The conflicts currently shaking the Central American region have roots that go back to the middle of the last century—to a dispute between England and a new imperial power, the United States. Since 1823, when President James Monroe proclaimed his doctrine of America for Americans (North Americans), the United States had geopolitical interests in the Caribbean, which the English called the Mare Nostrum. But the region had even greater significance: What also entered into the strategic value of the zone was the possibility of constructing an interoceanic canal there, either in Panama or in Nicaragua.