Honduras Recent History

In October 1954 the liberal Ramon Villeda Morales was elected, who, however, not having the necessary majority, was unable to take office and then he became independent vice president Julio Lozano Diaz. He dissolved the Parliament, did not tolerate the opposition and called an Assembly which, according to him, should have legitimized his appointment. Instead a military junta imposed himself and forced him to withdraw. In the elections of September 22, 1957, the Liberal Party prevailed and Ramon Villeda Morales was regularly elected, who, above all, was well regarded not only by young officers but also in American political circles.

According to Abbreviationfinder, the presidency period was established for 6 years and on December 21, 1957 a new Constitution was promulgated. Villeda Morales worked hard to improve that country which was the most backward of all Latin America. He created various laws and social structures for workers, initiated land reform, designed an extensive road construction plan and fought illiteracy.

Because of its relevance to foreign policy, he remained neutral towards Castro and let few leftist minorities within the country carry out their peaceful activities.

This did not please the conservatives, much less the military who in 1963, ten days before his term was completed, dismissed him under the charge of pro-communism and exiled him to Costa Rica. With this coup, Colonel Oswaldo Lopez Arellano took power and the United States, considering it an attack on democracy, broke off their relations with the country; relationships that were re-established however in January 1964, upon promise of the Honduran government of a return to legality. Then Colonel Lopez Arellano was elected regularly in February 1965 (and until 1971). He again imposed the dictatorship; disregarded the previously planned reforms so riots and attempts at rebellion occurred.

And internal disputes are not enough, Honduras also found itself in conflict with neighboring countries: Nicaragua, Guatemala and Salvador. And with the latter state, from 14 to 30 July 1969, he fought a fierce and bloody war that cost thousands of deaths. This went down in history as the “War of Football”, but it was certainly not a football game played by the teams of the two countries that caused it all. Much more serious reasons existed for several years. The main one was represented by about 300,000 Salvadoran immigrants in Honduras; here they worked by removing the bread from the national workforce. Fortunately, everything was resolved thanks to a rapid intervention by the OAS which forced the Salvadoran troops, who entered Honduras, to withdraw within their own border and stay there.

Honduras Recent History

The elections of March 28, 1971 designated Ramon Ernesto Cruz as president; however, he was soon deposed by a coup that brought Lopez Arellano back to power in December 1972. In turn accused of corruption and defenestrated in April 1975 he was replaced by Colonel Juan Alberto Megan Castro and a subsequent coup in August 1978 brought General Polycarp Juan Paz Garcia to power.

This succession of military governments had not given any impetus to the improvement of the country’s economic situation, which indeed was maintained only with the export of bananas, coffee and with aid arriving from the United States. The country was at a very low level and then in 1980 General Paz Garcia allowed the election of a Constituent Assembly and in 1981 that of a Parliament. Then he began the installation of the government of civilians, replacing the military, who then withdrew, and with the 1982 elections the new president was R.Suazo Cordova; with the 1985 elections the liberal Juan Azcona del Hoyo took power; those of November 1989 elected R.Leonardo Callejas.

In an attempt to honor foreign debt, Callejas immediately established austerity measures since 1990, with cuts in public spending and starting privatizations. And all this provoked social protests that provoked repressive interventions by the army, especially against the peasants, who were undoubtedly the most penalized for the recurrent lack of agrarian reform.

Honduras is an Atlantic country, it has only one gulf on the Pacific. It has a rather mountainous territory, especially in the western part and is a purely agricultural country; but still not very organized. This is why agrarian reform represents an important step forward for the civilization of the country. The name of the capital, Tegucigalpa, means in the indigenous language “Silver Hill” for the silver mines that are located nearby.

Meanwhile, in 1993, at the same time as the decrease in US military aid, an increase in the mobilization of disgruntled civilians against the armed forces was taking place in Honduras.

There were movements for the defense of human rights, student and trade union demonstrations which, together with the support of the Catholic Church, asked the president to downsize military power within government policy. It was for this reason that Callejas instituted a particular office for a Commissioner who would defend the rights of the population and a Commission that would elaborate reforms.

In November of the same year, the legislative and presidential elections were held which led to the victory of the Liberal Party. President of the Republic was elected CR Reina. This new legislation, which took office in January 1994, carried out an economic policy almost like that of the previous government but engaged much more in the social field by fighting corruption but, above all, the drug trade of which Honduras was in the meantime, it has become one of the main clearing points between Colombia and the United States.

Another primary commitment of the Reina government was to limit the power of the military, to reform the secret services in which it included civilians, the police were demilitarized, the expenses of the Ministry of Defense were considerably cut and compulsory conscription was abolished.

The leaders of the armed forces did not passively accept these restrictions and in the period 1995-1996 there were many bomb attacks in the country which seriously endangered the stability of the government.

Reina then concluded the border dispute with El Salvador and in January 1998 signed an agreement for the definitive delimitation of the borders of the two countries.

Despite the not really good economic conditions, the population, with the consultations of November 1997, had already confirmed the Liberal Party to the government, but the position of president was assumed by CR Flores Focussè.

The new government took office in January 1998 and throughout this year it faced very difficult situations due to natural disasters. In fact, in May there were furious fires while in October much of the country was devastated by a hurricane, called Mitch, which in addition to paralyzing the economy and destroying numerous structures, also caused many thousands of victims.

In January 1999 Flores, in addition to the position of head of state, also assumed that of head of the armed forces.