Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes

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General José Miguel Ramón Ydígoras Fuentes (17 October 1895, Retalhuleu – 27 October 1982, Guatemala City) was President of Guatemala from 2 March 1958 to 31 March 1963. He took power following the murder of Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas.

In the 1950 election, Ydígoras had been the main opponent of Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán and finished runner-up with nearly 19% of the vote. In 1957, following the assassination of Castillo Armas, elections were held in which Ydígoras and his party, the National Democratic Reconciliation Party, finished runner-up in a blatantly rigged election. Another election in 1958 saw Ydígoras win, considered to have represented the more moderate of the anti-Communist "right" factions.

In July 1958 a senior CIA Chief described Ydígoras as, "known to be a moody, almost schizophrenic individual" who "regularly disregards the advice of his Cabinet and other close associates".[1]

In response to Ydígoras' autocratic rule and his close ties to the United States, a group of junior army officers led a rebellion in 1960.[2] Although the rebellion was successfully put down, the surviving officers went into hiding and formed the Revolutionary Movement 13th November, marking the start of a 36-year guerrilla war.

Ydígoras Fuentes was eventually overthrown in 1963 in a coup by his own defense minister Colonel Enrique Peralta Azurdia (with the backing of opposition parties) to end the possibility of a return of former left-of-center civilian president Juan José Arévalo in the upcoming elections.[3]


  1. ^ King, J. C. (25 July 1958), Subject: S. S. Springfjord, Memorandum for: Office of the General Council, Central Intelligence Agency, p. 1  The two-page memorandum is stamped: "CIA Historical Review Program, Release as Sanitized, 2003"
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State, "Background Note: Guatemala", state.gov.
  3. ^ Corstange, Daniel M. "Guatemala: The Party System from 1963 to 2000". In Janda, Kenneth. Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey. New York: The Free Press. p. not cited. ISBN 0029161207. 
  • Gleijeses, Piero (1991). Shattered hope: the Guatemalan revolution and the United States, 1944–1954. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02556-8. 
  • Grandin, Greg (2000). The blood of Guatemala: a history of race and nation. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-2495-9. 
  • Immerman, Richard H. (1982). The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-71083-2. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Guillermo Flores
President of Guatemala
Succeeded by
Enrique Peralta