US Guatemalan Coup: Unjust evil, then and now

Why did the US invade and overthrow Guatemala in 1954?


The United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) faced serious trouble when a revolution in Guatemala replaced pro-US military strongmen by a liberal democracy.

According to the “Sub Committee of Communist Aggression,” Guatemala had been taken over by Communists, “on the direct orders of the Kremlin.” The Soviet Union had no control of any foreign country, but the completely made up justification used by the US was good enough ammunition during the opening phases of the Cold War.

Because the Guatemalan people chose not to be controlled by the US, their country was invaded by military force and for forty years series of brutal military dictatorships was to cause economic strife, genocide, and political turmoil in the country.

The Committee on Communist Aggression testified to US Congress that the 100 Communists in Guatemala were sent fleeing after the military intervention campaign, and that the new “President” Castillo would receive a $6.5 million US development program (1954 dollars).

However, according to the US committee, the Communist conquest of Guatemala, a conspiracy concocted in the very halls of the Kremlin itself, was still continuing, as two Communists were still active in Guatemala, “. . . there were only two men in the entire country who today can be indentified as active Communists, Jorge Garcia Granados and Enrique Munoz Meany.” p. 3

However, most dangerous in Guatemala was, “Also from Chile. . . Virginia Bravo Letilier, a well-known woman Communist, who is now directing propaganda activities from East Berlin.” (p. 4) Nothing more dangerous to a country than a “woman Communist,” note the language used to degrade a human being to an animal or object!

“No group spoke as loudly or as frequently as did the Communists for higher wages, better working conditions, more education, land redistribution, and better standards of living.” p. 8

Ending the document, the Committee justifies the US invasion of a sovereign nation:
“If the United States would Assist Latin America . . . their governments would soon be able to maintain reasonably safe standards of living for their people and to hold out to them hope for continuing progress.” And that, “Even more important, the Latin American Governments would then be able to offer their people a real incentive for maintaining democratic institutions.” p. 20

Looking back sixty years, it is without doubt that the Guatemalan people look back at the US invasion as a historic event which “held out hope for continuing progress” and “maintained the democratic institution.”

The truth is the US invasion was unjust evil, then and now.