American Imperial ambitions, justified as part of the war on Communism and narcotics, kills hundreds of thousands. American veterans return home dismembered and maimed, driving the demand for cyberware. The First Central American War took place during the early 90s. The War involved the US, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador.
The First Central American War, Organization of the Central American States unilaterally condemns the US for interventionist actions in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador. The Panama Canal treaty expires, and the Canal reverts to the Panamanian Government. The US sends military forces to Panama to retake the Canal, citing national defense issues. The Guardia Nacional takes to the hills, fighting a running guerilla war from over the Honduras and Nicaragua borders. By 1994, US troops have intervened in these nations as well, and a full-scale war is underway. Much like Vietnam, it is a conflict that pits natives against outsiders. In this case, the US newly developed, elite Mechanical Light Infantry Battalions. These are cybersoldiers using the best of the newtech developed in the early 90s.
This decision proved to be invaluable with the advent of real warfare in Central and South America. In 1991-92, the U.S. anti-drug bioagent took effect all over the world. Hardest hit were the drug lords of South America, the main suppliers to the U.S. market. Their power waned with the destruction of their narcotic-producing plants. They used their connections with the large EEC corporations to strike back, attacking the DEA on all fronts. Whether the Euro-corps were actually doing business with the drug lords or were simply taking advantage of an opportunity to weaken American resources, the result was the same. Conflict had already begun a year earlier with a limited intervention in the Canal Zone. The DEA, caught up in the Gang of Four's political paranoia, expanded the war by sending the national armed forces further south.
The result was predictable. In the nearly thirty years since the Vietnam conflict, the lessons hard-learned in the swamps of Southeast Asia had been forgotten. As before, large units equipped with heavy machinery were sent into the combat theater, where they unsuccessfully tried to chase down guerrilla units and irregulars who refused to stand and fight. The pattern started all over again: The enemy would strike and melt away into the tropical forests, sometimes even disappearing into the local populace. Partisan activity took a heavy toll on U.S. forces, as acts of sabotage became the norm. Propaganda campaigns and assistance programs were useless. Local economies had practically run on the wealth brought in by drugs-if you weren't directly employed in producing drugs, then you got your money from someone who was. This was the economic bond that had brought the drug lords to power in the first place, so much power that the actual governments of their countries were practically powerless to move against them. The people of the southern Americas were quite well aware of the fact that the Americans had deprived them of their livelihood, and hated them for it. They were only too glad to strike back in any way that they could.
The new organizational plans proposed to supply the peace dividend were supplemented and altered by developments in South America. As the war in Vietnam had created the Airmobile concept, the first Central American Conflict molded the airmobile unit into a total aerodyne-transport and combat outfit. Tactical experience proved that even helicopters couldn't deal with the thick forests in the face of interlocking anti-aircraft fire; only aerodynes had the speed and aerial dexterity to accomplish this. Most of the world's aerodyne development was accomplished to produce better VTOLs for the war; almost every aerodyne flying in 2020 traces its origins back to the A VX-2, the first viable combat aerodyne.
The U .S. military was becoming increasingly airmobile, and seemed destined to develop the world's first entirely aircraft-based army, which, when combined with new long-range smart· weapons and 24 hour, "continuous battle" tactics, began reversing the heavy casualty ratio back in favor of American forces. Then the bottom fell out. The stock market Crash of'94 snowballed into the Collapse of '95, and the Gang of Four began recalling ground units to the U.S., fearful of what might happen. Their concern was justified when federal authority collapsed altogether in 1996 and anarchy began. Mr. Seward, the former SOD had little choice; to save what was left in America, he declared martial law.
After several lengthy wars with the United States in the 1990s and early 2000s, Central America emerged as a strong union of independent states, working under a pact of mutual cooperation. The US was expelled from all but the Panama Canal Zone (which it still holds by sheer military force against ongoing guerrilla aggression). But during the War, Nationalist factions in Brazil and Colombia used the Corporate fighting to support their own bids for land and influence—the result was a shattering of the old alliance that only now is beginning to be rebuilt.
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