War between Mexico and Guatemala

During the end of 1958 till the beginning of 1959 Mexico and Guatemala had a small border conflict that could have lead to war. I even read once that the Mexican Air Force developed a plan to knock out the Guatemalan Air Force.

This got me thinking, what if either Guatemala or Mexico did declare war and hostility broke out? How would that war play out? Would other Central American nations get involved and on whose side? What would be the response and role of the US and the OAS?

What really interests me is the impact of such a conflict on Mexican politics...would this lead to stronger opposition against the PRI resulting in a PAN victory decades before PAN manage to defeat the PRI in elections? And what kind of butterflies would this release?

And, would a POD before the OTL conflict be required to make any of the nations capable of sustaining a war effort? From what I know, Mexico would have some logistical issues with sending troops into Guatemala and a sustained war would be certain doom for any central American economy, as far as I know.

I am thinking of doing a basic timeline with this, But there's still much for me to read, like tracking down a few sources, names, people, political and military dispositions...etc...Based on that I am not sure how detailed it would be (or accurate).

Edit: I wrote down the wrong years. I was off by one year. I have made that change in my post now.
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No, PRI had a decent grip on the country until 2000.

Well obviously the PAN and the PRD *existed* before 2000, even if not in power. But, in trying to respond to the OP, who referred to the PAN, I thought it was important to ask if it was anachronistic to refer to that party in the 1950s.

It turns out PAN did exist as of 1939, although "Until the 1980s, the PAN was a weak opposition party that was considered pro-Catholic and pro-business, but never garnered many votes. Its strength, however, was that it was pro-democracy and pro-rule of law, so that its political profile was in contrast to the dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that was widely and increasingly seen as corrupt."

The PRD was a splinter faction of the PRI from 1989, so it was not around in the 1950s.
Well obviously the PAN and the PRD *existed* before 2000, even if not in power. But, in trying to respond to the OP, who referred to the PAN, I thought it was important to ask if it was anachronistic to refer to that party in the 1950s.

It turns out PAN did exist as of 1939, although "Until the 1980s, the PAN was a weak opposition party that was considered pro-Catholic and pro-business, but never garnered many votes. Its strength, however, was that it was pro-democracy and pro-rule of law, so that its political profile was in contrast to the dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that was widely and increasingly seen as corrupt."

The PRD was a splinter faction of the PRI from 1989, so it was not around in the 1950s.

I think there were a few others running around. A small communist party and another party I can't remember. But the PAN was the most serious one with any hope and even then, in the 1950's it was just a token opposition party. I haven't been able to make the connection but I do think that aside from some economic considerations the massacre of Tlatelolco in 1968 may have lead to an increase in PAN voters, there was a modest surge before the 80's that went above 10% of voters. If the PAN can pan (multilingual pun intended) the PRI for being a warmonger by not pursuing diplomatic solutions, and then use the inevitable casualties as ammunition, the PAN could gather enough votes to start taking a few positions in local and state governments and maybe even the congress in the late 60's. The PRI would undoubtedly start shamelessly rigging elections (Say the 1970 elections) which would become obvious as it did in the 80's. I can imagine an earlier PAN president which would have ramifications for the Drug War...imagine a PAN president coinciding with Reagan? This is what I have in mind, but developing good timeline for it is...a bit of challenge.

The PRD broke away from the PRI in part because of the obviously rigged elections of 1988. The 1988 elections are what started the downfall, slow and painful, of the PRI. So if there is a super obvious shamelessly rigged election in 1970, we could see the birth of an earlier incarnation of the PRD which would siphon voters from the PRI. Possibly forming a coalition with the PAN as they did in the OTL to win the 1982 Elections. I figure they'd need at least one presidential cycle inbetween. I also figure that something like the Tlatelolco massacre would still happen which would make the 1970 elections one for the growing opposition PAN. Diaz Ordaz did everything he could in 1964-1970 to play the role of dictator and would with out question rig the elections in the most horrendous way imaginable.
Affects on pan-maya nationalism would probably be big as they would be most affected by potential invasion

I forgot about the Maya...which is sadly something they are used to....getting forgotten. The genocidal tactics of the Guatemalan government would begin well after the war. Maybe in this case it would begin sooner since the invasion would prompt Mayan collaboration? I'm not sure how that would play out at all.


I forgot about the Maya...which is sadly something they are used to....getting forgotten. The genocidal tactics of the Guatemalan government would begin well after the war. Maybe in this case it would begin sooner since the invasion would prompt Mayan collaboration? I'm not sure how that would play out at all.

That would be cool. Not the mass killing of innocents, but the idea of a genocide in North America intertwined with a war like that and not some internal dilemmas. Especially coming right out of the Second World War. I'd love to know what the US' and USSR's response would be in that case, especially if the genocide is even worse ITTL with the war and all (maybe the Guatemalans blame the war and their military defeats on the Mayan collaborators?).

Of course there's a lot of stuff after the war, too. Refugee problems could maybe start an earlier war between El Salvador and Honduras, and the butterflies on Nicaragua would also be interesting (no Iran-CONTRA deal?).
The Mexican-Guatemalan Conflict TL: Part 1
Okay, here's the start of my very first timeline. I'll probably add images later on.

Mexican-Guatemalan Conflict: Background

In 1956 several fishermen and fishing boats from Mexico began fishing in Guatemalan waters in the Pacific coast. President Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes of Guatemala sent official complaints n 1958 including complaints of illegal logging being done by Mexicans within his country’s territory. The Mexican government responded that unless Mexico knew the identity of the individuals involved, it could little about the situation.

At this time Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes was recently elected into power after the assassination of the former president, some rumors circulated that the CIA played a role in this. He began his presidency in March 2nd 1958.

At this point, Ydigoras found himself with a country that wasn’t 100% on his side and thanks to a bout of paranoia he found the need for something to rally the people behind his rule. This situation was just the perfect situation in which Ydigoras could show himself as a defender of the people against an outside power. He didn’t plan on starting a war, for fear that he would loose American support which wouldn’t stay if Guatemala started picking fights.

In December 1st 1958 newly, elected Adolfo Lopez Mateos was inaugurated as President of Mexico. His party, the PRI has enjoyed over three decades of one party rule in Mexico with the PAN being the only party to offer nominal, if not only theoretical, opposition.

December 28th a Guatemalan Air Force (FAG for “Fuerza Area Guatemalteca”) C-47 scouted Guatemalan coasts near the port city of Champerico and found five fishing boats with out any identification or flags. The next day, Guatemlana foreign minister Jesús Unda Murillo sent a warning to Mexico concerning the ships. On December 30th Ydigoras’ government sent a letter to Mexican newspapers that was published identifying the problems his government complained and warned that any illegal incursion into Guatemalan territory would be persecuted.

Mexican-Guatemalan Conflict: Operación Drake

In the evening of December 30th 1958, President Ydigoras authorized Colonel Luis Urrutia de Leon to send in two T-6 Texan fighters to locate the fishing boats from the FAG Airbase La Aurora. The Next morning a Cessna 140 and a C-47 were sent to the ships. The Cessna spent hours warning the ships to dock at Champerico to face prosecution. After failing to head the instructions two Mustang P-51 fighter bombers began making strafing runs against the ships. While some ships managed to escape, the rest were forcibly escorted to Champerico. Damaged ships where tugged to port. The tug boats also recovered several fishermen that went overboard. 3 Civilians were killed and 14 others injured in the process. The survivors were taken to a military hospital and also interrogated by military personal.

Mexican-Guatemalan Conflict: Escalation

On New Year’s Day 1959 the Mexican government condemned Guatemala’s actions as an overreaction, by attacking unarmed individuals, and demanded the release of the fishermen, their property, and indemnities for the assault. The Guatemalan ambassador replied by claiming that it was a police action against unidentified pirates and not related to nor directed to the Mexican state. Mexico sent 3 463 ton gunships armed with 1 Bofors 40 mm Gun and a few 20mm guns to escort fishing ships near Guatemalan waters. It also called the ARM Blas Gondínez, armed with 3 Bofors 40mm naval guns.

Students were organized to protest Guatemala’s actions in Mexico and began spreading rumors that the United Fruit Company was behind this. President Alfonso Lopez Mateos, for reasons known only to him, decided to air these rumors in an address the Mexican press as reaction to Guatemala’s reaction which were in violation of treaties signed at the time. Protests in both capitals erupted, an effigy of Ydigoras was burned in Mexico City. Mexicans were angry at government inaction and Guatemalans were aggravated at Mexico’s insolent defense of the fishermen.

January 22nd 1959 Guatemalan courts found the fishermen guilty and fined them 55 Quetzals each as well as sentenced them to 6 months imprisonment. Some say this was due to pressure from Ydigoras after having felt his leadership undermined by Lopez’s comments [1] In January 23rd, Lopez ended diplomatic relations with Guatemala and removed the Guatemalan ambassador after recalling the Mexican ambassador.

After two months of stalled negotiations, Guatemala put its military on alert and an angry Guatemalan mob destroyed the international bridge connecting the Mexican border city of Ciudad Hidalgo (just a few miles from the Pacific Coast) with the Guatemalan border city of Ayutla in March 26th 1959. A Mexican Mob retaliated by moving into Ciudad Ayutla and vandalizing it (Another mob did the same at a city further northeast deeper in Guatemala). Guatemala sent half its army to the different ports of entry along the Mexican-Guatemalan border. Ydigoras began making accusations ranging from Mexico supporting Guatemalan rebels to conspiring with Belize to invade the country (Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England, was not amused).

Mexico reacted by sending its own troops as well as activating a Marine regiment at Merida in the Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Mexico had 4 Tacoma Class Frigates from the US Navy. Two were added to the fishing boat escorts and two more began patrols just outside of Guatemalan territorial waters in the Caribbean. Mexico also had 4 2000ton frigates capable of transporting 400 soldiers/marines. 3 Guanajuato Class and 1 Durango Class (the Durango can hold only 200-300 soldiers). The ARM Durango, Guanajuato, and California were sent to the Yucatan and picked up the Marin regiment and began drills on Cozumel Island. This represented the bulk of Mexico’s naval force which made it a very aggressive gesture against a nation with no real navy beyond one or two small 50 ton gunboats and a handful of on call tugboats.

Mexican Guatemalan Conflict: Of course, you realize this means war!

Ydigoras was offered money to house a training camp for Cuban counterrevolutionaries on behalf of the CIA. However with the heightened tensions with Mexico the US had to rethink its strategies. If war were to break out, the Bay of Pigs invasion would be complicated if half the invasion force was stuck in a Central American war. To side with Mexico would mean losing Nicaragua too since El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua expressed solidarity with Guatemala. But to side with Guatemala would be an upfront to Belize and the UK (Since Ydigoras also sent a company close to the Belizean border). Belize and its mother country were not necessarily pleased with Ydigoras’ rhetoric. There also was the threat of Mexico turning towards the USSR. Lopez Mateo invited the USSR ambassador and the US Ambassador to the National Palace in the same week as well as the ambassadors of the UK and Belize. One each day to muddy America’s reaction.

In the end Ydigoras lost the CIA’s interest in establishing a training camp and decided to set up shop in Honduras instead, failing that they could always put all their eggs in one Nicaraguan basket. Belize did not declare their allegiance but did ask the UK for more troops and a Royal Naval presence, just in case. The US and the USSR simply decided to see what would happen next. Panama and Costa Rica declared their neutrality.

In March, angered by Mexico’s aggressive stance and continued naval combat simulations that were obviously preparations for an invasion, a mob of Guatemalans at dawn crossed the border at Ciudad Hidalgo to avenge the vandalism against Ayutla in January. The crossing happened late at night on March 25th 1959 and as a result Mexican soldiers on patrol opened fire. Guatemalan patrolmen moved in to investigate the commotion and fired back at the Mexicans. Squads began exchanging fire for half an hour until battalion officers called for a ceasefire on both sides.

Both nations now had a Casus Belli. Ydigoras blamed Mexico’s irrational behavior for having lost the deal with the CIA and the “incompetence” of his soldiers. Ydigora declared war. He hoped that if he moved fast enough and achieved an early victory he can force Mexico to negotiate, prove to his people and Central America about his capabilities and maybe convince the CIA to come back. It was an ambitious plan to say the least. Mexico City received word of the declaration of war on March 28th just as Lopez Mateos ordered Major General Alfonso Cruz Rivera to take out the Guatemalan Air Force in one decisive blow[2]. The marine regiment boarded ships and set sail for Puerto Barrios. The Flotilla escorting fishing ships regrouped to set sail for Guatemala’s principle port city on the Pacific coast, Puerto Quetzal.


I think I’ll stop here for now. Up next would be the opening slavos for the war. Reactions and international politics leading up to the war and during the first stages of the war. It’s important to note that the US is busy trying to overthrow Castro (What else is new?) for the first time (I think?). This is why Mexico would want to play the superpowers against each other, a game of Latin Chicken. Should buy them some time before the US goes all Pax Americana on them.

[1] This is my POD. In the OTL Lopez Mateos didn’t parrot accusations of the United Fruit Company being involved and the fishermen were only fined 55 Quetzals. The student protests also happened either around the time of the sentencing or after, I couldn’t really locate the exact timeline. And Mexico didn’t do anything like preparing a marine regiment.

[2] This order was actually given in the OTL and called of at the exact last minute. Mexico would probably have been considered the aggressor. But in TTL, Ydigoras in a fit of anger declared war first, so now he’s considered the aggressor which would put his Central American allies in a tough spot.
What would be the war goals of each country? Does Mexico think it can take the whole country? Wouls Guatemala try for an independent Los Altos?
What would be the war goals of each country? Does Mexico think it can take the whole country? Wouls Guatemala try for an independent Los Altos?

This conflict is being pushed by nationalism and pride. Neither side wants to set up a new government or anything like that. They just want to come out on top. Mexico wants Guatemala to pay indemnities and apologize, Guatemala wants Mexico off its case. Neither wants to appear weak. Both need to score a major victory or two and then call for a cease fire to negotiate from a position of strength to save face in front of its people and the world. The idiocy of this war is part of the reason why it didn't happen in the OTL and it won't be a long one.

Mexico is not capable of holding Guatemala and both nations would run out of munitions and other supplies rather quickly if they did anything beyond defending their borders. Both armies are underequipped, obsolete, and suffering from corrupt government practices. I don't think Ydigoras could ever bring an independent Los Altos. The most he could do is get Chiapas to revolt in protest of the conflict and that can only be achieved if the people of that state are confronted with the consequences of a senseless war. Then there's, as PAX and Mightyboosh5 pointed out, the issue with the Mayans.

I have the war already typed up. It's a bet lengthy, so I have to reorganize it. My main concern is the aftermath and how that would change the course of these countries. I imagine an earlier civil war in Guatemala, political upheaval in Mexico, and of course in the middle of this you have Cubans causing problems for literally everyone else. Including the Massai tribes in Kenya.


It seems interesting so far. I didn't even think about the UK and Cuba in this whole ordeal.
The Mexican-Guatemalan Conflict TL: Part 2 End of the war
Don't know if this is too long but I felt it best to finish this off. I am doing some research before I move on to the aftermath. I picture Mexico being more interested in the Belize-Guatemala border conflict as well as build up to the Bay of Pigs. Then there's the elections to talk about and Mexico's political history in the 60's. I might not be as detailed moving forward though.

The Mexican Guatemalan Conflict: A la guerra me llevan (They are taking me to the war)

Both countries found themselves in a war brought on by bloated egos, wounded pride, and runaway nationalism. Both Ydigoras and Lopez wanted a quick end to the war that would lead to renewed diplomatic negotiations. Both leaders, and their governments, had no desire for conquest or what would be known as nation building, replacing government leadership or establishing puppet regimes.

Lopez asked his generals for quick decisive blows that would force Ydigoras to agree to a ceasefire and renewed talks. SEDENA and SEMAR came up with a quick battle plan. SEMAR, the Navy Secretariat, would establish blockades on Guatemala’s two principal ports. Puerto Barrios would also be occupied by a landing force of 800 Marines to be reinforced by another 600 marines. Puerto Quetzal would be occupied by an initial marine force of 300 men to be reinforced by another 600 marines. This would require the bulk of Mexico’s Naval capacity and its Marine corps.

SEDENA, the Army and Airforce Secretariat, would cross the Guatemalan border with two armies. The first army, made up of 2 infantry regiments, 2 cavalry battalions, 1 motorized battalion and 1 light armored battalion, and 3 towed artillery battalions, would cross at Ciudad Hidalgo, go through Retalhuleu (Where the CIA originally planed to train brigade 2506) to Lake Atitlan, break into two task forces to go around the lake and prepare an attack on Guatemala City in a pincer maneuver. The second army composted of 2 infantry regiments, 2 cavalry battalions, 2 motorized battalions, 2 artillery battalions would move into the Petén from the west, take Flores and two other road junctures in the southern area of the Petén near San Antonio de las Cruces and Modesto Mendez to cut off the Petén and its forces from Guatemala City. The plan was also to send in two cavalry companies to gather anti-government Mayans to support the Mexican army by bringing in an impromptu “Indio brigade” from the Yucatan made up by around 100 reluctant Mayan young men who knew more than two Mayan languages and at least a passing conversational level of Spanish. These men were “encouraged” to serve “their country”. They were split into four platoons and attached to the cavalry companies.

Guatemalan army planed sending two task forces each comprised of two infantry regiments, one artillery battalions and 1 cavalry regiment to go around Mount Peña Blanca through the border city of Mesilla. The first army would move south towards the Pacific coast to attack Tapachula and Ciudad Hidalgo from the rear cutting off the growing Mexican forces in that region from its supply lines. The Second army would move north west with the ambitious goal of reaching Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital city of the border state of Chiapas. The remaining Guatemalan forces were split into 4 main groups, or armies. The first was made up of a sole infantry regiment and a cavalry battalion with a few towed artillery pieces and was stationed in the Petén region. The second was split into two taskforces to defend Puerto Barrios and Puerto Quetzal, composed of two infantry regiments and 2 artillery battalions. The third was stationed along the border with Chiapas with a similar composition plus a few cavalry units. The fourth was stationed around Guatemala City with the remaining artillery battalions, infantry and cavalry battalions.[1]

Ydigoras lobbied his central American allies for troops, planes, and gunships to shore up Guatemalan defenses. However, the CIA convinced Honduras to stay out of any military action and established a new base near San Pedro as well as an airfield to be the new home of Brigade 2506. El Salvador was weary with Honduras’ decision to not send troops and decided it was best to hold on to its forces. Nicaragua was unable to get permission to send forces north through either Honduras or El Salvador. Guatemala was essentially betrayed. However, El Salvador did fly in a few replacement aircraft for the FAG’s losses in the Mexican attack on its principal airbase as well as volunteers forming two infantry battalions.[2]

The Mexican Guatemalan Conflict: A quagmire

The first two weeks of the war did not go according to plan for either side, something that each country’s people did not expect. This gave way to rumors of spies and sabotage. In reality, both armies suffered as a result of corruption and disinterest. Mexico’s air force was in disrepair with several aircraft inoperable. Mexico no longer had the 3 WW2 squadrons of P-47 fighters and was barely able to activate 3 P-47’s. The Guatemalan Mustangs escaped Mexico’s initial attack. Both air forces ended up chasing each other providing their respective armies with little support.

The first Mexican army managed to occupy Ayutla and began pushing forwards towards Retalhuleu, but it got stuck facing fierce resistance. Guatemala’s two taskforces faced poor military planning and their arrival at the road juncture past Peña Blanca was delayed. While they faced only a few picket units, they were able to hold on to their position in Mexico but had to delay further action until they reorganized and formed a strong supply line. That gave the Mexicans enough time to move in a motorized brigade from central Mexico as well as cavalry and air support from reserve units of the air force.

The second Mexican army quickly managed to take Flores in the center of the Petén but found it difficult to win over the local Mayan populations. It was unable to move on to phase two, taking the southern road junctures. Puerto Quetzal was not invaded and only blockaded by the Mexican navy. However Mexican marines managed to land in Puerto Barrios but faced heavy casualties before taking the city. They were un able to move beyond the city’s limits. For the next 2 weeks little would change on the battlefield.

The Mexican Guatemalan Conflict: Mexico at the Homefront

As the war started to generate casualties in the first month of hostilities, many Mexicans began questioning Lopez Mateo’s decisions. Even some in the PRI began to wonder if he could have done more to deescalate the tensions. Others realized the ineptitude of the Mexican armed forces. The only reason Mexico has been able to keep on the offensive is thanks to even greater ineptitude in the Guatemalan military. Underfunding, outdated equipment, subpar officer corps as a result of corruption in the political system all began to be seen through the conflict on both sides.

Adolfo Christlieb Ibarrola, a rising PAN party member began to publish several newspapers criticizing Lopez Mateos and the ruling party for the poor state of affairs that the Mexican Army, Air Force, and Navy found itself. He accused Lopez Mateos as being personally responsible for each and every dead Mexican soldier, marine, pilot, and sailor. Local police officers received orders to arrest him for sedation on May 27th. This was Christlieb’s second time in jail, the first taking place after being arrested for speaking out against corrupt government officials [3]

PAN’s president Jose Gonzalez Torres protested Christlieb’s arrest as well as what he noted was “The political repression of a government that only pretends to be a democracy” he would also add, “This same authoritarian repressive regime has taken it upon itself to rob from the people and from the armed forces that defend the people. And as if that was not enough, they also send that destitute military to fight a war it was not equipped for.” Lopez ordered the release of Christlieb and called on his generals to develop victories soon fearing that the US would not stay away from the conflict. Sooner or later the US would call Mexico’s bluff regarding his meeting with the soviet ambassador and intervene. The US was wildcard and he wasn’t sure who they would side with, but considering Mexico’s neutrality in the recent Cuban revolution, it didn’t bode well for Mexico.

The Mexican Guatemalan Conflict: Guatemala at the Homefront

Ydigoras’ was infuriated at the lack of progress at Peña Blanca. The Guatemalan people were becoming unruly as well. He began blaming the Mayans and “treasonous officers” for the debacle at the Petén and ordered his second army to start taking prisoners and to “Find the communist **** who are helping those ******!” The loss of the two main port cities was starting to be felt in Guatemala City as supplies began to dwindle and prices slowly started to rise. Guatemala also needed munitions and planes, and with Puerto Barrios and Puerto Quetzal out of commission, it didn’t look well for Guatemala.

Resentment in the officer corps began to build up in light of Ydigoras’ abusive language and insistence of continuing the invasion of Chiapas despite not having fully reorganized its forces which were still being attacked by cavalry companies. The Press began wondering if Ydigoras was going to call for a ceasefire and negotiate from a position of weakness. Ydigoras found relief as el Salvador and Honduras agreed to receive shipping for Guatemala and send the supplies to Guatemala. However due to poor transportation networks across borders, it was minimal relief.

Then good news for Ydigoras arrived. Jacobo Abrenz, who was elected president back in the early 50’s beating him by a landslide and then removed via one of the CIA’s regular coups in Guatemala and then exiled was reported to have boarded a plane for Mexico City. Ydigoras claimed that Abrenz not only was proving his communist ties but was also going to Mexico City to offer himself as a candidate for Mexico’s puppet government over a conquered Guatemala. He claimed that Cuban revolutionaries were soon to join Mexico in the war and that Lopez’s meetings with the ambassadors of the USSR and Belize was a sure sign of an alliance meant to subjugate all of Central America.[4]

In reality Abrenz felt that he would finally have home free of surveillance and hostility of which he was subjugated everywhere else he fled due to the fact that Mexico was fighting the nation that rejected and defamed him as a communist. Instead of going to Cuba, he felt he’d have a better chance at some normalcy for himself and his family in Mexico.[5]

The Mexican Guatemalan Conflict: Stuck between a Marxist rock and a Capitalist Giant, the end of the war

After the initial month of fighting, the US was considering intervention. However, Nixon earlier faced a harsh welcome in his tour of Latin America and new that anti-American sentiment was at an all time high and direct intervention would mean handing Latin America over to the Russians, he didn’t forget the unusually public meeting between Lopez and the soviet ambassador. The US was assured that Mexico was only intending to right a wrong done to its people and didn’t desire foreign intervention in any capacity. Nixon called for an emergency session of the Organization of American States to be held in Washington DC at the end of April. Guatemala and Mexico both agreed to attend.

The meeting went nowhere with neither party willing to be the first to call for a cease fire. The negotiations and talks went nowhere and Nixon was pressured by both his own people and other nations to focus more on the Cuban problem. In the end the topic did change to Cuba. This gave both stubborn leaders freedom to continue the war for a little while longer.

Guatemala continued its invasion of Chiapas, but Mexico managed to finally capture Retalhuheu and split its first army. By June 19th he two task forces managed to get within 50 miles of Guatemala City. The Second army also finally achieved its goals and took the Petén region. Guatemala’s attack was stopped after a concerted counter attack by Mexican reserve forces and forced a retreat on June 25th. On June 27th the CIA got word of KGB agents infiltrating the Indio Brigade and several villages in the Petén. Ydigoras’ claims began to catch some credibility and the US began pressuring Mexico to call for a ceasefire. The USSR got the idea to infiltrate the Peten, and stir up Mayan nationalism from Ydigoras’ accusations, ironically enough. The KGB had achieved a new interest in Central American affairs and was hopping to begin a Mayan uprising that would finally introduce communism to Mexico and Belize.

Having secured Mexico’s wargoals Lopez Mateos asked for a neutral 3rd party that could “Bring both belligerent nations to the table and respect the dignity of the Mexican and Guatemalan people” in August 1st. He did it in part because he was informed by a DFS (Mexico’s CIA) agent that Nixon has asked some American commanders in the US Navy for an update of American amphibious assault capable assets in the region as well as the establishment of clandestine bases in Honduras near San Pedro which were later collaborated by Mexican Naval Intelligence. His own generals also informed him that Mexico was running out of supplies and that Guatemala was getting supplies straight from the Salvadorian and Honduran armies. Entire units were going to the Guatemalan border and literally handing off their guns, ammo, and in some cases even uniforms to the Guatemalans.

On August 3rd Ydigoras decided to agree to negotiations noting the language his Mexican counterpart used and still hoping to get in on the CIA’s plans. He also feared intervention from the USSR itself. Negotiations opened up in San Jose, Costa Rica on August 9th. Mexico agreed to formally apologize for the actions of Mexican citizens including the captured fishermen. It also agreed that it could have done more to assist Guatemala’s security concerns. Guatemala agreed to formally apologize for using force on the fishermen and attacking Mexico. It also agreed to pay indemnities to the fishermen and their families for loss of life, property, and their prolonged imprisonment as well as rescinding the fine and damages for the initial attack. Both nations agreed not to seek further war reparations, return any and all POW’s and corpses of the dead. Both nations also agreed to reinitiate diplomatic relationships and committed to developing an agreement on mutual enforcement of each nation’s laws along the border to prevent further conflicts. The Peace treaty was signed on August 20th 1959. By the end of the month, the last Mexican units left Guatemala.


[1] I am playing fast and loose with these numbers. It’s been difficult to find sources with specifics on either army. Though I managed to find a source that listed active ships in the Mexican navy.

[2] The CIA base to train soldiers for the bay of pigs invasion was established in the OTL in May 1960. ITTL it wouldn’t have been that difficult for the CIA to switch gears, it would have been more difficult to try to interfere in the conflict though.

[3] The 1958 PAN presidential candidate was actually jailed for a bit of time in the OTL for his political activism by local police but released later because a higher up found out that Mexico had this thing called “freedom of speech”. This is what inspired this event for TTL.

[4] Abrenz was one of very few democratically elected rulers of Guatemala’s history up to this point. He beat Ydigoras by a landslide in elections, so much that Ydigoras fabricated stories about communists to the CIA. Eventually a coup took place, and after a few years Ydigoras became president. Abrenz was demonized in Latin America as a result and lived in exile under constant hostility and surveillance.

[5] Abrenz ended up going to Cuba and not Mexico and in a way did become infatuated with Communism, if you can’t beat them…I guess. Eventually Guatemala apologized and made amends with his family. (I wonder how his life would change ITTL)


I found it to be pretty enjoyable, good job. Not often you see anything about Guatemala.

When you say cavalry units, are those actual horses or just jeeps and the like?

Will there be a later section about the aftermath?
I found it to be pretty enjoyable, good job. Not often you see anything about Guatemala.

When you say cavalry units, are those actual horses or just jeeps and the like?

Will there be a later section about the aftermath?


To be honest I couldn't sufficient information on it. I know that Mexico got about 25 Sherman's, and a similar number of M5 Stuart tanks, and M3A1 Stuart tanks after WWII . I know that Mexico began buying more armored cars and light personnel careers after nearly going to war with Guatemala in a military build up. By the 1970s, or 80s Mexico began making its own light armored vehicles as well as buying a few European models with one or two Russian APC models.

For Mexico, some units may still be using horses with the Indio Brigade but mostly jeeps, light armor scouts.

Guatemala got 6 CTMS-1TBI tanks which had very light armor and bad fuel efficiency and carried a 20mm gun. That's all I know about Guatemala.

I'm going to try to take this timeline as far as I can.



To be honest I couldn't sufficient information on it. I know that Mexico got about 25 Sherman's, and a similar number of M5 Stuart tanks, and M3A1 Stuart tanks after WWII . I know that Mexico began buying more armored cars and light personnel careers after nearly going to war with Guatemala in a military build up. By the 1970s, or 80s Mexico began making its own light armored vehicles as well as buying a few European models with one or two Russian APC models.

For Mexico, some units may still be using horses with the Indio Brigade but mostly jeeps, light armor scouts.

Guatemala got 6 CTMS-1TBI tanks which had very light armor and bad fuel efficiency and carried a 20mm gun. That's all I know about Guatemala.

I'm going to try to take this timeline as far as I can.

I'm kind of shocked they have that much TBH.

I'd imagine the Mayans will have a hard time in the post-war years, sort of like the "stab-in-the-back" idea around Jews/socialists IOTL Weimar Republic.
The Mexican-Guatemalan Conflict TL: The PRI after the War
There is an...interesting butterfly here that I didn't originally intend but it made sense and it may have some interesting ramifications for a few people...just a few. I also had to condense a butt load of details to make this post smaller and less complicated.

Mateos and Ydigoras after the war:

Both presidents had to now deal with the aftermath of the war. Mateos faced an embolden opposition party as well as factions within his own PRI. Between 1960 and 1964 Mateos began building up Mexico’s military in reaction to criticisms regarding its deficiency. This included purchasing jet fighters, revamping several air bases, and restocking its armaments as well as upgrading existing aircraft. The army also saw the acquisition of new light tanks from both the US and the UK as well as a significant increase in its budget and size. The Navy also pushed for new ships to replace its aging fleet as well as an enlarged Marine Corps.[1]

Ydigoras faced a more precarious situation. He had to strain the national budget rearming his military and attempted to replace several officers and dismissed others he accused of incompetence. This further exacerbated the tensions within the military. In mid-1961 several officers with their units launched an attempted coup which led to a civil war. The US gave financial and even monetary support to Ydigoras’ forces. Several soldiers moved from direct confrontation to smaller guerrilla style units. While the fighting focused more on the western and eastern sections of the country, some units moved in to recruit support from the rural Mayan populations in the Peten region.[2]

Ramon Vellida Morales, the first democratically elected leader of Honduras after the end of a dictatorship in the 1950’s, agreed to maintain and expand its roles in order to get a guarantee from the CIA that it wouldn’t act against his government or his policies. Mexican long-range aircraft still flew over Honduras after the war to keep an eye on the movement near San Pedro. Mateos learned that the US wasn’t planning on intervening in the war with Guatemala, but was actually preparing for some other military action. The most likely was an invasion of Cuba. Mateos had at this time a deal with Cuba, Mexico and Cuba would respect each other’s internal politics and not support revolts in each other’s countries. Mateos decided to keep his findings from Cuba, which Cuba could interpret as Mexico aiding an American attack.[3]

The Cuban Missile Incident

Mexico remained nuetral in politics regarding Cuba, after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in late 1962, the OAS held a vote to remove Cuba from the organization cutting off all diplomatic ties with the communist nation, Mateos staying true to his secret deal with Castro abstained. On Castro’s part, he informed Mateos of KGB agents present in the Peten crossing the Mexican border in attempts to form a communist faction in Guatemala’s civil war. In 1963 Mexico invoked an article of the Guatemala-Mexico peace treaty that allowed security forces to take out rogue elements that would threaten the lasting peace. Mexico sent in a Calvary regiment to patrol the border and even cross it at pre-selected points to chase down those agents. In the process, Mexico also inserted some agents of its own. Ydigoras was eventually removed from office but the CIA backed government remained in power continuing the conflict. The Presence of Mexican soldiers in the Peten lead to his removal, ironically it was the war he started to solidify his position that eventually caused his downfall.[4]

Since early in 1962 the USSR was looking for a retaliation to the NATO’s positioning of Nuclear weapons in Turkey. The Bay of Pigs invasion scrapped the Soviet Union’s plans to set up missiles in Cuba at first. But Castro was able to repel the invasion by early 1963. On September 1963, Cuba received its first shipments from the USSR. President Kennedy had to cancel his planed trip to Texas to deal with the developing situation in November 15th 1963.

To stop further shipments Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba. The USSR sent in Subs to escort further shipments. Two American U-2 Spy planes were shot down, one over Cuba and another over the USSR. A Russian submarine, which lost contact with command, ended up engaging and American destroyer causing damage to both ships. Fortunately for everyone, the Russian submarine could not launch its missiles. Upon hearing this, the leaders of both nations called for a cease fire. The USSR and the US agreed to remove its missiles from both Cuba and Turkey. The negotiations however were derailed when news broke out that the Secret Service caught a plot to assassinate JFK around the same time in his scheduled trip to Texas. Many pundits and officials were suspicious of the coincidence between the timing of the plot and the incident.

Mexico’s Six Year Dictator.

Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of the PRI won the 1964 elections and went on to form a rather oppressive government, while not officially a dictator he certainly played the part in the eyes of many Mexicans. Ydigoras went on to rebuild Mexico’s relationship with the US and began pushing for investment in the industries of Northern Mexico, mainly the export minded Maquiladora factories and saw significant economic growth in the country. Despite that, Mexico faced several problems.

Diaz was concerned with the inroads the PAN made in the 1964 elections. A handful of congressional seats was won by the PAN as well as dozens of municipal and city mayoral elections throughout northern Mexico. The PAN also came close to wining the Sonora State Gubernatorial election. He reacted by severely curtailing civil liberties in Mexico. This lead to an uprising in the southern states of Guerrerro and Chiappas. Diaz did not hesitate to use the Guatemala-Mexicao peace treaty as an excuse to mobilize the military against what was really a few bands of Indian militias. Diaz suspended several midterm elections that posed a threat to the ruling party, which for many was the last straw. Dozens of protests across Mexico erupted, the PAN’s ranks began to increase dramatically as well as the PRI’s satellite parties which began acting autonomously. Diaz had an even bigger political threat, democratic factions within his own party began to make moves to “democratize” the PRI.

Diaz put a stop to Carlos Alberto Madrazo Becerra’s attempts to institute internal elections in party primaries as well as attempts to continue some of Mateo’s conciliatory reforms that gave opposition parties better avenues in the political arena. He also continued Mexico's policy of nonintervention and neutrality

Due to the large influx of new members from a wide range of views and backgrounds, the PAN was unable to select a candidate for the 1970 elections[5]. The PRI still ended up wining with only 89% of the vote, the other votes went to its satellite parties. The PAN didn’t win any congressional seats or any local elections. The government was accused of widespread voter suppression, “lost” ballot boxes, and unfairly disqualifying dozens of candidates all under Diaz’s orders. Rumors spread that Diaz was planning on seizing control instead of allowing Luis Echeverria (the winner of the presidential elections) to take control. As a result, Carlos Alberto Madrazo Becerra plans to form a new political party along with dozens of officials who already held office in both in the state and federal levels was implemented. However, he died mysteriously in a plane crash the year before, but in his stead the new party was lead by a young ambitious politician new on the political scene, Cuauhtémoc Cardenas, son of the most popular post revolution president Lazaro Cardenas. The 36-year-old became the leader of the new party with intentions to run in 1976 for the presidency.[6]

Internationally, Diaz refrained from taking sides in any foreign matters beyond calling for diplomatic solutions to any conflict. He negotiated a deal with the JFK administration in 1965 for access to better technology to help fight what Diaz referred to as "Communist forces in southern Mexico" exaggerating the extent of the Communist elements. To justify this, he ordered air strikes of potential rebel bases in the Peten region. To many Mayan, this was a betrayal as the Guatemalan government was increasingly active in counter insurgency operations in the Peten which often claimed the lives of the innocent. This led to a small but potent uprising among several Mayan villages near the border in Mexico that required the mobilization of the Military in the Yucatan peninsula.[7]

[1]OTL A build up did occur in the OTL, but no new tanks were purchased and the Navy was neglected.
[2]OTL An officer rebellion did take place but was quickly squashed followed by smaller uprisings here and there that continued the civil war beyond Ydigoras' involvement. ITTL the Bay of Pigs invasion was delayed which produced some...interesting butterflies.
[3]OTL this deal existed, and Mexican Embassy actually was a source for US intelligence during the 60's. Mexico liked playing all sides.
[4] OTL and TTL Cuban Missile hiccup are slightly different thanks to butterflies from a later start date (about a year later). Long enough for another butterfly with Texas sized wings.
[5] In the OTL this happened in the 1976 elections.
[6] In the OTL the FDN was formed in the 80's and after the 1988 election was transformed into the PRD, the one where AMLO, the current President Elect, comes from.
[7] There was a small uprising in Guerrerro, but you wouldn't hear anything from Yucatan until the 90's in the OTL. ITTL Diaz is a lot more repressive, and the Tlatelolco Massacre will still be a thing, but I am leaving that for the next post.