Tuesday, December 9, 2014


By Dr Emery Barcs 1954-5-27

INTERNATIONAL Communism is making a determined bid to extend the area of Red attack to the American continent

Reports published in the U.S. on Monday say war between Guatemala and Honduras seems imminent. Last week the pro-Communist government of Guatemala received 2000 tons of ammunition from behind the Iron Curtain.

The exact source of this arms shipment is a mystery. It came from the former German port of Stettin, which now belongs to Communist-dominated Poland.  United States Intelligence reports said it consisted of unused lend-lease war material which the U.S. had given to Russia to fight the Nazis in World War II.

With typical Communist cynicism the Russians now boomerang the left-overs back to Guatemala to stir up trouble in the Americas.

EXCEPT in Guatemala, Communism has been unable to secure a firm foot-hold in the 19 independent Latin-American Republics.

The area has a total population of about 165,000,000. Estimated Communist Party membership in the 19 countries is about 242,000 -- or 0.15 per cent.  In five of them -- Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay -- the Party is allowed to work in the open. In the other 14 it is illegal, but survives underground.

Until 1946 the most influential Communist group in Latin-America was the Communist Party of Mexico, which operated (and still operates) under the name of the Popular Party.

For many years Vicente Lombardo Toledano has been leader of Mexican Communism and, until about eight years ago, the Kremlin had great hopes that he would revolutionise his own country first, and the rest of Latin-America later. But when Miguel Aleman, a progressive reformer, was elected President in 1946, he began to squeeze the Communists out.

Today Mexico is further from Communism than it has been at any time since the Party's foundation in the early twenties.  Mexico's Communists are undoubtedly fighting to make a comeback. But the leaders of international Communism are realists. They know when they are licked, and when they must change their tactics or their battleground, or both.

The rise of Communist influence in Guatemala (the southern neighbor of Mexico) is the result of such a change in tactics and scene.

Until 1944 Guatemala was a typical Latin-American Republic suffering from the traditions of Spanish colonialism. The rich were very few and very rich. The poor -- probably 90 percent of the country's 2,787,030 inhabitants -- were many, and very poor.  They were hardly more than illiterate serfs of big estate owners, or grossly underpaid chattels of rapacious industrialists.

Between 1930 and 1944 General Jorge Ubico's dictatorship barred every attempt to carry out social and economic reforms, especially land reform. But with the slow development of an intelligentsia --   poor and ambitious -- the pressure for a change increased.

By June, 1944, the new intelligentsia, allied with the under-paid officers of Ubico's army and police force, carried out a bloodless revolt. They removed the President, and in 1945 installed a political refugee, Professor Juan Jose Arevalo, to the Presidency.

At the beginning Arevalo was only a middle-of-the-road reformer. His closest collaborators were a civilian progressive, Jorge Toriello, and two officers -- Major Francisco Arena, leader of the moderate army group and Captain Jaeobo Arbenz Guzman, head of the extreme Left.

By the time the Guatemalan revolutionaries had established themselves, the Mexican Communists had begun to feel the pinch of the Aleman regime.  Therefore they decided that it was worth trying to establish the new Latin-American Communist headquarters in Guatemala.

Under the guidance of Toledano (who frequently flew to Guatemala),  an old Guatemalan Party member, Jose Manuel Fortuny, was entrusted to carry out the task.

Fortuny founded a party called the Liberty Front, which kept its true colors secret until May, 1950, when it openly became the Communist Party of Guatemala.

The Liberty Front supported Arevalo and Arbenz Guzman against Arana and his moderates (Toriello had dropped out of politics in the meantime). Within three years, Front members occupies the most important positions in the country.

In July 18, 1949, Arena was murdered near Lake Amatitlan, leaving the road open for the extremists.

In 1950 Arbenz Guzman followed Arevalo in the Presidency. Under his regime the Communists have decisively increased their power and influence.

Officially the government is not a Communist organisation. And at the 10th Inter-American Conference in Caracas last March, the Guatemalan representative protested against the stigma of Communism.

But Guatemala was the only American country which voted against a resolution condemning international Communists as a "threat to peace" and calling for joint action against Red subversion as well as aggression.

For good reasons. Investigations have established a direct link between Communist activities in British Guiana (which led to the suspension of the colony's Constitution last October) and the Reds of Guatemala.

Similar activities have kept authorities on their toes in British Honduras (the eastern neighbor of Guatemala), and in the Republic of Honduras which has outlawed Communism, and which recently reported large scale gun-running from Guatemala.

The Communists have applied the familiar line of attack in British Guiana as well as in British and Republican Honduras.  Their agents work under the guise of "social-reformers," supporting local political parties which fight against -- often well-founded -- grievances.

They infiltrate the ranks of non-Communist, or even anti-Communist, groups which have large popular support, and try to occupy key positions in them. But, should they be successful, there is no doubt that they would do what Fortuny had done in Guatemala. They would come out into the open and take charge of the country.

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