Virtual Session

The Guatemalan Revolution in Hemispheric Affairs

Josť Manuel Fortuny, leader of the Guatemalan communist party. The Eisenhower administration was convinced that his relationship with Arbenz proved the communist inclinations of the Guatemalan regime.
When I was in college, the professor I had for diplomatic history described US involvement in the Guatemalan coup as the single most immoral act in the history of US foreign policy--a remark that, obviously, has stuck with me. The object of this virtual session, however, is not to address the morality of the Guatemalan action, but to analyze the US role in the coup. How important was the United States in replacing the Arbenz regime? To what extent did Arbenz's own actions bring about his downfall? Was the Guatemalan coup an exception or part of a broader pattern in inter-American affairs. Some questions to ponder as you go through the reading.

READINGS:

                Gleijeses, Shattered Hope, pp. 134-148, 223-278. Here are some reading notes.

DOCUMENTS:

                Guatemala: CIA Assassination Manual (1952)

                CIA analysis: Guatemala

Caucus question: How significant was the US role in the overthrow of Arbenz?

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