Author Bio(s)

Alan LeBaron is professor emeritus of history at the Kennesaw State University. In 1988 at the University of Florida, he wrote the dissertation “Impaired Democracy in Guatemala, 1944 – 1951.” At Kennesaw State he was the director of the Maya Heritage Community Project for nearly 20 years, a university program that worked closely with Maya migration and unauthorized immigration in the United States. The “Maya Project” engaged in matters of law, education, health, and human dignity and human rights, and worked in partnership with Maya leaders and Maya organizations throughout the United States. Past president of the Southeast World History Association, and the Georgia Association of Historians, he received the Distinguished Professional Service Award in 2005, and the Georgia Consortium for International Studies “Senior Faculty Internationalization Award for 2012”. The Maya Project is discussed “When Latinos are Not Latinos: the Case of the Guatemalan Maya in the United States, the Southeast, and Georgia” published in Latino Studies, 2012; and "La inmigración de los mayas guatemaltecos a Estados Unidos: El amanecer de los maya-americanos?” in Experiencias de migration indigena en America del Norte Hoy, edited by Elaine Levine, National Autonomous University of Mexico Press, 2015.

Publication Date



Guatemala, Revolution, Juan José Arévalo, Bernardo Arévalo, United States Archives, Maya


Juan José Arévalo and the “revolutionaries” brought tremendous change to Guatemala. But well before Arévalo left office, the Revolution was already in the crosshairs of US military might. At least three challenges threatened the government of Arévalo: the ultra conservatives or the “anti-revolutionaries”; competitive aspirations of the revolutionaries; and the overarching power of the US businesses and US government. Arévalo encountered these challenges from the first day of his presidency, and thereafter. Bernardo Arévalo, Guatemala’s recently elected president, faces similar dangers: a powerful opposition from an entrenched civilian and military oligarchy, urban and rural disconnections, foreign economic power and influences, national inequality and corruption, and indigenous and ladino/Hispanic conflicting aspirations. The 78 years spread between 1945 and 2023 means that the details are different, but similarities testify to continuing troubles in Guatemala. A major difference is the 21st century power of indigenous peoples, and Bernardo Arévalo’s pledge to honor and work for the concerns of the indigenous peoples as well as all Guatemalans. This contrasts with the revolutionaries of the 1940s who classified indigenous peoples as peasants requiring education and uplifting through assimilation into the national Hispanic “culture”. In an apparent second difference, currently the United States has been a strong supporter of the new president and the democracy movement. In 1945, the US also appeared to favor Juan José Arévalo, and then soon turned against him.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.