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How the CIA and Corporate America used propaganda in 1954 to overthrow a democratic nation
 

How the CIA and Corporate America used propaganda in 1954 to overthrow a democratic nation

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The United States of America preaches freedom and democracy, but what does it actually practice? In the following example the democratically elected leader of Guatemala was removed by the CIA and the ...

The United States of America preaches freedom and democracy, but what does it actually practice? In the following example the democratically elected leader of Guatemala was removed by the CIA and the United Fruit Company in 1954 and the American public was lied to by the "father of public relations", Edward Bernays.

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    How the CIA and Corporate America used propaganda in 1954 to overthrow a democratic nation How the CIA and Corporate America used propaganda in 1954 to overthrow a democratic nation Document Transcript

    • the ideology and purpose of the propaganda campaign<br />In the case of the Guatemalan counterrevolution of 1954, the ideology was pro-capitalist, anti-communist, and pro-American. The purpose of the U.S. government's propaganda campaign was to remove Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz from power using the least amount of direct intervention possible and replace him with a leader sympathetic to U.S. economic and political interests and to keep communism out of the Western Hemisphere. The purpose of the United Fruit Company's propaganda campaign was to influence the American general public and lobby the U.S. government to act in its defense against the expropriation of land which occurred under President Arbenz's agrarian land reform bill, Decree 900.<br />the context in which the propaganda occurs<br />Around the mid-twentieth century, Guatemala was a nation dependent on the exportation of coffee and bananas, a country with a wealthy minority, a poor majority, a government which lacked the resources to develop the country, and foreign ownership and control of vital infrastructure and the economy. With little industrialization and a high rate of poverty and illiteracy, the country was a "banana republic", used for its resources and neglected past anything that might turn out an immediate profit for foreign investors.<br />Prior to the Revolution of 1944 in Guatemala, Guatemala had been a highly militarized society under the rule of a strict military dictator, General Jorge Ubico, who was also a prominent landowner. An ardent anticommunist, Ubico's Guatemalan government had twenty-two departments, each department under the command of a military general. Ubico's generals were notoriously ignorant and incompetent, but their chief qualification was loyalty to the regime. The National Radio and the Department of Radio were controlled by the military and even secondary education strongly resembled a military academy with army officers serving as principals and disciplinarians. The atmosphere was tense, and in the army officer corps anyone under the rank of Colonel was treated brutally with death penalties for even minor offenses (Gleijeses 14-16). When President Jorge Ubico's health eventually diminished in 1944 he gave control of the government to a three-man military junta, of which General Ponce convinced Congress to give him provisional authority as the sole President of Guatemala, which lasted only three months (Gleijeses 26-27).<br />Fearing he would lose in a free election to the popular Juan Jose Arevalo, a university professor, General Ponce brought trucks full of Indians from the countryside with machetes to walk the streets to raise the fears of a possible Indian revolt (Gleijeses 27-28). Intimidated, Arevalo had appeared to withdraw from the race for president when Jacobo Arbenz, a retired military officer aided by an armed civilian force, deposed Ponce. Arbenz and a junta assumed power and promised to hold a free election for a Constituent Assembly, a Congress, and a president (Gleijeses 29-30). Juan Jose Arevalo later would run for president and capture 85% of the vote. His impressive appearance and skilled oratory impressed Guatemalans. As for his politics, Arevalo did not consider an increasingly popular redistribution of property to be the solution to Guatemala's problems. He believed Guatemala's problem was a spiritual problem and coined his own brand of "Spiritual Socialism", "Arevalismo" (Gleijeses 36,38). The Arevalo years brought enfranchisement to many Guatemalans and an expansion of political freedoms, but did not do much to solve the economic problems of the country. His biggest success was the Labor Code of 1947 which allowed agricultural workers to unionize.<br />When Jacobo Arbenz was elected to be president in 1951, there was a serious land problem in Guatemala. Land reform seemed to be a necessary task in order to make the playing field more level for small farmers and peasants. In the 1940's Guatemala's land was mostly uncultivated, and while farms larger than 1,100 acres made up 0.3% of all farms, they comprised over half of the nation's farmland. The two main crops were coffee and bananas, of which the majority profits went to the upper classes and to foreign stockholders in the United Fruit Company. Guatemala was even importing some of its basic foods. A few members of academia in the United States took notice. After research and investigation they issued reports finding that most all Guatemalans were without land, that the current large landowners feared a restructuring of the land system which might have effects on the rates of wages for workers thereby altering the economy, and that without a major economic restructuring and local recirculation of the current profits an improvement was not likely to be seen in the condition of Guatemalans (Schlesinger and Kinzer 40-41). According to dependency theory, Guatemala's economic growth was being hindered by reliance on two non-essential major export crops, coffee and bananas, in a foreign market where they had no control over the price (LaFeber 17). <br />When Arbenz took office, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, known today as World Bank, issued a 300-page analysis on Guatemalan conditions. The report acknowledged inequalities in the country and proposed that the government should regulate energy companies and establish an autonomous National Power Authority, to regulate foreign companies, establish a capital gains tax, adjust wages, and go to work in the area of revitalizing Guatemala's infrastructure (Schlesinger and Kinzer 53). <br />At that time Guatemala's basic infrastructure was largely owned and operated by foreigners. The electric company which provided about 80% of the country's power was owned by Americans. Rates were said to be overpriced and the service was not reliable, however with no competition and with outside ownership, a virtual monopoly existed. All three major ports significant to foreign trade were owned by U.S. companies, a practice which reflected the American ownership of ports throughout all of Central America. The International Railways of Central America was partially owned (42.6%) by the United Fruit Company, but without adequate roads a de facto monopoly existed over transportation. The UFC also operated and controlled important international radio and cable traffic after it incorporated the Tropical Radio Telegraph Company in1913 (Gleijeses 87-89). <br />The United Fruit Company's presence in Central America was enormous. By 1950, the UFC owned or leased three million acres of land, of which it cultivated 138,910 acres- only 5% of its total land holdings. The amount of land it held also constituted 85% of the total land suitable for growing bananas in Guatemala. United Fruit owned or chartered 36 ships and operated 1500 miles of railroad. The company brought in hefty annual returns of 12.5% to its stockholders (Dosal 6). If Guatemala was a pie then United Fruit definitely had the largest piece. Guatemalans faced having very little land, little to no control over infrastructure, and no means by which to enlarge Guatemala's tax revenue. Guatemala was stuck. <br />In the midst of these serious disparities, on June 27, 1952 President Jacobo Arbenz's agrarian reform bill was finally enacted in order to get farmable land into Guatemalan hands and weaken the grip of the United Fruit Company. Called Decree 900, the bill's provisions held that farms which were completely utilized and used for production were exempt from being selected for expropriation, farms under 223 acres would not face expropriation as neither would farms between 223 and 670 acres which were being at least 2/3 utilized for crop production. Decree 900 therefore was aimed at large farms with large portions of uncultivated land. All lands expropriated by the government were to be compensated in twenty five-year bonds with a 3% interest rate. The land's value was taken from its declared taxable worth as of May 1952, which stood as a major threat to the United Fruit Company which had consistently undervalued its property to pay less taxes. Guatemala ended up paying United Fruit an average of $2.99 an acre of the 386,901 acres of land it expropriated. The U.S. State Department demanded that Guatemala pay $75 an acre, but United Fruit paid only $1.48 per acre when it purchased the land about twenty years earlier (Schlesinger and Kinzer 54, 76). Riding on the heels of Decree 900, later the National Agrarian Bank was created to give credit and monetary assistance to the beneficiaries of the agrarian reform bill and to small farmers (Gleijeses 156). The expropriations had begun and eventually the United States government decided to step in and put a stop to what was seen as the birth of communism in Guatemala.<br />In August of 1953, the United States National Security Council approved covert action in Guatemala. In December of 1953, Allen Dulles approved Operation PBSUCCESS, a CIA plan to overthrow Arbenz, and gave it a budgetary allowance of three million dollars. In late June of 1954, the candidate to replace Arbenz named Castillo Armas crossed the border into Guatemala with his small force of rebels with logistical and military assistance and advisement by the CIA. Armas's rebel force was disorganized and not on schedule, and was easily defeated where ever it went. The CIA sent out planes on light bombing runs and strafing missions, eventually flying over the capital and buzzing Arbenz. Even though the Guatemalan army could have easily defeated Armas, it surrendered and Arbenz stepped down nine days after PBSUCCESS started out of the fear of a large U.S. military-led invasion.<br />There are many explanations for the United States' eventual use of force to reestablish the position of the United Fruit Company and the governing class of Guatemala. The main reason for intervention was the expropriation of land by the Guatemalan government on United Fruit Company holdings. The UFC, an American company, was a part of the American economic empire and with American shareholders and investment firms expecting continual profits, the company's interests as a global capitalist enterprise fell into the protective domain of the United States government by default. The phrase "not in my backyard" seemed to be the operational motto during the conflict as the U.S. government, concerned with maintaining the Monroe Doctrine into the Cold War, vigorously attempted to deny major foreign governments power and influence in the western hemisphere. All communism and in some cases socialism were viewed as originating from the Kremlin, and that the threat of communism, real or exaggerated, provided the impetus for the U.S. to serve the interests of the United Fruit Company. In turn the United States used the United Fruit Company as a chess piece in achieving its foreign policy objectives. <br />The United States was also concerned with the greater message that an ongoing successful revolution in Guatemala under the supervision of Arevalo, then Arbenz, could send to other nations in the developing world whose economy was similarly fashioned after the United Fruit Company in Guatemala. A highly popular and diversely supported revolution, the Revolution of 1944 was undertaken by the middle class, students and young army officers. It established labor unions with government protection, made efforts to acquire more means of production which would serve as a tax base for local development and profit circulation, and caused a new relationship of disharmony with the former governing class and the United Fruit Company, the multinational corporation locally known as "the Octopus" for having its tentacles around Guatemala (Aybar 294-296). <br />One way to look at the hierarchy of nations in comparative politics is by organizing and separating nations into metropolitan super powers and the subservient nation-states that are below them which are somehow dependent upon them. Together these states may form a bloc with a hierarchy. The subservient nation-states within the bloc may hold a vital resource which the metropolitan superpower utilizes for its gain at the expense of local profit circulation. The metropolitan superpower is most likely to seek to maintain the status quo as long as the arrangement is profitable. Improving local conditions may not be a top priority as profits can be acquired without investing too much into the subservient nation-state. This results in a state of starvation for the subservient nation-state. As the subservient nation-state takes actions to improve its condition by demanding more share of the profits and resources, this causes a disturbance which the metropolitan superpower is likely to resist. The metropolitan superpower can attribute the behavior of the subservient nation-state on another outside metropolitan superpower which it deems to be an agitator, as the United States did in accusing liberal progressive Guatemalan reform policies as being a tool of the Soviet Union. The metropolitan superpower may ultimately resort to a selective use of force in bringing the subservient nation-state back into the prior politico-economic arrangement (Aybar 4-5). This was the basis for much of the international political developments during the Cold War throughout the world. This type of international push-pull between the major superpowers and developing nations, once referred to as "third world" nations, often stymied the development of stability and autonomy for developing nations as the United States and the Soviet Union fought and supported proxy wars around the globe for influence, access to resources, and opposing ideology. <br />identification of the propagandist <br />The propagandists were the United Fruit Company, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Eisenhower administration.<br />structure of the propaganda organization<br />The power structures of the propaganda organizations were top-down with mostly vertical communication. The United Fruit Company was a corporation with powerful decisions made by a small group of executives. President Eisenhower and his Cabinet were responsible in formulating American foreign policy and making decisions about what would be fair game in Guatemala for the CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency is a federal para-military agency with top-down command structure and vertical communication, highly secretive, with agents infiltrating organizations and countries around the world. <br />target audience<br />The target audience of United Fruit Company propaganda was the United States government and the U.S. general public. The target of CIA propaganda was the people of Guatemala with a focus on women, workers, the army, and students.<br />media utilization techniques<br />Media utilization was extensive in the United Fruit Company and the Central Intelligence Agency's bringing down of the Arbenz administration of the Guatemalan Government. The propaganda was deliberate, systematic, and focused, with the campaign spanning several years and relying on every possible resource. They used the printed word, employing pamphlets, flyers, posters, and newspaper articles. Pro-United Fruit Company movie shorts were made, the CIA set up a radio station to play propaganda to Guatemalans, the United States Information Agency made movies to influence Guatemalans, U.S. government officials spoke on national radio in the United States, and rumors were spread by women of the Guatemalan marketplace. The United Fruit company even hired a public relations expert to take measures on its behalf, Edward Bernays, whose work history included being the adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Paris peace conference after the first world war (Schlesinger and Kinzer 80). <br />When Edward Bernays was hired by United Fruit to solve their public relations problem, he set out initially to influence Central American opinion by establishing newspapers in and throughout the area. Employee newspapers were distributed in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras and a weekly "Latin American Report" was created. Bernays supplied facts and figures of his own making to Latin and American journalists . In 1950 Bernays got the New York Herald Tribune to send a reporter to Guatemala. The reporter did not veer far from United Fruit Company officials in his search for a report when he wrote a piece called "Communism in the Caribbean" which appeared on the front page of the paper for five days. Bernays also got a friend at the New York Times to send a reporter to Guatemala, and this reporter returned with a story which made unfounded claims of a vast communist infiltration in the country. In a masterful stroke of omission, the American press barely reported on a press conference held by Samuel Guy Inman, an American professor and writer, who had interviewed President Arevalo of Guatemala in 1950. In the interview Arevelo expressed solidarity with the major capitalist powers, proclaiming that Guatemala had no ties to Europe or Asia, and that in the event of a major conflict, his country was completely on the side of the United States (Schlesinger and Kinzer 82-85). Bernays's first wave had been successful in spreading the UFC message and in eliminating opposing voices.<br />Bernays's second major propaganda offensive on United Fruit Company's behalf began in 1951. In similar fashion of the year before, Bernays relied on the New York Times to provide a reporter who would visit Guatemala and return with a message which echoed that of Bernays's. The journalist, Crede H. Calhoun, used the term "Red" for communist in his report of the ominous threat of communism in the banana republic, yet Bernays praised Calhoun for his objectivity. The media's need for sensationalism became larger and Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Time, and the Atlantic Monthly all responded to Calhoun's report by sending their own journalists to Guatemala to cover the growth of Marxism. Bernays in 1952 began to organize field trips for journalists of major media agencies and newspapers. The United Fruit Company planned and carried out two-week tours of Guatemala for journalists who would have all their expenses paid, be shown around a beautiful country, and given an official line to tout by the local public relations officer Ed Whitman. Journalists interviewed people whom the United Fruit Company selected and they all returned to their agencies having been shown how United Fruit was doing good things in Guatemala but was being attacked and pressured by communist forces. Immediately after the land expropriations of the Arbenz government which took place within the agrarian reform, Bernays dispatched another team of journalists to cover what he claimed was proof that Guatemala had finally fallen to Communism; he ultimately succeeded in saturating the American public with his propaganda message (Schlesinger and Kinzer 86-88). <br />In 1952 the United Fruit Company commissioned John Clements to write a report on Communist infiltration in the Guatemalan government. Clements was a vice-president of the infamous Hearst newspaper corporation, an ex-marine, and an editor of The American Mercury, a right-wing publication. He was paid $35,000 for the 235-page study, and his report soon found its way into the hands of politically influential people within American government. His work even became a reference and a resource for official government business. In 1953 he came out with another report, which complained that the U.S. needed to overthrow President Arbenz immediately. Clements later went on to represent Castillo Armas's (the U.S.-chosen replacement president) interests in the United States for $8,000 a month after Armas was put in power. When Clements died in 1975 Hearst Corporation executives retrieved and burned his files to avoid any potential lawsuits (Schlesinger and Kinzer 94-96). The United Fruit Company had lobbied the government and controlled the press, capturing the hearts and minds of the American public and enlisting the might of the U.S. federal government.<br />The United States Information Agency was also instrumental in creating and publishing propaganda. Schlesinger and Kinzer (166-167) write:<br />"In June alone, USIA propagandists wrote more than 200 articles about Guatemala based on information from CIA sources, and distributed them for anonymous placement in scores of Latin newspapers. The agency shipped more than 100,000 copies of a pamphlet called "Chronology of Communism in Guatemala" throughout Latin America. Twenty-seven thousand copies of anti-Communist cartoons and posters were also distributed. The USIA also produced three special movies on Guatemala, including one on the Caracas OAS meeting, as well as reels of news footage favorable to the United States for showing free in movie houses in Latin America. The agency persuaded radio stations in friendly countries like Cuba to run 'hard-hitting commentaries' on Guatemala at peak listening hours as the Castillo Armas invasion neared. An experienced USIA press officer was sent to the American Embassy in Honduras to brief 'selected correspondents' on 'inside' accounts of events once the coup began as a way of offsetting anticipated hostile foreign news reports about the invasion. One internal State Department memo reported that 'the program of smearing Guatemalan maneuvers in advance was proceeding satisfactorily."<br />The CIA also set up a radio station seven weeks before Operation PBSUCCESS with the express purpose of broadcasting anti-Arbenz propaganda and to urge Guatemalans to side with Castillo Armas. It was called La Voz de la Liberacion, or the Voice of Liberation, and it claimed to be broadcasting "deep from within the jungle" of Guatemala, although it was actually being broadcast from neighboring countries. The radio station played popular music and had programming from a regionally famous comedian. The target audience were women, soldiers, workers, and young people. The CIA wanted to influence the soldiers to not defend Arbenz in the event of an armed conflict, and the station reported that Arbenz's secret plan was to disband the armed forces and form a peasant militia, a message which the CIA eventually printed onto leaflets and airdropped into the country. The broad purpose of the radio station was to intimidate Guatemalan listeners (Schlesinger and Kinzer 167-168). During the invasion of Castillo Armas the radio station issued false reports of troop movements causing many Guatemalans to flee to the countryside and at the same time wonder why there weren't any invading forces to fight through (Schlesinger and Kinzer 192).<br />special techniques to maximize effect<br />The Central Intelligence Agency went on the offensive searching for any dissenting voices that might provide any formidable opposition. Their main target was Sydney Gruson, a journalist for the New York Times. Assigned to Mexico City, Gruson's circuit included the country of Guatemala. Gruson was fairly objective, and when compared to the journalists who were being courted by the United Fruit Company, he was the benchmark for objectivity. Gruson had been kicked out of Guatemala after writing a piece that made President Arbenz out to be a communist sympathizer. Later he was readmitted to Guatemala, but once again caught Guatemalan ire when he covered the Alfhem incident, depicting Guatemalans and other Latins getting behind Arbenz to oppose America. Gruson said that the major theme in Central America was not communist, anti-communist, anti or pro-American, but that it was nationalism (Schlesinger and Kinzer 154). This concept proved an obstacle for the CIA and United Fruit, whose interest was much better served if they could cast all the events in Guatemala as being a heinous plot by communist agents to sabotage the great fruit machine and subvert democracy. Any other context might cause people to consider that the internal events of Guatemala reflected a growing disgust with globalization and a strong desire to assert political and economic independence. <br />The CIA contacted the New York Times and got publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger to keep Gruson in Mexico City and out of Guatemala. The CIA told Sulzberger that Gruson had been at an event in Mexico City along with Czech diplomats and that he might be a sympathizer. Sulzberger complied and kept Gruson out of Guatemala, and Gruson never got to complete an investigation into Castillo Armas's connection with a possible invasion of Guatemala (Schlesinger and Kinzer 154).<br />In 1949 the United States cut off military aid to Guatemala. Two years later it had organized an international arms boycott against in Guatemala in 1951 and then continued to take active measures in preventing the importation of arms into the country. When President Arbenz sought weapons from Czechoslovakia, an eastern bloc country under communist control, the United States used this "illegal" arms shipment from a communist country as proof that the communists were gaining power in Guatemala (Streeter 27).<br />The CIA also made an effort to utilize the Catholic church in Guatemala in order to raise awareness of a Communist threat. A Cardinal in New York was approached by the CIA to arrange contact with the Guatemalan archbishop. In April of 1954, a pastoral letter was read in all Guatemalan churches urging all Guatemalans to stand up against "this enemy of God and country." The CIA then took this letter and made pamphlets which it later airdropped over Guatemala (Schlesinger and Kinzer 155).<br />A man named Pepe, one of the Guatemalans with the CIA at the Voice of Liberation radio station, approached a retired Air Force Colonel who had defected, Mendoza Azurdia, on June 4, 1954 and proposed he create a taped message imploring Guatemalan Air Force pilots to defect with their aircraft and to give instructions on how to do it safely. The Colonel was against the idea and refused. However, as the two men had drinks together, Pepe insured that the Colonel's glass was never empty and the Colonel soon became drunk. Pepe asked the Colonel how he might speak if he were to broadcast a message of the sort had he agreed to do so. The Colonel stood up and gave an enthusiastic demonstration. Little did the Colonel know that Pepe was secretly recording their cocktail party and that his performance would be edited and then broadcast as the message the CIA had originally desired (Schlesinger and Kinzer 168-169).<br />During the invasion of Castillo Armas and his forces, President Jacobo Arbenz chose to ward off the invasion delicately, fearing that a strong reaction might provide a pretext for a U.S. invasion. Arbenz is quoted as saying "This invasion is a farce. We can shoo them away with our hats. What I'm afraid of- and this is why I ordered Diaz to let the mercenaries advance into our territory- what I'm afraid of is that if we defeat them right on the border, the Honduran government will manufacture a border incident, declare war on us, and the United States will invade. (Gleijeses 324)" Maybe the United States did not realize it but by sending in a lackluster force it served to make any counterattack by the trained Guatemalan army a potential massacre for the rebels, an event which might only stir up more anti-Arbenz feelings.<br />During Operation PBSUCCESS, a P-47 aircraft flew over a Honduran town and mistakenly bombed it. Secretary Dulles used the mistake against Arbenz, saying that it was Guatemala which was attacking its neighbor. The government of Honduras believed Dulles and threatened retaliation against Guatemala (Gleijeses 340).<br />John Foster Dulles went on national radio the day after the overthrow of Arbenz with a great deal of enthusiasm, proclaiming that the Guatemalans had patriotically rose to overthrow the Communist regime themselves. Not everyone around the world on the allied side believed him, and he received criticism from Labour Party leader Clement Attlee in Britain, who described the events in Guatemala as a "putsch" (Schlesinger and Kinzer 216-217).<br />audience reaction to various techniques<br />The propaganda campaign undertaken by the CIA was effective in convincing the officers of the Guatemalan army that if they fought back and defeated Castillo Armas, then a U.S. invasion would inevitably follow (Gleijeses 341). While the Guatemalan army was impressive by Central American standards, it was no match for the potential military might of the United States.<br />United Fruit Company propaganda was successful in convincing the American public to get on its side. The UFC also succeeded in lobbying the U.S. government to take action which would be mutually beneficial.<br />counterpropaganda<br />One of the reasons the United Fruit Company was so successful in its propaganda campaign was that Guatemala never had an organized effort in making a case for itself in the U.S. press (Schlesinger and Kinzer 90). The U.S. considered Guatemalan agrarian reform to be propaganda itself. In the U.S. it was thought that agrarian reform would spread across Central America because it appealed to such a wide audience and because it represented in some peoples' eyes an end to "colonialism" and "feudalism", two powerful propagandistic terms used to describe the structures of the economy throughout the area (Streeter 22). <br />Jacobo Arbenz had discovered plans for his overthrow six months prior to the execution of Operation PBSUCCESS. When he disclosed documents related to the plan, the press rejected it as being his own propaganda, and not much more. It was also interpreted as Arbenz issuing his own propaganda as a pretext to seize dictatorial powers. By this time there was very little belief that he was not somehow guilty of the charges of communism (Cullather 55). <br />On the night Arbenz stepped down as President he addressed Guatemalans on radio, however the transmission was partially jammed by the CIA and was largely ignored as many tuned into the Voice of Liberation radio station, which would be shut down the next day. Arbenz's speech was not allowed to be printed for over a month after it was made. Arbenz talked to Guatemala:<br />"Workers, peasants, patriots, my friends: people of Guatemala: Guatemala is enduring a most difficult trial. For fifteen days a cruel war against Guatemala has been underway. The United Fruit Company, in collaboration with the governing circles of the United States, is responsible for what is happening to us.... In whose name have the carried out these barbaric acts? What is their banner? We know very well. They have used the pretext of anti-communism. The truth is very different. The truth is to be found in the financial interests of the fruit company and the other U.S. monopolies which have invested great amounts of money in Latin America and fear that the example of Guatemala would be followed by other Latin countries... I was elected by a majority of the people of Guatemala, but I have had to fight under difficult conditions. The truth is that the sovereignty of a people cannot be maintained without the material elements to defend it... I took over the presidency with great faith in the democratic system, in liberty and in the possibility of achieving economic independence for Guatemala. I continue to believe that this program is just. I have not violated my faith in democratic liberties, in the independence of Guatemala and in all the good which is the future of humanity..."<br />In a nearly prophetic voice Arbenz went on to say:<br />"A government different from mine, but always inspired by our October revolution, is preferable to twenty years of fascist bloody tyranny under the rule of the bands which Castillo Armas has brought into the country...(Schlesinger and Kinzer 199-200)" <br />events and evaluation <br />Castillo Armas returned all expropriated land to the United Fruit Company upon taking power and returned their original contract. <br />The Department of Justice had its eye on the United Fruit Company for some time and filed an antitrust suit right after Armas became President of Guatemala. John Dulles did not mind as it served to distance the U.S. government from the UFC. The suit gave an appearance of objectivity for the Eisenhower administration and did not end until 1958, despite heavy lobbying by United Fruit. United Fruit Company eventually had to give land to locals and give them a share of the market by order of the Department of Justice and in another suit had to relinquish their controlling interest in the IRCA Railroad Company. Eventually United Fruit Company sold all remaining land holdings to the Del Monte corporation (Schlesinger and Kinzer 220,229). Even the United Fruit Company did not come out a winner in the years after the replacement of Arbenz. <br />In documents later found at United Fruit Company warehouses many years later, correspondence of company lobbyists in Central America showed how the company enjoyed access to generals, presidents, and labor inspectors. These letters joked of how the company was lying about corporate profits to local officials, how they were able to get taxes lowered and how they were able to change labor laws (Bourgois 107). It was this far-reaching influence and advantage which eventually earned the United Fruit Company the nickname "El Pulpo", which means "The Octopus". <br />Three years of Armas in office was less than stable, and he survived multiple internal attempts to overthrow him. Armas endured a scandal from which he never recovered regarding the importation of corn, corn which later turned out to be unfit for consumption. Armas had received an amount of money from the importers and many students in Guatemala interpreted it as bribery. Armas denied any foul play, claiming that it was a repayment for a personal loan. Sometime later Armas's government officers were treated with hostility in a public ceremony, and Arbas declared a state of siege, ordering the military to suppress all strikes from labor groups because it was part of a larger Communist plot. Armas was killed on July 27, 1957 in his official palace residence by a lone gunman who then immediately killed himself (Schlesinger and Kinzer 235). <br />From 1955 to 1985 in Guatemala about 150,000 people died and another 40,000 went missing as a result of the unrest in the country. CIA agent Philip Roettinger, who was involved in Operation PBSUCCESS, said "Our success (led to) repressive military rule and the deaths of more than 100,000 Guatemalans. Furthermore, the overthrow...destroyed vital social and economic reforms, including land distribution, social security, and trade union rights. Thirty years later, Nicaraguans finally have such benefits, Guatemalans and Hondurans are still waiting (LaFeber 361)."<br />Works Cited<br />Aybar de Soto, J.M. (1978). Dependency and Intervention: The Case of Guatemala in <br />1954. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.<br />Bourgois, P. (2003). One Hundred Years of United Fruit Company Letters. In S. Striffler and M. Moberg (Eds.), Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americas (103-144). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.<br />Cullather, N. (2006). Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of its Operations in<br />Guatemala, 1952-1954. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.<br />Dosal, P. (1993). Doing Business with the Dictators: A Political History of United <br />Fruit in Guatemala 1899-1944. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc.<br />Gleijeses, P. (1991). Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United <br />States, 1944-1954. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.<br />LaFeber, W. (1993). Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America.<br />New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.<br />Schlesinger, S. & Kinzer, S. (2005). Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in <br />Guatemala. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.<br />Streeter, S. M. (2000). Managing the Counterrevolution: The United States and<br />Guatemala, 1954-1961. Athens, OH: Ohio University for International Studies.<br /> <br />