Guatemala as Cold War History, by Richard H. Immerman

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From the time of its colonization at the hands of Spanish Conquistadors in the early 1500’s, Guatemala has suffered under the oppression of dictator after dictator. These dictators, who ruled only with the support of the military and only in their own interests, created a form of serfdom; by 1944, two percent of the people owned 70 percent of the usable land. The Allies’ victory in WWII marked democracy’s triumph over dictatorship, and the consequences shook Latin America. Questioning why they should support the struggle for democracy in Europe and yet suffer the constraints of dictatorship at home, many Latin Americans rallied to democratize their own political structures. A group of prominent middle–class Brazilians opposed to the…show more content…
In 1951, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman succeeded Arevalo. Guzman, as well as continuing Arevalo’s reforms, implemented his own liberal reforms including a radical redistribution of land. This program involved the redistribution of one hundred and sixty thousand (160,000) acres of uncultivated land owned by an American owned firm that was then called United Fruit Company (and is now called Chiquita). Under previous governments United Fruit had managed to acquire forty-two (42) percent of the nation and had been granted exemption from all taxes and duties on both imports and exports. Though United Fruit was compensated for the land, many people both within the company and with strong ties to the company began to fear that more land would be taken from the company at the hands of the Guzman regime. Together with many other individuals with positions of power within the American government, they were able to convince President Dwight D. Eisenhower that Guzman had to be removed from power. The United States had never been friendly to socialism and communism and had been wary since the beginning of the Soviet Union, with whom the United States reluctantly allied in World

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