Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Alessandro Brogi

Committee Member

Kathryn Sloan

Second Committee Member

Caree Banton

Abstract

When U.S. officials in 1952 approved the first Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation to overthrow Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz, they unknowingly stepped into a regional conflict that, for nearly ten years, included dissident Guatemalan exiles, Caribbean Basin dictators, and the Guatemalan governments of Arbenz and his predecessor Juan José Arévalo. Since the mid-1940s, exiles and dictators had denounced the Guatemalan Revolution as the product of Mexican, Soviet, and international communism. The anti-communist ideology of Guatemalan exiles, Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, Honduran dictator Tiburcio Carías, and Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo facilitated various conspiracies aimed to destabilize Arévalo and Arbenz’s governments throughout the 1940s. For their own reasons, a network of exiles and dictators put into motion a counter-revolution that included subversive ventures and self-proclaimed anti-communists who became patrons for colonel Carlos Castillo Armas in the early 1950s. In 1952, it was this network’s intelligence-sharing and lobbying of U.S. officials that built the foundation of Operation PBFORTUNE. The CIA’s involvement and resources bolstered regional support for Castillo Armas’s plot, thereby radicalizing the network’s dynamics and size. However, the State Department and Agency’s unfamiliarity with the network’s history led to the conspiracy’s abrupt termination while U.S. officials paternalistically blamed the ‘latinos’ for Operation PBFORTUNE’s end.

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