Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

Guerrillas in Guatemala

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1965 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1993.

Did you cry when Jacob Arbenz was exiled from Guatemala?
When Castillo Armas destroyed the elected government in nineteen fifty four?
Do not mourn for Guatemala,
The guerrillas are still in the mountains.
I went with Augusto Loarca into the Sierra de las Minas,
Augusto Loarca, Lieutenant Colonel of the army of the democracy.
Then he became a leader
Of the Guatemalan Guerrillas.

He told how some of the army, defeated, went into the mountains,
When United Fruit and the Latafundistas destroyed the democracy.
The peasants asked Arbenz for guns,
But he was afraid, and denied them.
The farmers went back to their bitter land--it was an old story.
The Yankee company held seven hundred acres of the best plantation soil,
They tilled less than one tenth,
While the farmer had five rocky acres.

But do not mourn for Guatemala, prisoner of the Yankee Fruit Company,
Do not grieve for the country whose elected government was destroyed in 1954.
Do not mourn for Guatemala,
The Guerrillas are still in the mountains.
Nobody knows where they are, or when they are coming, the Guerrilla army,
They move like shadows through the forest, they are lost among the people in the hills.
Azurdia's troops rage in the village.
"The Guerrillas have been here! Where are they?"

"The Guerrillas? We have not seen them." But only last night was a meeting,
And today the troops arrest and torture, but no one will speak or answer.
Not even the children, who were there,
And the women also are silent.
United Fruit and the Latafundistas keep pushing their holdings,
They send their cattle to feed on the peasants' corn, they elbow them from their land.
In the village there is a trial.
They are trying the landholder's agent.

The landholder's agent is tried at the meeting, although he is absent.
The farmers are there, coming from miles with their children, their wives, their machetes.
The Guerrillas also are there,
The Guerrillas, the arm of the people.
Evidence is heard, the landholder's agent gets judgment and execution--
A shot that comes from the woods in the night from a Guerrilla rifle.
The farmer replants the land,
No agent is sent for replacement.

There are legends about the Guerrillas in Salvador and Guatemala.
Yon Sosa is washed in magic; no bullet can kill him, the rebel commander.
He can change his form at will.
His army grows by enchantment.
A sergeant of police tells the story to his men at night in the barracks.
"We had the house surrounded, they would not surrender in spite of the fire.
A black dog ran out and vanished.
That was their leader, Yon Sosa."

It is true that there is a magic that surrounds the Guerrilleros.
The comradeship of the peasants shields and protects them wherever they go.
They vanish among the people,
They march untouched through the forests.
The farmer will tear the boards from his hut for a fire to warm them,
He will feed them the best that he has, and shield them from danger.
For the Guerrillas are of the people,
And they are the arm of the people.

Do not mourn for Guatemala, do not mourn for Guatemala.
The organized Guerrilla army moves at will in the Sierras.
Their stronghold is Izabel Province.
Headquarters of the Yankee Fruit Company.

Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
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Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
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