In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt declared that the United States had to intervene in the internal affairs of Latin American. In his own words: "if any South American country misbehaves it should be spanked."All US presidents that succeeded him have, in lesser or greater measure, continued to exercise their perceived right over a region often known as "America's Backyard".
During the Kennedy years and even before then, the increasing activity of militant communist groups in rural Colombia made the US fear that a Cuban-style revolution might take place. This meant that anything should be done in order to liberate Colombia from the influence of communism.
With the aim of counteracting the activities of the guerrilla, sectors of the Colombian military joined forces with elite landowners, drug traffickers and US oil corporations operating in Colombia. Together they created right-wing paramilitary groups. And these groups killed and terrorized and even massacred Colombians for 50 years now.