The Ensemble of Social Relations in Guatemala

  • Nicola Short


This chapter considers the ensemble of social relations in Guatemala and its evolution over time before the peace process. In general, the Guatemalan raison d’etat can be understood as one that has significant points of correspondence to world order historical blocs: after 50 years of liberal/conservative debates following independence in 1821, liberals became dominant in the 1870s, parallel to the liberal world order historical bloc. In the 1930s, the “liberal” order was replaced by a dictatorship, which was challenged by a progressive reform movement in the mid-1940s. This “springtime” of progressive politics came to an abrupt end with a U.S.-assisted military coup in 1954, a move that inaugurated a counterinsurgent-modernizing state associated with the post–World War II, cold war/“Pax Americana” historical bloc. The neoliberal world order would transform the state further in the period before the peace process.


Social Relation Land Reform Business Association Cooperative Movement Peace Process 
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  1. 9.
    See Cindy Forster, The Time of Freedom: Campesino Workers in Guatemala’s October Revolution (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001), 29–30, for a discussion of the “official myths” constructed to promote the idea that Ubico was popular among the peasantry, part of the “historical record” that has been adopted by many scholars.Google Scholar

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© Nicola Short 2007

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  • Nicola Short

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