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Otherwise, relationships with other Latin American countries were of minor importance to both sides, consisting mostly of a small amount of trade.Apart from Mexico, there was little migration to the United States and little American financial investment.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.

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Texas, which had been settled by colonies of Americans, fought a successful war of independence against Mexico in 1836. The result was the Mexican Cession of Santa Fe de Nuevo México and Alta California.

Mexico refused to recognize the independence and warned that annexation to the United States meant war. About 60,000 Mexicans remained in the territories and became US citizens.

France took advantage of the American Civil War (1861–65), using its army to take over Mexico.

One consequence was the growth of extremely violent drug gangs in Mexico and other parts of Central America attempting to control the drug supply.

In the 1970s and 80s, the United States gave strong support to violent anti-Communist forces in Latin America.