Beals, Carleton (1893–1979)

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Beals, Carleton (1893–1979)

Carleton Beals (b. 13 November 1893; d. 26 June 1979), leftist journalist from the United States who specialized in Latin America. Born in Kansas and educated at the University of California, Berkeley, Beals covered political unrest and social change from Mexico in the latter years of Venustiano Carranza (1914–1920) to the Cuba of Fidel Castro. An outspoken opponent of U.S. threats against the Mexican government's ostensibly radical policies in the mid-1920s, he was also one of the few observers to criticize President Plutarco Elías Calles's abandonment of these plans and movement toward authoritarianism.

Beals's most dramatic feat was his interview with Nicaraguan rebel Augusto Sandino in the war-torn jungles of Nicaragua in February 1928. While not entirely uncritical, his series of articles in The Nation conveyed the strengths of the Sandino movement at a crucial point in the debate concerning the U.S. military intervention.

A member of the cosmopolitan intellectual community of Mexico City in the 1920s, Beals met and wrote about many of Latin America's political and cultural leaders of the era, including the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and the Peruvian politician-intellectual Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre. He was one of the few reporters to deplore the 1954 overthrow of Guatemala's leftist government by the United States. The final chapter in his Latin American career was his coverage of Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba in the 1950s. Later Beals wrote popular fiction and local U.S. history.

See alsoJournalism .


Two of Beals's many books are Mexican Maze (1931) and Banana Gold (1932). See also John A. Britton, Carleton Beals: A Radical Journalist in Latin America (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Pineda Franco, Adela Eugenia, and Leticia M. Brauchli, eds. Hacia el paisaje del mezcal: Viajeros norteamericanos en México, siglo XIX y XX. México, D.F.: Editorial Aldus, 2001.

                                        John A. Britton

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Beals, Carleton (1893–1979)

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