Hey everybody, and welcome to the fourth episode of Safe for Democracy, the podcast about the foreign policy disasters of the United States in the 20th century.
This is the third part of a series exploring the violent aftermath of the US-backed coup against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954.
If you’re just now coming to the podcast, it’d probably be best to start with episode one, which tackles the coup, and then come through the Aftermath in order. But if that’s not your game, fair enough, start right here.
Last time we had a brief respite, tackling Liberation Theology, social Catholicism, jungle collectives, and the spirit of indigenous pride that had Mayas all over Guatemala taking to the streets and demanding their fundamental right to life and to culture.
We left off with General Kjell Eugenio Laugerud García in the Presidential Palace, and his relative leniency, after the murderous regime of the Butcher of Zacapa, Colonel Arana Osorio, was allowing Guatemalan civil society to flourish for the first time in decades.
That interstitial period is about to end, though, with the fraudulent election of General Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia, who will take a less generous view of what he sees as traitorous elements in the country.
La violencia and tierra arrasada are still one episode away, so we’ve got three more weeks to worry yet, but we won’t get all the way through this one unscathed either.
This time around, it’s earthquakes, committees of campesino unity, massacre in Panzos, and the helping hand of Ronald Reagan, as always, making war to make the world safe for democracy.
Maps and ephemera follow for anyone who’s game.