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Carrera, Rafael(räfäĕl`), 1814–65, president of Guatemala, a caudillo. He led the revolution against the anticlerical liberal government of Guatemala, and his ultimate success in 1840 helped to destroy the Central American Federation. Illiterate and of mixed blood, he received unquestioned support from the indigenous population; a conservative devoted to the church, he recalled the Jesuits and restored the power of the church in the state. Until his death Carrera dominated Guatemala and was the most powerful figure in Central America, intervening to strengthen, restore, or install conservative governments in the other Central American countries.
Born Oct. 24, 1814, in Guatemala City; died there Apr. 4, 1865. Statesman and military figure of Guatemala. The son of an Indian father and a black mother.
Carrera carne into prominence during the years of struggle between the liberals and conservatives in the United Provinces of Central America (1823-38). In 1838, Carrera led a reactionary mutiny of the conservatives and brought about the disintegration of the federation in 1839. In the same year he became the virtual dictator of Guatemala. Carrera frequently organized interventions into Honduras and El Salvador. In 1844, with the support of the army, the landowners, and the church, he was elected president (until 1848). He abolished the reforms that had been introduced by the liberals. In 1851, Carrera was again elected president, and in 1854 he was named to the post for life. Under Carrera, the economic dependence of Guatemala on Great Britain increased.