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4. Guatemala (1903-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (January 1, 1903-April 7, 1920): Vice-President Manuel Estrada Cabrera assumed the presidency after the assassination of President Barrios in February 1898. The constitution was amended in 1903, which allowed for the re-election of the president. The Congress adopted a resolution on March 4, 1920, which approved the proposed Central American union. Two individual were killed during demonstrations in Guatemala City on March 11, 1920.

Crisis Phase (April 8, 1920-February 8, 1931): President Manuel Estrada Cabrera was overthrown by the National Assembly on April 8, 1920. Supporters of former President Estrada Cabrera and Unionists in the National Assembly began military hostilities on April 9, 1920. The US deployed the warships Tacoma and Niagara near Guatemala. The US ambassador in Guatemala offered to facilitate negotiations between former President Estrada Cabrera and the Unionists on April 14, 1920. The US ambassador facilitated an agreement on April 14, 1920, which provided for the surrender of former President Estrada Cabrera to the Unionists on April 15, 1920. Vice-President Carlos Herrera was elected as provisional president by the National Assembly on April 17, 1920. The US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of President Herrera on June 25, 1920. Carlos Herrera was elected president on August 29, 1920. President Herrera was deposed in a military coup led by General Jose Orellana on December 5, 1921, resulting in the deaths of some 25 individuals. The three-member Military Council headed by General Orellana took control of the government on December 6, 1921. General Orellano was elected provisional president by the National Assembly on December 8, 1921. General Orellano was elected president without opposition on February 15-22, 1922, and he was inaugurated as president on March 4, 1922. Seven individuals were killed in election-related violence in Escuintla. The US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on April 15, 1922. The government suppressed a rebellion in September 1924, and twelve individuals were executed for their involvement in the rebellion. General Orellana died in September 1926, and General Lazaro Chacon was elected president by the National Assembly on December 5, 1926. The government suppressed a military rebellion in January 1929, and several individuals were executed for their involvement in the rebellion. Bautillo Palma was appointed as provisional president by the National Assembly in December 1930. President Palma was deposed in a military coup led by General Manuel Orellana on December 16, 1930. The US imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government of General Orellana on December 17, 1930. General Orellana resigned on December 30, 1930, and Jose Andrade was appointed as provisional president by the Congress on December 31, 1930. The US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of President Andrade on January 8, 1931. General Jorge Ubico Castaneda was elected without opposition to a six-year term as president on February 8, 1931. Some 100 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 9, 1931-June 30, 1944): The government suppressed a rebellion in 1940, and thirteen individuals were executed for their involvement in the rebellion.

Crisis Phase (July 1, 1944-March 15, 1945): President Ubico Castaneda was overthrown in a rebellion on July 1, 1944, and General Federico Ponce was appointed as provisional president on July 2, 1944. General Ponce was overthrown in a rebellion on October 20, 1944. Juan Jose Arevalo of the National Renovation Party (NRP) and Popular Front Liberation Party (PFLP) was elected president on December 17-19, 1944, and he was inaugurated as president on March 15, 1945. A new constitution went into effect on March 15, 1945.

Post-Crisis Phase (March 16, 1945-July 23, 1950): Juan Jose Arevalo of the National Renovation Party (NRP) and Popular Front Liberation Party (PFLP) was elected president on December 17-19, 1944, and he was inaugurated as president on March 15, 1945. A new constitution went into effect on March 15, 1945. The Guatemalan Party of Labor (Partido Guatemalteco de Trabajo – PGT) was established by Jose Manuel Furtuny Arana in opposition to the government on September 28, 1949 (the PGT was originally known as the Communist Party of Guatemala).

Crisis Phase (July 24, 1950-November 30, 1962): The government imposed a state-of-siege from July 24 to August 8, 1950. Government troops suppressed a right-wing rebellion in Guatemala City on November 5, 1950, resulting in the deaths of 26 individuals. Lt. Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was elected president on November 10-12, 1950, and he was inaugurated as president on March 15, 1951. On July 13, 1951, the government declared a state-of-siege after four individuals were killed during clashes between government troops and demonstrators in Guatemala City on July 12, 1951. The Agrarian Reform Law, which was approved by the National Assembly on June 15, 1952, expropriated property belonging to the United Fruit Company (UFC) and other large landowners. Parliamentary elections were held on January 16-18, 1953, and supporters of President Arbenz Guzman won 27 out of 32 contested seats in the National Assembly. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion on March 29-30, 1953, resulting in the deaths of several individuals. The US government protested the expropriation of UFC property in August 1953. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Guatemala condemned the communist infiltration of the government on April 10, 1954. The Soviet Union provided military assistance (military weapons) to the government beginning on May 15, 1954, resulting in an appeal by Central American countries to the US for assistance in stopping Communist influence in the region. The government arrested opposition leaders beginning on May 31, 1954, and suspended civil rights in the country on June 8, 1954. Some 500 Guatemalan exiles led by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, which were trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Honduras, invaded the country on June 18, 1954. The US imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the government on June 18, 1954. The government referred the matter to the United Nations (UN) Security Council and the Inter-American Peace Committee (IAPC) on June 19, 1954. President Arbenz Guzman declared martial law on June 21, 1954. On June 27, 1954, the IAPC established a five-member commission of inquiry to investigate the dispute. President Arbenz Guzman resigned on June 27, 1954, and he was replaced by a military junta led by Colonel Elfego Monzon on June 29, 1954. Some 1,000 individuals fled the country as refugees. El Salvador provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military junta on July 4, 1954. The US provided humanitarian assistance (medical supplies) on July 4-6, 1954. The military junta elected Colonel Castillo Armas as provisional president on July 8, 1954. Italy, Mexico, and the US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military junta on July 13, 1954. The military junta established the National Committee for Defence against Communism on July 21, 1954. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion in Guatemala City on August 1-2, 1954, resulting in the deaths of 29 individuals. Colonel Castillo Armas was elected president in a national referendum held on October 10, 1954, and he was inaugurated as president on November 6, 1954. The US provided economic assistance to the government beginning on October 30, 1954. A new constitution was approved by the Constituent Assembly on December 30, 1954, and the constitution went into effect on March 1, 1955. The military government suppressed a communist-inspired military rebellion led by Colonel Francisco Cosenza near Guatemala City on January 19-20, 1955, resulting in the deaths of ten rebels. The US agreed to provide military assistance to the government on June 18, 1955. Parliamentary and municipal elections were held on December 18, 1955. Government police suppressed a military rebellion led by Colonel Carlos Paz Tejada on December 31, 1955. President Castillo Armas signed a new constitution on February 2, 1956, and the National Assembly convened on March 1, 1956. On June 26, 1956, the government declared a state-of-siege after four individuals were killed during clashes between government troops and student demonstrators. The government lifted the state-of-siege on August 26, 1956. President Castillo Armas was assassinated by a presidential guard on July 26, 1957, and Vice-President Louis Gonzales Lopez was sworn in as provisional president on July 27, 1957. President Gonzales Lopez declared a 30-day state-of-siege on July 27, 1957. The government lifted the state-of-siege on August 22, 1957. Ortiz Pasareli was elected president on October 20, 1957. Opposition candidate, General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, claimed election fraud. Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Guatemala City on October 22, 1957, resulting in the death of one individual. The government declared a 30-day state-of-siege on October 23, 1957. Three individuals were killed in rioting in Guatemala City on October 24, 1957. President Gonzales Lopez was deposed in a military coup, and a three-member military junta headed by Colonel Oscar Mendoza Azurdia took control of the government on October 25, 1957. The military junta invalidated the results of the presidential election, and Colonel Guillermo Flores Avendano was sworn in as president on October 26, 1957. The US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of President Flores Avendano on October 27, 1957. Presidential elections were held on January 19, 1958, but no candidate won a majority of the votes. General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes of the Party of National Reconciliation (Partido Redencion Nacional – PRN) was elected president by the Congress on February 12, 1958, and he was inaugurated as president on March 2, 1958. The government suppressed a military rebellion led by Colonel Rafael Sessan Pereira at Fort Matamoros near Guatemala City on November 13-17, 1960. President Ydigoras Fuentes requested military assistance from the US. US naval ships were deployed in the Caribbean in support of the government from November 17 to December 7, 1960. Parliamentary elections were held on December 3, 1961, and supporters of the government won 50 out of 66 seats in the parliament. President Ydigoras Fuentes imposed a 30-day state-of-siege on January 24, 1962. Government troops suppressed a rebellion led by Lt. Marco Aurelio Yon Sosa and Lt. Luis Turcios Lima against the government in Bananera on February 6-15, 1962, resulting in the deaths of eight individuals. Government troops and rebels led by former Defense Minister Carlos Paz Tejada clashed in Baja Verapaz on March 12-15, 1962, resulting in the deaths of 15 rebels. Twenty-two individuals were killed during student demonstrations against the government in Guatemala City on March 13-19, 1962. President Ydigoras Fuentes imposed a 30-day state-of-siege on March 19, 1962. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion near Guatemala City on November 25, 1962, resulting in the deaths of four individuals. Some 3,000 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (December 1, 1962-December 4, 1996):  Communists established the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes – FAR) in opposition to the government in December 1962. The US provided some $2 million annually in military assistance (weapons and military advisors) to the government from 1962 to 1969. FAR rebels killed five government soldiers on March 22, 1963, and President Ydigoras Fuentes declared a state-of-siege on March 25, 1963. Nicaragua provided military assistance (three military aircraft) to the government on March 27, 1963. President Ydigoras Fuentes was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Enrique Peralta Azurdia on March 30, 1963. Colonel Peralta Azurdia suspended the constitution, dissolved the parliament, and banned political activities on March 31, 1963. Colonel Peralta Azurdia declared a state-of-emergency in the Zapaca region in 1963. Colonel Harold Houser, head of the US military mission in Guatemala, was shot in Guatemala City on February 9, 1965. A new constitution went into effect on September 15, 1965, which reduced the presidential term of office from six years to four years. Mario Mendez Montenegro, leader of the Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario – PR), was assassinated on October 31, 1965. Twenty-eight individuals were arrested by government police in March and April 1966 (the individuals were later executed by the government). Julio Cesar Mendez Montenegro of the PR was elected president on May 10, 1966, and he was inaugurated as president on July 1, 1966. Lt. Luis Turcios Lima, leader of FAR, was killed in a car crash near Guatemala City on October 2, 1966. The government declared a state-of-siege on November 2, 1966. Communist rebels assassinated two US military advisors on January 16, 1968. The government lifted the state-of-siege on June 20, 1968. Ambassador John Mein of the US was assassinated on August 28, 1968. On January 30, 1970, the government declared a state-of-siege following the attempted assassination of Jorge Lucas Cabelleros, the Christian Democratic Party of Guatemala (Partido Democracia Cristiana Guatemalteca – PDCG) presidential candidate. Foreign Minister Alberto Fuentes Mohr was kidnapped on February 26, 1970, but he was released on March 1, 1970. Colonel Carlos Arana Osorio of the National Liberation Movement (Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional – MLN) was elected president with 42 percent of the vote on March 1, 1970, and he was inaugurated as president on July 1, 1970. The Organization of American States (OAS) sent three observers to monitor the presidential election, and issued a report on March 3, 1970. Some 20 individuals were killed in political violence prior to the presidential election. President Arana Osorio declared a state-of-siege on November 13, 1970. President Arana Osorio lifted the state-of-siege on November 23, 1971. The Guerrilla Army of the Poor (Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres – EGP) was established in opposition to the government in 1972. General Kjell Eugenio Laugerud Garcia of the MLN/Democratic Institutional Party (Partido Institucional Democratico – PID) coalition won a plurality of the vote in presidential elections on March 3, 1974. Opposition political leaders claimed election fraud, and called for a general strike. General Laugerud Garcia was approved as president by the Congress, and he was inaugurated as president on July 1, 1974. The US imposed military sanctions (suspension of military assistance) against the government in 1977. General Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia of the PR/PID coalition was elected president on March 5, 1978, and he was inaugurated as president on July 1, 1978. Mario Sandoval Alarcon of the MLN claimed election fraud. Several hundred individuals were killed in civil and political violence in 1979. The Democratic Front Against Repression (Frente Democratico Contra la Represion – FDCR) was established by Rafael Garcia in opposition to the government in March 1979. Municipal elections were held on April 20, 1980. The OAS sent three observers to monitor the elections. Amnesty International (AI) condemned the government for human rights abuses on February 18, 1981. The FAR, EGP, and Guatemalan Labor Party (Patrido Guatemalteca del Trabajo – PGT) established the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca – URNG) in opposition to the government on February 8, 1982. The Guatemala Committee of Patriotic Unity (Comite Guatemalteca de Unidad Patriotica – CGUP) was established by Luis Cardoza Aragon on February 16, 1982. General Angel Anibal Guevara of the Popular Democratic Front (Frente Democratico Popular – FDP) was elected president on March 7, 1982. Opposition political parties claimed that the election had been fraudulent. President Lucas Garcia was deposed in a military coup led by General Efrain Rios Montt, who suspended the constitution and set up a three-member military junta on March 23, 1982. General Rios Montt deposed the other members of the junta and named himself president on June 9, 1982. President Rios Montt declared a state-of-siege on July 1, 1982. The US lifted military sanctions against the government on January 7, 1983. President Rios Montt lifted the state-of-siege on March 23, 1983. President Efrain Rios Montt was deposed in a military coup on August 8, 1983, and General Oscar Mejia Victores took control of the government on August 9, 1983. Some 10,000 civilians were killed in political violence from June 1982 to August 1983, and some 100,000 individuals fled as refugees to southern Mexico. Peace Brigades International (PBI) established a mission to promote human rights in Guatemala in 1983. (PBI disbanded its mission in 1999). Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held on July 1, 1984, and the Constituent Assembly convened on August 1, 1984. The OAS sent two observers to monitor the elections. The Constituent Assembly adopted a new constitution on May 31, 1985. Parliamentary elections were held on November 3, 1985, and the PDCG won 51 out of 100 seats in the National Assembly. The National Center Union (Union del Centro Nacional – UCN) won 22 seats in the National Assembly. Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo of the PDCG was elected president in a run-off election held on December 8, 1985, and he was inaugurated as president on January 14, 1986.  Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) was inaugurated as president on January 14, 1986. Spain facilitated negotiations between representatives of the government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) in Madrid beginning in October 1987. Government troops killed 16 peasants in the town of Santiago Atitlan on December 2, 1990. The US imposed military sanctions (suspension of military assistance) against the government on December 21, 1990. Jorge Serrano Elias of the Solidarity Action Movement (MAS) was elected president with 66 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections on January 6, 1991, and he was inaugurated as president on January 14, 1991. The US imposed military sanctions (suspension of military assistance) against Guatemala in December 1990. The Organization of American States (OAS) Council sent observers to monitor the presidential elections.  The Center for Democracy (CFD) sent 25 observers to monitor the presidential elections from November 4, 1990 to January 7, 1991. The United Nations (UN) mediated negotiations between government and Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) representatives beginning in July 1991. President Serrano Elias dismissed the National Congress and Supreme Court on May 25, 1993. The US, European Community (EC), and Japan imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government on May 26, 1993. Peru expressed its support for the government on May 26, 1993. President Serrano Elias resigned on June 1, 1993, and Vice-President Gustavo Espina Salguero proclaimed himself president on June 2, 1993. The National Congress election Ramiro De Leon Carpio as provisional president on June 5, 1993. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided repatriation assistance to some 24,000 refugees from southern Mexico between 1993 and 1996 (some 26,000 refugees remained in southern Mexico). Representatives of the government and URNG signed a human rights accord on March 19, 1994.  The UN and Guatemalan government established a truth commission chaired by Christian Tomuschatof of Germany on June 23, 1994.  Congressional elections were held on August 14, 1994, and the Guatemalan Republican Front (GRF) won 32 out of 80 seats in the National Congress. The National Advancement Party (NAP) won 24 seats in the National Congress. On September 19, 1994, the UN General Assembly established the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA) to monitor human rights conditions and civilian police.  MINUGUA-human rights/civilian police observation mission consisted of 200 human rights monitors and 60 civilian police observers.  Government troops killed ten Guatemalan refugees returning to their country on October 5, 1995. The US Committee for Refugees (USCR) condemned the Guatemalan government for the killings on October 6, 1995. Congressional elections were held on November 12, 1995, and the NAP won 43 out of 80 seats in the National Congress. Alvaro Enrique Arzu of the NAP was elected president on January 7, 1996. The OAS sent 60 observers to monitor the election process from October 15, 1995 to January 15, 1996. The European Union (EU) sent 44 observers to monitor the elections. Switzerland sent nine observers to monitor the pre-election process from October 26 to November 7, 1995. The Swiss mission issued a report on November 6, 1995, which suggested that there were some serious problems that were “major obstacles to full democratic participation.” Alvaro Enrique Arzu was inaugurated as president on January 14, 1996. President Enrique Arzu and URNG representatives signed a interim ceasefire agreement in Mexico City on March 20, 1996, and the parties signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in Olso, Norway on December 4, 1996. Some 140,000 individuals were killed and some one million individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (December 5, 1996-May 27, 1997): The government and FAR rebels signed the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace mediated by the UN in Guatemala City on December 29, 1996. On January 20, 1997, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA-military observation mission) to monitor the ceasefire agreement and the demobilization of the rebels.  MUNUGUA-military observation mission consisted of 132 military observers and 13 medical personnel from 16 countries commanded by Brig. General Jose Rodriguez from Spain.  Jean Arnault of France served as special representative of the UN secretary-general in Guatemala between March 1, 1997 and July 31, 2000. Some 1,928 rebels were demobilized, and MINUGUA-military observation mission was disbanded on May 27, 1997.

Post-Crisis Phase (May 28, 1997-present): The OAS provided de-mining assistance to the government beginning in 1998.  The UN/Guatemalan truth commission issued their final report on February 25, 1999.  A referendum on constitutional amendments was held on May 16, 1999, and voters rejected the constitutional amendments. The OAS sent 28 observers from 13 countries headed by Edgardo Reis to monitor the referendum from April 29 to May 17, 1999. The UNHCR disbanded its mission in June 1999. Congressional elections were held on November 7, 1999, and the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) won 64 out of 110 seats in the National Congress. The National Advancement Party (Partido de Avanzada Nacional – PAN) won 37 seats in the National Congress. Japan sent six observers to monitor the elections from November 3-10, 1999. The OAS sent 77 observers from 17 countries headed by Edgardo Reis to monitor the congressional elections from October 5 to December 27, 1999. Alfonso Portillo of the FRG was elected president with 68 percent of the vote in the run-off election on December 26, 1999. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Gerd Merrem as special representative in Guatemala (and head of MINUGUA) on August 1, 2000.  Oscar Berger Perdomo of the Grand National Alliance (Gran Alianza Nacional – GAN) was elected president with 54 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on December 28, 2003.  Parliamentary elections were held on November 9, 2003, and the GAN won 47 out of 158 seats in the National Congress.  The FRG won 43 seats in the National Congress.  The EU sent six election experts, 22 long-term observers, and 60 short-term observers headed by Jannis Sakellariou of Germany to monitor the elections from September 25, 2003 to January 15, 2004.  The Carter Center (CC) sent observers to monitor the elections from October 20 to December 30, 2003.  The OAS sent observers headed by Valentin Paniagua of Peru to monitor the elections from July 10 to November 10, 2003.  The OAS ended de-mining assistance to the government on December 15, 2005.

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