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Gutiérrez Garbín, Víctor Manuel (1922–1966)

Gutiérrez Garbín, Víctor Manuel (1922–1966)

Víctor Manuel Gutiérrez Garbín (b. 10 January 1922; d. March 1966), Guatemalan educator and labor leader. Gutiérrez was born in the rural Guatemalan department of Santa Rosa. He was educated as a primary school teacher in Guatemala and taught at the National Boys' Institute in the western province of Chiquimula. After a short teaching stint in the capital, Gutiérrez was made the subdirector of the Industrial Institute for Boys in 1944.

During the revolutionary period (1944–1954), Gutiérrez became the most important and influential labor leader in the history of the country. His career as a labor leader began when he founded the Guatemalan Union of Educational Workers (Sindicato de Trabajadores en Educación de Guatemala, STEG) in 1944. After 1946, as president of the largest national workers' union, later the Confederation of Guatemalan Workers (Confederación de Trabajadores de Guatemala) and later the General Confederation of Guatemalan Workers (Confederación General de Trabajadores de Guatemala), he organized over 100,000 workers. He was known as a particularly honest and dedicated organizer who always maintained close ties to the rank-and-file of the labor movement. Gutiérrez was elected to Congress in 1950, and became first secretary of the Congress in 1954.

Because of his involvement with the Communist Party, Gutiérrez fled Guatemala in 1954. In March 1966, while attempting to return to Guatemala from Mexico, he disappeared, allegedly dropped from an airplane over the Pacific Ocean by Guatemalan security forces. His body was never found.

See alsoLabor Movements .


Ronald Schneider, Communism in Guatemala: 1944–1954 (1958).

Mario López Larrave, Breve historia del movimiento sindical guatemalteco, 2d ed. (1979).

Jim Handy, Gift of the Devil (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Handy, Jim. Revolution in the Countryside: Rural Conflict and Agrarian Reform in Guatemala, 1944–1954. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

Velásquez Carrera, Eduardo Antonio. La Revolución de Octubre: Diez años de lucha por la democracia en Guatemala, 1944–1954. Guatemala: Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Centro de Estudios Urbanos y Regionales, Comisión de Conmemoración del Cincuentenario de la Revolución de Octubre de 1944 y de la Autonomía Universitaria, 1994.

                                       Rachel A. May

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