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government and most of Latin America were limited prior to the late 1800s, for most of the past century, the U. has unofficially regarded parts of Latin America as within its sphere of influence, and for much of the Cold War (1947-1989), actively vied with the Soviet Union for influence in the Western Hemisphere. Latin America is the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States and its fastest-growing trading partner, as well as the largest source of drugs and U. immigrants, both documented and otherwise, all of which underline the continually evolving relationship between the two.
As unrest in Cuba escalated in the 1890s, the United States demanded reforms that Spain was unable to accomplish.
Meanwhile, the United States increasingly replaced Britain as the major trade partner and financier throughout Latin America.
The US adopted a “Good Neighbor Policy" in the 1930s, which meant friendly trade relations would continue regardless of political conditions or dictatorships.
The result was the short Spanish–American War of 1898, in which United States acquired Puerto Rico and set up a protectorate over Cuba under the Platt Amendment rule passed as part of the 1901 Army Appropriations Bill.
The building of the Panama Canal absorbed American attention from 1903.