General Background Guatemala was conquered by Pedro de Alvarado, a Spanish conquistador, in 1524, then it became a republic in 1839. Guatemala was dictated by Manuel Estrada Cabrera from 1898 to 1920. Gen. Jorge Ubico Castaneda took over from 1931 to 1944.
In 1944, Ubico was overthrow by a group of “left-leaning students and professionals, liberal-democratic coalitions” called the “October Revolutionaries” led by Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán. Once they took over they strengthened the lower class with social and political reforms at the expense of landowners (like the US United Fruit Company) and the military. Col. Carlos Castillo Armas, with backing from the US, led a revolution of his own in 1954 with ending with Arbenz leaving for Mexico. Over the next 36 years, Guatemala went through the longest civil war in Latin American history. The US ended their military aid because of the abuse received by the citizens At the end of the horrible war abut 200,00 Guatemalan citizens had been killed. The War
Peace Agreement In 1986, Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo took office after a new constitution had been passed. Five years later Jorge Serrano Elías was elected. In 1993, Serrano tried to overrule the constitution but failed. After Serrano was overthrown by the military, Ramiro de Leon Carpio, the former attorney general for human rights, became the new president. After about 40 years of war and fighting, President Álvaro Arzú Irigoyen signed a peace agreement in December of 1996.
More Violence About 8 years later, a violent crime wave took place killing more than 2,000 people. These murders were thought to be done by crime gangs and bands of teenagers.
Growing Economy In June of 2000, Guatemala signed a “free trade agreement” with El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico. However, plans for increased taxes caused violent protest in August of 2001. The US also signed a “free trade agreement” (CAFTA) in 2005.
Works Cited: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107596.html