Elections and Events 1944-1950


Alcántara Sáez 1999: “La revolución de 1944” (pages 179-181).

Calvert 1985: “Eventually in 1944 Ubico moved to expropriate the German-owned plantations, only to find that Guatemalans were by then asking why they might not do the same with other foreign interests” (page 71).

Frankel 1969: “Far from being persecuted by the leftist regimes of 1944-1954, the Church, during this period, experienced unprecedented growth and had more freedom to criticize the government than at any time since 1871” (page 169).

Gleijeses 1991: “Until the fall of Ubico, the Guatemalan state allowed UFCO to operate as a private fiefdom, never interfering on behalf of the workers” (page 92). “The Arévalo administration was more vigorous in its protection of UFCO’s workers than of other rural laborers…(U)nlike those who tilled the land of the coffee elite, UFCO’s 15,000 workers had begun to organize in the summer of 1944, they had actively supported the candidacy of Arévalo, and they were closely connected with the urban labor movement” (page 93).

Grandin 2004: “The government’s expropriation, at the urging of the United States, of German plantations in 1944 broke the economic and political power held by Germans in [Verapaz]” (page 38).

Jonas 2000: “Under the weight of the economic and social crises caused by the world depression of the 1930s, Guatemala’s neocolonial order cracked in 1944, when a broad middle- and working-class coalition overthrew military dictator Jorge Ubico. Thus was initiated the Revolution of 1944-1954, the only genuinely democratic experience in Guatemala’s entire history” (page 18).

Krennerich 1993: “Antes de 1944 las elecciones jugaron un papel absolutamente insignificante en Guatemala. La historia del país está marcada…por unas dictaduras caudillistas extraordinariamente largas” (page 191). “La ‘Revolución de Octubre’ (1944) condujo a una ruptura (temporal) de las estructuras de dominación existentes e introdujo reformas políticas y socioeconómicas. Tanto las elecciones como los partidos presentaron un aumento en su importancia…La oportunidad de elegir por parte de los electores estuvo limitada en las elecciones de 1944 en tanto que el sistema de partidos (surgido de los amplios movimientos antidictatoriales) aún no se hallaba muy diferenciado y la distancia ideological entre los partidos que presentaron candidatures era todavía escasa” (page 192).

LaCharité 1964: “After the 1944 revolution, a significant change in the attitude of the Government toward the Indians was apparent” (page 28). Gives examples.

LaCharite 1973: “As in the days of Spanish colonial rule, Guatemala’s economy right through the early 1940s was based primarily on a rigid plantation system. The small group of wealthy Spanish landowners who had dominated the country’s commercial life now shared their position with representatives of private U.S. enterprises and, until World War II, with recently immigrated German coffee growers. This structure produced what the revolutionary leaders of 1944 viewed as economic weaknesses which they hoped to eliminate through reform” (page 42). “In the 1940s more than three-quarters of the population lived a rural life centered around small villages, or ‘municipios’” (page 45). “Administratively, the villages had two groups of government officials—one made up of Indians, and the other of ‘ladinos.’ Each village had an Indian mayor, or ‘alcalde,’ and ‘ladino’ mayor. The Indian mayor concerned himself totally with local Indian problems. The ‘ladino’ mayor, who was in the employ of the national government and an appointed representative of the local administrator, was the mayor of the entire village, having authority over his Indian counterpart” (page 46).

Leonard 1984: “The explosive nature of Guatemalan politics in 1944 was caused by several factors. Coffee and bananas accounted for approximately 90 percent of the nation’s income…(T)he nature of the economy forged two distinct socioeconomic groups: the small, wealthy upper class; and the poverty ridden, illiterate, and inert masses, comprised chiefly of Indians…(P)olitics tended to perpetuate the privileged position of the ruling class and to keep the largest sector of the population politically helpless” (pages 75-76).

Radical women in Latin America: left and right 2001: “1944: The Guatemalan Women’s Alliance is formed” (page 37).

Schirmer 1998: “In a series of crises, beginning in 1944, the Guatemalan military learned to replace the personalistic caudillo model with the military as an institution, and to reformulate its identification as an institution within the State, until it gained the power to recast the State in the military’s own image, implanting counterinsurgency into the very constitutional, administrative, and juridical foundations of the State” (page 9). “In pre-1944 Guatemala, as in the rest of Central America, the military was a ragtag army used as an instrument by its dictator to ‘divide and conquer’” (page 10).

Smith 1990: “The plantation heyday closed in 1944 with an urban revolt that had little connection to economic conditions in the western coffee region...In the western highlands ladinos were in political control of most Indian villages as the traditional systems of Indian governance were placed under their jurisdiction” (page 88).

Valdés 2000: “Se funda la Alianza Feminista Guatemalteca” (Anexo: La lucha por la ciudadanía femenina: Guatemala).

Woodward 1985: The Guatemalan Labor Code of 1894 “created a new class of landholders who lived off the exploited labor of serfs. It remained in force until the overthrow of Jorge Ubico in 1944” (page 175).

Yashar 1997: “(T)he overthrow of Guatemala’s military-authoritarian rule resulted from the confluence of a rise in urban popular organizing in the context of a group of disaffected elites and dissident military officers” (page 87).

Williams 1994: “Even by Guatemalan standards, the process of elite turnover was hastened by the expropriation of Axis-owned assets during World War II…Unlike the expropriation of German assets in World War I, the majority of the properties expropriated in 1944 were not returned to the original owners after World War II but were held by the Guatemalan government” (page 171).


Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “(L)a primera agrupación política en organizarse fue el Partido Social Democrático (PSD), en mayo de 1944, incluso antes de la caída de Ubico. El PSD aglutinó en su seno a profesionales (sobre todo abogados), y militares, entre los que había algunos ex funcionarios de los tres gobiernos anteriores” (page 94).


Schlewitz 1999: “The fall of General Martinez’s dictatorship in neighboring El Salvador in May 1944 galvanized Ubico’s opposition. Urban professional groups—university students and faculty, lawyers, and teachers—began testing Ubico in a variety of ways…(M)edical students…demanded the right to choose their own student and academic leadership and petitioned Ubico to remove their current dean. Ubico granted the petition, but the students’ victory seemed only to encourage them to take bolder steps” (page 116).

June 22

Schlewitz 1999: “On June 22nd, Ubico suspended the Constitution, and deployed more police and army forces through the capital” (page 117).

June 24

Tooley 1994: “Early in his administration Ubico had said that if 300 respected Guatemalans asked him to resign, he would resign. On June 24, 311 prominent Guatemalans signed the Memorial de los 311 and delivered it to Ubico. People gathered at a meeting in Guatemala City that night to demand Ubico’s resignation. In spite of the peaceful nature of the demonstrations and actions, the police retaliated with harassment, questioning, and by beating hundreds of people” (page 30).

June 25

Schlewitz 1999: “Chinchilla’s death…became a rallying point for the opposition, which was able to organize a general strike” (page 117).

Tooley 1994: On June 25th “women dressed in mourning gathered at the Church of San Francisco...to pray for an end to the bloodshed. As the women processed from the church, the army fired on the group and killed a teacher, María Chinchilla Recinos. In response Guatemala City closed down” (page 31).

June 29

Schlesinger 1982: “On June 29, the scattered rallies culminated in the largest protest in the country’s modern history. People from nearly every segment of urban Guatemalan life, led by middle-class idealists, converged on the capital’s central square to demand that the dictator go. Ubico ordered his cavalry to charge the crowd. Some 200 people were killed or injured” (page 27).

July 1

Calvert 1985: Ponce plans election to ratify his assumption of power (page 73).

Dosal 1993: “General Jorge Ubico resigned on July 1, 1944. For the last two weeks of June, students, teachers, workers, women, and middle-class professionals had demonstrated their opposition to his dictatorial policies. The old dictator fought at first and then decided that he had had enough. He left power in the hands of a military triumvirate, from which General Federico Ponce Vaídes emerged as the leading candidate for dictator” (page 225). “(T)he Frente Popular Libertador (FPL) [was] one of the reformist political parties that emerged following Ubico’s resignation” (page 227).

Holden 2004: “Within three days of Ubico’s resignation, Gen. Federico Ponce Vaides seized the presidency, but his obvious determination to restore the dictatorship led to further public unrest” (page 135).

Leonard 1984: “Lacking leadership, the opposition also had no choice but to accept a military triumvirate selected by the general staff” (page 79).

McCleary 1999: Junta consists of Buenaventura Pineda, Eduardo Villagrán, and Federico Ponce Vaides (page 237).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “El mismo día de la renuncia del dictador, es decir, el 1 de julio, surgió Renovación Nacional (RN)” (page 96). “También el 1 de julio…el Partido Demócrata (PD), representante de la vieja guardia liberal, notificó el inicio de sus actividades…Casi de inmediato el partido se dividió en dos alas: una que respaldaba la candidatura del coronel Ovidio Pivaral y otra que estaba por la del licenciado Adrián Recinos” (page 97).

Schlesinger 1982: Ponce Vaidés “assumed that people had simply tired of Ubico and were looking for a new strongman, a role for which he felt well suited” (page 28).

Yashar 1997: “Ubico’s resignation removed the dictator physically from the National Palace but did not excise his power base. Ubico appointed a triumvirate of military officials to replace him without replacing the state institutions that had sustained authoritarian rule” (page 94).

July 3-7

Forster 2001: “The popular protest forced Ubico to step down…but failed to win a change of government. On July 3 the once-tame Assembly accepted Ubico’s resignation with vociferous participation from the gallery…The explosion of joy that swept the capital and much of the countryside proved too much for Ubico’s successors. Moving first on the Assembly, the military ordered some 300 soldiers armed with machine guns to circle the building and force the public to leave…A triumvirate of generals hand-picked by Ubico was then appointed…In the months that followed Ubico’s overthrow, U.S. envoys made no effort to hide their role as trusted allies of the dictator’s caretaker regime…General Ponce headed the military triumvirate that governed from July to October 1944, while Ubico allegedly ran affairs from his home in the capital” (page 86).

Gleijeses 1991: “On July 4, the most ambitious member of the ‘junta,’ General Ponce, easily convinced a timorous Congress to elect him provisional president” (page 27).

Krehm 1957: Ponce’s troops round up the congressional delegates and force them to vote for him (page 91).

Leonard 1984: On July 4, “the national assembly convened to select a provisional president…(I)n closed session and protected by the military, the body selected junta strongman Federico Ponce as provisional president…U.S. recognition of Ponce came on July 7” (page 79).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “El día 3 de julio se fundó el Partido Nacional de los Trabajadores (PNT)” (page 98). “También el 3 de julio surgió el Partido Acción Nacional (PAN)” (page 99). “En esos mismos días, el 4 de julio, la juventud universitaria, sobre todo de derecho y medicina, se agrupó en el Frente Popular Libertador (FPL)” (page 100). “Al poco tiempo de su formación el FPL adoptó la candidatura de Arévalo” (page 101). “Entre tanto, elementos del ubiquista PLP empezaron a reorganizarse. Como primer paso, el 7 de julio anunciaron públicamente que eliminarían el término ‘progresista’ y retornarían a su nombre original Partido Liberal (PL)” (page 101).

Schlewitz 1999: “General Ponce called for elections, allowed political parties and…permitted political exiles to return” (page 119).

Taplin 1972: Ponce Vaides is elected president July 4, 1944 by congress (page 90).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: Ponce Vaides “convoca a elecciones presidenciales para los días 17, 18, y 19 de Diciembre de 1944. Con ese acto el país entró abruptamente en el torbellino electoral” (page 5).

Yashar 1997: Ponce “publicly declared that he would hand over power to the winner of elections to be held from November 17 through 19. With this perceived opening, urban activists quickly organized political parties...Following this brief political opening, Ponce oversaw an increase in repression in the fall of 1944...Guatemalans realized that political change would not occur without further organization against the regime" (page 95).


Forster 2001: “Within weeks, new political parties formed to field candidates for the presidential elections, even though free elections remained a matter more of popular hope than of official intention” (page 87). “With the dictatorship unraveling, the Liberal Party could not rely on old loyalties. Instead it took an astonishing measure: it promised land to the Indigenous communities of the central highlands to rally them to vote for Ponce. By mid-July, pro-Ponce affiliates had spriung up from Indigenous Suchitepéquez and Huehuetenango to the Atlantic port of Livingston…In the departments of Sololá and Chimaltenango the party activated the local networks of ‘jefes políticos’ that still ruled uncontested in the townships and organized thousands of Kaqchikels to march on the capital beginning in August” (page 89).

Gleijeses 1991: “The country’s two strongest opposition parties were the Frente Popular Libertador, whose leaders were university students, and Renovación Nacional, led by schoolteachers. Their candidate, university professor Juan José Arévalo, emerged as the leading contender for the presidency. It became evident, however, that should elections indeed take place, they would be free only for those who were willing to choose General Ponce as Guatemala’s next president” (page 27).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “(H)acia finales de julio, [RN] propuso la candidatura del doctor en pedagogía Juan José Arévalo, quien se hallaba exiliado en Argentina” (page 97). “Las adhesiones a la postulación de Recinos dieron como resultado, a finales [de julio], la creación del Frente Nacional Democrático (FND)” (page 98). “El 10 de julio apareció la Unión Cívica Guatemalteca” (page 102). “Unos días después, el 14 de julio, se fundó el Partido Unión Obrera” (page 103). “Otro partido que aglutinó a profesionales e intelectuales, se formó, el 19 de julio, con el nombre de Vanguardia Nacional. En sus filas predominaban políticos que eran identificados con la izquierda” (page 104). “En la misma fecha que el anterior, se fundó el Partido Constitucionalista Democrático…En las siguientes semanas se formaron otros partidos alrededor de reconocidas personalidades políticas. Tal fue el caso del Partido Centroamericano” (page 105). “Cabe mencionar que durante el mes de julio surgieron en el interior del país varias organizaciones políticas, entre ellas estaba el Frente Constitucionalista de Occidente, formado en Quezaltenango, el 6 de julio, con la finalidad de unificar el criterio de las diferentes clases sociales para dar cumplimiento a la Constitución Política…En Jalapa, el 17 de julio se formó el Frente Unido Obrero, entre cuyos planteamientos estaba mejorar la organización y solidaridad obrera” (pages 106-107). “Además de los anteriores, se organizaron: el Partido Republicano en Quezaltenango, el Frente Unido Totonicapense, el Frente Democrático en Retalhuleu, el Frente Popular Coatepecano, el Partido Unionista de Huehuetenango y el Partido Demócrata Independiente de Mazatenango. Asimismo, el PSD, RN, el FPL y el PL, entre otros, fundaron filiales en distintos puntos del país” (page 107).


Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “(E)n agosto, admiradores y amigos del periodista Clemente Marroquín Rojas, de pensamiento conservador y católico, destacado opositor de Ubico, se integraron en el Partido Concordia Nacional Centroamericanista para reforzar la candidatura del periodista” (page 106). “(A) finales de agosto se constituyó una nueva coalición denominada Frente Unido de Partidos Políticos Independientes (FUPPI)” (page 108).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “(A) la altura de fines de agosto…ocho eran las organizaciones y movimientos políticos que se habían formado, unos más coherentes y combativos que otros” (page 6). Lists the parties (Frente Popular Libertador, Renovación Nacional, Union Cívica, Partido Social Democrático, Frente Nacional Democrático, Acción Nacional, Vanguardia Nacional, Partido Demócrata Central, and Concordia Nacional Centroamericanista) and their leaders (page 7).


Forster 2001: “Broad-based civilian support for armed rebellion began in September, the same month that the capital was virtually occupied by Indigenous affiliates of the Liberal Party” (page 90).

Leonard 1984: “The lawyers, other professionals, and businessmen who had asked for Ubico’s resignation…formed the Social Democratic party…Ubico’s resignation also unleashed political groups of various persuasions that had been suppressed since 1931. By September 1944, seven other political parties had been formed” (page 80). “The importance of the underpriviledged did not go unnoticed by five of the new parties: Social Democrats, National Action, National Democratic Front, National Workers, and National Vanguard” (page 81). Juan José “Arevalo’s return to Guatemala on September 2, 1944, and the fear of student groups influenced by Mexican-based communism became major irritants to the government” (page 81).

Schlewitz 1999: “Ubico’s Progressive Liberal Party, discredited, did not field a candidate. Meanwhile, a host of political parties filled the void. The same groups that had led the movement against Ubico established the front-running parties, and banded behind the candidacy of a schoolteacher, Juan José Arévalo, who had been living in Argentina in self-imposed exile. When cheering throngs greeted Arévalo’s return to Guatemala on September 3rd, it was evident that he was the most popular candidate…These parties were: ‘Frente Popular Libertador,’ established by university students; ‘Renovación Nacional,’ established by teachers and lawyers; ‘Unión Cívica,’ created by older ‘intellectuales’ and anti-Ubico politicians. There was also the ‘Partido Social Democrático,’ led primarily by lawyers” (page 119). “One of Ponce’s more machiavellian moves was to play the race card. His party operatives promised Indian communities to parcel and distribute former government farmlands (recently expropriated from deported Germans) among Indians. They advised the Indians that only the Progressive Liberals supported this land reform” (page 120). “With this promise, Ponce was able to mobilize Indians on his behalf. Though most could not vote given the literacy requirement, they did demonstrate in Guatemala City on…Independence Day (September 15th)” (page 121).

October 13: congressional election

Berger 1986: “Congressional elections were blatantly manipulated to insure the election of government candidates” (page 134).

Forster 2001: “(T)he pro-democracy forces denounced the elections as a fraud when Ponce started maneuvering to ensure his victory” (page 91).

Grieb 1979: Gives total votes cast and votes for the government-supported slate (page 277).

Leonard 1984: “Liberal party candidates easily captured the five congressional seats available in the October 13-15 elections, which further strengthened the administration’s hand if it chose to legalize its extension in office” (page 82).

Schlewitz 1999: “Fraud-ridden assembly elections in mid-October allowed Ponce to fill Assembly vacancies with his own men, improving his chances to change the Constitution. However, most of the constitutional delegates still refused to comply” (pages 119-120).

Yashar 1997: “”With the rise in popular organizing and the increasing electoral support for presidential candidate Juan José Arévalo Bermejo and the reform parties, Ponce made it clear that he would not pass on the executive mantle. Following the example of Ubico, he rigged the congressional elections in October 1944, in which the official slate won, literally, 48,530 votes out of a total of 44,571 ballots” (page 96).

October 19-20

Adams 1972: “Following the revolution of 1944, the intendente system was abolished and under a new constitution a new municipal policy was established” (page 6).

Alexander 1957: “(N)o successful effort to rebuild the Communist Party of Guatemala was made until after the fall of the Ubico dictatorship in the middle of 1944” (page 353).

Barrios 2001: “(E)l 20 de octubre de 1944 asumió el poder la Junta Revolucionaria de Gobierno, integrada por los militares Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán y Francisco Javier Arana, y el civil Jorge Toriello Garrido. El triunvirato convocó a elecciones para Asamblea Nacional Constituyente” (page 191).

Berger 1986: “The Ponce Vaides government fell because it continued to be identified with the Ubico regime and also because it failed to reform political institutions. Several of Ubico’s key officials retained positions of importance in the Ponce Vaides administration and Ubico himself manipulated the new regime from behind the scenes” (page 133). “After the Ponce Vaides government was ousted from power, an interim junta was installed composed of two military officers—Colonel Francisco Arana and Captain Jacobo Arbenz—as well as a prominent businessman, Jorge Toriello. The main objective which united the junta members was their unbending resolve to destroy the Ubico oligarchy and install a democracy” (page 135).

Dosal 1993: “On October 20, 1944, young military officers deposed General Ponce in a lightning-quick coup. Generals Ubico and Ponce fled the country, and the seventy-three-year rule of the Liberal party came to an end. For decades, if not centuries, the Guatemala elite sat on a revolutionary powder keg. From a society in which a majority of people were ill fed, underemployed, illiterate, and politically repressed, a revolutionary movement could have sprung at virtually any moment” (page 225). “The repressed people of Guatemalan society, however, did not lead the revolution of 1944. The revolution sprang from the urban middle and lower classes” (page 226).

Dosal 1995: “At the cost of 500 dead and 1,000 wounded, an unprecedented alliance of young military officers, students, workers, and the upper classes terminated seventy-three years of Liberal party rule” (page 85).

Holden 2004: “A group of young army officers organized a revolt, forced Ponce from office, and paved the way for the constitutional government and the free elections…that the population of the capital had been demanding since June” (pages 135-136).

LaFeber 1993: “The 1944 upheaval marked the first time the Guatemalan military, as a professional force, acted as an ‘institution’ in a political crisis. Guatemala had undergone a fundamental change” (page 114).

Leonard 1984: “On October 19, 1944, as the government initiated steps to control the situation, insurrectionists led by Major Francisco Javier Arana [author has as ‘Araña,’ I’ve changed to ‘Arana’ wherever he is cited], Captain Jacobo Arbenz, and businessman Jorge Toriello seized [two of] the capital’s forts…By 5:00 P.M. October 20, the revolt was over, Ponce had resigned, and order had been restored” (pages 82-83). “The junta immediately dissolved the legislature and set dates for three elections: congressional, November 3-5; presidential, December 17-19; and, constituent assembly, December 28-30” (page 84).

Montenegro Ríos 2002: El período revolucionario “se inicia a partir del movimiento triunfante del 20 de octubre de 1944, producto de una alianza multi-clasista que logra el desplazamiento político de la oligarquía-terrateniente, e instaura un nuevo esquema de dominación política e intenta construir una hegemonía diferente” (page 11).

North 1999: “In 1944 a coalition of the country’s progressive and nationalist middle class groups and junior military officers overturned the last in the long line of dictators who had ruled Guatemala since its independence” (page 9).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “En Guatemala los partidos políticos como tales empezaron a existir de hecho y de derecho hasta después del movimiento popular antidictatorial de mediados de 1944” (page 81). “La Junta derogó la Constitución Política vigente y llamó a elecciones generales. En este sentido, promovió un cronograma ágil, de acuerdo con el cual los días 2, 4 y 5 de noviembre de ese mismo año de 1944 se llevarían a cabo comicios para diputados a la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa; en tanto que del 17 al 19 de diciembre se celebrarían las elecciones presidenciales; y, finalmente, del 28 al 30 se votaría para seleccionar diputados a la Asamblea Constituyente. Para entonces el FUPP, la fuerza política más importante en aquel momento, se depuró y los partidos que continuaron en él…apoyaron unitariamente la candidatura presidencial de Arévalo” (page 110).

Silvert 1954: “(A) cardinal principle of the leaders of the 1944 movement was local autonomy, and the consequent abolition of the highly centralized control exercised by the previous regime through departmental ‘political chiefs’...and country intendents...[Previously] the important county [officials] were also appointed by the government of Guatemala, and were almost invariably Ladinos in any county, whether of heavy Indian population or not” (page 65).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “No sin antes producirse más de mil muertos y cerca de trescientos heridos en menos de doce horas de intenso fuego de artilleria y de tiroteos en distintas partes de la ciudad, materializó el colapso del régimen Liberal Progresista y su elenco de Generales” (page 12). Includes the text of the “Acta de Capitulación” (pages 12-14).

Yashar 1997: “The resort to arms and successful overthrow of Ponce marked the end of the Liberal authoritarian regime and is referred to colloquially as the October Revolution...The successful uprising created the space for the political and social reform period. The revolutionary junta prepared the way for elections, respect for civil rights, and a constituent assembly to institutionalize democratic rules” (page 97). “The revolutionary junta composed of Jacobo Arbenz, Francisco Arana, and Jorge Toriello oversaw the transition from authoritarian to democratic rule between October 20, 1944, and March 15, 1945...The junta dissolved the legislature and held presidential elections...Most dramatically, it called for a Constituent Assembly with popularly selected representatives to reconstruct a democratic framework” (page 121).

October 22

Forster 2001: “(N)ot all the poor were glad to see [Ponce] go. At that moment, campesino affiliates of the Liberal Party in the Mayan highlands, having expected land in exchange for their votes, saw their dreams go up in smoke. Indigenous ubiquistas in the town of Patzicía, in the Kaqchikel-speaking department of Chimaltenango, took revenge and killed twelve Ladinos. The Ladinos responded by indiscriminately killing the Indigenous…For Indigenous campesinos, freedom lay in access to land, so the Liberal Party’s bait was irresistible. The Ladino reformers of Guatemala City, by contrast, had hardly intersected at all with the Indigenous majority…Patzicía became the Ladino revolution’s metaphor for savagery, or a past held in chains. For most Ladinos, it was proof that Mayan villagers were deaf and blind to the liberty blossoming before their eyes” (pages 91-92). “(T)he memory of that massacre in the historical record has obscured the presence of rural populations that were adamantly pro-Arévalo in 1944” (page 94).

Gleijeses 1991: “(O)n October 22, 1944…violence erupted at Patzicía, a small, predominantly Indian community about fifty miles west of the capital…The ‘junta’ reacted swiftly…(A)t least nine hundred Indians were killed…In urban Guatemala no voices questioned the ferocity of the repression. This silence was considered auspicious by the landed elite” (page 31).

October 25

Berger 1986: “(I)mmediately upon taking power, the junta began to reform the political structures. First, key members of the Ubico and Ponce Vaides government were expelled. Second, all department governors were replaced and the government bureaucracy was purged of all those with connections to past dictatorships. The armed forces were similarly dealt with” (page 135). “In addition, the National Police was abolished and the United States was asked to assist in creating a new non-political body…(P)olitical parties were reorganized…and popular vote decided national, as well as, local government composition” (page 136).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “El 25 de octubre la Junta Revolucionaria emitió su primer decreto en terrenos de lo que se consideraba fundamental. Disolución de la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa, cesando en sus funciones los Diputados que la integraban y convocatoria a elecciones generales de la totalidad de Diputados a dicha Asamblea a efectuarse durante los días 3, 4 y 5 de Noviembre de 1944…La Junta…no modificaba ni confirmaba las fechas fijadas por el gobierno del General Ponce para las elecciones Presidenciales: 17, 18 y 19 de Diciembre de ese mismo año” (page 18).

November 3-5: congressional elections

Berger 1986: “Not one of the men elected [in November 1944] had ever served in a prior Congress” (page 140).

Campang Chang 1992: “En las elecciones para la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa realizadas el 3, 4, y 5 de noviembre de 1944, fueron las primeras elecciones realizadas sin coacción. De las 76 curules, ninguna fue ganada por los partidos reaccionarios. Las planillas del Frente Unido se conformaron en reuniones de líderes capitalinos y líderes departamentales” (page 23).

Leonard 1984: “Several factors contributed to the anticipated ‘Arevalista’ congressional election victory in November. Liberals were in exile or hiding. Conservatives, hopeful of not being victimized by the political change, supported Arévalo…(A)ll ballots were cast openly in front of government-appointed electoral boards” (page 84).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “El FUPP…tuvo un éxito total en sus dos experiencias electorales. Así, las 76 curules fueron ganadas por representantes de sus partidos” (page 110).

Schneider 1959: “In the 1944 congressional elections labor ran its own candidates and succeeded in getting a number of them elected” (page 132).

Yashar 1997: “In the first Congress of the Republic, 46 out of 50, or 92 percent, of the deputies were university students who were under 35 years of age” (page 97).

November 27

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “A la altura del 27 de Noviembre la Junta concluyó la labor y emitió el Decreto No. 17 por el que precisó los ‘Principios de la Revolución de Octubre’” (page 20). Discusses key points (pages 20-23). “El calendario…implicaba que la Asamblea Legislativa se instalaría el 30 de Noviembre; que la Junta Revolucionaria mantendría las fechas originalmente previstas para las elecciones presidenciales-17-18-19 de Diciembre-; que la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa convocaría a elecciones para integrar la Asamblea Constituyente para el 28, 29 y 30 de diciembre, reuniéndose dicha Asamblea a más tardar el 10 de enero de 1945, y que la Constitución entraría en vigor el 15 de marzo, fecha en que también tomaría posesión el Presidente electo” (pages 22-23).

December 8

Casey 1979: “On December 8 the junta declared that December 17, 18 and 19 would be the dates set aside for the presidential elections while the legislative assembly set elections for deputies for December 28, 29 and 30” (page 232).

December 17-19: presidential election (Arévalo Bermejo / UPA)

Alcántara Sáez 1999: “(S)e celebraron elecciones libres con la participación femenina por primera vez, que llevaron al poder a Juan José Arévalo, apoyado por la Unión de Partido[s] Arevalistas” (page 180).

Berger 1986: “(O)n December 17-19, the junta interim oversaw presidential elections…Arévalo obtained 85% of the popular vote in the election, which is considered to be the first free presidential election in Guatemalan history” (pages 136-137).

Calvert 1985: “In December 1944, in the first free election in the country since 1891, Arévalo received over 85 percent of the votes” (page 75).

Campang Chang 1992: “En las elecciones presidenciales realizadas el 17, 18 y 19 de diciembre, Arévalo fue el candidato ganador indiscutible, contando con la gran mayoría de los votos de los votantes masculinos alfabetos quienes eran los únicos con capacidad para votar en estas elecciones” (page 23). Gives the percent of the vote for top three candidates. “De los 22 departamentos en disputa Arévalo gana en 21.”

Casey 1979: “In his successful bid for the presidency, Arévalo had been supported by a number of political parties. Two of these [were] the Partido de la Revolución Guatemalteca and the Partido de Acción Revolucionaria…His greatest support, however, came from the conglomerate of small political parties which had first become active prior to the revolution” (page 232).

Daetz Caal 1999: “Elecciones presidenciales de 1944” (page 88-89).

Dunkerley 1991: “Arévalo’s victory, by 255,000 out of a total of 295,000 votes, in the elections of December 1944 was the product of individual popularity and the ‘bandwagon’ effect of his artfully managed campaign rather than any clear ideological preference on the part of the electorate” (page 128).

González Quesada 1978: Arévalo won with 83% of the vote (page 154). Gives number who voted and number who voted for Arévalo.

Grandin 2000: “In 1944 in the municipality of Quetzaltenango, Arévelo beat his opponent, Adrián Recinos, by a staggering vote of 2,581 to 20” (page 206).

Guatemala, elecciones ‘95 1995: “Elecciones diciembre 1944. Candidatos, votos recibidos y partidos postulantes” (page 73).

Johnson 1967: Gives the votes for the winning candidate and total votes cast (page 2).

Krehm 1957: “Las elecciones presidenciales que en diciembre de 1944 dieron a Arévalo una mayoría del 85%, fueron las más libres y las más claras que Guatemala haya presenciado hasta la fecha” (page 100).

LaCharité 1964: “Arévalo’s election in 1944 was the first free election in Guatemalan history. In the past, election returns, when published (most of them were not), had always shown an overwhelming majority for the victorious candidates” (pages 31-32).

Leonard 1984: “The two reform-minded parties, the Popular Liberation Front and National Reform party, remained committed to Arévalo. Subsequently, five opposition parties agreed to support the candidacy of Manuel María Herrera” (page 84). “As expected, Arévalo won, capturing more than 80 percent of the popular vote: Juan José Arévalo 255,260; Adrían Recinos 20,749; Manuel María Herrera 11,062; Guillermo Flores 8,230” (page 85).

Martz 1959: “Different tallies gave [Arévalo] from 85 to 92 percent of the vote” (page 29).

Mejía Palma 1996: En la elección “celebrada los días 17, 18 y 19 de Diciembre de 1944, no fue requisito indispensable que los candidatos fueran postulados por un partido político determinado. Fueron muchos los candidatos, desde luego, todo el que se consideraba con méritos suficientes para aspirar a la presidencia de la república pudo inscribirse. Fueron 17 candidatos los que se presentaron a la contienda” (page 7).

Miller 1999: “Posición de la prensa Católica en la elección presidencial de 1944” (page 235).

Soto Rosales 2002: “Arévalo fue como un huracán. En las elecciones celebradas los días 17, 18 y 19 de diciembre de 1944 consigue más del 80 por ciento de los votos” (page 30). “Elecciones presidenciales del 17, 18 y 19 de diciembre de 1944” (page 30). Gives votes for five candidates.

Villagrán Kramer 1993: Gives the number of votes for four presidential candidates, “todos votos masculinos, lo que llevó al Dr. Arévalo a preguntarse: ‘Si hubieren votado las mujeres, ¿hasta donde habría llegado el total?’” (page 24).

December 28-30: constituent assembly election

Daetz Caal 1999: “(S)e señalaron los días 28, 29, 30 [de diciembre] para elegir diputados a la Asamblea Constituyente” (page 88).

Leonard 1984: “The third election decreed by the junta, that for a constitutional assembly, was also devoid of violence, and also went to the ‘Arevalistas,’ who captured fifty of the sixty-five seats. They had swept all three political contests: legislative, constitutional assembly, and the presidency” (page 85).


Adams 1970: “Arévalo, and the new constitution he was given, began a broad series of social reforms...Of cardinal importance was the reintroduction of open elections, but with the difference that there were serious contenders” (page 185). “This was no return to the pre-revolutionary plebiscites but, instead, the positive encouragement of party oppositions. This had a special effect in the Indian areas. The naming of young men as candidates for local public offices undermined the position of the elders and the traditional structure of authority of the aged. It had a parallel, though less obvious, effect in Ladino communities. There, the parties chose for their candidates individuals who held no particular loyalty to the local upper class and, in this way, undermined the local power of that group” (page 187).

Alexander 1957: “The first central labor group established was the Confederación de Trabajadores de Guatemala, founded early in 1945” (page 357).

Alexander 1973: “After the fall of Ubico, three new political parties of some importance made their appearance: the Frente Popular Libertador, the Partido Acción Revolucionaria, and the Partido Renovación Nacional. All of these were of more or less national revolutionary orientation, although Communist elements were active in the first two, particularly in the Partido Acción Revolucionaria....Soon after the inauguration of President Juan José Arévalo, and upon his urging, these three parties, all of which supported his government, merged under the name Partido Acción Revolucionaria, which for about two years was the government party” (page 301).

Campang Chang 1992: “La cuestión del voto del analfabeto será uno de los aspectos al cual se prestará mayor atención por parte de los legisladores. Tomando en cuenta que más del 70% de la población era analfabeta, con un porcentaje más o menos similar de población indígena, y el antecedente histórico de la manipulación electoral de las masas campesinas analfabetas por parte de las dictaduras, era motivo de preocupación regular dicho voto. De tal manera, que...el gobierno de Arévalo...crea el Comité Nacional de Alfabetización. El objetivo declarado de dicho Comité era impulsar la alfabetización, con el objetivo de incorporar a las masas analfabetas como ciudadanos conscientes” (page 41).

Gleijeses 1991: “By 1945, [UFCO] was the country’s largest private landowner and biggest employer” (page 90).

Grandin 2004: “As did the Partido Unionista before them, most post-1944 revolutionary parties had auxiliary indigenous sections” (page 220).

Taracena Arriola 2002: “El [Instituto Indigenista Nacional] fue la principal institución creada por el Estado guatemalteco el año de 1945 para concentrarse en el análisis y resolución de los ‘problemas indígenas’” (volume 2, page 41).

Verner 1971: “1945 marked a turning point in the history of the [Guatemalan] Congress. Before that date and under a series of long-term dictators, the role of the Congress was limited to rubber-stamping the proposals of the president and giving constitutional legitimacy to policies initiated and accepted elsewhere” (page 297).


Miller 1999: “Acción Social Cristiana (ASC), apareció por vez primera el 11 de enero de 1945” (page 235).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “La Asamblea Constituyente quedó instalada el 10 de enero de 1945 y fue disuelta el 15 de marzo del mismo año” (page 111).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: La “instalación de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente [fue] el 10 de enero de 1945” (page 25).


Leonard 1984: An attempted coup attempt in February 1945 “was headed by defeated presidential candidate Adrían Recinos” (page 99).

March 13: constitution

Adams 1972: “Elected mayors and town councils were re-established [in the new constitution], but with the difference that the elections were intended to be competitive. Towards this end, political parties were promoted…(S)uffrage was extended to all literates and to all illiterate males ” (page 6).

Black 1983: “A new constitution, which went into effect on March 13, 1945, reflected the progressivism of the era. The new constitution extended the suffrage to illiterate males and literate females; previously only literate males had voted. (At the time an estimated 76 percent of Guatemalan women were illiterate.) The president was to be elected for a single six-year term” (page 23).

Barrios 2001: “Las ideas de los revolucionarios respecto al gobierno local de los municipios, fueron: 1) Eliminar la división indígena-ladino, creando al ciudadano guatemalteco sin discriminaciones: se suprimió la alcaldía indígena, o sea el alcalde segundo, pues no era razonable que en un país los ladinos se gobernaran de un modo y los indígenas de otro. El ideal de los revolucionarios era que todos, como guatemaltecos, se gobernaran bajo un mismo gobierno municipal; ya no habría dos alcaldes sino sólo uno, fuese indígena o ladino, electo popularmente, a través de comités cívicos y partidos políticos. 2) Afirmar la autonomía municipal, como reacción a la imposición de los intendentes municipales por los gobiernos anteriores” (page 191).

Berger 1986: “T)he Arévalo government gave renewed political power to the Legislature. A new Constitution passed only two days before the inauguration…strengthened the authority of Congress and set up regulations to protect the Legislature from the direct manipulation of the President of the Republic. The Constitution asserted that legislative representatives be elected for four year terms and that no congressman could be elected for more than two consecutive terms, after which twelve years had to pass before the individual could run again for the Legislature” (page 137).

Daetz Caal 1999: “(L)a nueva Constitución…entró en vigor el 15 de marzo. Esta Ley Fundamental calificó como ciudadanos a los guatemaltecos varones mayores de 18 años, para quienes el sufragio era obligatorio y secreto; también a las mujeres mayores de esa edad que supieran leer y escribir, para quienes el voto era optativo y secreto; y optativo y público para los ciudadanos analfabetos. Estos últimos eran elegibles únicamente para cargos municipales” (page 89).

Dunkerley 1991: “The charter of 1945 abolished the vagrancy law of 1934 and thereby terminated an epoch in which rural labour had been organized by predominantly extra-market forces. At the same time, suffrage was extended to many of those who had been obliged to work under such systems, but the democratic impulses of the assembly fell short of giving the vote to illiterate women, an appreciable sector of the population...Building on the Constitution, the new government provided for the holding of municipal elections in 1946--a measure of considerable importance for a rural population deprived of autonomous organization for over a decade and generally more concerned with local government than that at a national level” (page 120).

Gleijeses 1991: “The 1945 constitution replaced Ubico’s ‘intendentes’ with elected mayors” (page 43).

Grandin 2004: “The 1945 constitution…abrogated Ubico’s…1934 vagrancy law…The new constitution likewise placed restrictions on debt labor” (page 38).

Guatemala: causas y orígenes del enfrentamiento armado interno 2000: “Fue con la Constitución de 1945…que se abolieron las normas que establecían el trabajo obligatorio de los indígenas en las fincas, y normas afines. Esta Constitución, por primera vez en la vida republicana, reconoció derechos específicos a los grupos o comunidades indígenas” (page 21).

Jickling 2002: “The 1945 constitution provided for the election of mayors and city councils, for increased municipal autonomy from central controls, and for broad local participation” (page 140).

Kitchen 1955: The constitution of “March, 1945, established clearly the principle of municipal autonomy” (page 53).

LaCharité 1964: “According to the 1945 Constitution, all male literates over 18 were required to vote by secret ballot, but all illiterates over 18 who wished to vote could do so only by public ballot” (page 31). “Military service was compulsory for all Guatemalans, according to Article 150 of the 1945 Constitution. Because the Guatemalan Army could not accommodate all who were required to serve, exemptions released many from active service. In fact, nearly everyone except the illiterate Indians and other Guatemalans in the lower socioeconomic groups were exempt” (pages 83-84).

Nickson 1995: “Following the democratic revolution of 1944, municipalities were granted a degree of political autonomy by the 1945 Constitution” (pages 183-184).

Olascoaga 2003: “Es la Constitución de 1945 la que establece, por vez primera, el derecho femenino al voto. Ésta en su artículo 9, se refiere a las condiciones para el acceso a la ciudadanía, y para el caso que nos ocupa reza que son ciudadanos ‘Las mujeres guatemaltecas mayores de dieciocho años que sepan leer y escribir’” (page 116).

Saénz Juárez 2002: “Es la Constitución de 1945 la que recoge, por vez primera, lo relativo al régimen electoral” (page 10).

Schirmer 1998: “(T)he 1945 Constitution converted the army into an indispensable political and administrative institution, establishing a Superior Council of National Defense (Consejo Superior de Defensa Nacional). Inauspiciously, this formally separated the army from the executive and gave it autonomy in both its command and its mission” (page 10). Describes the Council, its members and its role (page 11). “Under the 1945 constitution, a military officer could be elected president but only if he had left active duty at least six months before election day” (page 12).

Schlesinger 1982: “Congressmen were limited to two four-year terms; the President could not be re-elected after a single six-year term (except after a twelve-year lapse); and military men were forbidden to run for office” (page 33).

Thesing 1976: Gives details on the electoral reforms contained in the constitution of March 11, 1945 (pages 16-17). “Las elecciones duran 3 días” (page 17).

Tooley 1994: The “1945 constitution…outlawed racial discrimination” (page 33).

Valdés 2000: “1945: Se otorga el derecho a voto a las mujeres, exceptuando a las analfabetas” (Anexo: La lucha por la ciudadanía femenina: Guatemala).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “El 15 de marzo de 1945 cobraba vigencia la Constitución aprobada y tomaba posesión el Presidente electo, Dr. Juan José Arévalo. El Mayor Francisco Javier Arana sería designado por el Congreso como el primer Jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas, el Capitán Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, Ministro de la Defensa Nacional y el ciudadano Jorge Toriello Garrido, Ministro de Hacienda y Crédito Público” (page 44).

Yashar 1997: “The Constituent Assembly set the legal parameters by March 1945 for the political and social reform period in Guatemala. Representatives...created a presidential system that ostensibly had a strong congress with 50 to 54 elected deputies representing around 3 million people. The 1945 constitution also extended suffrage rights to all men and literate women on the basis of their status as citizens. In practice, the constitutional provisions meant that indigenous men and wealthy, ladina women acquired the right to vote” (page 121). Describes the debates regarding the new suffrage laws (pages 121-123) “The terms for practicing male suffrage...were distinguished along ethnic and class lines. The constitution stipulated that voting was obligatory and secret for all literate men. For illiterate men, it was optional and public for all except municipal elections, in which case voting was obligatory. The majority of the male Indian population and impoverished ladinos was largely illiterate...Suffrage for literate women was optional and secret” (page 122). “The extension of the suffrage, however partial, increased political participation at the national level and was comparatively impressive in its scope” (page 123).

March 14

Holden 2004: “On 14 March 1945, the ‘comandancias de armas’ (one for each of the country’s twenty-two departments, each headed by a colonel or general), the ‘mayorías de plaza’ (the latter’s subaltern, one for each department), and ‘comandancias locales’ (228 subdepartmental commands that could be headed by anyone from sergeant to colonel) were abolished and replaced with seven ‘zonas militares,’ each with its assigned units…The general staff was reorganized to match the U.S. system…Reorganization along U.S. lines led to an expansion in U.S.-supervised training programs” (page 137).

March 15

Berger 1986: “Arévalo took office on March 15, 1945” (page 137).

Cullather 1999: “Arévalo’s regime allowed substantially greater freedoms, but remained essentially conservative. Political parties proliferated, but most were controlled by the ruling coalition party, the Partido Acción Revolucionaria (PAR)…The Army remained in control of much of the administration, the schools, and the national radio” (page 11).

Gleijeses 1991: “Arévalo’s six-year term was marked by the unprecedented existence of a multiparty system…Yet democratization had severe limits: illiterate women could not vote, and the vote of illiterate men had to be public” (page 38). “Those parties, which enjoyed a massive majority in Congress throughout Arévalo’s term, were the Frente Popular Libertador (FPL), Renovación Nacional (RN), and the Partido Acción Revolucionaria (PAR)” (page 39).

Holden 2004: “Arévalo’s easy victory in the December 1944 presidential election was the first to be won by someone who did not command some kind of fighting force, which made it that much easier for Arana to successfully threaten Arévalo with blocking his inauguration unless Arévalo promised to appoint him to the newly created post of armed forces chief” (page 138).

Miller 1999: “En marcado contraste con la posición de los dirigentes católicos, las Iglesias Protestantes colaboraron con los gobiernos de la Revolución, sobre todo con el de Arévalo” (page 246).

Schlewitz 1999: “Once in office, [Arévalo] appointed Jacobo Arbenz as Defense Minister, and Congress selected Francisco Arana as Armed Forces Chief” (page 151).


Holden 2004: In May 1945 Guatemalan army officers sign an agreement for a four-year U.S. military mission to Guatemala (pages 136-137). “Now, command and control of military power was to be formally separated from political authority” (page 137). “The central figure at the U.S.-Guatemalan staff conference was Major Arana, who owed his position as chief of the armed forces to his success both in organizing the coup of October 1944 and in subsequently blocking the unconditional transfer of power from military men to civilian authorities” (page 138).


Berger 1986: “(T)he Partido Acción Revolucionario…was formed in November 1945, through the merger of the two parties that had brought Juan José Arévalo to power: Renovación Nacional…and Frente Popular Libertador” (page 160).

December 16

Gleijeses 1991: Arévalo is injured in a car accident on December 16, 1945 (page 53). “It seemed at first that the president would be incapacitated for a long time. Fearing that Arana might exploit the situation to seize power, a group of leaders of the PAR approached him. A secret deal was struck: the ‘Pacto del Barranco’ (Pact of the ravine). In exchange for Arana’s promise to refrain from a military coup, these leaders pledged in writing that their party would support his candidacy in the November 1950 presidential elections. Arévalo, who in fact recovered swiftly, reluctantly endorsed the arrangement” (pages 53-54).

December 15-16: municipal elections

Daetz Caal 1999: “Los días 15 y 16 de diciembre de 1945 se efectuaron las elecciones de alcaldes, en las que participaron pocos votantes. Fue electo alcalde de la ciudad capital, por mayoría relativa, el Licenciado Mario Méndez Montenegro, quien obtuvo sólo 1,803 votos. En estas elecciones se señalaron las corruptelas de otros tiempos, pero principalmente la apatía ciudadana. Similar situación se produjo en el resto del país. Principiaron entonces los comité cívicos, que en adelante representaron una importante fuerza en las elecciones locales, excepto en los períodos en que se produjo el rompimiento del orden constitucional” (page 89).

Jickling 2002: “Residual enthusiasm for the 1944 revolution led to the election in 1945 of Mario Méndez Montenegro as mayor of Guatemala City” (page 142).


Brockett 2005: “Catholic Action…was initiated in 1946 by the [Catholic] church hierarchy as a conservative reaction to the changes catalyzed by the reforms following the October Revolution of 1944” (page 133). “(T)he Partido Democracia Cristiana Guatemalteca (DC)…had close ties to Catholic Action” (page 134).

Electoral observation in Guatemala, 1999 2001: “The Constitution of 1945 and the Electoral Law of 1946 introduced female suffrage, although it distinguished between compulsory and secret voting for literate males over 18, optional and secret voting for literate females, and optional and public voting for illiterate males...The proportional representation system was introduced in Guatemala in 1946” (page 11). “The Electoral Law of 1946 introduced party lists, although it also permitted independent candidates. Voters could add other candidates to the list” (page 12).


Daetz Caal 1999: “A fines de enero de 1946 se fundó el Partido Nacional…Más adelante se convirtió en uno de los principales opositores del régimen” (page 89).

Leonard 1984: “In an effort to secure its position politically, the most important segment of influential landowners and business elements formed the National party in January 1946…Although the members numbered only about a thousand, the party influenced a large number of voters” (page 95).


Barrios 2001: La “Ley Municipal del 13 de abril de 1946 estableció que la corporación municipal se conformaba por uno o varios alcaldes y los concejales, quienes se dividían en síndicos y regidores. El número de alcaldes y concejales lo determinaba cada corporación” (page 193). “El Código Municipal de 1946 estableció que la única forma de llegar a la alcaldía era por medio de elecciones populares y directas. Esto socavó el poder de los principales en las poblaciones indígenas, pues ellos ya no designarían a los integrantes de la municipalidad como lo hicieron durante la Colonia (nombrando a los alcaldes de primer voto y de segundo voto) y durante la República (con el alcalde segundo o alcalde indígena de las municipalidades mixtas). Los líderes indígenas tradicionales no estuvieron de acuerdo con este sistema no indígena, y tuvieron que hacer adaptaciones para no perder el poder que tenían sobre la municipalidad” (page 194).

Kitchen 1955: “The law of municipalities, 1946” (pages 55-58).

Silvert 1954: “This removal of county officials from the appointive power of the capital has allowed for the election of persons intimately acquainted with the problems of the area concerned...The extension of the suffrage to male illiterates has combined with the new local autonomy to bring Indians to positions of political importance in some of their own communities. Of forty-five heavily Indian counties examined by the Instituto Indigenista since 1948, some twenty-seven had Indian mayors at the time of the surveys” (page 66).

Yashar 1997: “With the legislation of a 1946 municipal law, local communities also gained an important degree of autonomy. The law provided for local elections and indirectly sanctioned local autonomy within indigenous communities” (page 123).


Leonard 1984: “The [National] party was threatened with extinction in July 1946, when a new Electoral Code was passed. It stipulated that no party could call itself ‘national’ until it received 90 percent of the registered voters and that a party consisting of less than 3,000 members had to go out of existence” (page 95).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “Punto importante del descontento de las fuerzas opositoras fue la Ley electoral, aprobada en 1946. En particular el Artículo 23 causó gran polémica, ya que autorizaba la cancelación de partidos por decisión del presidente o a petición de la Junta Nacional Electoral o del Ministerio Público” (page 131).


Leonard 1984: “Political tension was so severe in September 1946 that the Social Democrats and the National, Revolutionary, and Worker’s Republican Democratic parties formed a coalition to confront Arévalo. It made four demands: remove the restrictions on newsprint distribution, revise the July 1946 Electoral Code, stop identifying the church as a political body, and halt police harassment of opposition leaders. This effort failed to budge Arévalo” (page 95).


Berger 1986: “According to law, one-half of the Congress was elected every two years, although each half would stand in office for four year terms. To begin this process, however, one-half of the first post-1944 Congress was changed in 1946 after only two years in office. Those who had to give up their seats or stand for reelection at that time were chosen in a draw” (page 140).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “De acuerdo con lo previsto en la Constitución Política de 1945, la Asamblea Legislativa debía renovarse por mitad cada dos años; de allí que el primer relevo tenía que realizarse en marzo de 1947…(B)uscando ecuanimidad, se acordó efectuar un sorteo para decidir sobre los diputados salientes, éste se llevó a cabo en octubre de 1946. A partir de eso y de algunos ajustes de proporcionalidad departamental, la cantidad de representantes a elegir quedó como se anota en el cuadro 5” (page 195). “Cuadro 5. Número de curules a renovar por departamento para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1947-1949” (page 195).


Alexander 1957: “In 1947 a secret organization known as the Vanguardia Democrática was established as the nucleus for the future Communist Party”(page 356).

Campang Chang 1992: Several PAR congressional delegates move to FPL and RN, lists the new party affiliations in congress (page 49).

Kitchen 1955: “In 1947, [the conservative opposition] formed the [Partido de Unificación Anti-comunista], which pledged its support to unified slates of candidates in most electoral contests. This coalition did not cover the entire Republic, as opposition groups in the highlands area centering around Quezaltenango formed their own [Partido Independiente Anti-comunista Occidental]” (page 171).

January 8

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “A la convocatoria para inscribir candidatos, que tuvo como fecha límite el 8 de enero, sólo acudieron dos partidos políticos: el PAR, en ese momento el único arevalista, y el PTRD, considerado independiente o de oposición, así como algunos postulantes sin partido” (page 196).

January: congressional election

Daetz Caal 1999: “Del 24 al 26 de enero de 1947 se realizaron las elecciones de diputados para sustituir a la mitad del Congreso de la República. Los partidos independientes emitieron un manifiesto, en el que se explicaba por qué no participaban en dicho evento. En un clima de gran confrontación y de dudas acerca de los instrumentos legales de la elección, principal fundamento de los partidos independientes para no postular candidatos, las elecciones se realizaron en las fechas previstas, y los resultados en todo el país otorgaron 29 diputaciones al PAR y cinco al Partido de Trabajadores Republicano Democrático (PTRD)” (page 90).

Leonard 1984: “The government’s failure to discuss the opposition’s demands contributed to abstention from the January 1947 congressional elections by the Social Democrats and the Revolution, Liberal, and Constitutional (formerly National) parties. Only the Worker’s Republican Democratic party remained in the contest, though it failed to challenge PAR. Public discussion of issues and interest in the election was limited. The opposition’s petition for government nullification of the election proved to be futile” (page 96).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “Las elecciones para diputados a la Asamblea Legislativa, las primeras celebradas bajo la gestión arevalista, se llevaron a cabo del 23 al 25 de enero y estuvieron marcadas por algunas anomalías e incluso actos de violencia que arrojaron varios heridos y muertos, y que provocaron quejas e impugnaciones ante la Junta Nacional Electoral (JNE), así como cierta agitación política general” (page 197). “Resultados parciales y extraoficiales por departamento y partido para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1947-1949” (page 198).

Schneider 1959: “In the January 1947 elections both the CTG and the FSG cooperated with the PAR, eight of whose 34 candidates were drawn from the ranks of labor” (page 133).


Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “(E)l 1 de marzo de 1947, tomaron posesión de sus curules 29 diputados electos del PAR y cinco del PTRD” (page 199).


Berger 1986: “In May 1947…a number of leading figures [within PAR withdrew to] reconstitute the Frente Popular Libertador which had been one of the parties which had helped to elect Arévalo but had later dissolved itself when it assisted in forming PAR. The FPL became after its reformation, a liberal, anti-communist party” (page 165).

LaCharite 1973: “A dispute between the moderate and extremist wings of the PAR led to a split in 1947. The defection of the moderates gave the extremists even greater control of the PAR” (pages 93-94).

Leonard 1984: “On May 31, 1947, a large group bolted the [PAR] and formed the Popular Liberation Front (FPL)…It gave FPL thirty-five congressional seats, compared to nineteen for PAR” (page 97).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “El 1o. de mayo de 1947 el Presidente Arévalo entrega el Código de Trabajo—que ese día entra en vigor—, a los trabajadores congregados en la Plaza de Armas” (page 56).


Hacia dónde vamos? Guía electoral 2003 2003: “En septiembre de 1947 se constituyó Vanguardia Democrática Guatemalteca” (page 15).

LaCharite 1973: “The VDG represented a clandestine organization of the Communist Party in Guatemala. Its existence was kept secret because, at the time of its founding, president Arevalo, as mentioned earlier, was still unwilling to tolerate an overt and legally established Communist Party within the nation” (page 94).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “(S)obre la base de lo que había sido Vanguardia Nacional, el 28 de septiembre de 1947, elementos de otra ala del PAR…organizaron de manera semiclandestina la agrupación Vanguardia Democrática Guatemalteca” (page 124).


Alexander 1957: “Communist influence in the Partido Acción Revolucionario...was one of the reasons for the split in that party which occurred in 1948, resulting in the formation of the Partido Frente Popular Libertador” (page 358).

Berger 1986: “In 1948, Arana became increasingly critical of the Arévalo government, criticizing it for allowing leftists too much power. Arbenz, in contrast, continued to support government policy decisions” (page 156). “By late 1948…hard-line opponents to the Arévalo regime had adopted Arana as their symbolic leader. They announced that Arana would be their presidential candidate in the 1950 presidential election and, at the same time, publicly urged Arana to mount a revolt against the Arévalo regime” (page 157). “The Catholic Church was key in organizing opposition to the Arévalo government” (page 186). In 1948 “the Archbishop of Guatemala…issued a pastoral letter urging all Catholics to work to elect anti-Arévalo candidates to Congress. His main appeal was to urban literate women, who were devout Catholics but had only recently been given the right to vote. Many had not yet registered to vote, so during the weeks following the Archbishop’s letter, the civil registrar’s office in Guatemala City was swamped with upper class women who wanted to register to vote. In addition, anti-state parties grew during 1948, fueled with support from large landowners, wealthy industrialists, and upper class Catholics” (page 187).

Frankel 1969: “The archbishop…sought to instruct his flock in the duties of the franchise. In 1948 he declared that abstention from voting was sinful because this could result in the election of officials who were enemies of God and country” (page 198). “(T)he archbishop informed the faithful that they might not vote for Communists or Communist sympathizers, and that they might not vote for anyone in favor of a secular state with separated Church. Catholics were permitted to choose from among the pro-clerical right” (page 199).

Schlewitz 1999: “(B)y 1948, with the onset of the Cold War, US officials became increasingly concerned with communism in Guatemala” (page 197). “The US ended arms sales to Guatemala and began holding up World Bank loans. US companies also penalized Guatemala. The United Fruit cut banana production by over 80 percent between 1948 and 1952” (page 204).


Leonard 1984: Arévalo charges “in March 1948 that congress no longer represented the people and therefore should be dismissed” (page 97).

June: municipal election

Kitchen 1955: “In the ‘municipio’ of Guatemala, only the contest for ‘alcalde’ brings many citizens to the voting tables. Some 38,000 persons, or about 40 per cent of those eligible, cast ballots in the contest for ‘alcalde’ in 1948” (pages 185).

Leonard 1984: There are “sweeping FPL municipal election victories in June” (page 97).

Paz 1993: “Hacia 1948, la mayoría de los municipios contaban con filiales de partidos. En las elecciones municipales de ese año, campesinos mayas pobres pudieron disputar posiciones de poder local a la elite ladina que hasta entonces controlaba los puestos de gobierno. Por primera vez fueron electos 22 alcaldes mayas en 45 principales poblaciones indígenas del Altiplano. Por primera vez también fueron electos dos mayas como diputados a la Asamblea Legislativa” (page 21).


Berger 1986: “By July 1948, anti-state forces had joined to form the Union Nacional Electoral” (page 187). “UNE members…were…large landlords and industrialists. The party immediately announced a membership of 28,000” (page 188).

Leonard 1984: “The popular concern with communist influence in government was responsible for the founding of the Guatemalan Democratic League against Communism in July 1948” (page 90).


Leonard 1984: “In August, PAR reached an agreement with the National Renovation Party (RN), the third leftist party in Guatemala. The agreement was a determined effort to destroy FPL’s congressional majority” (page 98).


Leonard 1984: “In late September the National Electoral Union (UNE) was formed by several opposition groups. The most important was the Worker’s Republican-Democratic party (PTRD). Because of its five congressional delegates, it was the only party that possessed any political experience” (page 98).


LaCharité 1964: PUA “was handicapped from the start by its stand against reform; its negative platform provided no rallying point for non-Communists who sought reform but who did not want their efforts to be dominated by Communists” (page 33).

LaCharite 1973: The PUA “was organized in the closing days of Arevalo’s term. Its leaders, large landowners whose positions had been shaken by the revolution and the impending land reform legislation, opposed all types of social reform and attacked Communists, liberal reformers, many members of the government, and union organizers all with the same indiscriminate vigor” (page 73).

Montenegro Ríos 2002: El “partido Unificación Anticomunista (PUA) fundado el 12 de octubre de 1948, pero con actividad política visible desde 1945,...fue uno de los partidos que apoyó la candidatura de Francisco Javier Arana en contra de Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán para obtener la Presidencia de la República” (page 113).


Leonard 1984: “The belief that Arana lacked political ambitions was shattered in November 1948, when a congressional resolution charged that the military was interfering with the congressional campaign in the Department of Quiche. The resolution, signed by forty delegates of PAR, RN, and FPL, was intended to discredit Arana, who was suspected of having 1950 presidential ambitions” (Page 101).

November 26-28: congressional election

Campang Chang 1992: “Entretanto surge el Comité de Acción Política (CAP) como una entidad de las organizaciones obreras, que se alía al RN y al PAR, para conformar el llamado “Bloque de la Victoria,” que conjuntamente propone candidatos a diputados. En las elecciones de diputados, realizadas a fines de noviembre de 1948, dicha coalición gana 17 curules, 8 de las cuales eran de candidatos obreros. Por su lado, la oposición logró avanzar, ganando 12 bancas. En cuanto al FPL, solamente logró ganar 6" (page 55).

Gleijeses 1991: “Arana began to doubt the revolutionary parties’ commitment to his presidential aspirations. In the November 1948 congressional elections, he ran his own slate of supporters” (page 56).

Leonard 1984: In “the November 1948 elections for half of the congressional seats…for the first time since coming to power in 1945, the Arévalo administration was confronted with organized opposition. FPL was the most prominent opposition party” (page 97-98).

Olascoaga 2003: “Las elecciones para el Congreso de la República de noviembre de 1948 constituyen la primera ocasión en que las mujeres guatemaltecas ejercen su recién adquirida condición de ciudadanas. Según datos de la época, éstas fueron el 10% del padrón electoral. Para esta elección se presentaron dos candidatas mujeres, que no resultaron electas” (page 116).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “Luego de varios debates se aprobó el decreto que estableció los días 26, 27 y 28 de noviembre para los comicios. El número de curules a renovar por departamento se estableció como se indica en el siguiente cuadro” (page 200). “Cuadro 7. Número de curules a renovar por departamento para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1949-1951” (page 200). “La ciudadanía respondió a la convocatoria acudiendo masivamente a inscribirse en el Registro Cívico. De acuerdo con algunas fuentes periodísticas, a la afiliación acudieron entre 57 y 61 mil personas, de las cuales unas seis mil eran mujeres” (page 201). “La numerosa asistencia de ciudadanos a las urnas, en particular la de mujeres y la de indios, dos grupos que habían permanecido al margen de este tipo de actos, así como la de elementos de la iglesia católica, llamó la atención de propios y extraños” (page 202). “(Y)a desde los primeros escrutinios, realizados paralelamente a las elecciones, se estableció que la oposición llevaba la delantera en la capital del país y los arevalistas en casi todos los departamentos” (page 205). “Cuadro 8. Resultados parciales y extraoficiales por partido en el departamento de Guatemala para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1949-1951” (page 205). “Cuadro 9. Resultados parciales y extraoficiales por departamento y partido para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1949-1951” (page 206). “En resumen, los arevalistas obtuvieron 23 curules y 19 departamentos (el FPL ganó ocho diputaciones y siete departamentos; el PAR, doce curules y nueve entidades y RN tres y tres). La oposición logró diez diputaciones en cinco departamentos (seis curules en tres departamentos fueron del PTRD y el resto de la UP)” (page 206).

Schlewitz 1999: Arana’s “political weakness became apparent in the 1948 congressional elections...(N)ot one of Arana’s slate of candidates managed to win a seat in Congress” (page 153).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “La facción aranista en el FPL incluso se dio a la tarea de organizar filiales en el interior de la República…A la hora de contar y sumar los votos el 28 de noviembre de 1948, la realidad mostró que el escenario electoral le había sido adverso” (page 65).


Alexander 1957: “The Labor Code was modified in 1949 over the protest of landowners’ groups, to make it possible legally to establish trade unions among rural workers. The penetration of the countryside by the C.T.G. [Confederación de Trabajadores de Guatemala] was undoubtedly intended by the Communists to set the stage for Communist leadership in the forthcoming agrarian reform” (page 357).

Grandin 2000: The “Partido de Integración Nacional (PIN) [was] a local party formed in 1949 by Quetzalteco business elites to back Arbenz” (page 206).

Grandin 2004: “In 1949, young, middle-class teachers and students led by José Manuel Fortuny, most of whom had previously been active in the PAR, met clandestinely (Arévalo had cracked down on an earlier attempt to organize a Communist party) to form what became known as the Partido Guatemalteco de Trabajo” (page 52). “Many of the older Communists released from Ubico’s prisons played only a peripheral role in the new party, gravitating instead to the short-lived Partido Revolucionario Obrero de Guatemala” (page 223).

LaCharite 1973: A “fundamental schism in the interpretation of communism led to the establishment of two separate Communist parties in 1949: the Communist Party of Guatemala (PCG), led by [José Manuel] Fortuny, and the Revolutionary Workers Party of Guatemala (PROG), led by [Victor Manuel] Gutierrez. The two parties remained separate and worked independently of each other until they were, for all practical purposes, reunited in 1951” (page 95).

Martz 1959: “President Arévalo...was constitutionally unable to succeed himself in 1951, and there was prolonged jockeying for position by the two possible candidates, Arbenz [defense minister] and Arana [chief of the armed forces]...Repeatedly urged by advisers to seize control by a military blow,...Arana determined to wait for the election” (page 38).

Schlesinger 1982: “Though the political campaign for the 1950 presidential contest was not yet officially underway, the division between the conservative Arana faction and the left-leaning backers of Arbenz emerged in earnest in 1949. Their behind-the-scenes battles contributed to the turmoil that characterized the end of the Arévalo administration” (page 43).

Villagrán Kramer 1993: “Para mediados de 1949 ya no se dudaba que importantes sectores de oposición a la Revolución de Octubre encontraban en el Coronel Arana su adalid” (page 66).

Weaver 1994: “Arévalo’s caution in confronting the power of the landlord class in the countryside reflected the fragility of his administration, which withstood more than twenty coup attempts. The largest and bloodiest one occurred at the very end of his presidential term. Much of the opposition, combining the reactionary forces of landowners, the Church, and sections of the military with urban factions that had initially supported Arévalo, had coalesced behind the leadership of Arévalo’s military chief of staff" (pages 136-137).


LaCharité 1964: “In January 1949 it was rumored that Congress would take action against Arana on the question of his continuance in office, for his alleged complicity in a recent uprising, and for his inability to maintain public order. Arana squelched this by threatening to use the Armed Forces to dissolve Congress” (page 94).

Leonard 1984: “Not until January 31, 1949, were the November 26-28, 1948, election results confirmed by the National Election Board. The PAR-RN ‘Victory Block’ captured fourteen seats, the FPL nine, and UNE eleven. These results gave FPL twenty-seven seats in the next congress, UNE twelve, and the ‘Victory Block’ twenty. This caused FPL to lose its congressional majority and UNE to increase its strategic importance, particularly if the PAR-FPL split continued” (page 98).


Leonard 1984: “In March 1949 the Anti-Communist Unification Party was formed. It hoped to mobilize large public demonstrations against the government and thus force Arévalo to take a strong stand on communism. After its initial protest demonstration failed on April 28, 1949, the party faded from the political scene” (page 91).


Gleijeses 1991: “(I)n April 1949, the FPL held its first national convention and the ‘Aranistas’ were soundly defeated. They bolted from the party and created the FPL Ortodoxo” (page 58).

Schneider 1959: “At a National Convention in April 1949 the FPL decided that it was too early to consider the question of presidential succession and strictly forbade campaigning for any candidate within the party. From this point on, the position of the FPL steadily deteriorated, and it was soon eclipsed by the more radical PAR which embraced the candidacy of Col. Arbenz. In less than two years the FPL lost its position as the majority party in Congress and the Cabinet, and was reduced to a negligible force” (page 232).


Berger 1986: “Upon hearing of Arana’s assassination, officers at the Guardia de Honor fort in Guatemala City immediately rebelled and demanded the resignation of President Arévalo” (page 194). “The regime responded by calling a state of emergency and arming labor union volunteers” (page 195). “The Arévalo regime…took steps…to insure military loyalty. The armed forces were purged of anti-government elements and young loyal officers were quickly promoted up to the ranks of the forces. The twenty-one leaders of the July coup attempt were also deported” (page 196).

Grandin 2004: “Colonel Arana was the man around whom opposition to the October Revolution coalesced…(H)e was accidentally killed by government forces while being arrested for his involvement in a plot to topple Arévalo in 1949…(T)he counterrevolution had its first martyr—to this day the right in Guatemala considers his killing as marking the beginning of the civil war” (page 83).

Holden 2004: “(A)fter Arana was killed during an attempt to arrest him for the plot, his followers launched the twentieth military rebellion since 1945. They were defeated by forces loyal to Arbenz, then in the midst of organizing his presidential election campaign” (page 139).

LaCharité 1964: “Arana’s power and influence in Guatemala in the period just before his assassination can hardly be overstated. He had the strong backing of conservatives both inside and outside the military and had the admiration and support of many revolutionary groups and parties” (page 93).

Leonard 1984: “The political situation had intensified by early July 1949, when reports pointed to a power struggle between the Arana and Arbenz cliques within the military” (page 101). “According to…rumors, Arana planned a coup for the afternoon of July 18…He was killed that same afternoon…On July 20 the government ordered the arrest of pro-Arana officers and opposition leaders [including Castillo Armas, who] was not only connected with [the coup attempt] but also with émigré groups in Nicaragua that promised to oust Arévalo eventually, by force if necessary” (pages 101-102).

Schlewitz 1999: Describes Arana’s presidential aspirations, his assassination, and the aftermath (pages 152-173).


Alexander 1957: “The Communists’ influence in the labor movement was one of the keys to their expanding power in Guatemalan political life. In August, 1949, the trade unions showed the importance of their loyalty to the government of President Juan José Arévalo, when they helped to thwart an attempted military ‘coup d’état’ by calling a general strike of protest against an Army uprising” (page 358).


Hacia dónde vamos? Guía electoral 2003 2003: El Partido Guatemalteco del Trabajo “nació a la vida pública el 28 de septiembre de 1949, bajo la denominación de Partido Comunista de Guatemala. Su vida forma parte de la historia de la llamada revolución de Octubre” (page 13).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “(E)l 28 de septiembre de 1949, sobre la base del trabajo realizado por Vanguardia Democrática en sus cerca de dos años de vida, se llevó a cabo semiclandestinamente el I Congreso del nuevo Partido Comunista de Guatemala (PCG)” (page 127).


Leonard 1984: “In November the path was cleared for Arbenz to become the official candidate” (page 103).


Ebel 1998: “Opposition leaders…were harrassed at every turn. Their rallies were populated by counter-demonstrators and, at times, broken up by thugs; attempts were made by the police to confiscate the official lists of party supporters necessary to achieving recognition as a legal political party by the ‘Junta Nacional Electoral’ (JNE)” (page 23).

Grandin 2000: “Elected municipal officials…often felt threatened…by the demands placed on them by campesino and municipal unions. As a result, local chapters of national revolutionary parties were divided in their enthusiasm for reform, with moderates and conservatives eventually taking control. The two main parties, the PAR and the PRG, even included members from the Partido Independiente de Anticomunismo del Occidente (PIACO) on their slates of candidates for municipal office…By 1950, a majority of the voting population within the city of Quetzaltenango had grown disaffected with the revolution” (page 206).

Leonard 1984: “During his five years in office, [Arévalo] had survived twenty-two military revolts. Many of the attempted coups linked the landowners with the military” (page 98). “Important to the failure of the alleged plots was the continued loyalty to Arévalo of War Minister Jacobo Arbenz and Chief of the Armed Forces Francisco Arana” (page 100). “Arbenz announced his presidential candidacy in early 1950. He enjoyed the support of the extremist political and labor leaders, but never received a public endorsement from Arévalo” (page 103).

Miller 1999: “Los líderes Católicos y la campaña electoral de 1950” (pages 243-244).


Gleijeses 1991: “On February 5, 1950, the PIN proudly nominated Jacobo Arbenz. This was followed, in short order, by the endorsements of the PAR, RN, and organized labor. Only the most conservative revolutionary party, the decaying FPL, held back…On February 20, Arbenz resigned as defense minister and announced his decision to run for the presidency” (page 74).


Ebel 1998: “(W)hen Ydígoras returned to Guatemala from England in March of 1950, Arbenz was neither invincible, nor were Ydígoras’ chances hopeless if an open and honest election were allowed by the government. For one thing, the ‘revolucionarios’ were seriously split. The ‘Frente Popular Libertador’ (FPL), the student-teacher wing of the populist alliance, was very much opposed to a military candidate and was determined to run a civilian for the presidency” (page 18). “One of [Ydígoras’s] first moves was to contact the U.S. Embassy through an intermediary to request assistance for his campaign, arguing that both he and the United States were pursuing the same objective, namely, the combating of communism. He was informed that the embassy was under strict orders to maintain strict neutrality in the elections. A week later, paid advertisements…announced the formation of a new political party to back his bid for the presidency. ‘Reconciliación Democrática Nacional’ (RDN or ‘Redención’ for short) was to be a party of tolerance and social conciliation in a political environment of hostility and class conflict” (page 20).


Alexander 1957: “(O)n May 25, 1950...José Manuel Fortuny led a group out of the P.A.R. to form what they first called ‘Octubre Comunistas.’ A year later they adopted the name Partido Comunista” (page 356).

Berger 1986: “The Confederación Nacional Campesina de Guatemala was formed in May 1950 at a meeting of representatives of twenty-five peasant unions” (page 215).

Brockett 2005: “Formed in 1950, the Confederación Nacional Campesina de Guatemala (CNCG) quickly grew to a membership in the hundreds of thousands organized locally in unions and peasant leagues. Through these local organizations, peasants participated in numerous agrarian reform committees that had the purpose of initiating and monitoring land expropriations” (page 132).

Ebel 1998: “By early May the FPL had clearly split from the PAR coalition, and the ‘Partido de Unificación Anticomunista’ (PUA) and the ‘Partido de Unificación Democrática’ (PUD) had come out in support of General Ydígoras. Furthermore, the ‘Unión Nacional Electoral’ (UNE), a civic committee that had been successful in getting a number of opposition candidates elected to the Guatemalan Congress in 1948, was attempting once again to create a united opposition including the ‘arevalista’ FPL. American companies operating in Guatemala were also putting pressure on the U.S. State Department to intervene in the elections” (pages 23-24).


Alexander 1957: “In June, 1950, Victor Manuel Gutiérrez, the head of the Confederación de Trabajadores de Guatemala, who had quit the P.A.R. some months previously, announced the formation of a second Communist Party, under the name of Partido Revolucionario de Obreros Guatemaltecos, having a program almost identical with that of the Octubre Comunistas” (page 356).


Ebel 1998: “What began as a movement primarily of middle class citizens and students was joined by the opposition parties, businessmen, and professionals. Shops, factories and offices closed and Guatemala City came to a complete standstill…A state of siege was declared when an outbreak of firing left a number of persons dead…On July 26 the demonstrations ended…The Moment of Silence demonstrations, which had been initially seen as a way to harass the government, and possibly provoke the Army into moving against the Arévalo regime, had the effect of giving the government the whip hand over the opposition” (page 26).


Ebel 1998: “The state of siege, which continued in force until September 6, essentially curbed all campaigning at a time when Arbenz was ahead. Both Miguel Ydígoras and the ‘Partido del Pueblo’ candidate, Jorge García Granados, were named co-conspirators along with Cobos Batres and declared subject to arrest. The RDN and PUA lost their status as legal parties and their headquarters were sacked” (page 26). “On September 7 the Congress elected Augusto Charnaud MacDonald, a leader of PAR, to the ‘Junta Nacional Electoral’ thereby giving the supporters of Arbenz a two to one majority on the government body responsible for appointing election judges at all polling places and for ruling on all election disputes” (pages 27-28).


Ebel 1998: “(J)ust before the deadline on October 25, the [JNE] reinstated the legal status of the RDN, thereby allowing the ‘ydigoristas’…to campaign openly. This had the effect of once more splitting the vote of the anti-Arbenz opposition which had shown signs of consolidating behind García Granados” (page 28).


Ebel 1998: “One week before the elections, Lt. Col. Castillo Armas, who had been trying to obtain the support of Ydígoras for a coup, finally launched his attack on the Aurora military base…Sentenced to death by a military tribunal, he was placed in a penitentiary to await execution. Eight months later he succeeded in tunnelling his way out of prison and escaped to Colombia. Thus, Castillo Armas, who was relatively unimportant in the opposition movement, emerged as a charismatic and romantic figure who captured the imagination of much of the opposition to Arbenz. It was to him, rather than to Ydígoras Fuentes, that the United States would turn when the Arbenz administration was perceived as moving unacceptably too far to the left” (page 29).

Holden 2004: “(O)nly five days before the election Arbenz was forced to snuff out yet another coup attempt, this one led by Lt. Col. Carlos Castillo Armas, director of the Escuela Politécnica” (page 139).

November 10-12: presidential election (Arbenz Guzman / PAR)

Anderson 1988: Gives number of votes for winning presidential candidate and the percent this was of the total vote (page 22).

Aybar de Soto 1978: “The electoral campaign which brought Lt. Col. Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán to the presidency was carried out in a polarized and explosive political milieu. The electoral results gave Arbenz legal control over the coercive machinery of the state. The economic power, however, remained in the hands of the governing class and the [multinational corporations.] The leadership vacuum within the ranks of the governing class produced by Arana’s death increased the level of pre-election hostility against the government. The electoral campaign exposed the societal cleavages and brought to the ballot box the overt conflict between the Arévalo administration and the opposition” (page 144).

Berger 1986: “The 1950 presidential elections” (pages 200-203).

Calvert 1985: Gives percent of vote for top two candidates. “Though the size of Arbenz’s majority was swelled by the illiterate rural vote, which in those days was still public, he also secured a two-to-one majority in the secret ballot, which was not so open to pressure from the government” (page 77).

Campang Chang 1992: “En las elecciones realizadas el 10, 11 y 12 de noviembre, Arbenz gana con alrededor de 267,000 votos, un 63%, seguido por Ydígoras Fuentes, con 74,000, con solamente el 18%, y García Granados con cerca de 29,000. El voto analfabeto fue decisivo, ya que Arbenz recibió el 86% de dichos votos, en comparación del 56% del voto secreto. En la capital, donde la oposición tenía su mayor influencia, solamente se adjudicó 25,000 de las 58,000 depositadas” (page 65).

Daetz Caal 1999: “Elecciones presidenciales de 1950” (pages 90-91). “En la elección, celebrada en noviembre de 1950, los votos emitidos sumaron 406,242. El candidato ganador, Jacobo Arbenz, obtuvo 266,778 votos (65.9%); el segundo lugar correspondió a Ydígoras Fuentes, con 76,180 votos (18.1%)” (page 91).

Ebel 1998: “The voters went to the polls on November 10 under rules established by the government dominated Junta Nacional Electoral. Under them voters could vote either within or outside their place of residence—giving the government the possibility of trucking supporters from one polling place to the other if the vote went against it during the first two days of the three-day balloting period. In addition it granted the departmental electoral boards the right to overrule membership on any municipal election committee, thereby insuring it control over the vote count at the local level” (page 29).

Garrard-Burnett 1998: “(T)he election of Jacob Arbenz to the presidency brought the transitory alliance of the Protestant missionaries and the revolutionary government to a close” (pages 88-89).

Gleijeses 1991: “Arbenz’s victory at the polls, on November 10-12, 1950, had been massive: 258,987 out of 404,739 ballots cast. Ydígoras had come second, with 72,796 votes, while García Granados trailed as a distant third, followed by Giordani, in a field of ten candidates” (page 83).

Grandin 2000: “Arbenz, the chosen candidate of the revolutionary parties, ran against Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes, a general linked to various coup attempts against Arévalo. As he did throughout the country, Arbenz handily won in the department [of Quezaltenango] by a tally of 22,321 to 5,680. Workers in the coffee-producing region overwhelmingly gave him their vote: in the piedmont municipalities of Colomba, Génova, Flores, and Palmar, Arbenz won by a combined count of 7,515 to 823. Yet in the city [of Quezaltenango] itself, Arbenz’s hometown, the results were much closer--3,391 to 2,139” (page 206). “By the time of the 1950 election, the revolution in the city and department of Quetzaltenango had crystallized along class lines. Land-hungry peasants and agricultural workers overwhelmingly supported Arbenz, while a majority of voters from the city center spurned their hometown son” (page 207).

Grandin 2004: “During the three days of polling [in Alta Verapaz], buses and trucks, which were in the hands of a few Ladino families, did not run. It took days for peasants from hamlets as far as sixty or seventy kilometers from the town center to walk to voting tables…Some remember the Q’eqchi’s were cajoled, harassed, or bribed to cast their ballots for Arbenz’s main conservative rival” (page 44).

Guatemala, elecciones ‘95 1995: “Elecciones 10 de noviembre de 1950. Candidatos, votos recibidos y partidos postulantes” (page 95).

Holden 2004: “His principal antagonist eliminated and his military enemies exposed, Arbenz won election in a landslide on 10 November 1950 at the age of thirty-seven. It was the first peaceful, on-schedule transfer of executive power in the country’s history…Arbenz’s election was not welcomed in Washington” (page 139).

ICSPS Guatemala 1966: “Vote for president: 1950" (page 31). Gives top three candidates (out of ten), total votes, secret (literate) votes, public (illiterate) votes, and percent each of these constitute of the total for each category. “Vote for Jacobo Arbenz Guzman: 1950 presidential election” (page 32). Gives area of country and for each gives total vote, total for Arbenz, and percent of total vote for that area.

IIPS 1978: Gives percentage of total vote for each of the top two presidential candidates (page 421).

Johnson 1967: Gives votes for winning candidate, percent of total votes, and number of candidates (page 3).

Krennerich 1993: “Ya en las elecciones de 1950 el espectro abarcaba desde izquierdistas revolucionarios hasta anticomunistas” (page 192).

LaCharité 1964: “Despite the fact that the PCG and the PROG signed a secret pact of cooperation for the 1950 elections—a political maneuver to combat a non-Communist party—relations between the two parties were not always cordial” (page 47).

Leonard 1984: “The election was never in much doubt. The opposition was in disarray because its two leading candidates were eliminated. Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes was exiled, and Miguel García Granados was forced into hiding a month prior to the 1950 presidential election. Under such conditions, Arbenz won easily” (page 103).

Montenegro Ríos 2002: El PUA “logró aglutinar un mayor descontento por el asesinato [de Arana], aumentando sus filiales de provincia y participando en las elecciones de 1950, apoyando al general ubiquista Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes, que fue el candidato de la oligarquía, la cual se encontraba en difícil trance de recuperar el control del aparato de Estado y reconstruir su hegemonía cuestionada. De este proceso electoral se obtienen 404,603 votos, los cuales corresponden 266,778 al coronel Jacobo Arbenz o sea el 65.9% del electorado y al general Ydígoras Fuentes, su más cercano perseguidor, 76,180 o sea el 18.1% de los votos” (page 113).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “Los comicios presidenciales de 1950” (pages 207-223).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “[Arbenz] tuvo el respaldo de los tres partidos políticos que apoyaban la revolución: el Partido Acción Revolucionaria, el Partido Renovación Nacional y el Partido Guatemalteco del Trabajo, que agrupaba a los comunistas y que había sido creado semiclandestinamente en septiembre de 1949...El principal candidato opositor fue Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes" (page 99).

Schlesinger 1982: “On November 13, 1950, [Arbenz] was chosen to become Guatemala’s second democratically elected President, winning about 65 percent of the more than 400,000 votes cast” (page 46).

Silvert 1954: “The turnout was much greater in the 1950 presidential elections than in the 1953 congressional race, being approximately 65 per cent of estimated registered voters, and with a much higher percentage of the literates participating. Of the 404,239 ballots cast, some 52 per cent were ‘public,’ or cast by illiterates, and 48 per cent secret. But the 48 per cent secret ballots represented approximately 75 per cent of registered male and female literates” (page 60). Gives the number of votes, the percent of illiterates’ votes, and the percent of literates’ votes for top three candidates.

Soto Rosales 2002: “Arbenz gana con amplia ventaja, consiguiendo más del 60 por ciento de votos…La oposición consiguió más del 30 por ciento de apoyo, duplicando así su fuerza electoral con respecto a la del quinquenio anterior. Claramente, las reformas implementads por Arévalo, unidas al asesinato del coronel Arana y los planteamientos radicalizados de algunos partidarios de Arbenz, habían propiciado en la oposición conservadora un proceso de concientización que pocos años más tarde posibilitaría la acción contrarrevolucionaria” (page 31). “Elecciones presidenciales del 10, 11 y 12 de noviembre de 1950” (page 32). Gives votes won by ten candidates.

December 6

Ebel 1998: “(O)n the sixth of December, Jacobo Arbenz was declared the winner. Arbenz won 79 percent of the illiterates’ votes which were cast publicly and in some cases probably cast twice, but only 51.5 percent of the secret ballots. In the capital city, which was much more closely monitored, he received only 43 percent of the 58,000 votes cast” (pages 29-30).

December 16: congressional election

Krennerich 1993: “La tendencia a una polarización radical entre derecha e izquierda se manifesto de nuevo en las siguientes elecciones parlamentarias” (page 192).

Rodríguez de Ita 2003: “Cuadro 11. Número de diputados a renovar por partido para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1951-1953” (page 224). “Cuadro 12. Número de diputados sin renovar por partido para la Asamblea Legislativa de 1951-1953” (page 224). “Las elecciones para diputados se llevaron a cabo los días 15, 16 y 17 de diciembre siendo, según la prensa, menos concurridas que las presidenciales que habían tenido lugar unas cuantas semanas antes” (page 225).

December: mayoral election

Ebel 1998: “The strength of the opposition in the capital city was reinforced a few weeks later when, in the municipal council elections in Guatemala City, the government coalition and the opposition managed to produce a virtual dead heat” (page 30). Gives results (note 58, page 52).