This chapter discusses the system of control established in rural areas during the colonial period and reinforced by the liberal reforms of the last century has been threatened in the postwar period by the mobilization of the peasantry and by the appearance of guerrilla movements committed to radical change. The postwar period began with much promise in Guatemala. Guatemala has been dominated by the military since 1954, usually with a military officer serving as president. Some of the most glaring examples of unused land belonged to the United Fruit Company, long a dominating and controversial presence in Guatemala. The National Confederation of Peasants of Guatemala was formed in 1950 and held its first national meeting the next year; by 1954 it claimed some four hundred thousand members. Guatemala exemplifies the essence of the causes and the extreme of the consequences of the crisis in contemporary rural Central America.