chapter  2
38 Pages

Guatemala

WithSheldon B. Liss

The Spanish brought dependent capitalism to Guatemala in the sixteenth century, and over the next four centuries external colonialism created internal colonialism in the Central American republic. The quasi-literate Jose Rafael Carrera commanded Guatemala from 1839 until 1865. He declared Guatemala a republic in 1847 and produced a constitution in 1851 but did little else to promote the exchange of ideas. Guatemala's liberal, and possibly most destructive, nineteenth-century ruler, Justo Rufino Barrios, dominated the country from 1871 to 1885. Capitalist development in Guatemala added a new dimension during the 1960s. Agricultural exports dominated the economy, but the Central American Common Market fostered industrialization, and economic domination shifted toward the bankers and industrialists who received US financial and military support. In contrast to the statesman-political activist par excellence Guillermo Toriello stands Edelberto Torres Rivas, Central America's outstanding social scientist and Guatemala's most sophisticated radical thinker.