NY Times editorial, “Ghosts of Guatemala’s Past”

An editorial by Stephen Schlesinger, author of Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, ran on the Op-Ed page of the Friday, June 3, 2011 New York Times.

IN 1954, the American government committed one of the most reprehensible acts in its history when it authorized the C.I.A. to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Guatemala, President Jacobo Arbenz. It did so secretly but later rationalized the coup on the ground that the country was about to fall into communist hands.

Guatemalan society has only recently recovered from the suffering that this intervention caused, including brutal military dictatorships and a genocidal civil war against its Indian population, which led to the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people. Only in the 1980s, when a peace process commenced, did democratic governance resume. But a silence about the Arbenz era continued.

Schlesinger goes on to call for the U.S. to “[own] up to its own ignoble deed and recogniz[e] Arbenz as the genuine social progressive that he was.”

Read Schlesinger’s entire editorial  here to gain a better understanding of this pivotal chapter in Guatemalan history.


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