Grassy field in Florida was once secret CIA base from which Guatemalan coup was launched

There's a fascinating article in the Miami Herald today about a grassy field in Opa-locka, Florida which was the site of the secret CIA base where the US-led coup of Guatemala was launched in 1953.

60 years ago on that very spot was Building 67, a two-story barracks, that in 1953 and 1954 served as CIA field headquarters for the covert operation that overthrew leftist Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. It was there that several senior CIA officers labored for months organizing the intricate logistical details of PBSUCCESS, the code name for the anti-Arbenz operation. Among the officers who worked at Building 67 was E. Howard Hunt, who later went on to help engineer the 1972 Watergate burglary as one of the White House plumbers. What happened at Building 67 was known at the time only to a very small circle of people, but the impact of the 1953-54 operation dramatically altered the history of South Florida and the United States.
Well, yes, and not to mention the history of Guatemala. The operation set off a series of catastrophic events that still affect the country today. I'm blogging this from Guatemala, where the genocide trial of former de facto dictator and ex-general Rios Montt is now in its second month. Ríos Montt was supported by and trained in the US.

The successful overthrow of Arbenz from this clandestine Florida site emboldened the CIA "to try a similar operation, though on a larger scale, at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs." Read more here. And there is video here.


  1. Opa Locka has a long, “proud” history of CIA involvement, including allegedly being the landing point for drug planes at the height of the CIA’s involvement with the Contras in the 1980’s. 

  2. ” The operation set off a series of catastrophic events that still affect the country today.” –  Guatemala becoming a Soviet “beachhead” was sold as the reason for the intervention, masking the true, and much less supportable reason, that a powerful US company, United Fruit, wasn’t getting its own way.

    The “Soviet” excuse was sold again and again from Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954 and decades beyond. Once the Soviet union crumbled, the same practices continued but new excuses were needed. There are always new excuses.

    In more recent times we have seen likely US involvement in the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002 and attempts to undermine Morales in Bolivia. Then of course there is Honduras. Military Officers involved in the 2009 coup were trained at the infamous School of the Americas. It’s perhaps no surprise then that the US knew about the coup in advance but certainly underestimated the backlash it would cause.

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