What would have ensued if the U.S. had decided to leave the Arbenz government in place?
Guatemala's moderate, capitalist land reform could have served to stabilize the country by bringing its dispossessed majority into the economy. Not only Guatemala but all of Central America might have experienced a nonviolent modernization process -- and avoided the wars of the 1980s -- if the Guatemalan example had been permitted to survive, even to spread in Central America.
-- Susanne Jonas, professor of Latin American & Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz
(On June 27, 1954, the CIA, working with a small number of Guatemalan right-wing activists, overthrew the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz. Brutal repression followed for decades. And Washington sent a loud message throughout the region: Moderate change in small nations would not be tolerated if it challenged U.S. interests.)