First Advisor

Lindsay Benstead

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




American humanitarian assistance, Imperialism, United States -- Foreign relations, Venezuela -- Politics and government -- Case studies, Iran -- History -- Coup d'état, 1953




The international policy of the United States has been historically characterized by the promotion of democracy and freedom. However, historical analyses of U.S. policies and intervention in countries such as Iran, Chile, Guatemala, Syria, Brazil, and Nicaragua demonstrate that American aid more often than not ends in a military dictatorship replacing a democracy. This paper investigates the discrepancies between these values that the United States claims to uphold and the actual operation efforts carried out, proposing that U.S. international politics are defined by a neorealist framework rather than the liberal structure that is commonly thought of as the basis for American politics as well as reflecting upon the place of imperialism within the modern enactment of intervention. Using declassified CIA documents regarding Operation AJAX, the coup staged in Iran by the U.S. government in 1953, a recurring pattern can be observed in which the United States takes advantage of the perceptions of democracy and freedom in order to accumulate mass amounts of power for personal interests and gain. This model is herein applied to present-day Venezuela in order to describe current U.S. policy toward the Latin American nation and predict what these practices will generate in the future.


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