President John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress was intended to forestall Communist revolutions by fostering political and economic reform in Latin America. But Kennedy undermined his own goals by thwarting democratic, leftwing leaders seeking to carry out the kind of “peaceful revolution” his own analysis told him was necessary. This article reveals the Kennedy administration's role in overthrowing the Guatemalan government in 1963—until now only hinted at or even denied in the existing literature—to prevent the return to power of the country's first democratically elected president, Juan José Arévalo Bermejo. New archival evidence from Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States sheds light on the transnational networks that supported Arévalo's attempt to run for the presidency in 1963, as well as the covert efforts of U.S. and Guatemalan officials to prevent “the most popular man in Guatemala” from taking office—a neglected Cold War milestone in Latin America.

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