Ten Years of Spring
"Of all this great revolutionary program, the continental news agencies have not said
anything, referring only to what hurts the interests of the United Fruit."
-Juan Jose Arevalo February 1955-
The ten years following the Revolution of 1944 became known throughout Latin America as one of the most progressive social transformations ever instituted in the region at the time. It sought to fundamentally rebuild from centuries of oppression which had been uniformly established throughout the western hemisphere. Guatemala began the process of providing Latin America with one of the greatest examples ever recorded in the history of independence.
The new government implemented a Constitution containing 34 articles for individual rights and 33 specific social guarantees. It focused on civic achievements, enacting anti-reelection rules, institutionalizing autonomy of the legislative and judicial bodies as well as all the municipalities of the country, the absolute autonomy of the army which could no longer be used for tyranny by a president of the republic. Universities were built and education reform was established. Curricula and teaching programs flourished, and construction of schools became an integral part of the social structure. The indigenous population saw the biggest changes as they were given the right to vote, access to education in their native language, and the establishment of minimum wage to prevent further exploitation of labor.
The Guatemalan revolution entered its economic stage with the foundation of the Guatemalan Bank, the founding of the Institute for the Promotion of Production, the establishment of Social Security, and the Institution of Credits for the promotion of cooperatives. A petroleum law was passed that prevented outside exploitation. An extensive labor code gave workers legal rights to discuss questions regarding their physical health, vacations, salaries, and individual or collective contracts.
More ambitious plans were made to construct national roadways and a port that would provide Guatemalans with a means of communication and transportation and to dispense with the monopolistic tutelage in the economy of the country.
Yet, what most people remember about Guatemala can be narrowed down to a single word- Communism. Even as the country had taken action to convey an orientation towards a sovereign democracy, the United States persisted on condemnation. The American government capitalized on the creation of hospitals to perform STD research on unsuspecting civilians. An estimated 30 attempts to overthrow Juan Jose Arevalo had been attempted during this period with U.S. knowledge and approval.
As of this writing, our efforts to locate definitive proof of communist subversion have failed. Nowhere- to include United States documents- has any sort of cold war propaganda been released for viewing. In order to do so, the U.S. would have to release the hundreds of thousands, if not more, of propaganda flyers, leaflets, and other documents created by the United States government for the purposes of psychological warfare to study and compare. This has yet to be made public.