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Episode 44

1954 Guatemalan coup d'├ętat
Sun, 2017-Jun-18 01:07 UTC
Length - 5:09

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Sunday, 18 June 2017 is 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état.

The 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état was a covert operation carried out by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that deposed the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz and ended the Guatemalan Revolution of 1944–54. Code-named Operation PBSUCCESS, it installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas, the first in a series of U.S.-backed authoritarian rulers in Guatemala.

The Guatemalan Revolution began in 1944, when a popular uprising toppled the authoritarian Jorge Ubico and brought Juan José Arévalo to power via Guatemala's first democratic election. The new president introduced a minimum wage and near-universal suffrage, aiming to turn Guatemala into a liberal democracy. Arévalo was succeeded by Árbenz in 1951, who instituted popular land reforms which granted property to landless peasants. The Guatemalan Revolution was disliked by the United States government, which was predisposed by the Cold War to see it as communist. This perception grew after Árbenz took power and legalized the communist party. The United Fruit Company (UFC), whose highly profitable business had been affected by the end to exploitative labor practices in Guatemala, also disliked the Revolution, and engaged in an influential lobbying campaign to persuade the U.S. to overthrow the Guatemalan government. U.S. President Harry Truman authorized Operation PBFORTUNE to topple Árbenz in 1952; although the operation was quickly aborted, it was a precursor to PBSUCCESS.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected U.S. President in 1952, promising to take a harder line against communism; the links that his staff members John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles had to the UFC also predisposed them to act against the Guatemalan government. Additionally, the U.S. government drew exaggerated conclusions about the extent of communist influence from the presence of a small number of communists among Árbenz's advisers. Eisenhower authorized the CIA to carry out Operation PBSUCCESS in August 1953. The CIA armed, funded, and trained a force of 480 men led by Carlos Castillo Armas. The coup was preceded by U.S. efforts to criticize and isolate Guatemala internationally. Castillo Armas' force invaded Guatemala on 18 June 1954, backed by a heavy campaign of psychological warfare. This included a radio station which broadcast anti-government propaganda and a version of military events favorable to the rebellion, claiming to be genuine news, as well as bombings of Guatemala City and a naval blockade of Guatemala. The invasion force fared poorly militarily, and most of its offensives were defeated. However, psychological warfare and the possibility of a U.S. invasion intimidated the Guatemalan army, which eventually refused to fight. Árbenz briefly and unsuccessfully attempted to arm civilians to resist the invasion, before resigning on 27 June. Castillo Armas became president ten days later, following negotiations in San Salvador.

Described as the definitive deathblow to democracy in Guatemala, the coup was widely criticized internationally, and contributed to long-lasting anti-U.S. sentiment in Latin America. Attempting to justify the coup, the CIA launched Operation PBHISTORY, which sought evidence of Soviet influence in Guatemala among documents from the Árbenz era: the effort was a failure. Castillo Armas quickly assumed dictatorial powers, banning opposition parties, imprisoning and torturing political opponents, and reversing the social reforms of the Revolution. Nearly four decades of civil war followed, as leftist guerrillas fought a series of U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes whose brutalities included a genocide of the Maya peoples.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:07 UTC on Sunday, 18 June 2017.

For the full current version of the article, search Wikipedia for 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état.

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These podcasts are produced by Abulsme Productions based on Wikipedia content.

They are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License

Abulsme Productions also produces Curmudgeon's Corner, a current events podcast.

If you like that sort of thing, check it out too!

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