Guatemalan Militarism and United States Security Policy Towards Guatemala
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Military officers in Latin America play a large political role in government. Critics contend that the military coups and dictators impede social progress. The purpose of this research is to examine the political role played by Guatemalan officers and to determine what security policy the United States should have concerning Guatemalan militarism. A cutoff date of 10 February 1966 is established for consideration of new Guatemalan political developments. Guatemala commenced a social revolution in 1944 when military and civilian revolutionaries rebelled against totalitarian government. Juan Jose Arevalo, a liberal civilian, assumed office in 1945 and commenced progressive social reforms but permitted an influx of Communists. Jacobo Arbenz succeeded Arevalo and permitted Communist control of the Guatemalan government. In a 1954 liberation movement, Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas overthrew Arbenz and assumed control of the government. Since then, Guatemala has had two additional military rulers, Miguel Ydigoras and Enrique Peralta. Peralta, the present Chief of Government, assumed power in 1963, when he overthrew Ydigoras in a military coup. The military have played a dominant political role in Guatemala because they sincerely consider themselves to be defenders of the nation and because civilian middle class leadership has been weak. Military governments have provided Guatemala political and social stability, but have failed to provide long-term political and social growth. The military uprising by Castillo Armas in 1954, although interrupting constitutional processes, was beneficial, as Castillo overthrew communism. Peraltas coup also was beneficial in that it gave Guatemala political and economic stability.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations