Arana, Francisco J. (1905–1949)

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Arana, Francisco J. (1905–1949)

Francisco J. Arana (b. 1905; d. 18 July 1949), chief of the armed forces of Guatemala (1945–1949). A leader of the October revolution of 1944, Arana became a member of a three-man revolutionary junta that supervised the transition to the democratic and reformist government of Juan José Arévalo in March 1945. As Arévalo's chief of the armed forces, he suppressed a number of attempted coups by right-wing landowners and reactionary officers. Entertaining presidential ambitions of his own, he eventually courted the right-wing opposition to the revolution by promising to curb the growing influence of communism. The other presidential aspirant, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, another hero of the 1944 revolution, pursued a left-wing agenda with the support of leftist labor unions. Political rivalry between Arana and Arbenz intensified in the summer of 1949. Arana was allegedly plotting the takeover of the government when he was shot resisting arrest by partisans of Arbenz. The suppression of the revolt that followed Arana's assassination cleared the way for Arbenz's election in 1950.

See alsoArbenz Guzmán, Jacobo; Arévalo Bermejo, Juan José.


Piero Gleijeses, Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States, 1944–1954 (1991).

Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (1982).

Additional Bibliography

Aguilar de León, Juan de Dios. El asesinato del coronel Francisco Javier Arana en el Puente de la Gloria, el 18 de julio de 1949. Guatemala, 1995.

Gleijeses, Piero. "The Death of Francisco Arana: A Turning Point in the Guatemalan Revolution," Journal of Latin American Studies 22: 3 (October 1990), pp. 537-552.

                                             Paul J. Dosal

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Arana, Francisco J. (1905–1949)

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