Essay Two: Guerrilla Movement in Guatemala
During the 1930s, the United States of America fell into a depression, which affected the whole world. The United States of America being one of the most dominate countries in the world, left many other nations to rely on them for economic and social growth. Once the United States fell into this depression, others did too, leaving them to deal with a catastrophe on their own. It was a huge social and economical crisis for every country all around the world. For countries like Guatemala, during and after the depression was a remarkable time. Guatemala went through multiple presidents with different ideas to where they think which path Guatemala should take. During this time, the United States of America accepted some of Guatemala’s presidents. With presidential elections, groups arise and for many their main goal is help indigenous Guatemalans some dignity after all the humiliation and misery they been through. Guatemala was one of many countries that relied on the United States of America; during the depression Jorge Ubico was the president of Guatemala. President Ubico held office for 13 years and during presidency, the United States of America believed that “alliance was the key to the longevity of the liberal dictatorships” (Vaden and Prevost, 308). During his presidency, some people loved him and others did not. For some Mayans they benefited and adored him while the poor people of Guatemala considered him a ruthless and tough president (Manz, 45). The United States of America actually favored President Ubico because he was attempting to protect and help Guatemalans and to grow as a country even in this time of need. In 1934, “Ubico presented the Vagrancy Law as a more modern or human means of involving the Mayas in the larger economic needs of the country’s elite” (Manz, 46). The idea of the Vagrancy Law was to help peasants freely decide where to work (Manz, 47). President Ubico’s goal was to restore worldwide credit, which is why he established a “central government tax for road construction” (Manz, 47). By doing this Guatemala would improve and expand it’s exporting products like coffee to other countries like the United States of America. However, things started to change after the depression for Guatemala. In 1944, President Ubico was overthrown by a military coup; there was a “civilian-military uprising subsequently outs military junta” (Manz, 330), this event to the beginning of a revolution. Since President Ubico was overthrown, Juan Jose Arevalo became president of Guatemala in 1944. What made President Arevalo memorable is the fact that he was able to create a democratic constitution, which was widely known to people throughout Guatemala (Vaden and Prevost, 330). During his presidency, President Arevalo repealed the Vagrancy Law. He also created a new labor code, which institutes basic workers right in 1947 (Vaden and Prevost, 330). Towards the end of his presidency, the formation of Partido Guatemalteco de Trabajo but was legalized in 1951 once Jacob Arbenz was elected into office (Vaden and Prevost, 330). The Partido Guatemalteco de Trabajo was a communist party and the United States of America was adamant in taking an anti communist position. Guatemala became one of the countries the United States of America had to worry about. President Arbenz was loved by the Guatemalans because he “distributed land to over 10,000 peasant families” after the land was taken away from them (Vaden and Prevost, 308). Land was taken away once the United Fruit Company wanted to grow and expand while keeping the United States of America’s pleased (Vaden and Prevost, 308). President Arbenz believed since the land was not being used might as well create a land reform and put those untouched land to use and it help those who lost a job and land get it back. Guatemalans were really desperate at this point in life; some would work and not even get paid at times. According to...
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