Ubico, Jorge(hôr`hā o͞obē`kō), 1878–1946, president of Guatemala (1931–44). An army general, Ubico as president established financial stability and political order. He built an extensive network of roads and modernized local administrations to include increased health and school facilities. His methods, however, were authoritarian. He sternly suppressed opposition and twice engineered constitutional changes to extend his term of office. His efficient and honest but tyrannical rule ended when he was driven into exile by a democratic revolution following the revolt in Salvador that deposed Maximiliano Hernández MartínezHernández Martínez, Maximiliano
, 1882–1966, president of El Salvador (1931–44). An admirer of fascist theories, he seized power during a palace revolt, then was elected president in 1935.
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Born Nov. 10, 1878, in Guatemala City; died June 14,1946, in New Orleans, USA. State and military figure of Guatemala.
Ubico became president of Guatemala in 1931 and remained in office until 1944, during which time he assumed the powers of a dictator. The regime of terror that he established outlawed all workers’ organizations and in 1934 adopted a vagrancy law that, in effect, made serfs of those who held no land or only small plots by compelling them to work 180 days a year for hire. In 1944 the government gave landowners the right to shoot anyone caught trespassing on their land. In the meantime it transferred ownership of large tracts of land to the United Fruit Company and otherwise granted wide privileges to US monopolies. In June 1944, however, a popular uprising broke out, as a result of which Ubico was forced to flee the country, going first to Mexico and then to the United States.