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Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923$
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Frederick Douglass Opie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033716

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033716.001.0001

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Labor Radicalism on the Caribbean Coast

Labor Radicalism on the Caribbean Coast

Ladino Mobilization in Guatemala, 1920–1923

(p.66) 5 Labor Radicalism on the Caribbean Coast
Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923

Frederick Douglass Opie

University Press of Florida

Following the First World War, relations among workers on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala entered a new phase, in which Latin American and black laborers mobilized separately and pursued distinctly different strategies to secure better conditions. This was due in part to the shifting composition of the coastal workforce, which increasingly encompassed a greater number of Latin American laborers and fewer newly arriving migrants. But it was also due to the ways in which Guatemalan labor politics of the post-World War I period drew on regional and international labor movements to foster militancy, anti-imperialism, and nationalism, encouraging the mobilization of Latin American workers at the same time that it pitted them against black migrants and their North American employers. This chapter explores the mobilization of Latin American workers in the early 1920s, when a revolution overturned the status quo and opened a space for labor militancy that was realized in major strikes of railroad and dockworkers, the latter of which threatened to upset the regime for a second time.

Keywords:   labor mobilization, Latin American workers, black laborers, migrant workers, First World War, labor militancy, strikes

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