Population: 3,000,000. Capital: San Salvador.
  • Guatemala, from 1944. Population: 5,000,000. Capital: Ciudad de Guatemala.
  • Honduras, from 1945. Population: 4,000,000. Capital: Tegucigalpa.
  • Nicaragua, from 1945. Population: 3,000,000. Capital: Managua.
  • Los Altos, from 1958. Population: 2,000,000. Capital: Xela.

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