This article discusses the Carter administration's policies toward Nicaragua and El Salvador after the Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua in July 1979. These policies were influenced by the widespread perception at the time that Marxist revolutionary forces were in the ascendance and the United States was in retreat. Jimmy Carter was trying to move away from traditional American “interventionism” in Latin America, but he was also motivated by strategic concerns about the perception of growing Soviet and Cuban strength, ideological concerns about the spread of Marxism-Leninism, and political-humanitarian concerns about Marxist-Leninist regimes' systematic violations of human rights.

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