Biography Of Jacobo Arbenz 's President Of Guatemala Essay

Biography Of Jacobo Arbenz 's President Of Guatemala Essay

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On March 15, 1951, Jacobo Arbenz was democratically elected president of Guatemala. He was deemed a relatively progressive president due to his land reform and voting policies and the legitimatization of political parties including the Partido Guatemalteco del Trabajo (PGT) also known as the primary communist party at the time. At the same time that Arbenz passed these new policies, the Cold War began. This period is marked by an irrational fear of the United States of Soviet communism as well as losing its standing as a world superpower. The United States, being its imperialist self, led the coup to overthrow Arbenz ending the short progressive era of Guatemala and plunging it into chaos where the masses were massacred and blamed for such violence. This coup is one of the most important in the 20th century due to the violence and repression of the marginalized groups, particularly the indigenous communities, that occurred before and after and the response of these communities.
Guatemala had Jorge Ubico and Jose Arevalo before they had Jacobo Arbenz. Although Ubico was a militaristic dictator and Arevalo was democratically elected, both failed to comply to the demands of the masses. The constant disenfranchisement of the indigenous communities led the Q’eqchi’ to Jose Angel Ico. He “led successive assaults against forced labor, discrimination, and land expropriation” through acts such as certifications against Arevalo’s vagrancy laws and through letters demanding that “the government recognize the right of the citizen rights of the Indians; end the practice of forcing Indians to serve multiple tours of military duty…exempt children under the age of sixteen from municipal service; and abolish peonage contracts,”. Anything rela...


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The coup against Arbenz was a decisive point in Guatemalan history. His overthrow lead to a massive and violent shift to the right as well as the control of policy and economy by the U.S. He was not only democratically elected but also instilled democratic policies. His presidency was leading the country through a road in which the marginalized groups were slowly gaining a voice. The erasure of many labor organizations such as the Partido Revolucionario and the implicit exclusion of indigenous groups led to new internal political sects. Efrain Reyes developed a different interpretation of Marxism catered to the indigenous and Xol showed that secular communism could be united with religion. Unfortunately, there is still a large red stain in Guatemala’s history- one that will never disappear but will continue to be invisible in the United States’ eyes.

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