The 1954 Guatemalan Coup Part 2


SMART is open open is smart. IBM is combining their industry expertise with the open source leadership of Red Hat. Let's unlock the world's potential essential. Let's put smart to work learn more at IBM dot. com slash red hat. Welcome to stuff you missed in history class. A production of heart radio how stuff works hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm I'm Tracy v Wilson and I'm holly FRY welcome to our two part episode about the time the Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated a coup to overthrow the democratically elected president of Guatemala in part one we even overview of US policy as it related to Central America especially in particular we talked about how evolved in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries we also talked about United Fruit company and how it came to be a major player in Guatemala and elsewhere elsewhere and then we took a very brief look at Guatemala's history up to the presidency of Juan Jose Array below who made just sweeping reforms in Guatemala after being elected president after the October Revolution. That was a lot to cover. I strongly recommend listening depart one before listening to this episode because that recap is just the tip of the iceberg for an episode that also is a tip slightly larger tip of the iceberg at this point. United Company was Guatemala's largest employer and its largest single landowner and it had a monopoly on the banana industry united through company also controlled the railroad in the port and the utilities and United Fruit Company thought all of these changes that the array below administration had made were threatening its business and we'll talk about today the CIA increasingly thought they were evidence of a Communist threat that needed to be dealt with as we mentioned in part art one Juan Jose at Lowe's administration started to struggle in its later years he faced increasing criticism especially from Guatemala's elite and he weathered multiple tokuda attempts one of his most vocal critics increasingly became Colonel Francisco Arana Arana had served in the military during the Biko Administration and had had been part of the coup that overthrew his interim successor General Federico Ponce he had also been part of the military junta that had temporarily run Guatemala during being part of the October Revolution from there he had become a rave lows chief of the armed forces but Rana increasingly disagreed with a lot Arabia's labor reforms. He finally resigned his position so that he could run for president wants. A rebel is term was up and he also threatens to launch a coup telling the president that he would be overthrown from office if he did not dismiss his whole cabinet and replace them with men on his choosing after he did this array below informed his advisors of this plot and they all agreed that are on should be exiled what happened next is actually not entirely clear but on. July Eighteenth Nineteen Forty Nine Arana was ambushed and killed at Avalon had given the order that he be apprehended and honest key rival for the Presidency Colonel Huck Akobo Arbenz Guzman also knew about the order but it is not clear whether a revolu ordered on a captured or killed who fired the first shot shot when it happened or exactly what our Benz knew about what was going on regardless there. This was an incredibly fragile moment for Guatemala's new democracy be an uprising spread through Guatemala City which involved around US military supporters about one hundred and fifty people were killed in two hundred were wounded before the government regained control the United States also became a lot more wary of Guatemala's government and of Huckabee Arbenz so did United Fruit company and the following May United Fruit company lobbyists. Thomas Corcoran held his first meeting to discuss a US overthrow of the presidency corker later became United Fruit company's liaison to the CIA on November Eleventh Nineteen Fifty Huckabee Arbenz was elected president of Guatemala. He got sixty five percent percent of the vote he took office in Nineteen fifty one and he started trying to build on April lows earlier work and to solidify the changes that had already been made his administration also started trying to get out from under United Fruit company's multiple monopolies by building a Newport and a new highway to it and a new you electric plant yeah so even though there had been a all of this questionable like possible assassination previously like the the the fact that there was supposed to be a democratic election and that it did happen there was a peaceful transition of power was still a really important moment and Guatemalan History Arbenz bins also started trying to make the land reform that array below had started go even further many of those new policies and programs had mostly affected the Guatemalan middle-class they had not as much affected the lives of the country's poorest agricultural workers. Arbenz thought the key to improving these people's People's circumstances was a land redistribution program which would put more of the country's uncultivated land directly into the hands of people who could farm it themselves selves at this point seventy percent of the land in Guatemala was controlled by two percent of the population of all the land that was being controlled by major landowners. There's only one quarter of it was actually being used to grow anything. United Fruit company was the largest single landowner in Guatemala controlling forty percent of the arable land but only cultivating ten to fifteen percent of it on top of that in retaliation for the changes in the Guatemalan government United Fruit company had started laying office workers and refusing to rebuild banana plantations that had been damaged in storms unless the government restored its earlier concessions in addition to being in Guatemala's single largest landowner. It was also Guatemala's largest single employer. Two thirds of Guatemala's population was involved in agriculture alter in some way as well so this whole pattern of land ownership where huge landowners were owning a lot of land but not growing anything on it was contributing you you all kinds of problems. Including poverty and malnutrition United Fruit company and others claimed that they needed this additional uncultivated land is basically a backup in case of a major crop failure but they're critics claimed that this uncultivated surplus was way more than they could possibly ever need our benzes plan to fix this was decree nine hundred which went into effect on June twenty-seventh nineteen fifty to land owners who had more than six hundred acres of uncultivated land were required to sell it to the Guatemalan government in exchange for twenty five year interest bearing bonds the tax value of the land as of May nineteen fifty fifty two was used to determine the selling price so smaller farms under two hundred twenty three acres were exempt from this and so we're farms that were between two hundred twenty any three and six hundred seventy acres that were at least two-thirds cultivated farms that we're fully cultivated were also unaffected. No matter how large the farm was is the terms of this law actually required Arbenz to relinquish some of his own land and someone else affected was gear theriault who became Arbenz as foreign minister canister government owned land used to grow coffee was also completely redistributed during this program as well the relinquish land would then be distributed to landless endless people in Forty two point five Acre plots either so they would own it outright or so that they would hold it for their lifetime in the latter case the land couldn't couldn't pass directly to their ears but their descendants would get preferential treatment when decisions were made about the land after their death people who owned the land outright would pay five five percent of their annual crop value to the government and people who held it in a lifetime tenure would pay three percents this law also established committees that people who thought thought they were entitled to Land Could Petition and the committee would review their case and make a decision every case had to be decided within six weeks of submission which was totally different from operating under the more dicta to`real government where you could ask for something and then it would never happen or be addressed. A subsequent law also established a National Agrarian Bank to issue fixed rate loans to land recipients to help them get their farms started started while this program was in effect one point five million acres of land were distributed to about one hundred thousand families in Guatemala. This was probably between twenty and twenty five percent of the people who were eligible the National Agrarian Bank and its newly established credit agency had approved more than eleven million dollars in loons an average of two hundred twenty five dollars per applicant in the fall of nineteen fifty-three the Guatemalan embassy reported that it's corn production had increased east by fifteen percent rice by seventy two percent and wheat by twenty one percent with much of the increase attributed to the small farms started. Thanks to decree cree nine hundred hits harder to track actually how this affected overall domestic crops and export crops because this this this did not last very long this program didn't so it does seem like that there were more crops that stayed in the country domestically and fewer crops crafts that were exported for that first year but some of that was also accounted for because of weather that affected coffee production like it's really complicated but overall it does seem like people were using this land for what it was supposed to be for which was growing crops for themselves in addition more than half of Guatemala's population relation was indigenous at this point with most but not all of them belonging to one of more than Twenty Different Maya groups and digital people made up the large majority already of landless rural people so this program was returning land Guatemala's native people for the first time since the Spanish conquest as was is the case with earlier new programs. This wasn't perfect. There were cases of people who wanted more land than they were allotted or who had not been allotted land commandeering. Liam they weren't entitled to there were also overzealous committees that seemed to want to settle the score after decades of being exploited by large landowners who allotted Moorland Orleans and was really allowed and it does appear that Guatemala's Latino population received disproportionately more land allotments than other ethnic groups overall. Although this system gave previously landless people the opportunity to try to become self sufficient farmers and in nineteen fifty four the Guatemalan government also rolled out a literacy Orissa program in these same rural areas hoping to help the people who had received this land become better able to manage it themselves long-term two-thirds of the lambs it was seized during all this belonged to United Fruit company which felt like it was being unfairly targeted by decree nine hundred on top of that the payment that was offered to united fruit was far less than the market value of the land sources reported as either six hundred and thirty thousand dollars or about a million dollars this was because the the company had been artificially undervaluing its land for tax purposes and reported tax value was what was being used to determine the payment nevertheless the the US government on behalf of United Fruit Company demanded a much higher payment of fifteen point nine million yes so basically United Fruit company when he was mad about a problem they made for themselves in this situation they finally there loophole finally got discovered and caught and exploited by someone else not even exploited uh-huh but like applied in another one and then and then it hurt yes so has had been the case with so many of the array below oh administration's reforms the United States and United Fruit company criticized this whole land distribution program as communism and to be clear this this policy was influenced by Guatemala's Communist Party which was called the Guatemalan Workers Party or which lines up with how that translates into Spanish one of the advisors who had helped draft decree nine hundred was Jose Manuel for -Tuni- who was our benzes friend and also the general secretary decree nine hundred had also been passed with the support of the Communist Party which are Benz had legalized after becoming President Arbenz maintained that the communist presence in the Guatemalan government was small all and that he himself was dedicated to capitalism and democracy one of the stated goals of decree nine hundred was to allow previously landless people to become part of the capitalist economy and to improve Guatemala's capitalist economy overall and it doesn't appear that the PG had connections to the Soviet Union Communism Awesome in Latin America at this point was more focused on upending dictatorships and getting out from under foreign capitalist interests not on becoming Soviet allies yeah the United States didn't really care about this nuance regarding being a Soviet ally. I is being influenced by communism though and that also complicating the US perceptions of this law in February of Nineteen fifty three the Guatemalan Supreme Court found one of the law's provisions unconstitutional the law outlined outlined a dispute resolution process that ended with the president of the Republic instead of with the courts so when the Supreme Court ordered that the land redistribution stop until until lower courts could hear the cases of land that had been allegedly expropriated illegally congress impeached the judges that had made that ruling and then they're replacements reversed the decision. Admittedly this was squirrelly critics in the United States pointed to it as evidence that are benzes administration was really a totalitarian N. regime regardless in the midst of all of this United Fruit company had started advocating for the US Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow the ARBENZ government and replace it with an administration that would be more sensitive to American influence and United Fruit company's business. We'll get to this whole. CIA situation relation after a sponsor break technology is becoming more open data more accessible and the world more innovative. IBM is combining in their industry expertise with the open source leadership of Red Hat to bring you more freedom more security more flexibility. Let's unlock the world's olds potential. Let's put smart to work learn more at IBM DOT com slash red hat and like we said back before the break a huge motivator for the coup in Guatemala was the idea that the quantum Allah was about to fall under a very sinister communist influence and a huge source of that idea was publicised and propagandist Edward Bernez folks folks have asked us to do an episode on him. We might at some point when folks I started asking one of our one of our other shows on our network had just done a three reporter and that seemed a little excessive have like that much on the same that work but that was years ago now his relationship with United Fruit company went back to about nineteen forty the and I he had been focused on trying to improve the company's image in the Latin American countries where it was operating because outside of the wealthy elite that we're benefiting being the most from United Fruit Company's presence people understandably did not have a very good opinion of it and called it a variety of disparaging nicknames including the Octopus Bernie's really wasn't all that successful it shifting ordinary people's opinions of United Fruit Company in Central America but he was masterful at selling the idea that Guatemala Tamala was under an immediate communist threat to the United States for example he brought journalists to Guatemala to conduct interviews with a handpicked selection of United Minded Fruit company officials who talked all about how the country was about to collapse under communism he hit arranged a whole press junket in one thousand nine hundred eighty one with all of the interviews views arranged through the United Fruit company they did none of the people here arranged come in to talk to anyone else they got all their opinions from United Fruit the CIA as first attempts to overthrow the Guatemalan government took place in nineteen fifty two under the administration of President Harry Truman Truman doctrine you might remember from are one it was known as Operation Fortune or operation. PB Fortune because of the little prefixed that goes on the beginnings of CA codenames this plan it involves collaborating with Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza to arm a rebellion led by disgruntled General Carlos Casteel our Mass Casteel Steal Armas had tried to lead a rebellion back in nineteen fifty and after escaping from prison after word he had become something of a folk hero. The CIA round up abandoning this operation afterward of it became public dwight. D Eisenhower was inaugurated as president of the United States on January Twentieth Nineteen fifty three and the next day he appointed John Foster Dulles Secretary of state. If you don't remember that name from part one he was one of the people who helped United Fruit company negotiate multiple monopolies he's and other concessions in Guatemala during the nineteen thirties while working for the companies law firm Sullivan and Cromwell this was one of many connections between between United Fruit Company and high-placed figures in the US government Dulles his brother Allen Dulles was director of the CIA between nineteen fifty three and nineteen nineteen sixty one and he had previously served on United Fruit's board of directors during the years that we're talking about today. Henry Cabot Lodge Junior was a senator from Massachusetts and then an ambassador to the United Nations. The Lodge family was a major investor and United Fruit company and he was nicknamed the senator from United Fruit read these are just examples so sometimes you'll see this whole thing framed as united fruit company got the CIA to overthrow the Guatemalan government but really the the United States was operating under the idea that if one nation in the region became communist all of its neighbors would follow something Eisenhower described in terms of southeast in Asia in his domino theory speech the same year as the coup in Guatemala so without the supposed threat of communism the CIA might not have gotten involved in Guatemala Allah and with the supposed threat of communism the CIA probably would have gotten involved. Even if United Fruit company had not been part of the equation it is is totally fair to note that a lot of the paranoia about communism in Guatemala was coming from public relations operations paid for by United Fruit. Though yes Jose Manuel fertility later said they would have overthrown us even if we had grown bananas which I think is accurate so the CIA operation nation to orchestrate a coup in Guatemala was authorized in August of nineteen fifty three and it was code named Operation Successor Operation PB success and it was led led by Colonel Albert Haney this time the idea was to create what looked like an uprising from within Guatemala but with the uprising really being organized and directed by the CIA with a fighting force that the CIA recruited and trained mostly from Guatemalans living in exile in Nicaragua the CIA established a dummy company to supply weapons to this supposed Liberation Army a dummy charitable foundation was also established to donate aircraft for Liberation Air Force also also organized by the CIA and flown by American pilots an anti-government radio station called the Voice of liberation started broadcasting propaganda and disinformation reinforcing the idea that there was a huge popular uprising in the works from inside of Tamala says basically psychological warfare warfare the voice of liberation broadcast claimed to be transmitting from a secret location in Guatemala but the only time it was actually doing that it was broadcasting from inside the the US embassy most of the time the signals were really coming from Nicaragua and occasionally from Dominican Republic from Honduras several of these other governments were also opposed to the Arbenz administration both because of the reforms that he was rolling out which sort of threatened the elite elsewhere and also because he welcomed exiled revolutionaries from these other countries into Guatemala the CIA once again chose Carlos Castillo Armas as the leader of this uprising they sneaked him into Florida Boorda to meet with the Western Hemisphere chief JC king where they went over the plan and what they expected in return basically that Castio are moss return all all of the land that United Fruit company had surrendered and rollback other policies from the Arbenz an avalanche administrations in January of Nineteen fifty four a Panamanian Etienne career informed Arbenz of this plot including handing over a bunch of Liberation Army documents on January Twenty Ninth Guatemala newspaper started publishing a lot of this material and at this point the United States denied all involvement and called the reports ridiculous and untrue but in reality the the United States was just waiting for a clear reason to start their invasion that whole progression of foreign policy that we talked about in part one had led up to the idea that members of the Organization of American States could interfere in and others affairs if it was under the threat of communism or any totalitarian doctrine to cover. It's basis the US needed evidence of that threat. Meanwhile the tenth the Interamerican Conference was held in Caracas Venezuela in March of Nineteen fifty four four on March twenty eighth the conference adopted the Caracas Declaration of Solidarity which condemned quote activities of the international communist movement as constituting constituting intervention in American affairs it also declared quote that the domination or control of the political institutions of any American state by the International for National Communist movement extending to this hemisphere the political system of an extra continental power would constitute a threat to the sovereignty and political independence attendance of the American States endangering the peace of America and we call for a meeting of consultation to consider the adoption of appropriate action in accordance with existing treaties this declaration was intended to single out Guatemala but without naming Guatemala and of the nations in attendance Guatemala was the only one to vote against it to the US this confirmed that Communists had taken control of Guatemala but it still wasn't evidence of an actual threat then on May Fifteenth Nineteen fifty four a shipment of arms arrived in Guatemala including rifles ammunition artillery and antitank weaponry they had been purchased from Czechoslovakia which was a communist country and part of the Soviet Bloc Guatemala had previously tried to buy arms from the United States which had had refused under the grounds that Guatemala had not signed the Rio Security Pact of nineteen forty seven from their Guatemala had tried to buy weapons from several other countries freezes well all of them had refused some of which under heavy pressure from the United States to do so there were figures Guatemala who felt like the US didn't pressure Czechoslovakia into saying no because they were hoping for this kind of evidence basically though Guatemala had gone to as a last resort US intelligence terrance had learned about the potential deal in nineteen fifty-three but allowed it to go forward hoping to intercept the shipment on route and use it as evidence of Soviet collusion allusion part of that plan involved using the shipment as evidence that Arbenz was arming a militia to fight against the Guatemalan Army Arbenz maintained that he was just just resupplying the Guatemalan Army but the United States cited this as proof that the Soviet Union was propping up a communist regime but the US did not successfully intercept this shipment on the way as they had hoped it basically lost track of it but also these weapons weren't that useful once they arrived in Guatemala a a lot of their rifles didn't work. There were not any tanks in Central America for these antitank weapons to be used against the artillery pieces needed an extensive network of improved roads to really be useful and Guatemala didn't really have that at this point none of that really mattered the fact that it had come from Czechoslovakia was the the evidence that the United States wanted to justify this queue and we're GonNa talk about all of this finally played out after we pause for another sponsor break. Let me tell you about Pete who loved hockey and always wanted to play in the NHL Pete played since he was three and begged his mom to let them stay on the ice by some nights he even slept in his hockey skates. Pete practiced and practiced until one day when he was forty seven. Pete realized he just wasn't isn't that good so he threw his skates in the trash but then you heard how Geico proud partner of NHL good save money on car insurance so he switched and saved a bunch so so it all worked out the United States stepped up this operation on on 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 anyway. That's a not the most fun episode though it is important information but I'm hoping when you have maybe slightly more delightful listener mail. I have listener mail that his from Lauren it does not her back to a more fun episode but its content is is interesting and cool so lauren writes dear Tracy and Holly. I just wanted to write and say thank you for your awesome podcast. I I love the quality and variety of your shows excellent presentation style and recommended you to a lot of my friends. I was really interested in your recent solidified shows. I'm a medical historian Rian and was previously a curator of Medical Museum where I cared for a large collection of disability prosthetics. We were working with Leicester University to discuss how we could better better work with the disabled community to represent their stories not just approached the collection from a medical model of disability as part of our project we hosted a performance of cabinet of curiosities how disability was kept in a box which was developed by the wonderful artist and actor. Matt Fraser who has induced Phocomelia Matt worked with medical museums and the UK to explore the disability histories which he brought out in the performance. There's a performance available on the museum. Association website. Learn gives us a link and it's well worth a watch. It is such a wonderful piece but the one part which struck me was the video matt shared of a child who was put in a pair of gas ask powered prosthetic legs and arms about fifty three minutes and their performance and the vulnerability of placing this young person in such a device. It really caused me to question question how I interpreted such prosthetic devices for audiences in the museum. Obviously there are people who thrive and rely on prosthetics however the medical model of disability attempting tempting to fix people can also create new problems the sea state of course in your show which was great to hear. I just thought you guys might find the show interesting. Thank you both again. uh-huh for such a great podcast. I'll be continuing to listen and welcoming any future medical shows in the future with very best wishes Lauren. Thank you so much for this email lauren. I I have not had the chance to watch this whole video yet but we are going to put it into the show notes for folks who may be interested to be able to check it out. Thank you so much for sending it and for sending this email I love to hear from museum curator's and other people who whose work involves similarly to what we do attempting attempting to put historical things in the context for the general public. Yes I also love Matt Frazier. I was introduced to him. He was on the season of American American horror story that was called Freak show and he was amazing and then I was like I wanna see everything he does because he's such a good actor so I'm glad that he's getting a little more love. I I watched that season of American horror story and I did not connect the person in the name even having started to watch the video. I didn't put it all together so thank you. Laurin in spite of the various op-eds that seemed to be written like every couple or three weeks start floating around twitter historians historians are doing a lot of work engaging with the public everybody historians museum curators archivists and all kinds of folks you're thinking about writing an op-ed about how historians are engaging with the public. Maybe like Google that raid three the things that people have already said about about it and then the many responses about how that's not actually all that accurate. I think some of that too is that people have one idea of what a historian is in their head and they think if that person isn't and somehow in the public eye that historians are out there doing the work We have an upcoming interview that I'm hoping we'll help dispel some of that on very happy happy about that. Yeah Holly. My work is deeply reliant on the work of historian. You are putting things out for the public all the time yes so you would like the right to us about this or any other podcast history podcasts at how stuff works dot com. We're also all over social media Mr History will you will find us there at facebook. Pinterest instagram twitter and you can come to our website which is missing history dot com the show notes for this episode. We'll include the link that we just talked about as well as all of the sources for this episode which include CIA declassified documents acknowledging all this stuff. We did not make it up. You can also subscribe to our show on Apple podcasts the iheartradio iheartradio APP and anywhere else to get your podcast stuffy missed in history classes a production of iheartradio's radio. How stuff works for more podcasts for my heart radio visit the iheartradio APP apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows we are living in complicated times. I'm seventy rule. MSNBC ANCHOR AND NBC News correspondent in my new podcast modern rules. I'M GONNA. It'll be spending time unpacking. Some of the hairiest of today's top decided. I was going to be a survivor survivor fights. He would board. They want new. It's America listen and subscribe to my new podcast modern rules on apple podcast the iheartradio APP or wherever you get your podcast.

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