Country Report: Guatemala

1938 words - 8 pages

Guatemala has experienced many significant changes to their government in the past sixty years. The government faced military coups, governmental reforms along with political and social revolutions. Many political forces have influenced Guatemala and transformed it into the country that it is today.
When a nation’s system is highly extractive, there are higher stakes to gain power. When there is a high desire for power, more coups are carried out and there are more shifts in the power of the government. A high percentage of the last 60 years of Guatemala’s history had been spent in an extractive system. Starting in the days that followed the reign of powerful dictator, Jorge Ubico,many transitional events took place that influenced the political development of Guatemala. Jorge Ubico ruled over Guatemala for more than 14 years. During his rule he kept Guatemala as a very extractive state. In Jorge’s absolutist society, he gave the resources, money and power to a small select group of people in order to maximize his power and influence. The wealthy elites had power over the rest of the people because they were militarily trained and had money. This extractive economy and government put Guatemala into an overall extractive system. Most of the wealth belonged to a small group while a majority of the citizens were poor peasant farmers with no political influence. The nation was stuck in a vicious circle that would be very challenging to get out of. The people revolted against the government due to them feeling that their human rights and deserved liberties were being violated. The dictator was assassinated and in 1951, Guatemala democratically elected a new ruler, a popular left sided member of the communist party, president Jacobo Arbenez Guzman. Guzman brought the idea of democracy to the country in the slightest way. He gave power to the “little people” and encouraged them to have a say in the government, however he enforced his power when he felt that the “little people’s” opinions on issues were wrong. This new form of government transformed Guatemala into a more pluralist society and helped to slightly pull them away from the systematic inequality that had taken place under their previous ruler.
A few years later, the United States, along with many Guatemalan citizens, feared that the ruler was once again beginning to gain too much power in their government. The president was pushing for land reforms in Central America as well as trying to nationalize the United Fruit Company. Under the reign of Guzman, systematic inequality was widespread throughout the country. The system was corrupt in that not many people had a say in their government. For the most part, the people elected the president, but once the elected official took office, the people had little influence on the politics. The disapproval of president Guzman led to a United States backed coup d’état, in 1954. During the coup, president Jacobo Arbenez Guzman, was...

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