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The Death of Francisco Arana: A Turning Point in the Guatemalan Revolution

  • Piero Gleijeses (a1)
Extract

In the late morning of 18 July 1949, several armed men sped from Guatemala City in two cars. Near a small bridge, the Puente de la Gloria, they waited for Francisco Arana, Chief of the Armed Forces of Guatemala. They did not have to wait for long. As Arana and his three companions approached the Puente de la Gloria, ‘there was, on the other side, a grey Dodge, because of which, seeing that it was impossible to cross the bridge, Col. Arana stopped the car’.1 A brief shoot-out ensued. Arana lay dead. There was no investigation of his murder. His assassins were never apprehended.

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1 ‘ Statement of Lt. Colonel Alberto Bone Summarizing Statement Made by Mr. Palacios J., Chauffeur of Colonel Arana, Concerning Events Associated with Arana's Death’, p. 2, enclosed in ‘Intelligence Report’ no. IR-77–49, 28 July 1949, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

2 On Arbenz's agrarian reform, see Handy, James, ‘“The Most Precious Fruit of the Revolution”: The Guatemalan Agrarian Reform, 1952–54’, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 68, no. 4 (1988), pp. 675705, and Gleijeses, Piero, ‘The Agrarian Reform of Jacobo Arbenz’, Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 21, no. 3 (1989), pp. 453–80. Arbenz's relations with the communists are examined in Gleijeses, Piero, Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).

3 Interview with Arévalo. On other occasions, however, he has stated that he will reveal the truth in his memoirs, which will be published posthumously. ‘De Juan José Arevalo a Carlos Manuel Pellecer’, El Impartial (hereafter, ElI), 9 09 1982, p. 2. See also Rubio, Mario Alvarado, El asesinato del coronel Arana (Guatemala, 1983), pp. 33–6, 41–8, 65–127.

4 Quoted from Affeld, , ‘Confidential Biographic Data: Francisco Javier Arana’, 4 04 1945, p. 1, Record Group (RG) 84 General Records (GR), Box 217, National Archives at Suitland (NA-S).

5 On the plot and the fighting, see: Revista de la Revolución (Jan. 1945); Revista Militar (01-02 1945), pp. 37; Studium (04 1945), pp. 36–9; US Embassy dispatches and internal memos 20–4 Oct. 1944 (particularly all of Box 107, RG84 GR, NA-S). See also: Arévalo, Juan José, El candidate bianco y el huracán: 1944–1945 (Guatemala: EDITA, 1984), pp. 297327; Martínez, Rafael Arévalo, Ubico (Guatemala: Tipografía Nacional, 1984), pp. 299343; Girón, César Augusto Silva, 12 horas de combate (Guatemala: Oscar de León Palacios, 1981); Alvarez, José Zamora, Las memorias de Andrés (Guatemala: Editorial del Ejército, 1975), pp. 73121. The best press coverage of the fighting was provided by El Imparcial (ElI) in its issues of 21–4 Oct. 1944. Retrospective press accounts of the plot and the fighting include: ‘Genesis de la Revolución’, Nuestro Diario, 27 10 1944, p. 8; ElI, 20 Oct. 1945, Special Supplement, Section 3; ‘Tengo pruebas de que Córdova fué todo un patriota, declara Silverio Ortiz’, ElI, 8 06 1946, p. 1; ‘Revelaciones de Jorge Toriello’, La Semana, 9 10 1970, pp. 1521; ‘Que paso el 20 de octubre?’, El Gráfico, 20 10 1973, p. 7; Recinos, Ricardo Alberto Pinto, ‘Lo que yo sé del “20 de Octubre de 1944”’, La Hora, 25 10 1984, pp. 2, 11. Interviews with the following officers who participated in the revolt were particularly useful: Barrios Peña, Paz Tejada, Lorenzana, Mendoza.

6 Martinez, Arévalo, Ubico, pp. 299300; María Vilanova de Arbenz, letter to her parents, 7 July 1944 (author's files); Wardlaw to Department of State (DOS), 21 Dec. 1950, NA 714.11. Since June 1944 every document in the Decimal Files of the National Archives has been identified both by its decimal number and by its date (in this case: 714.11/12–2150). Since 1 include the date of the document separately, 1 do not use the full citation except in those rare instances where it differs from the actual date of the document.

7 Arévalo, , El candidato, pp. 327–9.

8 Arana to Jorge Toriello (26 April 1947), ElI, 29 04 1947, p. 9. See also ‘Carta abierta del Sr. Jorge Toriello al Jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas’, (25 April 1947) ElI, 29 04 1947, p. 1; Toriello, , ‘Comentarios a la carte que recibí’, (26 04 1947), ElI, 29 04 1947, p. 9. On Arana's reluctance to hand the presidency to Arévalo, see also Affeld, , ‘Memorandum for the Record’, 26 01 1945, RG84 GR, Box 134, NA-S.

9 Arana, Comunicado del Jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas coronel Francisco J.’, ElI, 30 04 1947, p. 1.

10 Donovan to Secretary of State no. 2440, 12 May 1947, p. 2, NA 814.00.

11 Lt.-Col. Salazar, José Luis Cruz, ‘El ejército como una fuerza poítica’, Estudios Sociales, no. 6 (04 1972), p. 84.

12 See articles 149–61 of the 1945 Constitution (quotation, Art. 157). According to Cruz Salazar, the creation of this post was the result of Arana's pressure on Arévalo. Cruz Salazar served as intermediary in two secret meetings between Arana and Arévalo (interview with Cruz Salazar). Arévalo refused to comment, beyond saying that Cruz Salazar's account was ‘largely correct’ and that the decision to create the post of Chief of the Armed Forces was taken without him; ‘in fact 1 wasn't even consulted’ (interview with Arévalo; see also, Arévalo, , El candidato, pp. 384–6 and 610–4). Col. Lorenzana confirmed Cruz Salazar's account (interview with Lorenzana).

13 Affeld, , ‘Confidential Biographic Data: Francisco Javier Arana’, p. 1.

14 Woodward to Secretary of State, no. 2426, 24 April 1945, p. 2, RG84 GR, Box 134, NA-S.

15 Lt.-Col. Morgan, , ‘Lt. Col. Francisco Javier Arana’, no. 313–46, 13 09 1946, p. 1, RG84 GR, Box 217, NA-S.

16 The portrait of Arana is based on: (a) US documents, particularly embassy reports; (b) interviews with Guatemalans of different political sympathies, notably Cols. Lorenzana and Mendoza, Lt.-Col. Cruz Salazar, Maj. Paz Tejada, Lt. Montenegro, and Charnaud, Galich, Fortuny, and Barrios Peña; (c) works by Guatemalans, particularly a series by a well-informed if partisan friend of Arana, Ayala, Manuel María Avila, ‘La muerte del coronel Arana’, La Hora, 14 articles, 27 07– 13 08 1954. An apology for Arana that includes some useful information is Alvarado Rubio, El asesinato. For biographical data, see Carrascosa, Manuel Octavio Zea, Semblanzas: Ministros de la guerra y de la defensa nacional de Guatemala (Guatemala: Ministerio de la Defensa Nacional, 1971), pp. 279–80.

17 Quoted from interview with Galich.

18 Interview with Paz Tejada.

19 Quotations from Affeld, , ‘Confidential Biographic Data: Francisco Javier Arana’, p. 2, and Woodward to Secretary of State, no. 215, 19 June 1945, p. 4, RG84 GR, Box 134, NA-S. For early expressions of this uncertainty, see also: Col. Devine, , ‘Intelligence Report’ no. R75-46, 03 1946, RG319 Decimal File (DF), Box 1621, NA-S; Lt.-Col. Morgan, , ‘Intelligence Report’ no. R135-46, 29 04 1946, RG319 ID 26044, NA-S; Col. Devine, , ‘Intelligence Report’ no. R254–46, 11 07 1946, RG319 DF, Box 1893, NA-S; Donovan to Secretary of State, no. 1553, 16 July 1946, RG84 Confidential File (CF), Box 14, NA-S; enclosure no. 1 in Donovan to Secretary of State, no. 2075, 2 Jan. 1947, NA 814.00; HQs Panama Canal Department, ‘Weekly Intelligence Summary’, no. 255, 21 05 1947, RG319 ID 371556, NA-S.

20 For press accounts of the accident, see particularly La Hora, 17 and 18 12 1945, p. 1 and ElI, 18 and 19 12 1945, p. 1. The press demurely overlooked the presence of the young lady: this was during the political honeymoon and Arévalo was a married man. US Embassy reports were less discreet: ‘The young woman is understood to have been Miss Lynn Cady Schnider, an American citizen who is rumored to have been very closely acquainted with President Arévalo. It is understood that Miss Schnider was not seriously injured and that she departed from Guatemala for Mexico or the United States on December 21, 1945’ (Woodward to Secretary of State, no. 965, 29 Dec; see also Woodward to Secretary of State, no. 927, 18 Dec. and Woodward to Secretary of State, no. 945, 22 Dec. All 1945, NA 814.001).

21 The existence of the pact is mentioned only by a few writers, notably: Farfán, Mario Efraín Nájera, Los estafadores de la democracia (Buenos Aires, 1956), pp. 105–6; Galich, Manuel, ¿Por qué lucha Guatemala? (Buenos Aires, 1956), p. 201, and Kramer, Francisco Villagrán, ‘Los pactos políticos en la historia contemporánea’, Prensa Libre Domingo, 12 07 1987, p. 11. My sources include interviews with Galich, Charnaud, Fortuny, Monteforte Toledo, Barrios Peña, and Paz Tejada who, upon succeeding Arana as Chief of the Armed Forces in August 1949, found the pact itself in a drawer of Arana's desk (among the signatures was that of Galich).

22 Williams, , ‘Guatemalan Politics – Agreement between Arana and PAR’, 16 01 1947, NA 814.00.

23 Created in November 194; by a merger of the FPL and RN, the PAR continued to exist when the FPL and RN split, eighteen months later. Until 1949, when it was crippled by internal strife, the FPL was the largest of the three parties. Increasingly resistant to social reforms, it competed with the more centrist RN for Arévalo's affection. To the left of both stood the PAR, which was more sympathetic to organised labour, locked in a bitter feud with the FPL, and ever more distant from Arévalo.

Arévalo and the administration parties were urged forward by a combative labour movement of two rival confederations, the Federatión Sindical de Guatemala (FSG) and the Confederación de Trabajadores de Guatemala (CTG). By early 1950 the FSG and the CTG claimed approximately 90,000 members. While many of their unions existed on paper only, the number of effectively organised workers still ran into several tens of thousands; most were blue and white collar urban workers. While important differences separated the leaders of the FSG and the CTG, they were able to join together to press their demands on an often reluctant government.

There is no comprehensive study of the administration parties in the Arévalo period. Important primary sources can be found in the Guatemala Transcripts, particularly boxes 68 and 69. Despite a marked bias, reports from the US embassy are valuable, as are some special US Government studies, notably a 117-page analysis by the State Department's Office of Intelligence and Research (‘Guatemala: Communist Influence’, no. 5123, 23 Oct. 1950, NA). Among secondary sources, the most useful are: Bishop, Edwin, ‘The Guatemalan Labor Movement, 1944–1959’, (unpubl. PhD diss., University of Wisconsin, 1959, pp. 109–29; Schneider, Ronald, Communism in Guatemala 1944–1954 (New York, 1959), particularly pp. 218–35. Interviews with Fortuny, Galich, Charnaud, Bauer, Paiz, and Capuano were of particular value.

The best sources on organised labour in the Arévalo years are Bishop, ‘Guatemalan Labor’, pp. 9–129 and Bush, Archer, ‘Organized Labor in Guatemala, 1944–1949’, unpubl. MA Thesis, Colgate University, 1950.de Schmoock, María Eugenia Ramos Guzmán, ‘El movimiento sindical en el decenio revolucionario (1944–1954)’ (Guatemala, 1978), pp. 21119, taps some sources not used by Bishop and Bush. Franco, Arcadio Ruiz, Hambre y miseria (Guatemala, 1950), which covers the early stages of the labour movement, is a classic. Pearson, Neale, ‘The Confederación National Campesina de Guatemala (CNCG) and Peasant Unionism in Guatemala, 1944–1954’, unpubl. MA thesis, Georgetown University, 1964, pp. 140, focuses on the countryside.

24 Quoted from Col. Devine, , ‘Alleged Communist Penetrations’, no. 10446, 29 03, 1946, p. 2, RG84 CF, Box 14, NA-S.

25 Quoted from Rivera to Ambassador and Donovan, 9 May 1946, RG84 CF, Box 14, NA-S. This is confirmed by the sources listed in note 16 above, including Arana's adviser Barrios Peña, a prominent member of the upper class. See also: FBI, Hoover to Neal, 19 July NA 814.00; FBI, Hoover to Neal, 30 July, NA 814.00; Lt. Col. Morgan, ‘Lt. Col. Francisco Javier Arana’, no. 313–46, 13 Sept., RG84 GR, Box 217, NA-S. All 1946.

26 Quotations from interview with Barrios Peña and from Donovan to Secretary of State, no. 1529, 8 July 1946, p. 2, NA 814.00.

27 Quoted from interview with Galich. On the September 1947 incident, see HQs Panama Canal Department, ‘Weekly Intelligence Summary’, no. 273, 25 09 1947, pp. 78, RG319 ID 0400768, NA-S.

28 ‘Ya no pierdan su tiempo, señores Finqueros’, La Hora Dominical, 1 06 1952, p. 1. On this period, an interview with Barrios Peña was also particularly useful.

29 Quotations from ‘40 diputados firman punto resolutivo’, ElI, 4 11 1948, p. 1 and Wells to Secretary of State, no. 561, 10 Nov. 1948, p. 1, NA 814.00/11–1248. For Arana's response, see ‘Proceder del Congreso causa extrañeza a Arana’, El I, 8 11 1948, p. 1.

30 Wells to Secretary of State, no. 564, 12 Nov. 1948, NA 814.00. See also: ‘Crisis between Col. Arana and President Arévalo May Result in a Coup d'état by the former’, enclosed in Wells to de Zengotita, 5 Nov. (A); Wells to de Zengotita, 5 Nov. (B); Wells to de Zengotita, 15 Nov; Wells to de Zengotita, 19 Nov.; Patterson to Secretary of State, no. 462, 26 Nov. All 1948, RG84 GR, Box 192, NA-S.

31 Interview with Fortuny.

32 ‘FPL define su postura’, Nuestro Diario, 11 06 1949, p. 9.

33 For the convention, see the issues of Nuestro Diario and El I of 31 March and of 1, 2 and 4 April 1949. See also Wells to Secretary of State, no. 179, 5 April 1949, NA 814.00, and ‘Realizada la Convención del Frente Popular Libertador’, El Libertador, 16 04 1949, p. 1.

34 Fárfan, Nájera, Los Estafadores, pp. 107–8.

35 See, for instance, ‘Arana no gusta de camarillas’, El I, 1 04 1949, p. 1 and ‘Opinion que tiene Arana’, Nuestro Diario, 11 06 1949, p. 1.

36 Ayala, Avila, ‘La muerte del coronel Arana’, vi, La Hora, 2 08 1954, p. 4.

37 ‘Una rama del SAMF proclama la candidatura del coronel Arana’, Nuestro Diario, 12 01 1949, p. 9; ‘SAMF ajeno a los grupos políticos’, Nuestro Diario, 13 01 1949, p. 7.

38 Interviews with Charnaud and Fortuny, two PAR leaders who met with Arbenz. For the Government's reaction and the debate in the Congress, see particularly DCA and El I, issues of 16 Sept. to 2 Oct. 1947. For Arbenz's demeanour in the Cabinet, see Memo Conversation (Hill, Silva Peña), 28 Dec. 1953, enclosed in Krieg to Fisher, 29 Dec 1953, NA 714.00; also helpful were interviews with two Cabinet members, Charnaud and Osegueda. For Arbenz's role in limiting the purge, see also Dalton, Roque, Miguel Marmol (San José, Costa Rica, 1982), pp. 518–20.

39 Interviews with Charnaud (quotation), Fortuny, Guerra Borges. See also Bishop, , ‘Guatemalan Labor’, pp. 126–7.

40 Thomas, and Melville, Marjorie, Guatemala – Another Vietnam? (Harmondsworth, 1971), p. 59. See also Jonas, Susanne, ‘Guatemala: Land of Eternal Struggle’, in Chilcote, Ronald and Edelstein, Joel (eds.), Latin America: The Struggle with Dependency and Beyond (New York, 1974), p. 156, note 8 and Immerman, Richard, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (Austin, 1982), pp. 5960.

41 As the former president himself remarked,‘Some were family affairs, concocted behind closed doors; the police would arrive and cart them away. Others were military affairs. Tangay, for example, entered from Mexico and seized several villages in the department of San Marcos; the local police hauled him in before the army arrived’. (Arévalo, Juan José, ‘La Revolución le enseñó al pueblo que se puede luchar’, 7 Días, 22 10 1988, p. 9.)

42 Interview with Paz Tejada.

43 Interview with Barrios Peña, who confirmed Paz Tejada's account and added a wealth of details.

44 Interviews with Lt. Montenegro, who was at the Guardia de Honor, and with Col. Oscar Mendoza, whose brother, Col. Miguel Mendoza, was one of the senior officers who spent the night at the Guardia de Honor waiting for Arana.

45 Interview with Col. Mendoza.

46 See arts, 131/6, 152, 156 and 161 of the 194; Constitution.

47 Quotations from Rojas, Clemente Marroquín, ‘Los lobos se han ido’, La Hora, 14 07 1954, p. 4 and from Ayala, Avila, ‘La muerte del coronel Arana’, VIII, La Hora, 5 08 1954, p. 4. My sources for this struggle include interviews with two members of the CSD: Maj. Paz Tejada (President) and Lt.-Col. Paiz Novales; with Arana's adviser Barrios Peña; and with María de Arbenz and Fortuny. Ayala, Avila, ‘La muerte del coronel Arana’, VIII and IX. La Hora, 5 08 1954, p. 4 and 6 Aug. 1954, p. 4 is a very useful source. See also Galich, , ¿Por qué lucha Guatemala?, p. 203.

48 Interview with Paz Tejada.

49 See ‘Prórroga en las elecciones del Consejo Superior de la Defensa’, Diario de Centro América (DCA), 13 07 1949, p. 1 and ‘Elecciones del Consejo de Defensa prorrogan’, Nuestro Diario, 13 07 1949, p. 7. The rumour later spread that the elections for the CSD had taken place in the week before July 18 and had been won by the Aranistas. See Wells to Secretary of State, no. 311, 18 July 1949, NA 814.00 and Rubio, Alvarado, El asesinato, pp. 2930.

50 Toledo, Mario Monteforte, Una democracia a prueba de fuego (Guatemala, 1949), p. 23; Wells to Secretary of State, no. 311, 18 July 1949, NA 814.00; ‘Entrevistamos al coronel Altolaguirre’, La Hora, 3 10 1962, p. 4.

51 Interview with Paz Tejada.

52 An interview with Barrios Peña (quoted) was a valuable source for this paragraph and the next.

53 No one witnessed this conversation between Arana and Arévalo. My major sources are interviews with Barrios Peña, Galich, Charnaud, María de Arbenz, Fortuny, Guerra Borges, and Cols. Lorenzana and Mendoza. See also Cehelsky, Marta, ‘Habla Arbenz’, Alero, 0910 1974, p. 120.

54 Quoted from interview with Barrios Peña.

55 Interviews with Col. Mendoza (quote) and Barrios Peña.

56 Interview with Barrios Peña.

57 The main sources for this and the two subsequent paragraph and the next are interviews with Galich, Charnaud, Fortuny, María de Arbenz, Paz Tejada, Monteforte Toledo, Cols. Lorenzana and Mendoza. See also Cehelsky, , ‘Habla Arbenz’, p. 120; Ocaña, Canuto (a pseudonym of Clemente Marroquín Rojas), La ‘Carta Politico’ del ciudadano Juan José Arévalo (Guatemala, 1965), p. 33; Pellecer, Carlos Manuel, ‘Dos yanquis más contra Guatemala’, 6, El I, 2 09 1982, p. 2; Pérez, Silverio, ‘Los oscuros acontecimientos de hace 37 años’, La Hora, 21 07 1986, p. 4. Pellecer's account in ‘Dos yanquis’ is indirectly confirmed by Arévalo in his ‘De Juan José Arévalo’.

58 On Arévalo's assistance to the Dominican exiles, see Gleijeses, Piero, ‘Juan José Arévalo and the Caribbean Legion’, Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 21, no. 1 (1989), pp. 133–45.

59 Interview with Col. Lorenzana, Chief of Army Intelligence.

60 Interview with Barrios Peña. The sources listed in note 57 above believe that Arana did not mention the arms that were in El Morlón when he saw Arévalo on 16 July.

61 Arévalo, ‘De Juan José Arévalo’. Arévalo was responding to Pellecer's statement, ‘The conversation between the two was heated. The colonel…raised his voice and insulted and threatened the president’. (Pellecer, , ‘Dos yanquis’, 6, El I, 2 09 1982, p. 24.)

62 Quoted from interview with Galich. The other sources are those listed in notes 53 and 57 above (with the exception of Barrios Peña and Pérez).

63 This is also the interpretation of Barrios Peña (quoted) and Cols. Lorenzana and Mendoza, two officers close to Arana.

64 My sources disagree as to who initiated this suggestion.

65 Interview with Col. Mendoza. See also Rubio, Alvarado, El asesinato, p. 49.

66 Interview with Lt. García, Arbenz's aide, who was with him at the time; interviews with María de Arbenz, Guerra Borges, Fortuny, Charnaud, Galich, Paz Tejada. See also Pellecer, , ‘Dos yanquis’, vi, p. 2 and Cehelsky, , ‘Habla Arbenz’, p. 121.

67 ‘Statement of Lt. Colonel Alberto Bone Summarizing Statement Made by Mr. Palacios J., Chauffeur of Colonel Arana, Concerning Events Associated With Arana's Death’, quoted at pp. 1–2, enclosed in ‘Intelligence Report’ no. IR-77–49, 28 July 1949, FOIA. See also ‘Francisco Palacios hace sensacionales declaraciones’, Diario Latino, San Salvador, 27 08 1949, p. 1.

68 Interview with Col. Lorenzana.

69 Interview with Col. Mendoza. Also useful were interviews with Barrios Peña, Paz Tejada, Galich, García, María de Arbenz, Fortuny, Guerra Borges, and Charnaud.

70 There is no definitive account of the fight. Following Arana's death, the Government suspended publication of all newspapers, except the official DCA, which provided only sparse coverage. Upon resuming publication on 1 August, the other newspapers wrote little on the subject. Coverage by the foreign press and by the US Embassy was superficial.

The government's version of the fighting was first outlined in ‘Mensaje del Gobierno de la República a la ciudadanía’, DCA, 22 07 1949, p. 1, and then in Una democracia, a 47-page pamphlet written by the President of the Guatemalan Congress, Monteforte Toledo. Useful information is included in Bush, ‘Organized Labor’, iv, 11–4; in Roldán, Tomás Sierra, Diálogos con el coronel Monzón (Guatemala, 1958), pp. 44–6; and in Pellecer, , ‘Dos yanquis’, 7, El I, 3 09 1982, p. 2. For an excellent series of articles by an Aranista officer, see Col. Recinos, Ricardo Alberto Pinto, ‘La rebelión de la Guardia de Honor, el 18 de Julio de 1949’, La Hora, 18 06–4 07 1985. Particularly helpful were interviews with the following officers: García Lorenzana, Mendoza, Montenegro, Paz Tejada; and with the civilians Barrios Peña, Galich and Charnaud.

71 Interview with Paz Tejada, who was with Castillo Armas at the time. See also Cáceres, Carlos, Aproximación a Guatemala (Culiacán, Mexico, 1980), pp. 46–7.

72 Quotations from ‘Mensaje del Gobierno’, p. 1 and from Toledo, Monteforte, Una democracia, p. 19. A Guatemalan officer has written tactfully that on 18 July 1949, ‘the freedom of action of the Commander of the Base Militar was neutralized’, without explaining how this was accomplished (Salazar, Cruz, ‘El ejército’, p. 86). Interviews with María de Arbenz, Paz Tejada, Guerra Borges and Fortuny were particularly informative on this. See also Rojas, Clemente Marroquín, ‘Los lobos se han ido’, La Hora, 17 07 1954, p. 4. Santizo had a long pedigree as an aranista plotter; he was one of the officers who were at the Quinta Samayoa in late 1948 (interview with Paz Tejada), and who later spent the night at the Guardia de Honor waiting for Arana (interview with Col. Mendoza).

73 Quoted from Recinos, Pinto, ‘La Rebelión’, iv, p. 2.

74 Quoted from Salazar, Cruz, ‘El ejército’, p. 86.

75 ‘Duelo nacional por la muerte del coronel Arana’, DCA, 21 07 1949, p. 1.

76 ‘ Mensaje del Gobierno’, p. 3 (‘The official communiqué on Arana's death was written entirely by Arévalo.’ Arévalo, ‘De Juan José Arévalo’).

77 Pellecer, , ‘Dos yanquis’, VIII, p. 2. As already noted, Arévalo indirectly endorsed Pellecer's account in ‘De Juan José Arévalo’.

78 ‘El gobierno dice al pueblo la verdad’ (editorial), DCA, 23 07 1949, p. 3.

79 Quotations from ‘El Gobierno desaprueba el discurso del profesor Carlos Manuel Pellecer’, DCA, 25 07 1949, p. 1 (quoted at p. 7) and Pellecer, , ‘Dos yanquis’, VIII, p. 2.

80 Since the late 1960s, Arévalo has spent most of his time in Guatemala, where the friends of Arana are indeed again powerful. He has received honours and privileges, and avoided dangerous controversies. His lack of candur in July 1949 has served him well.

81 Interviews with María de Arbenz, Fortuny (quoting Arbenz), and Guerra Borges.

82 Interview with Barrios Peña. In the years that followed, first as President, and then in lonely exile, Arbenz remained silent. Shy, introverted, with a strict personal code of honour, he respected his promise not to speak out unless Arévalo agreed; the longer his silence, moreover, the more awkward a sudden reversal. On one occasion, recalls his wife, he tried to convince Arévalo ‘to give a full and public account of the circumstances of Arana's death’. It was in Montevideo in the late 1950s, in one of the two ex-presidents’ rare encounters during the years of exile. But ‘Arévalo said that it was better not to discuss it and changed the subject’ (interview with María de Arbenz). Only in 1968, three years before his own death, did Arbenz finally state what had happened to Francisco Arana in those distant days of July 1949. Cehelsky, , ‘Habla Arbenz’, pp. 119–22.

Others did not wait so long. In July 1950 the communist weekly Octubre wrote that ‘prior to July 18 …Arana was ready to seize power’, but it provided no details. (‘El 19 de Julio de 1949: Un Gran Golpe al Imperialismo’, Octubre, 19 07 1950, p. 1, quoted at p. 3). That same year, the communist leader Víctor Manuel Gutiérrez told a labour congress that Arana had died in an armed confrontation with ‘Police Coronel Enrique Blanco, who had a warrant for his arrest because he was plotting to overthrow Arévalo… Therefore, comrade delegates, Arana was not assassinated: he died resisting arrest’. (Gutiérrez, , ‘Informe rendido por el Secretario General ante la Novena Asamblea Confederal de la CTG’, not dated, p. 2, Guatemala Transcripts, Box 15.) Information on the true circumstances of Arana's death was also provided in a 1956 book by Manuel Galich who, as Secretary General of the FPL, had played a key role in July 1949. (Galich, , ¿Por Qué Lucha Guatemala?, pp. 201–4.)

83 Quoted from: Siracusa, ‘Guatemala Situation’, 19 July; Patterson to Secretary of State, no. 324, 20 July; Patterson to Secretary of State, no. 327, 21 July 10 a.m. All 1949, all NA 814.00. For US views of Arana, see also: Col. Devine, , ‘Intelligence Report’ no.52–46, 6 02 1946, RG319 General File (GF), Box 1582, NA-S; Donovan to Secretary of State, no. 1538, 10 July 1946, RG84 CF, Box 14, NA-S; HQs Panama Canal Department, ‘Weekly Intelligence Summary’ no. 262, 9 07 1947, RG319 ID 382208, NA-S; HQs Panama Canal Department, ‘Weekly Intelligence Summary’ no. 265, 30 07 1947, RG319 ID 388826, NA-S; Donovan to Secretary of State, no. 2601, 12 Aug. 1947, RG84 GR, Box 177, NA-S; Wells to Secretary of State, no. 2757, 12 Dec. 1947, NA 814.00B; Wells to de Zengotita, 15 Nov. 1948, RG84 GR, Box 192, NA-S; Wells to de Zengotita, 19 Nov. 1948, RG84 GR, Box 192, NA-S; Wells to Secretary of State, no. 175, 1 April 1949, p. 1, NA 814.00.

84 Affeld, , ‘Confidential Biographic Data: Francisco Javier Arana’, quoted at p. 2. See also: Woodward to Secretary of State, no. 2426, 24 April 1945, RG84 GR, Box 134, NA-S; Col. Devine, , ‘Alleged Communist Penetrations’, no. 10446, 29 03 1946, RG84 CF, Box 14, NA-S; Donovan to Newbegin, 1 Aug. 1946, NA 814.00; Enclosure no. 1 in Donovan to Secretary of State, no. 207;, 2 Jan. 1947, NA 814.00; US Embassy Guatemala, ‘Re: Guatemala Political’ 26 02 1947, p. 6, RG84 GR, Box 176, NA-S; HQs Panama Canal Department, ‘Weekly Intelligence Summary’ no. 262, 9 07 1947, RG319 ID 382208, NA-S.

85 Patterson to Secretary of State, no. 385, 22 July 1949, p. 1, NA 711.14.

86 Patterson to Zemurray, 11 Aug. 1949, Patterson Papers, Box 5, Truman Library (quote). See also: Siracusa to Wise, 29 July 1949, NA 814.00; Siracusa to Patterson, 3 Aug. 1949, RG84 GR, Box 216, NA-S; Patterson to Secretary of State, no. 417, 3 Aug. 1949, NA 711.14; Wells to Secretary of State, no. 433, 11 Aug. 1949, NA 814.00; Wells to Secretary of State, no. 435, 12 Aug. 1949, NA 711.14; Patterson to Miller and Patterson to Siracusa, both 12 Aug. 1949, RG84 GR, Box 216, NA-S; Wells to Department of State (DOS), no. 395, 31 March 1950, NA 611.14; CIA, ‘Guatemala’, SR-46, 27 07 1950, pp. 45–6, Truman Papers, President's Secretary's File, Intelligence File, Box 261, Truman Library; Wells to DOS, 15 Nov. 1950, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, 11: 922–5; Wells to Clark, 22 Jan. 1951, NA 714.00.

87 Wardlaw to DOS, no. 839, 16 Feb. 1951, p. 2, NA 714.00.

88 See Geiger, Theodore, Communism versus Progress in Guatemala (Washington, D.C., 1953), pp. 1314; Farfán, Nájera, Los estafadores, pp. 105–11; Chinchilla, Carlos Samayoa, El Quetzal no es rojo (Guatemala, 1956), pp. 132–4; L.A.H.A, [Aguilar, Luis Alberto Hurtado], Asi se gestó la Liberación (Guatemala, 1956), p. 41.

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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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