In the summer of 1954 the United States toppled the government of Guatemala, setting the stage for one of Latin America’s longest and most brutal civil wars.
A Coup Made in America deconstructs the anatomy of a CIA coup. With interviews from key players, like CIA operative E. Howard Hunt, and propaganda news reels, the documentary exposes how Washington fabricated a revolt to terrorize a president.
Jacobo Arbenz’s fatal mistake was expropriating land from the American United Fruit Company, and distributing it to landless peasants. For this he was branded a Soviet agent, and a dangerous enemy to U.S. security. In a war of nerves the Guatemalan government faltered, and the president fled.
Arbenz’s government was replaced by a military dictatorship and American trained death squads. In the 36-year civil war that followed an estimated 250,000 people lost their lives.
Format: 1 x 1 hour
Produced by Barna-Alper for History Television
Producers Laszlo Barna and Alan Mendelson
Directors Nadine Pequeneza and Alan Mendelsohn
Writers Nadine Pequeneza and Alan Mendelsohn
Cinematographer Gary Griffin
Editor Mike Hannan
Nominee Gemini Awards for Best Writing in a Documentary Series 1999
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival 1999