After World War II, Latin America enjoyed a period of relative economic prosperity, which lasted until the mid 1950s. As the conditions for economic growth became more elusive and social instability increased, leftist-leaning groups became active throughout Latin America.
The Cuban Revolution was a key victory for left-leaning politics, and was initially supported by leading Latin American intellectuals. As the Cold War unfolded, however, the United States viewed these developments in Latin America with great anxiety and responded with a policy known as the Alliance for Progress in order to extend North American influence throughout the region. During the 1960s, there was a dramatic increase of inter-American political, economic, and cultural exchanges, but a promise of economic development was never realized. By the end of the decade, escalating social unrest was ruthlessly repressed by military dictatorships that controlled the region until the mid 1980s.