Guatemalan Revolution 1954

[ 1954 ]

With the support of the army and several left-wing political parties, liberal colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman (1913-1971) was elected president of Guatemala in 1950. He later signed a communist-backed agrarian reform law (1952), expropriating the property of big private land-owners, including the United Fruit Company. In March 1954, the United States and several Latin American nations met at an inter-American conference and condemned the increasing communist movement in the Western Hemisphere. soon a Polish ship landed communist-made arms in Guatemala, while the United States sent arms to Honduras and Nicaragua for their defense. On June 18, 1954, a 2,000-man anti-communist army under Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas (1914-57) invaded Guatemala from Honduras and quickly penetrated the country, encountering little resistance from Arbenz's army. The Guatemalan government sought help from the United Nations Security Council and from the Soviets, and the Organization of American States began an investigation into the conflict. But before the international bodies made any decisions, Arbenz was ousted (June 28, 1954) and fled to Mexico; the capital, Guatemala City, was occupied by Castillo Armas, who became head of a ruling junta and later was elected president.

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