Guatemala

1839-1944

After "National Independence", Guatemala continues to be ruled by dictatorships, principally by: Rafael Carrera (1838 -1865), Justo Rufino Barrios (1873 - 1885), Manuel Estrada Cabrera (1898 - 1920), and Gen. Jorge Ubico (1931 - 1944). The racial divide between European mix (mestizo) and indigenous is thoroughly entrenched in the country and as such, dictators have no reservations selling the country to foreign businesses at a profit.

1926
Narrative: President of Guatemala, Lazaro Chacon, signs a 25-year contract exempting the United Fruit Company from all government duties and taxes.
Expiration year- 1951.

1945

The October Revolution of 1944 paves the way for open elections. Juan José Arévalo is inaugurated as Guatemala's first freely elected president.

1947
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1 May - Labor code instituted in Guatemala.  Workers are guaranteed legal rights to organize and negotiate healthcare, vacations, salaries, and individual or collective contracts.

United States National Security Council "legalizes" covert activity against unsuspecting countries.

In one of the most outrageous examples of legislation, the United States adopts radical policy approving covert operations "which are so planned and executed that any U.S. government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the U.S government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them". The Act "allows" the United States to bypass international law and interfere, destabilize, and sabotage governments in the interests of "world peace".

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U.S. suspends arms sales to Guatemala indefinitely. This action forces Guatemala to seek weapons from Europe as neighboring countries become more hostile.

1949

"Guatemala is in the forefront of those nations which denounce the existence of colonial possessions in the western hemisphere."

- Latin American Branch, CIA 22 March 1949-

30 August 1949- Petroleum Law instituted in Guatemala. Deposits of hydrocarbons can only be exploited by the State, by Guatemalans, or by Guatemalan companies in which the capital is predominately national.

Contact with Carlos Castillo Armas (AKA RUFUS, CALLIGERIS) is established. CIA begins buildup of personnel and resources.

1951
January
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"Since World War II, assaults of this character have occurred in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, and as of 1950, one was being prepared in Guatemala"

- Victor Perlo, American Imperialism 1951-

1 March - President Arévalo presents annual message to Congress. Charges former U.S. Ambassador Richard C. Patterson, Jr. of engaging in conspiracies against Guatemalan Government.

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"I came to understand that, according to certain international norms- not written, but acting- small countries do not have the right to sovereignty.  I also warned that our compatriots with a feudal spirit and a demand for freedom should be understood as a freedom for the multiplication of their wealth, without limitations or obligations, without any consideration for the worker who produces it or the employee who administers it.

 

Within this international framework, resoundingly adopted by almost all the politicians and statesmen of our century, the human factor lacks its own meaning and real value, unless that meaning and value are in accordance with commercial assumptions. It is spoken of "the rights of man”, whose rights are explained with academic sufficiency, but they have never told us who this man is, what color that man is or where and how that man lives and dies."

- President of Guatemala Juan Jose Arévalo 15 March 1951- 

According to the State Department, Guatemala is classified as a vulnerable area, in the same category as Israel, Sweden, and Iceland.

A study of Guatemala is requested for further action. The report was given 4 months to complete. 5 days later a plan to overthrow the government was created.

1952
-January 24-
Meeting of Mr. Dulles and Col. King with Assistant Secretary of State Miller re overthrow of Guatemalan Government.

February

13 Feb- Ex-President Juan Jose Arévalo quoted in Mexican press stating Arbenz administration in "grave danger" because United Fruit Company and "Yankee imperialist agents" planned to wrest power from it.

18 Feb- Victor Manuel Gutiérrez, Secretary General of Labor in Guatemala, informs in a radio interview 300 men under Col Carlos Castillo Armas, a political exile, are preparing to invade Guatemala from Honduras. Ministry of Interior promptly denies it.

"Future political developments will depend in large measure on the outcome of the conflict between Guatemala and the United Fruit Company."

- NIE-62 Intelligence Advisory Committee 11 March 1952-

-November-
Castillo Armas maintained in Honduras [                     ] [            ] with financial assistance from CIA.
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As late as September of 1953, the State Department realized that the "revolutionary army" of Castillo Armas was doomed to failure. The following document- Impressions of PBFORTUNE- reveals that the position of Armas was weak in Guatemala, he had amassed negligible assets on his own, and provided no evidence that popular support would be available once the coup began. This memo exposes the State Department's intent to move forward with Carlos Castillo Armas playing a "proper, limited scale" in the operation.

-September 14-
Col. King meets with American business men in New York re economic pressures against Guatemala.
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1954
Observations on Proposed PP Program, Stage 2, PBSUCCESS
-January 6th-
The Chamber of Deputies of Chile recognizes the dangers of a conspiracy against Guatemala and unanimously agrees to ask the Chilean delegation that goes to Caracas a firm defense of the small Central American country.
 
Estimate of Costs For Communications PBSUCCESS
 
-January 14th-
New York Customs detained and seized a shipment of ammunition purchased in Switzerland by the Guatemalan government. The pretext given by officials was that the cargo did not have a license to import into Guatemala.
Alexander Wiley, president of the Commission of Foreign Relations, made public accusations against Guatemala, repeating the slogan that Guatemala is a "dangerous bridgehead of international communism".
 
Action Against the General Labor Confederation of Guatemala
Letter From CALLIGERIS to "Supreme Jefe of Group", i.e., Director
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-January 29th-
Guatemala Bares Plot

The government of Guatemala exhibits, in a bulletin given to the press, all documents in its possession on the organization of mercenary troops in Honduras, with protection from the governments of Honduras, Nicaragua, Santo Domingo, Venezuela, and the approval of the "Government of the North". Cardinal Spellman is also mentioned in the documents.

-January 30th-
State Department rejects the Guatemalan accusation, blaming Moscow with aims of sabotaging Pan-American harmony.
 
Moscow Tass in Russian Hellschreiber to Europe
To Director from Lincoln re Source of Leak
 
February
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The "Official" Congressional record of the United States Senate.

Ofiicial Record
To Director of CIA from LINCOLN
White Paper Counter by CIA
Declaration of Col. Castillo Armas
 
-February 3rd-
Two members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives- Donald Jackson and Frances Bolton- asked for the adoption of measures against Guatemala as a result of the expulsion of two American journalists. Bolton stated such action was definitive proof that Guatemala was in the hands of the Communists.
 
KUGOWN Support Current Situation of Labor in Guatemala
A pact is made between a large group of American businessmen and Carlos Castillo Armas to carry out the coup. Joshua Smith and Robert Ford are representatives for the "Group".
Agreement Between Group and Junta
Psychological Intelligence
Delivery Points for Supplies
KUGOWN White Paper Counter
White Paper Original (spanish)
15 February Conference on Black Flights
Message to SLINC from Director CIA
KUGOWN Instructions for Eliot P. Razmara
KUGOWN Notes for Frances R. Hegarty
Covert Operations Section
Propaganda Budget for March
 
March
KUGOWN Operational Telephone team for rumor propogation
 
-March 5th-
Pan-American Conference in Caracas. Chancellor Toriello of Guatemala denounces the United States, its aim to defend the interests of United Fruit and the use of military aggression against Guatemala. Foster Dulles, lawyer of the International Railways of Central America, proclaims his grief before the communist infiltration. Delegates from Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador pronounce rejection against foreign intervention. 
 
Address by Guillermo Toriello Garrido
State Department officials recognize the agrarian reform as favorable among the Guatemalan working class population.
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PBSUCCESS: Selection of Clandestine Radio Site
Security - Operational Support
Sabotage Targets
First- hand account of Donald C. Hediger details how U.S. agents revived and took control of failing subversive attempts by "local" anti-communist organizations.
Operational Hediger Report
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Operational GROUP's Reccomendations
Letter from Sydney Gruson
Report by Mr [        ] on OAS Conference
Approval for Purchase of Arms
Air Operations Report
 
April
Review of ESSENCE Operations
Report of the Committee on Freedom of Information
-April 20th-
The State department, in the name of United Fruit Company, demands the Government of Guatemala to pay a sum of 15,800,000 dollars for expropriated lands. The government of Guatemala, protected by law, rejects the claim.
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Operation WASHTUB was a propaganda campaign using U.S submarines to accuse Guatemala of smuggling weapons. The following example illustrates how one submarine identified by locals was used in the media.

May
KUGOWN Sherwood Script Propaganda
The Sherwood Tapes
-May 11th-
The government of Honduras blames Guatemala for the great strike of Honduran workers against United Fruit Company. 
Foster Dulles endorses the accusations of the Honduran government against Guatemala.
Air Support Pilot List
-May 17th-
The State Department gives an announcement of a shipment of arms to Guatemala.
-May 19th-
The State Department believes that Latin American nations are not sufficiently alarmed by the danger that international communism poses to their freedom and well-being.
 
Message to Director
 
-May 20th-
The Nicaraguan ambassador, after a conference with Foster Dulles, declared in Washington that his country contemplates the convenience of requesting a meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs to consider the serious events of Central America.
A shipment of Swiss ammunition for the Guatemalan government is stopped in Hamburg.
-May 25th-
Foster Dulles declares the shipment of "communist" arms to Guatemala gives the small country a tremendous military superiority over its Central American neighbors and could endanger the Panama Canal.
 
-May 26th-
The first pirate plane flies over Guatemala, throwing inflammatory leaflets and announcing a short-term invasion. U.S. Air support over the course of the following month was the deciding factor in the overthrow of Arbenz.
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Continental Congress against the Soviet invasion in Latin America is held in Mexico. The first vice president of the Congress is a Guatemalan lawyer Carlos Salazar Gatica, former official of the United Fruit, involved in several conspiracies against Arevalo and Arbenz.
The Guatemalan government offers the Honduran government the signing of a non-aggression pact, to end the tension between the two countries.
-May 29th-
A military pact between the United States and Honduras. Immediate, precipitated and substantial shipment of weapons, ammunition, and airplanes. Technicians arrive in Managua and Tegucigalpa.
Points for Consideration by the Special State Department Group working on......
Secret to Washington from ~
-May 31st-
Guatemalan police discover documents that prove the complicity of certain people, inside Guatemala, to support the mercenary invasion. Several conspirators are detained, others take refuge in embassies and others flee to Honduras.
 
June
President Arbenz has made multiple attempts to resolve the situation diplomatically to no avail.
Arbenz Public Meeting with Eisenhower Denied
 
-June 2nd-
United States amasses "the largest battalion in the area" on Honduran territory.
 
Cable to Director from Lincoln
 
-June 8th-
Foster Dulles declares in Washington that the Guatemalan problem "has nothing to do with United Fruit but affects the other American nations equally."
 
June 10th-
Honduras rejects the Guatemalan offer of a non-aggression pact. 
-June 11th-
Government of Mexico ordered the closing of the border with Guatemala.
 
-June 13th-
The United States prohibits the sale of weapons to Guatemala and requires licenses to register all ships on the high seas.
 
Policy Guidance for Final Phase of PBSUCCESS
 
-June 14th-
Journalists begin to arrive in Guatemala, San Salvador and Tegucigalpa.
-June 15th-
The Ambassadors of El Salvador and Costa Rica leave the city of Guatemala to their respective countries.
-June 16th-
Pan American Airways suspends services to Guatemala.
Senior officials of the Marine department confirmed in Washington that American warships, along with Aviation, have established a permanent surveillance service around Guatemala.
 
Cable to Director from [         ]
 
 
-June 17th-
Republican representative for Ohio, Frances Bolton, warns that Castillo Armas has at his disposal an amount of 150 thousand dollars per month to prepare the invasion and that he could pay anyone who joins the team, adding that they would be provided with weapons and ammunition.
Mercenaries invade Guatemala by three points on the Honduran border and seize villages and hamlets.
-June 18th-
At four o'clock in the afternoon the bombing begins on the city of Guatemala, Puerto Barrios and Puerto de San Jose.
Guatemala denounces the invasion and bombing to the United Nations. The security council is chaired by a representative of the United States, Henry Cabot Lodge.
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-June 19th-
State department affirms no foreign intervention regarding the events in Guatemala. United Nations reaffirms.
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"Now the future of Guatemala lies at the disposal of the Guatemalan people themselves."

- John Foster Dulles 30 June 1954-

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-July 19th-
The "revolutionary government" reclaims national land that had been distributed. One week later the Agrarian Reform Law (Decree 900) is annulled. Ownership of 78% of the parcels was revoked, 75% which were returned to their former owners. In the most affected departments, such as Alta Verapaz, Escuintla, Izabal, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, San Marcos and part of Quiché, systematic acts of violence, evictions and persecution of the indigenous groups and land committees were carried out. Agrarianism became synonymous with communism, and the beneficiaries of the law were assumed to be communists.
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Fabrication of an arms plot on United Fruit Company is carried out to further discredit Arbenz government.
Shipment of Small Arms to Ambassadors Wilauer & Peurfoy
Fabricated Arms Plot
Guatemala: Fabricated Arms Cache Plot
 
Guatemala -- the Kilgore case.
National Intelligence Estimate 80-54: The Caribbean Republics
September
Comments by Social Research Group on Documents Explored
Conference with Minister Counselor of Embassy in Guatemala
Apples are Red
-October 10th-
After issuing the provisional legal framework known as the Political Statute of the Republic of Guatemala, a plebiscite is called, in which Castillo Armas obtained 99.9% of the favorable vote. The vote was public and mandatory, and took place as Arbenz's supporters and sectors of the left-wing opposition were treated as enemies of the state.
November
Who Picks Reporters to Tell CIA Story?
December
Cable from Director RE: Jacobo Arbenz Guzman
"As long as it remains national policy, another important requirement is an aggressive covert psychological, political, and paramilitary organization more effective, more unique and, if necessary, more ruthless than that employed by the enemy."

- Special Study Group 30 December 1954-

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1956
Probable Consequences of the Recent Disorders in Guatemala
1957
The Springfjord Problem
Castillo Armas is assassinated. Replaced by Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, a co-conspirator of the 1954 coup.
Assassination of President Carlos Castillo Armas
NSC Briefing 1 August
NSC Briefing [] November
1958
National Intelligence Estimate 82-58
IRA Contribution to NIE 82-58
 
May 1958- Vice president Richard Nixon travels to Latin America where he is met with disgust over the overthrow of Guatemala. "At the end of the trip, he reports that "the threat of communism in Latin America is greater than ever before"."
Eisenhower D., Waging Peace 1956-1961.

Forbidden Fruit
1961- 1962
The Situation in Guatemala
The Nation 24June1961: The CIA by Fred J. Cook
Cuba Won't Become Another Guatemala, Declares Arbenz
 
President Eisenhower attempts to distort the overthrow of Guatemala and in so doing reveals the approval of air support for Castillo Armas and rescuing the coup from imminent failure.
Mandate for Change by Dwight D. Eisenhower
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1963Government overthrow directed by CIA to prevent popular re-election of Juan Jose Arévalo, who is now "widely regarded as pro-communist and with a lengthy record of anti-US activities".

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"The left has not been able to make a successful comeback since carlos castillo armas' "liberation" of june 1954. It was, in fact, the possibility of their resurgence in elections scheduled for 1963 that led to the military coup and the present military government."

- Directorate of Intelligence 4 march 1966-

1966-1970
"Future ability of U.S. advisors to influence police operations in guatemala is, in my opinion, a "must".

- John P. Longan, chief public safety advisor 4 Jan 1966-

 

Memo to Byron Engle from John Longan

Secret Executions

Chicago News 24 December 1966: Twists and Turns of Our Guatemala Policy

Death squads of Latin America applied the same tactics for "counter-insurgency" used in Vietnam by the CIA coordinated Phoenix Program.

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The American University was aware of the ethnic genocide being carried out in Guatemala.

"Some activities already under-taken by the Military Establishment may tend to reduce and eventually eliminate the great social and economic disparity between the indian and ladino (non-indian) segments of the population and thereby instill more national unity."

- Foreign Area Studies,  The American University 20 Dec 1968-

Biographic Data on LTC Elias Osmundo Ramirez Cervantes, Guatemalan Army
1971-1979
"Many of the mutilated bodies that have been discovered in rivers and ravines, along roads and in other places that have become standard disposal sites for corpses probably are miscellaneous "troublemakers". For example, [                                 ] army operations in the western department of San Marcos had eliminated 200 "insurgents and bandits" in the seven weeks since the state of seige had been imposed."

- Central Intelligence Agency 29 July 1971-

 
Guatemalan Antiterrorist Campaign
Guatemala: No End to Violence?
"Every Guatemalan government over the past half century has to one degree or another used extra-legal violence against its political enemies, real or imagined."

- Central Intelligence Agency 30 April 1974-

Death Squad Strikes

Guatemala: The Election's Warning Signal

 
1980-1989
"Some officers use torture and other harsh methods to elicit information about guerillas and to discourage support for insurgency."

- National Foreign Assessment Center February 1981-

1983

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"Until recently, guatemala had a relatively stable oligarchy, although it is fair to say that this stability had been maintained since 1954 through the use of coercion and electoral fraud."

 

-Center for strategic and international studies, Georgetown University

30 june 1982-

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Military Aid to Guatemala: The Failure of Human Rights Legislation
1990's
"Project X was a program to develop an exportable foreign  intelligence training package to provide counterinsurgency techniques learned in vietnam to latin american countries."

- Thomas R. Husband Assistant Deputy Director CI Support 31 july 1991-

 
USSOUTHCOM CI Training - Supplemental Information
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The following example is an appalling look at United States sentiment and version of events in Guatemala.
Guatemala: Memory of Silence, 82 pages
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Guatemala's Disappeared: 1977-1986
State of Violence in Guatemala, 1960-1996: A Quantitative Reflection
Kidnapping and torture continues in Guatemala by CIA assets. Colonel Julio Roberto Alpirez is identified as the officer in charge of the murders of American born Michael Devine and Efrain Bamaca, husband of an American lawyer.
Guatemala: Developments in the Bamaca Case
Report of Investigation: Guatemala Volume V Efrain Bamaca Velasquez

Narrative: Books published by 3 different Universities allude to a "communist threat" without definitive proof to justify the events in Guatemala. Similarly, they limit the "study" to 1952-1954, ignoring PBFORTUNE and other U.S. activities prior to 1952.