an exercise in miscellany

Operation PBSUCCESS

In geopolitics, operations and projects on September 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

The operation, known by the code name Operation PBSUCCESS, lasted from late 1953 to 1954. The CIA armed and trained an ad-hoc “Liberation Army” of about 400 fighters under the command of a then-exiled Guatemalan army officer, Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, and used them in conjunction with a complex and largely experimental diplomatic, economic, and propaganda campaign. They even established a Voice of Liberation radio station, actually located across the border in Honduras, which relayed programming originating in Miami, and pretended to be the spontaneous voice of patriots opposed to the elected government. The operation effectively ended the experimental period of representative democracy in Guatemala known as the “Ten Years of Spring“, which ended with Árbenz’s official resignation.

The operation was preceded by a plan, never fully implemented, as early as 1951, to supply anti-Árbenz forces with weapons, supplies, and funding, Operation PBFORTUNE. Afterwards there was an operation, Operation PBHISTORY, whose objective was to gather and analyze documents from the Árbenz government that would incriminate Árbenz as a Communist puppet.

1954 Guatemalan coup d’état

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