Stephen Rabe's timely book examines President Dwight D.
Eisenhower's Latin American policy and assesses the president's
actions in light of recent "Eisenhower revisionism."
During his first term, Eisenhower paid little attention to Latin
America but his objective there was clear: to prevent communism
from gaining a foothold. The Eisenhower administration was prepared
to cooperate with authoritarian military regimes, but not to fund
developmental aid or vigorously promote political democracy. Two
events in the second administration convinced Eisenhower that he
had underestimated the extent of popular unrest--and thus the
potential for Communist inroads: the stoning of Vice-President
Richard M. Nixon in Caracas and the radicalization of the Cuban
Revolution. He then began to support trade agreements, soft loans,
and more strident measures that led to CIA involvement in the Bay
of Pigs invasion and plots to assassinate Fidel Castro and Rafael
Trujillo. In portraying Eisenhower as a virulent anti-Communist and
cold warrior, Rabe challenges the Eisenhower revisionists who view
the president as a model of diplomatic restraint.