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United States of Central America

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The USCA is a liberal Democracy bridging the gap between Mexico and the South American states. As such, immigration will be your major source of labor and population growth through assimilation, so your first goal is to become as inviting a destination for those Europeans as possible. Unlike the original Victoria, the USCA is unlikely to collapse and fragment into its constituent states. Though you start with elevated militancy, you're unlikely to deal with any revolts that your initial army can't quickly deal with, leaving you free to focus on industrialization. You'll often end up in the Sphere of Influence of the US, giving you an effective protector during your vulnerable first years, as Mexico won't hesitate to attack if given the chance.

Contents

Government

The USCA is a Democracy with a large Liberal base in the Upper House. You can use this to push out liberal reforms that will help attract immigrants later on, but be warned; too may reforms will see a large reactionary backlash and a shift to conservatism among your (slightly freer) population. Universal voting is a good one to get out, as are secret ballots.


Opening Moves

All of the USCA's parties save the Conservative have Laissez-faire economic policies [confirm], meaning that in order to industrialize, you'll need to help your Capitalists. Lower rich taxes to zero and keep tariffs moderate; feel free to max out poor and middle class taxes; they'll thank you when they've got jobs. You will probably begin to run a deficit after a month or so; don't panic. Takes loans as you need them. To help alleviate your budget woes, start encouraging Bureaucrats in your states; 100% tax efficiency in all of your states will lower your deficit and potentially create a surplus, at which point you can begin paying off your loans. Lower tariffs as your surplus rises to help capitalists buy the things they need to build a factory. In the meantime, keep encouraging bureaucrats; once you have 100% efficiency across the nation, you can being encouraging Clergy to help boost your literacy and research. Freedom of Trade is the first technology you should research; the boost in income will get you into the black, if you weren't already.

Freedom of Trade is a must-research for initial technologies, followed with Ideological Thought and other Industry techs.


Alternative strategy

Being a democracy with a liberal government and having a capital in the Americas USCA is in a prime position to attract immigrants. To have success playing USCA you'll need to keep it that way. Keep the liberals in power and build factories you'll see European immigrants flocking at your pearly white beaches.

Opening moves

However at 1836 USCA is a poor state. Practically illiterate, low on technology, army and industry. You need to get an industry going but as the ruling Partido Liberal has a laissez-faire policy you'll need to get capitalists to build factories for you. Alas the country at this time has none. The first task for USCA is therefore to build a stable economy, promote capitalists and research economy boosting technologies.

Start by researching Freedom of Trade for the economic boost. Then head to the Central American Guatemala state and use your national focus to promote capitalists. Now have a look at the budget. As it is now the only rich people in the country are aristocrats, who are traditionally mostly conservative/reactionary. We don't like them. Tax them as much as possible. Any capitalists we promote won't have an income yet since there are no factories, so don't worry about them.

Remove all taxation of the middle class. You need these people to get richer and promote to capitalists. Also you'll need them to have some savings to invest in factories. Leave the poor strata taxed as much as possible. Now remove all military spending. Your population of less than half a million souls won't be able to support a larger army anytime soon so save the money for now. Raise the investment in administration and education to 100 pct.

After a couple of weeks when the budget changes have balanced out this should leave you with a small surplus. If not lower the education spending. The immigrants soon to be arriving will all have a much higher educational level so expect the literacy rate to go up anyway.

Now take a look at the production tab and see how the capitalists start appearing in Guatemala. At this point you probably have about a handful and hopefully they've started investing in a useful factory. Cement is by far the best option followed by glass or wine. If they've gone for fabric you're out of luck. No profit there. This will slow you down a couple of years until new factories have been constructed.

As soon as the capitalists have gathered the required resources and cash and have begun building the factory, remove national focus from Guatemala and use it in Honduras to promote capitalists there. Now you'll see the factory project in that state come to life as well.

1837

By 1837 you'll probably have to factories on the way and a (very) small number of capitalists in Guatemala and Honduras. As soon as the factories are being build, none-existing capitalists in Costa Rica and Nicaragua will begin projects about factories in those states. Move the national focus and promote capitalists there. Before long you'll have four factories on the way.

If you've played your cards right, you'll also have a nice surplus in the bank. Let's use it. Build three Clipper Transports but make sure it's on the western shore. If you can afford it build a navy base in Guatemala. When the ships are done load the Ejército Federal and head west. You want gold so Johore is next stop. As soon as the ships arrive declare war using the "establish protectorate" option. Land the troops in Kuanatan and scuttle the ships. We in it for the win and besides they'll never make it back anyway. This way you'll save some money. March the army straight for Johore and take on the defending troops before they reinforce. After that Johore is yours for the taking.

After annexing Johore build three new clipper transports in your new colony to get the army home. If you're in a bullying mood humiliate Brunei on the way home or if you feel a bit peckish, stop by Hawaii and annex it for the pineapple. This will give you a prime location for a naval base for colonial expansion later on and at this point USA will let you get away with it. Just remember never to let you ships sit and wait in the water. They're far away from home, so bring them to safety before the sink with your army.

Politics

The Partido Liberal with it's "limited citizenship" and "secularized" policies are almost as good as it gets in terms of attracting immigrants (full citizenship and pluralism is better), so do what you can to keep them in charge.

By 1837 the Upper House will have rearranged giving you a liberal majority there as well. Use this to change the voting rights to "Weighted wealth". For now the aristocrats outnumber the capitalists by far, but in a couple of years you'll have lots of liberal middle-class pouring in, so this will help keep the liberals in power. Also don't be shy to hold and election every now and again to influence your people.

You'll need to manage you foreign policy right. A war with either USA, Mexico or bordering Great Britain would be disastrous so keep your relations good. Go for an alliance with USA should the option present itself. Be aware, however, that the Yankees won't help you against the Brits early on.

Technology

Freedom of Trade and Ideological Thought are must-haves. After that it depends on your plans. Anything that boosts plurality is good for attracting immigrants. Also consider technologies that adds to research points. Your army and navy are very underdeveloped so you might consider researching that at some point.

The future

With immigrants pouring in and factories creating surplus on the budgets raise the military spending and expand the army. If possible go for an early conquest of Panama before the Yankees get Colombia in their Sphere of Interest. Or consider a few wars of humiliation in Asia for the prestige gain. By mid 1840s USCA should be in the top of the second rank.

What happens next is up to you. Just remember USA won't help you if you're a Great Power. However I always thought Haiti, Antioquía and Zulia would look good in light blue. And I've always enjoyed a good cigar ... Cuba?

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