Foreign aid and internal violence in Central America and the Caribbean
Herron, Linda Aldredge
Stoll, Richard J.
Master of Arts
This study reports the relationship between the giving of United States foreign aid and political stability in eight nations bordering on the Caribbean Sea. These nations include six independent countries in Central America and the two nations on the island of Hispaniola. Events data from these nations were gathered from regional news sources; economic data were gathered from United Nations sources; and U.S. foreign aid figures were taken from government sources. Five factors are condensed from the events data to represent the independent variables and are visualized as a cycle of conflict which grows from less to more intense and violent. The independent variable is U.S. foreign aid. Economic growth and Repression are designated as intermediate variables. Political stability is the dependent variable. The primary relationship studies is between foreign aid and the more intense levels of conflict to study aid's effect on the incidence of political turbulence in these eight nations. This study adopts Schattschneider's idea that conflict grows as the audience to a struggle becomes involved in the fight. Doran outlines five levels of conflict, describing a progression of violence from less involved at the local level to the level of international conflict with wide consequences. The use of time series data allows the development of a model to show the progression of conflict from one level to the next. U.S. foreign aid was given to the nations included in this study for a variety of reasons, but all these reasons have a common goal: the promotion of internal domestic stability in this region. The present research indicates that aid has neither been an unqualified success nor a dismal failure in achieving this goal. U.S. foreign aid remains one of many tools that American policy-makers use to influence international relationships.