Have you ever heard of the proverb, “No good deed goes unpunished?” Another good one has to deal with “the best of intentions.” The idea is that even if what you are trying to accomplish has the best of intentions, this good deed may not always be achieved or met by others favorably. There are many examples of this throughout history and one good example occurred on December 28th, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson felt that he needed to do something to prevent would he called a “communist dictatorship” happening in the Dominican Republic; so, he orders to send over 22,000 U.S. soldiers to the island nation in an effort to restore order. His actions ended up provoking boisterous protests in Latin America while drawing skepticism from a large amount of those in the United States.
Problems started in the Dominican Republic with the assassination of long-time dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961. Although Trujillo was a vicious leader, his tough anticommunist stance assisted him in having the United States support him. His demise helped to create a reformist government that was controlled by Juan Bosch once winning in 1962 the election for president. However, the Dominican military hated Bosch as well as his liberal policies; he would be overthrown in 1963. The Dominican Republic was now thrown into political chaos as a variety of groups, which included a military that was increasing to become splintered, fought for control.
Forces that supported the reinstatement of Bosch started to battle the government under military control in 1965. Back in the United States, the government was very concerned that the Dominican Republic could turn into “another Cuba” as many officials suspected strongly that behind all the violence was Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Over 22,000 U.S. soldiers were sent along with support provided by many of the member states of the Organization of American States on April 28th arrived in the Dominican Republic; the O.A.S. was a United Nations-like institution for the Western Hemisphere that the United States dominated. Within the next few weeks, they brought a conclusion to the conflict while assisting to install a non-military and conservative government.
President Johnson announced that he had taken steps to prevent an establishment of a “communist dictatorship” within the Dominican Republic. He presented reporters from America with lists of probable communists in the nation as evidence. Cursory reviews regarding the list showed the evidence was considerably flimsy; some of the names listed were of dead people while others could not be deemed by any stretch of imagination as communists.
Private individuals, many Latin American governments and organizations condemned the invasion of the Dominican Republic by the United States and referred to it as “gunboat diplomacy” from the 20th century; the reference is from when U.S. Marines occupied after invading many Latin American nations on the slightest of excuses. Within the United States, citizens and politicians who had already been skeptical of President Johnson’s Vietnam policy unleashed scorn on his comments regarding “communist danger” regarding the Dominican Republic. This criticism eventually became commonplace to the administration of Johnson as the U.S. increased its’ involvement in the war going on in Vietnam.