Ethnic Pride in the Guatemalan Military, 1925–1945
The relationship between the Maya and the military had been an uneasy one since the 1870s when Liberal leaders began expanding the size of the army and the role of the militias. Since militias were intended to reinforce state authority and uphold Ladino interests, initially the Maya were excluded from them. Conversely, the military's mission was to defend the nation from foreign threats, and for that the Maya were suitable. As historian Lowell Gudmundson demonstrates for nineteenth- and early twentieth-century citizens of San Gerónimo, participation in the military or militia conferred citizenship upon soldiers in ways that the “Federation-era, republican formula of literate male propertied voter” had not.
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