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The Banana Dictator

The Banana Dictator - 1 Maura Cyrus History 64 of Central...

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1 Maura Cyrus November 20, 2008 History 64 of Central America The Banana Dictator In allusion to the nineties iconic pop artist Gwen Stefani, “this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” and in Central America these catchy lyrics certainly hold true . In the early and mid twentieth century the Central American government and economy were going bananas for the United Fruit Company, Central America’s largest foreign investor . North America’s United Fruit Company (UFCO) was an industry almost entirely devoted to the export of Central American gold: also known as bananas . Bananas became a prized commodity in many countries within Central America namely: Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador . UFCO was the primo leader of produce after the First World War because of the United States dominance in transportation, economy, and governmental influence . The profits, employment, and development generated by banana production of companies like UFCO were very vital to the Central American economies. In countries where jobs were sparse and foreign debts were huge, the economic benefits were greatly needed. The potential revenue from bananas was so dreamy that many Central American governments tried extremely hard to attract fruit companies. The development and
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2 reliance on this industry led to a revolution of the economic, political, and social landscape of the region. Central America during the early and mid twentieth century was not unified at all and during this time period Liberal dictators began to take control and develop their states . The first priority of these new Liberal dictators was to install railroads for fast express and large capacity transportation to gain economic dominance and power over another nearby country during this time of political unrest . In Central America’s competition quest to further their trade and economy railways were a necessity, however; it takes great wealth to fund such an extensive project, wealth Central American nations did not possess . The railways already produced in Central America were made possible by giant foreign funds by the British or Germans before the United States came to dominate later . This was the exact case in Guatemala when Justo Rufino Barrios’ “plans for a railway to the north coast [of Guatemala] were not successful . As with most of the rest of Central America, that region had to wait until a giant foreign firm, the United Fruit Company, did the job in the twentieth century.” 1 (Woodward: 161) The UFCO became the enabler of many impressive advancements in Central America, transportation being a focal point . In 1871, railroad entrepreneur Henry Meiggs from New York, signed a contract with the government of Costa Rica to build a railway linking the city of San José to the Caribbean port in Limón .
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The Banana Dictator - 1 Maura Cyrus History 64 of Central...

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