The Guatemalan Legacy: Radical Challengers and Military Politics
Guatemala has changed considerably since the overthrow of Gen. Jorge Ubico in 1944. However, the policy debate over US-Guatemalan relations has often failed to recognize the nature and magnitude of the change. The Ubico dictatorship was a classic Latin American alliance of plantation owners, senior military officers, economic leaders, and foreign business interests--notably the United Fruit Company. The United Fruit Company was among the corporate interests that felt the sting of reform. The new president, General Ydigoras, had been minister of public works under Ubico, and was clearly out of his element in the political waters of the late 1950s. The Democracia Cristiana Guatemalteca (DCG) was established by a group of conservative Catholics who also split from the Movimiento Democratico Nacional. Since the mid-1960s, the DCG has been most influenced by the political precepts of the European-based Christian Democrats. The civilian-oriented regime of Mendez Montenegro proved to be but a brief interlude in Guatemalan politics.