USFP Guatemalan Revolution


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Slides from the Guatemalan Revolution Key Note (aka Power Point for you PC people). Stay tuned for the slidecast and you can also go to for just the podcast.

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  • USFP Guatemalan Revolution

    1. 1. Latin American Revolutions Why did they start? Guatemala
    2. 2. Guatemala
    3. 3. Guatemala • historic socioeconomic conditions • General Jorge Ubico (1932-45) • coffee and bananas • coerced labor and vagrancy laws
    4. 4. Power of UFCO • aka “el pulpo”: land owner, electric company, sea port, int’l radio, RR and telegraph • • largest land owner and employer special U.S. friends and investors
    5. 5. Why did the U.S. support Ubico? “one of the world’s most flagrant tyrannies.” Time magazine • • • • protect U.S. global interests economic stability (1944 = $93,000,000 US) national security/anti-Communism paternalism/racism
    6. 6. Inspiration behind the revolution • “Good Neighbor Policy” • FDR’s Four Freedoms • defeat of fascism in Europe • U.S. Constitution; esp. Art. I, II & III • 2% owned 72% (World Bank)
    7. 7. The Revolution Begins! • teachers and students lead a strike! • Ubico suspends the Constitution! • U.S. opinion about Ubico changes • first election in Guatemalan history! (1821-1944) • Juan José Arevalo and the challenge of change
    8. 8. Arevalo’s Presidency • fan of FDR and the New Deal • supported education for everyone • political rights for everyone • labor laws • starts land reform • opposed Soviet Communism • corruption and communists? • presidential election #2 and Jacobo Arbenz
    9. 9. Arbenz Presidency • • • • Accomplishments (Decree 900) problems with the U.S. Operation Success long-term impact
    10. 10. Clinton: Support for GuatemalaWas Wrong By Chorles Babington Washington Post Stalf Vriier Thursday, Iv{arch ll,1999,Page A1 GUATEMALA CITY, h{arch 10 - PresidentClinton expressedregret todal' for the U.S. role in Guatemala's 36-year cir,il war, saying that Washington "was wrong" to have supportedGuatemalansecuritl'forces in a brutal counterinsurgenc)' campaign that slaughteredthousandsof ciyilians. From the Post E ; ii: , t l : . : , : , - : : ,l . : Clinton's statements marked the first substantivecomment from the administrationsince an independentcommrssion concluded last month that U.S.-backed security torces committed the vast majonty of human rights abusesduring the war, inclqding torture,kidnapping and the murder of thousands of rural Mayans. "It is important that I stateclearll'that support for militarl' f-orces intelligence units rvhich engagedin violent and or wrdespread repression of the kind described in the report rvas ryrong,"Clinton said, reading carefully from handwritten notes. "And the United Statesmust not repeat that mistake. We must, and we u"ill, instead continue to support the peaceand reconciliation processin Guatenrala" Gua,tenralanPresident Alvaro Arz,u sal next to Clinton when he made the remarks a[ a "peace round tabte" in the ornate National Palace of Culture, but had no immediate response.His pressaides said they' rvere unsure whether he would comment. Clinton's aides said the president had thought for some time about hor,vto word his near-apolog.v.The Guatemalan military received training and other help from the U.S. militar,v in an era when the United Statessupported several Latin Anrerican rightist governments fighting leftist insurgents. The record of the Guatemalan security forces was laid bare in a repoft releasedFeb. 25 by the Historical Clarification Commission, which grew out of the U.N.-sponsoredpeaceprocess
    11. 11. to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears next to any article. Visit for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now. October 20, 2011 An Apology for a Guatemalan Coup, 57 Years Later By ELISABETH MALKIN MEXICO CITY — More than a half-century after Guatemala’s elected president Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was overthrown in a coup planned by the C.I.A. and forced into a wandering exile, President Alvaro Colom apologized on Thursday for what he called a “great crime.” In a muted ceremony at the National Palace in Guatemala City, Mr. Colom turned to Mr. Arbenz’s son Juan Jacobo and asked for forgiveness on behalf of the state. “That day changed Guatemala and we have not recuperated from it yet,” he said. “It was a crime to Guatemalan society and it was an act of aggression to a government starting its democratic spring.” The overthrow in 1954 of Mr. Arbenz, a former army colonel whose policies attempted to narrow the chasm betwen the country’s tiny elite and its impoverished peasants, squashed a 10-year effort to build a democratic state. Under a succession of military rulers who took power after the coup, Guatemala descended into three decades of a brutal civil war in which as many as 200,000 people died, many of them peasants killed by security forces. The Eisenhower Administration painted the coup as an uprising that rid the hemisphere of a Communist government backed by Moscow. But Mr. Arbenz’s real offense was to confiscate unused land owned by the United Fruit Company to redistribute under a land reform plan and to pay compensation for the vastly understated value the company had claimed for its tax payments. Mr. Arbenz “was not a dictator, he was was not a crypto-communist,” said Stephen Schlesinger, an adjunct fellow at the Century Foundation and co-author of “Bitter Fruit: The