Game Scenario


The year is 1990. Guatemala, one of the largest and wealthiest of Central America's five nations, is on the brink of civil war. Anti-government guerrilla -- a coalition of leftists and others who seek a revolutionary government -- are gaining strength in the highlands. A democratically elected government, up for reelection soon, is losing popularity among the peasants and the working poor. Increasingly, Guatemalans suspect that the government is little more than a puppet for the military and the wealthy elite.

 

These suspicions are not groundless. The last military ruler of Guatemala stepped down in 1985 to make way for elections and civilian rule after 30 years of nearly uninterrupted military control. But the military never totally relinquished its authority. Now military leaders and the wealthy elite are increasingly nervous about a guerrilla threat and are not sure the fragile civilian government can deal with the rebels effectively. A military coup is possible.

 

Government leaders feel trapped. They know that their legitimacy depends on their ability to promote reforms and improve life for the workers and peasants. They also know that their hold on power is tenuous: too rapid a change could provoke another military coup. On the other hand, the insurgency is increasing the pressure to adopt reforms at a pace guaranteed to disturb the old guard.

 

Scheduled elections are only three months away. From without , other countries watch nervously. The United States is concerned that a rebel victory could mean another Cuba in the region. The Soviet Union might like to see such and outcome, but does not wish to provoke a major confrontation with the United States in what the Americans consider their backyard.

 

RULES FOR PLAYERS:

1. EACH PLAYER IS ON ONE OF FIVE TEAMS: The Guatemalan Government, - - -The Army/Wealthy Class, - - - -The Guerrillas, and Peasants/Workers, or The United States. Each Team has its own set of assigned goals and actions to take in connection with the pre-election crisis in Guatemala.

 

2. THE MAIN PART OF THE GAME WILL TAKE PLACE AS FOLLOWS:

*Initial Strategy Session (15 minutes)

During this time, you will read over the briefing prepared for members of your team, develop an initial strategy, and prepare a 30-second opening statement of your team's position.

* Opening Statement (30 Seconds per team).

A spokesperson for each team will present the team's public position at the end of the strategy session.

 

* Three 15-minute "Months."

There will be three action periods -- or "months" -- of 15-minutes each. During the first 10 minutes of each month, teams may negotiate with one another, campaign, or take other actions. During the final 5 minutes, all players must return to their team tables to debrief and prepare a new team Position Statement.

 

* Team Position Statements (30 seconds per team).

A spokesperson for each team will make a brief statement at the conclusion of each month. The statement can include announcements, offers, and threats. Certain actions must be announced at this time:

New policies by the government

Aid Agreements with other countries

Changes in the military balance between the Army and the Guerrillas

Candidates for the Presidency of Guatemala

A takeover or "silencings" by the Army or the Guerrillas. (See below for descriptions of these steps.)

 

* Final Position Statements.

At the end of the third month, each team must decide what its final actions will be. Those actions must be written down and presented with the Position Statement at the close of the third month. Your final actions cannot be modified once the first team begins its final position statement.

 

* Election.

If the team in power so decides, an election will follow the final Position Statements.

 

3. VOTING: Members of the Peasant/Worker, Guatemalan Government, and Army/Wealthy Class teams have a right to vote in the election. Guerrillas may also vote if they lay down their arms or participate in a way that is acceptable to the Government. If a team other than the Government team is in power at the end of the game, it will be up to that team to decide whether to hold elections. Peasants and Workers have two votes each (reflecting their greater numerical strength in the population); all other eligible players have one.

 

4. SILENCING: The Guatemalan Army has the power to silence individual players on the Pheasant/Worker, Guerrilla, and Government teams. This act eliminates that individual from his or her team. all silenced individuals automatically becomes members of the Guerrilla team and must stay in the Guerrilla Stronghold for the remainder of the game. Members of the United States team as well as Guerrillas inside their stronghold cannot be silenced. A Sanctuary established by the Catholic Church will be designated in the room where all players may negotiate under Church protection without fear of being silenced.

 

Silenced players will not be permitted to vote in the election.

 

5. MAJOR OFFENSIVES: Both the Guerrillas and the Army have the power to launch major offensives against the other. The outcome of those offensives will be determined by the draw of a card describing an outcome scenario. The drawing will occur during the time of the position statements.

 

6. TAKEOVER: The Army has the option of taking power at any time during the game. Under certain circumstances, the Guerrillas will also have the ability to take power.

 

7. The UNITED STATES and the SOVIET UNION: The United States team has the power to offer military and economic aid, and also has the power to send its own troops to Guatemala for whatever purposes it chooses. There is no Soviet Union team; however, the Guerrilla team has the option of obtaining training, weapons, and military supplies from the Soviets.