Operation Kugown

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Operation Kugown relied on the media to inform the Guatemalan people on the extent to which communism had infiltrated Guatemala. This was largely derived from the documents seized by the PBHistory team. The analyzed documents were then translated into Spanish and distributed throughout Guatemala. Furthermore, the minister of propaganda in Guatemala held a press conference to discuss the findings of the Committee, which were actually the findings of the PBHistory team. Operation Kugown had three primary objectives. The first objective was to use the documents seized by the PBhistory in order to inform the Guatemalan people on the extent to which communism had infiltrated their country. The second objective was to publicize this to Latin America and the rest of the world. The last object was to solidify the position of the National Committee of Defense Against Communism (Comite de Defensa Nacional contra el Communismo) within the Guatemalan government. It was believed that with status the Committee could continue to track the movements of communists and communist activists and prevent further communist intervention within the region. Numerous press kits were realized to the local and international press. Understandably, the local press coverage was extensive. However, the International press failed to pick up many of the stories and the events in Guatemala were largely ignored. As indicated in the CIA summary of the operation, the "results of the third objective were considered eminently satisfactory. In all releases it was stressed that the committee not only was chasing communists, but was also looking for the documentation that reward valiant anti-communists. It was also emphasized that the Committee was working on the record of Red penetration for the benefit of future threats in the Americas, etc."[1]

Operation Kugown was related to Operation PBHistory, which sifted through 500,000 documents and was able to salvage over 50,000 documents for the purpose of exploiting and illustrating communist activities within Guatemala. The documents were copied and microfilmed. The PBHistory group analyzed the documents and then handed the originals over to the Comite in order to index and file them.[2] By 21 November 1954, the Castillo administration and the National Committee had compiled a list of 72,000 persons determined to be "communists."

Ronald M. Schneider, an extra-Agency researcher who later examined the PBHISTORY documents, found no traces of USSR control, support or guidance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ FOIA Advanced search::"PBHISTORY". Central Intelligence Agency. (enter PBHISTORY as 'Exact phrase')
  2. ^ FOIA Advanced search::"PBHISTORY". Classification Review of PBSUCCESS/PBHISTORY (W/Attachment). Central Intelligence Agency. p. 2. (enter PBHISTORY as 'Exact phrase')