International Railways of Central America (IRCA, FICA)

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International Railways of Central America (IRCA, FICA)

International Railways of Central America (IRCA, United States-based company that controlled key railroads in Guatemala and El Salvador. In 1912 IRCA assumed ownership of nearly all Guatemalan railways, including Guatemala's only link with the Caribbean, and purchased a major Salvadoran Railroad. The company connected the Guatemalan and Salvadoran lines in 1929 to provide El Salvador with access to the Caribbean. The United Fruit Company of Boston purchased controlling interest in IRCA in 1936. IRCA and its parent company became targets of economic nationalism and labor activists during the Guatemalan Revolution (1944–1954). Critics attacked IRCA's monopoly on freight transportation and its inequitable rate structures. United Fruit sold much of its IRCA holdings after the revolution. The government purchased IRCA in December 1968 and placed rail transportation under the auspices of a state-owned agency, Ferrocarriles de Guatemala (FEGUA).

See alsoUnited Fruit Company .


Charles D. Kepner and J. W. Soothill, The Banana Empire: A Case Study of Economic Imperialism (1935; repr. 1967).

Stacy May and Galo Plaza, The United Fruit Company in Latin America (1958; repr. 1976).

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

Stephen C. Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (1983).

Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., Central America: A Nation Divided, 2d ed. (1985), esp. pp. 179-182.

Additional Bibliography

Piedra-Santa Arandi, Rafael. La construcción de ferrocariles en Guatemala y los problemas financieros de la IRCA. Guatemala: Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales, 1967.

Ross, Delmer G. Development of Railroads in Guatemala and El Salvador, 1849–1929. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2001.

                                     Steven S. Gillick

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International Railways of Central America (IRCA, FICA)

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International Railways of Central America (IRCA, FICA)