Guatemala, United States, United Fruit Company discussed on Stuff You Missed in History Class

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

May seventeenth with Eisenhower Blockading Guatemala and the Liberation Army organizing from Honduras. They used as one of their base of operations United Fruit company any company town flyovers started on May twenty six with planes dropping leaflets warning the Guatemalan public of these supposed secret plans and encouraging urging McGuire Molin military to turn on the president the Voice of liberation broadcast false reports about an increasingly large army rebels that was taking on new recruits roots as it moved. Arbenz demanded that Honduras put a stop to the Liberation Armies Organization within its borders and the United States started using the pretext of sending military aid to Honduras and Mexico to funnel weapons toward this manufactured uprising by early June as ongoing efforts to destabilize allies. The Guatemalan government led to increasing unrest including plots against the government from within on June third military officers tried to convince our bends ends that for the good of the country he should purge all communists from his administration but he refused five days later our been suspended civil liberties. He's citing the national emergency throughout all of this government officials and the media in the United States were warning of an insidious communist threat in Guatemala Milo with John Foster Dulles calling the Guatemalan government a quote communist type reign of terror. The actual invasion began on June eighteenth nineteen fifty four four after all the ongoing propaganda efforts the CIA was expecting the Guatemalan people to rise up inside with the invasion but that didn't really happen. The Liberation Army faced repeated defeats. Three additional aircraft were deployed to provide more air support but two of them were shot down arbenz placed the army me and the police on alert but he didn't actually deploy them. He was afraid that if he did it would just look like the US propaganda was right about what was happening happening in Guatemala Foreign Minister Gero Toray. Oh recommended that Guatemala go through formal channels to address this he met with John Peripheral who was the US Sam Basseterre to Guatemala who of course knew exactly what was going on he also contacted the UN Security Council and the Inter American Peace Committee of the Organization Nation of American States for support. Pareo denounced the accusations that Guatemala had become a communist country and asked for a ceasefire and four Honduran and Nicaraguan forces to be removed from Guatemala on the nineteenth the US planes flying over Guatemala progressed from dropping leaflets. It's too also strafing and dropping bombs on Guatemala and buildings including gas and oil storage depots Guatemala didn't have much of an air force that could respond spawned all of its planes had been built before nineteen thirty six and our Benz ultimately grounded them out of concerns over whether the pilots were still loyal to him on that night of the Nineteenth Arbenz gave a radio address calling what was happening an armed invasion and he said quote our only crime consisted of decreeing our own laws and applying them to all without exception are crime is having enacted an agrarian reform which affected the interests of the united the fruit company our crime is wanting to have our own route to the Atlantic our own electric power and our own docks imports are crime is our patriotic wish to advance chance to progress to win economic independence to match our political independence. We are condemned because we have given our peasant population land at writes. The air attacks continued and our Benz Declared Martial Law on June Twentieth Guatemala continued appealing to the United Nations for aid where Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge whose family owned stock in United Fruit was head of the Security Council after a lengthy debate the UN Security Council determined that this was a matter for the Organization Nation of American States which as we noted earlier was heavily influenced by the United States the Soviet Union voted against this correctly concluding that the the US was involved in what was happening in Guatemala after days of bombings and attacks and ongoing propaganda both within and outside of Guatemala the United States started publicly supporting customer mass and the Liberation Army the Voice of Liberation started broadcasting reports of all kinds of successful attacks by the Liberation Abrogation army which weren't actually happening it also reported that Casteel Moss's force was growing at an astounding rate even though he was in command of about four hundred people people at the most the international news media also picked up these stories and reported them as fact in the midst of all of this an American plane bombed a British freighter at request of Nicaragua which claimed it was carrying gasoline to refuel are benzes military it turned out to be carrying only bananas and cotton and the CIA paid off its insurer as it became clear that the United States was backing Castillo Armas and the Liberation Army a wave of anti-american sentiment started started to grow within and outside of Guatemala including in numerous nations in central and South America and the Caribbean Argentinian Revolutionary Che Guevara Ara had traveled to Guatemala to see ongoing reforms that were going on there and he was actually there when this took place his first wife Hilda Ghia later later said quote it was Guatemala which finally convinced him of the necessity for armed struggle and for taking the initiative against imperialism by June twenty fifth Arbenz was losing the support of the Guatemalan military. He recognized that there was no way he could go up against the United States directly. He resigned on June twenty-seventh in his radio address announcing this Arbenz pointed out the roles of the United States and the United Fruit company in all of this saying quote I took over the presidency with great it face in the democratic system in liberty and in the possibility of achieving economic independence for Guatemala. I continue to believe that this program is is just I have not violated my faith in democratic liberties and the independence of Guatemala and in all the good which is the future of humanity one day the obscured forces which today oppressed the backward colonial world will be defeated. I will continue to be despite everything a fighter for the liberty and progress of my country. He took refuge in the Mexican embassy from there he was offered refuge in Czechoslovakia and then he traveled to several other countries before returning to Mexico and dying there in nineteen in seventy one are benzes speech was a totally different tone from the one that was delivered by U. S. Secretary of State Dulles on June thirtieth of nineteen fifty four and and that speech said in part quote they expose the evil purpose of the Kremlin to destroy the inter-american system and they test the ability of the American States to maintain the peaceful integrity integrity of this hemisphere for several years now international communism has been probing here and there for nesting places in the Americas it finally. HBO's Guatemala as a spot which could turn into an official base from which to breed subversion which would extend to the other American republics. This intrusion of Soviet despotism was of course direct challenge to the Monroe doctrine the first and most fundamental of our foreign policies later in the same speech Dila said quote quote it was not the power of the ARBENZ government that concerned us but the power behind it if world communism captured any American state however small and new and perilous front established established which will increase the dangers of the entire free world and require even greater sacrifices from the American people. There is continued to be debate about exactly exactly what role communism played the Ben's administration at the time the Guatemalan Workers Party was the nation's smallest political party and the number of Communist Party remembers in the Guatemalan government was also small for example of the fifty six members of Congress. Four of them were communist at the same time. Several of those positions positions were particularly influential including the president's personal secretary and the president of Congress. There were also members of the party in prominent positions outside side of the government including some of Guatemala's largest labor unions regardless though what was happening in Guatemala doesn't really align with the propaganda the became part of the justification for this intervention when he stepped down Arbenz handed over power to Colonel Carlos Enrique says he was chief of the Guatemalan Armed Forces of the Republic the as became part of a three man ruling Giunta with announcing he was committed to continuing his predecessor's work so the CIA started. I'm trying to figure out how to remove him from power as well. Ultimately disputes arose among the studio which was then replaced with a whole different three-man team. It was a very chaotic few days. This team traveled to El Salvador to negotiate a peace with custodio who ultimately became the next president of Guatemala. Allah Castillo Armas denounced communism and promised that he would not roll back the social gains of the previous administration then on October tenth nineteen fifty four or he was elected president while running unopposed once he was in power. He repealed the nineteen forty five constitution. He abolished the previous. Administrations is land reforms returning all the expropriated land back to the United Fruit Company and other landowners he rolled back the earlier expansions of voting rights and he restored the Catholic churches right to own property and teach religion in public schools. Castilla Emma's also outlawed Labor organizations and political parties as and restored goes chief secret police to his former position. Seven prominent labor organizers were also murdered on July first at the United added State's request Casteel or Moss also established a National Committee of defense against Communism in Guatemala in Nineteen Fifty Eight Castio are moss was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards. His successor was General Miguel. EDS tests a rebellion to overthrow his dictatorial regime in nineteen sixty was at the start of the Guatemalan civil war which lasted for thirty six years in spite of the ongoing civil rights abuses of the fuentes regime and his predecessor a circuit steal our masses and the abuses of the Guatemalan military the United States backed the military throughout this civil war through varying degrees through the various areas presidential administrations that were in power during the thirty six years than it went on this all circles back to the idea of it being acceptable to intervene and another American nation's affairs. If there's a threat with or without of Communist or authoritarian influence the United States made it a policy for decades to back these kinds of dictatorial L. regimes regardless of their human or civil rights record as long as those regimes were anti-communist more than two hundred thousand people were killed during the Guatemalan civil war four and that isn't a country with a population of only about ten million at the end of the war according to a nineteen ninety nine United Nations historical clarification commission eighty three percent of those killed were indigenous. Maya killed at the hands of the Guatemalan military or militia which were being supported supplied and trained by the United States. It's even though the war officially ended in Nineteen ninety-six violence and instability continued to be issues in Guatemala today. President Bill Clinton was then Guatemala not long after this historical clarification commission report was published and said quote it is important that I state clearly that support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression of the kind described in the report was wrong and the United States must not repeat that mistake we must I and we will instead continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Guatemala Guatemalan President Colom offered his own statement in twenty eleven been saying quote that day changed Guatemala and we have not recuperated from it yet it was a crime to Guatemalan society and it was an act of aggression to a government starting starting. It's democratic spring the ongoing economic social and political issues affecting Guatemala today are a direct result of all of this and like we said at various points on this show this kind of US intervention was not unique to Guatemala especially during the Cold War when the US made numerous other interventions in other Latin American countries as well including providing weapons training and other support to dictatorial regimes what was unique though to Guatemala was the direction in scope and overall success of all these reforms before the US intervened in other words the migrant crisis that is currently happening at the United States the southern border is directly connected to decades of US interventions in Latin America including this one also United Fruit company went through an antitrust suit and ultimately sold its land in Guatemala to del Monte after a couple of corporate transitions. United Fruit company is now Chiquita brands international the company's history page traces its roots back to United Fruit company but the time line of its history on the company's website skips the nineteen fifties entirely a few years ago there was a stuff you should know live show that was about the history not the history was about how public relations work. I think is what they called. It and I saw that live show here when they mentioned to Kina. Some people cheered. Josh Clark was like you're gonNA WANNA. Take that back. If you don't know any of this history Korea everybody loves the banana. You know what I mean like the little cartoon Banana Lady. I understand that impulse but it is made without the full picture absolutely Louis Yeah because the next thing that they talked about was this whole overthrow of the Guatemalan government at the Ham of the United States Central Intelligence Agency Agency not necessarily influenced but definitely strongly advocated for by United Fruit Company. He's policies. Were the start of the land reforms. What's that got. Everybody's attention in the first place.

Coming up next