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Guatemalan Government Overthrown, Military Takes Over

Mar. 31, 1963 - The Government of Guatemalan President Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes (pictured far left two weeks ago in Costa Rica) was overthrown last night, and a military government has taken over. The new Government is headed by Colonel Enrique Peralta Azurdia, 55-year-old Minister of Defense in the former regime. His first orders as Chief of State were to suspend the Constitution and dissolve the Legislature. An armed forces bulletin early today said Colonel Peralta would “exercise the executive and legislative functions.” The bulletin said the army had acted because the republic was “on the brink of an internal conflict resulting from the subversion promoted by pro-Communist sectors and because of the infiltration of Communism that has become more alarming each day.” President Ydigoras was taken into custody last night, and officers at his fortified residence, Casa Crema, were arrested. The iron gates of Casa Crema had been smashed open by an army tank at about 10:15 p.m., and the residence had been surrounded by tanks. The President was allowed to leave for Nicaragua this morning in a Guatemalan Air Force plane, accompanied by his wife.

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