The Reasoning behind the 1954 CIA Orchestrated Coup in Guatemala

I am researching the reasoning behind and justification for the 1954 CIA orchestrated Coup in Guatemala. My research topic displays how containment culture resulted in illogical governmental actions, resulting in long term negative impacts on other countries.

Many historians have argued that the Coup was a result of Eisenhower’s goal to shift US policy from containment of communism to actually rolling back communism. The US government feared Soviet influence in Guatemala and Latin America as a whole. Evidence of the rise of communism was centered in the Guatemalan president’s (Jacobo Árbenz) connections to the communist party and creation of new socialist agrarian reforms. Furthermore, the US government believed Árbenz was beginning to create an alliance with the USSR, especially after Guatemala accepted a shipment of weapons from Czechoslovakia, a nation within the Soviet sphere. On the other hand, people insist the true reasoning behind the Coup was the need for the United States to protect business interests within Guatemala. The United Fruit Company, a boston-based enterprise with many connections to the US government, owned a large portion of land in Guatemala on which were highly profitable banana plantations. The new agrarian reforms threatened the success of UFCO in Guatemala and ultimately, negatively impacted a wide range of influential United States politicians and media personnel. A large role within the success of the Coup was the use of media and governmental speeches. Many of these sources were both directly and indirectly influenced by the Public Relations sector of the UFCO. Within my argument, I hope to successfully prove that the US overreacted to Árbenz’s shift to socialist policies and orchestrated the Coup to protect business interests, especially in terms of the UFCO. Although Cold War tensions inclined the United States to view Guatemala as a dangerous communist state, Operation PBSUCCESS was a direct result of the threat Árbenz’s agrarian reforms had on the stability and success of the The United Fruit Company and the company’s use of media and lobbyists in convincing the populace of a fallacious necessity to roll back communism in Latin America.


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