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There is virtually no visible anti-Americanism here, but nearly everyone recalls the landing of the foreign troops as an affront to Dominican sovereignty, and whether it advanced or retarded the development of democracy is still hotly debated. Many other aspects of the crisis remain in dispute, perhaps never to be resolved in the minds of many of the key participants and the tens of thousands of ordinary Dominicans who were swept up in the events that for a few days turned their capital into a chaotic battlefield and for 16 months left it occupied by United States and Latin American troops.
In a week of interviews recently, some Dominicans said they believed the American troops helped prevent further bloodshed. Others blamed the Americans for making the conflict worse.
U.S. Troops land in the Dominican Republic in attempt to forestall a “communist dictatorship”
Some said the intervention, in which 26 American soldiers and perhaps as many as 3, Dominicans died, led to a polarization of Dominican society that was at least partly responsible for hundreds of political killings that continued into the early 's. Others said the presence of the troops radicalized some leaders and many youths. One point on which there is little controversy among Dominicans, however, is that the reasons Mr.
Johnson gave publicly for intervening seem to have no basis in fact. Nearly all those interviewed said they believed the danger to the several hundred Americans then in the capital was minimal and that the smattering of virtually leaderless Dominican Communists posed no serious threat to anyone.
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Officials at the United States Embassy here regard the intervention as such a sensitive issue that they refuse to discuss it, neither defending nor disavowing one of the most dramatic moments in modern American foreign affairs. Perhaps no one personally benefited more from the American intervention than Joaquin Balaguer.
He became President of the Dominican Republic with strong American backing while the United States troops were still the most powerful force in the country and he remained in power for 12 years. In a conversation, the white-haired Mr. Balaguer described the intervention as ''a dark page in the history of the Dominican Republic. The fighting had begun on April 24, , as a coalition of civilians and military men tried to forcefully return to power President Juan Bosch, who a little more than two years earlier had won the country's first democratic election in almost 40 years.
The Dominican Civil War of 1965
After only seven months in office, Mr. Bosch, a left-of-center democrat, had been ousted in a military coup. His strident nationalism and unwillingness to persecute avowed Communists had antagonized most of the Dominican establishment as well as United States officials. After four days of sporadic fighting, during which, by many accounts, the forces trying to reinstate Mr. Bosch seemed to be gaining the upper hand, President Johnson sent in the Marines. The April 24 rebellion was a complex mix of political forces. There were sections of the Dominican military, groupings of radical reformers, those influenced by the Cuban revolution of , as well as real revolutionaries who looked to Mao and China, which was a revolutionary socialist country at that time.
Thousands of previously unorganized and ordinary people poured into the streets in the midst of the upheaval. On April 28, , the U. During the assault, U.
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But even with such savagery and a huge military advantage, it still took the U. Above, a U.
Dominican Civil War - Wikipedia
Ultimately, 40, U. The U. The objective of the U. This rebellion grew out of a coup aimed at toppling the U. What began as a coup had quickly turned into an armed revolt of tens of thousands. F-4 Phantom jets bombed bridges and other areas of the capital city of Santo Domingo, and U. While the U. The full extent of death and destruction that befell the Dominican people was not recorded and is not fully known, even today.