Neha Patil (Editor)

History of Honduras (1900–1954)

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History of Honduras (1900–1954)

During the first half of the 20th century the economy of Honduras was dominated by American companies such as the United Fruit Company, the Standard Fruit Company and the Cuyamel Fruit Company, which established enormous banana plantations along the north coast. These companies quickly made bananas the primary export of the country in return for big grants from conservative politicians. The foreign capital, life in the banana plantations, and the conservatives were determining factors in the politics of Honduras from the mid-20th century until 1988.

Contents

Manuel Bonilla came to the presidency of Honduras through a military operation. Once in power, he became an even better friend of the banana companies than his predecessor, Terencio Sierra. During his administration these companies won tax exemptions and permission to build docks and roads, as well as permission to obtain the letters for the construction of the new National Railway of Honduras. Among his greater accomplishments was the delimitation of the border with Nicaragua stands out, especially in the zone of La Mosquitia, where there had been a long dispute.

During the administration of Miguel R. Dávila, United States treat to put an end to Central America conflicts through the Central America Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1907. However, from 1920 to 1923, there were seventeen uprisingss or attempted of coups d'état in Honduras. This contributed even more to the political unsteadiness of the country. Vicente Mejía Colindres assumed power in 1929 with big hopes for his administration and his nation. Honduras seemed to direct its course toward political and economic progress. But many of the hopes of Mejía Colindres dispelled with the start of the Great Depression.

Doctor and General Tiburcio Carías Andino governed Honduras as dictator during the Great Depression, until 1948. Under his government the fiscal situation of the country improved notably, and he improved slightly the education and the armed forces and infrastructure of Honduras. Also, he brought order and a relative peace that the country had not had, although he used repression to do so. Pushed by the government of the United States of America, General Carías allowed free elections. Nevertheless, Carías found ways to use his influence and nominated lawyer Juan Manuel Gálvez as the candidate for the National Party.

Juan Manuel Gálvez won the election unopposed. During his government, Gálvez continued the greater part of the fiscal politics of the administration Carias, reduced external debt and paid until the last of the bonos British. The fruit companies followed, receiving a good deal by part of Gálvez. Besides, Gálvez established some remarkable changes in comparison to the prior fifteen years. Education received greater attention, and began to receive a greater part of the national budget. The most evident change was in the political sand. A considerable degree of freedom of press was restored. The Liberal Party allowed him reorganise, as well as other political groups. Likewise, the workers also benefited during his government.

Grants and the 1902 election

General Terencio Sierra was the first president of 20th-century Honduras, after succeeding Polycarpo Bonilla in 1899. His administration gave Honduras one of the more important historical factors in the economic life and politics of the country. Marvin Barahona in his book Honduras in the 20th century relates that "the Vaccaro brothers, a family of Italian origin that traded bananas in New Orleans, received land grants on the north coast. In return, they agreed to build railways over an extensive area. The land awarded was according to the number of kilometres of railway that each company built, with 250 hectares per kilometre of railroad the going rate. The Vaccaros, as other dealers in the north coast would later also do, taking advantage of the privileges awarded them and the land grants to export bananas from La Ceiba".

On 1 March 1902 the people were called to choose the successor of the president Sierra. "There arose the candidatures of the General Manuel Bonilla, sponsored by stood out liberal, and by the conservative party, with the name of National Party; and the one of the Dr. Juan Ángel Arias, support of the Liberal Party".

General Manuel Bonilla won the election with 28,550 votes vs 25,118 for Doctor Juan Ángel Arias Boquín and 4,857 for Doctor Marco Aurelio Soto. As writer and politician Ángel Zuñiga Huete said, voters did not give an absolute majority to any of the contender as required by the constitution. Therefore, the Congress of the Republic had to choose a designee to exert the presidency. The congress designated as president to the "Doctor Juan Ángel Arias B. and as vice-president to the Maximum General Betancourt Rosebushes. Arias and Rosebushes took charge of the government on 18 February 1903"

Manuel Bonilla

Presidential candidate Manuel Bonilla did not accept the resolution of the Congress of the Republic and attacked Juan Ángel Arias. "On 13 April the government of Arias fell, in front of the taking of the capital, and other places of the country, by the forces of General Manuel Bonilla, who fought with arms what was not given to him by the voters". Once in the can Manuel Bonilla summoned Congress and forced it to reconsider the results of the elections of 1902. This time, the congress declared Bonilla president and Miguel R. Dávila, like vice-president. They took power on 17 May 1903."

Once in power, Bonilla suppressed freedom of press as well as the political opposition, to the point of imprisoning ex-president Polycarpo Bonilla. In February 1904, Manuel Bonilla dissolved the assembly and ordered the arrest of nine opposition legislators, on the pretext of a plan to murder him.

Bonilla assumed dictatorial powers and afterwards summoned a constituent assembly which revoked the constitution of 1894 and reinstated a big part of the constitution of 1880. This "stipulated that the presidential term of office would be six instead of four years, that was the most suggestive point for the ruler and his circle, which thought to govern without nuisances until the year of 1912. The new constitution went into effect on 1 January 1906.

Government and attainments of Bonilla

Manuel Bonilla, as president, turned out to be an even better friend to the bananeras than Terencio Sierra. During his administration these companies won exemptions from taxes and obtained permission to build docks and roads. Also grantings to build artificial courses to transport the banano and pipe the Salty rivers and The Future, as well as permission to obtain the letters for the construction of the new railway. Between his attainments stand out the implementation of some internal improvements, particularly in road construction. He improved the road from Tegucigalpa to the Pacific coast. On the international plane, Bonilla made pacts of friendship with Nicaragua, and later with Guatemala and El Salvador. He reorganised the conservatives into a single political party. The current National Party of Honduras (PNH) has its origins in his administration.

But perhaps the greatest attainment of Bonilla was the delimitation of the border with Nicaragua, especially in the zone of The Mosquitia, where there had been a long dispute. In 1894 a treaty provided for the creation of a commission of border, with members from both Honduras and Nicaragua, to resolve the dispute. For 1904, this Commission produced one agreement on the lower part of the border. In this year, to arrive to an agreement in the top, the representatives of the two nations turned to Rey Alfonso XIII of Spain as a neutral member making him the referee of the dispute.

His decision, announced in 1906, gave the greater part of the territory in dispute to Honduras, establishing the upper border along the River Coco. At the time, both governments accepted the decision, but in 1912, Nicaragua raised new objections. The dispute was finally resolved in 1960, in favour of King Alfonso's arbitration.

Fall of Bonilla

In 1906, Manuel Bonilla successfully resisted an invasion from Guatemala, but this was his last big success. The pact of friendship that he signed in 1906 with Guatemala and El Salvador was interpreted as an anti-Nicaraguan alliance by President José Santos Zelaya of Nicaragua. Zelaya began to offer support to the liberal exiles of Honduras in his country in an effort to overthrow Manuel Bonilla, the one who had become, in effect, a dictator. With the support of elements of the Army of Nicaragua, the exiles invaded Honduras and in February 1907 and established a provisional board.

Bonilla tried to resist, with the help of Salvadorian forces. But in March, his forces were defeated in a decisive way, in a battle notable for the apparition of machine guns in the civil conflicts of Central America. The United States saw with bad eyes the paper exerted by Nicaraguan president Zelaya, in the internal affairs of Honduras. When the Nicaraguan army entered Honduras in 1907, the American government, thinking that Zelaya wanted to dominate the entire region, sent marines to Puerto Cortés to protect the bananeros. Other naval units were sent to Amapala in the Gulf of Fonseca to warn attacks against the last-occupied positions of Manuel Bonilla, who took refuge in the USS Chicago. With this, the fight against him came to an end.

The attendant of businesses in Tegucigalpa exerted an active paper in the organisation of an agreement of peace, with which the Nicaraguan president Zelaya did not remain happy. The agreement established the installation of a provisional government composed by Miguel Oquelí Bustillo, Maximum Betancourt Rosebushes and Juan Ignacio Castro, until the end of March 1907.

Election of Miguel Rafael Dávila

On 28 April, the Provisional Board gave control to Miguel Rafael Dávila Cuéllar, who had been vice-president under Manuel Bonilla. Dávila summoned a constituent assembly, which re-established the constitution of 1894 and called elections, in which Dávila was elected president for the 1908-12 term.

Miguel R. Dávila did not have the confidence of Nicaraguan president José Santos Zelaya. The prospect of new conflicts caught the attention of the American president, Theodore Roosevelt, taking into account the strong economic interests of the United States, as much in Nicaragua as in Honduras, and summoned area leaders to a conference in Washington.

Conference Central American Peace of 1907 made a big effort to reduce the level of conflicts in the region. Honduras proposed to reestablish the Union of Central American States, but this did not find acceptance. However, various other measures were adopted. The five presidents signed the General Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1907 and engaged to establish the Permanent Central American Court of Justice, which would resolve future disputes.

The treaty also committed the five countries to restrict the activities of exiles from neighbouring states and put in place a basis for legal extraditions. Of special interest was a clause, sponsored by the United States, which established the permanent neutrality of Honduras in future Central American conflicts.

The five states engaged to deny recognition to governments that came to power by revolutionary means. The United States and Mexico, who had acted as co-sponsors of the conference, engaged also to deny recognition to such governments. From the point of view of the US State Department, these agreements represented an important step in the stabilisation of Central America and of Honduras in particular.

The first challenge to this treaty came in Honduras in 1908; opponents of Dávila, with the support of Guatemala and El Salvador, invaded the country. Nicaragua supported the Honduran president, and war seemed imminent. But in fear of an American intervention, the parties involved agreed to subject the controversy to the new Central American Court. The court denied última instancia the complaints of Honduras and Nicaragua, while the rebellion against of Dávila was controlled. With this, peace in Honduras briefly returned.

Dávila And the external debt

During his administration, Miguel Dávila treated of update the country, but in addition to struggling against the opposition, the president had the difficult task of leading when the external debt of Honduras, had reached US$120 millions. Of agreement to the administration of the American president William Howard Taft, the debt was a factor that contributed to the political and social unsteadiness of the country. Been due to this, he initiated efforts for re-fund said debt, big part of which owed to England.

The negotiations organised between the representatives of Honduras and the bankers of New York, directed by JP Morgan. To finals of 1909, an agreement reached foresees a reduction of the debt and the broadcast of new bonos of the 5 percent: the bankers would control the railway of Honduras, and the government of United States would take the control of the income of customs and likewise this engaged to guarantee the independence of the Honduran state.

To the terms proposed by the bankers there was in Honduras great opposition, which weakened the government of Miguel Dávila even more. Finally it decided for carrying out the most important disposals. But this was seen by the Hondurans, like a rape to the national sovereignty. For this reason, CongressNational Congress of Honduras in a rare sample of independence, refused the proposals by a vote of thirty-three to five. But Dávila continued pushing to the congress so that they approved the disposals adopted.

Renunciation of President Dávila

In the middle of all the problems that confronted the administration Dávila, this wanted to put him a high to the generous grantings awarded to the companies fruteras. This caused the ire of Samuel Zemurray, the owner of the Cuyamel Fruit Company the one who then gave to the task to fund a revolution against of Dávila with the purpose to overthrow him. For this end he had the help of the ex-president Manuel Bonilla and American mercenaries led by Lee Christmas.

External debt situation was interrupted, because of the uprising that took place in 1911 against of the Dávila. He summoned immediately to his forces to confront the strengths of the ex president Bonilla, however, the American government offered mediate in the conflict. On board of the USS Tacoma, in the bay of Port Cortés, the representatives of both edicts gathered from 21 February. The meeting concluded on 15 March of this same year.

Revolutionaries headed by ex-president Manuel Bonilla, and the government agreed the following: Put him a cease-fire, the forced renunciation of the president Dávila and the installation of a provisional president. To the term of the meeting, the American mediator, Thomas Dawson, selected to Francisco Bertrand, as provisional president and he in return engaged to hold free elections.

Governments of Bertrand and López Gutiérrez

Elections of 1912 were won by Manuel Bonilla, but he died after little more than a year in power. Bertrand, who had been his vice-president, returned to the presidency and in 1916 won an election for a term that lasted until 1920. The government of Francisco Bertrand, represented mostly the American interests on the national, accepting the mediation of United States in the resolution of the border conflict with Guatemala and also in the back conflict by two regions colindantes with Nicaragua (The trojes and Potrerillos). In his second term, from 1916 to 1919, try to launch as an official candidate of the party to his coined Nazario Soriano what caused a civil war headed by General Rafael López Gutiérrez, candidate of the opposition, and the General Vicente Tosta Carrasco. The American ambassador took part so that Bertrand lost power and left the country.

From 1920 to 1923, there were seventeen uprisings or attempted coups d'état in Honduras. This contributed even more to the already increasing worry of the United States about the political unsteadiness in Central America. In August 1922, the presidents of Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador gathered on the USS Tacoma in the Gulf of Fonseca, under the attentive eye of the ambassadors of the United States to these countries. The presidents promised once again to prevent that their territories were used to promote revolutions against their neighbours. Likewise it did them a called to all the countries, to gather in Washington at the end of the year. Apart from all this, in September 1920 the first national strike, the workers of the company "Vaccaro Brother Company" with headquarters in La Ceiba in the department of Atlántida organised to demand adjust of wages.

The Washington conference concluded in February with the approval of the General Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1923. This treaty reorganised the Central American Court and ratified a lot of dispositions from the treaty of 1907. The clause of non-recognition of revolutionary governments was extended; Likewise the rulers engaged once again not to intervene in the affairs of their neighbours.

This same meeting promoted agriculture and free trade. It limited arms and established a limit on the size of the military strengths of each country (2.500 men for Honduras). United States engaged to look for the foreign help for professionalization of the armed forces.

Elections and American intervention

Presidential elections in Honduras in October 1923 and political conflicts and back soldiers would provide the first challenges for these new agreements. Under strong pressure from Washington, López Gutiérrez allowed free elections. The very fragmented conservatives united under the flag of the National Party of Honduras (PNH). These chose the governor of Cortés, Doctor and General. Tiburcio Carías Andean as their candidate. Whereas the liberal party (PLH) was divided in two currents: one supported ex-president Doctor Policarpo Bonilla, and others the candidacy of Doctor Juan Ángel Arias Boquín. When carrying out the elections, Carías received the most votes (49,953). Bonilla (35,474 votes) was second and Arias (20,839 votes) remained in a distant third place. But nobody achieved the majority demanded by the Constitution of Honduras. Then it touched him to the Congress gather and take a decision. But the members of this body, did not reach agreement.

In January 1924, López Gutiérrez announced his intention to remain in charge until new elections, but never gave a specific date. In the face of this situation, Tiburcio Carías Andean, when seeming, with the support of the United Fruit Company, car proclaimed president, and a new armed conflict burst out. In February the government of United States warned that any person that arrived to the power by revolutionary means, no serious recognized. At the same time it suspended relations with López Gutiérrez by did not celebrate elections.

Conditions deteriorated quickly in the first months of 1924. On 28 February, a battle took place in La Ceiba between government troops and the rebels. Even the presence of the Or S.S. Denver and the landing of a force of marines of the United States were unable to prevent looting and fires that left more than more than US $2 million in property damage. Fifty people, among them a US citizen, died in the fighting. In the following weeks, additional fuselages of the United States Navy concentrated in Honduran waters, to protect American interests.

General Vicente Tosta

A force of children of marine and sailors dismissed even to the interior to Tegucigalpa to offer additional protection to the delegation of the United States. Shortly before their arrival, Rafael López Gutiérrez died, and the control of the country fell to the cabinet. General Carías and other rebel leaders controlled the greater part of the field, but did not coordinate their activities with sufficient efficiency to seize the capital.

In an effort to put end to the fighting, the government of United States sent Sumner Welles to the port of Amapala. Welles had instructions to produce a satisfactory agreement according to the treaty of 1923, and like this carry to the power to somebody that could be recognized legal. The negotiations, once again made on board of the fuselage of American war USS Milwaukee, lasted from 23 to 28 April. At the end they came to the agreement to put in the government of provisional form to the general Vicente Tosta Carrasco, who accessed to appoint a cabinet representing all the political factions and summoned an Constituent Assembly with ninety days to restore the constitutional order. The constitution of 1924 was published during this government.

The presidential elections had to be held as soon as possible. Likewise Tosta promised to abstain to from running. Once in charge, Tosta gave signs of not wanting to fulfil some of his promises. But under strong pressure from the delegation of United States, in the end he had to fulfil with the disposals of the agreement of peace.

Keep the elections in clear-cut date show to be a difficult task.To exert pressure on Tosta, the United States fixed a seize of arms to Honduras and forbade him to the government the access to the credit - that included a loan of US$75.000 of the Bank Atlántida S.A.. Besides, United States convinced to El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua to keep the treaty of 1923 and not recognising to any revolutionary leader as president.

These pressures finally helped to persuade Carías to withdraw his candidacy. Also it helped to ensure the defeat of an uprising headed by the General Gregorio Ferrera of the PNH.

Miguel Paz Barahona

The National Party (PNH) nominated Miguel Paz Barahona to the presidency. The PLH, after some debate, declined to appoint a candidate, and on 28 December Paz Barahona won the election unanimously. Paz Barahona assumed power on 1 February 1925.

During his government, Miguel Paz Barahona undertook to guarantee the return of exiled politicians and to cancel the debt with England (Alcerro King agreement). Also it favoured the granting of batches of family to the peasant sector. Likewise, it promoted the public education, for which it use prisons and barracks. Nevertheless, the alliance with the interests of United States remained intact. It was during this government that initiated persecutions against journalists and opposition citizens to United States. In spite of a new lower uprising directed by the general Ferrera in the year 1925, the administration of Paz Barahona was, relatively calm.

Besides in March 1925 the workers of the Wit Azucarero in the municipality of La Lima, in the department of Cortés began to take the installations, for afterwards follow them the other workers of the coast north and seconded by the employees of the "Cuyamel Fruit Company" in this the workers requested: weekly payments, working times of 8 hours and increases of wage.

In 1928 they went back to the fears of new riots when approaching the end of the mandate of Paz Barahona. The PNH designated Tiburcio Carías as its presidential candidate, whereas the PLH appointed Vicente Mejía Colindres, after of the death of the Dr. Polycarp Bonilla. To the surprise of a lot of observers, so much in the electoral campaign like the elections carried out with minimum acts of violence and intimidation.

Vicente Mejía Colindres

Mejía Colindres obtained a decisive victory, attaining 62.000 votes to 47.000 for Carías. The most surprising part of this election was Carías' public acceptance of his defeat and equally his insistence to his followers that they accept the new government. Mejía Colindres took power in 1929 with big hopes for his administration and his nation. Honduras seemed on the way to the political and economic progress. The exports of banana at that time represented 90% of exports. In 1930, Honduras had become the primary producer of bananas in the world.

The United Fruit had managed every time to dominate the trade, and in 1929 bought out the Cuyamel Fruit Company, one of its two main rivals. With the merger of these two companies expected a bit more than tranquility, since the rivalry of the two, had contributed significantly to the revolutionary riots.

More tranquility was expected in 1931, after General Ferrera was killed in a final attempt to overthrow the government.

However, many of the hopes of Mejía Colindres dispelled with the start of the Great Depression. The banana exports peaked in 1930, but afterwards diminished quickly. Thousands of workers were sacked, and the wages of those who remain were reduced, to the equal that the prices paid to the banana producers independent by part of the giant banana companies. To measure that the depression sharpened the financial situation of the government deteriorated, in 1931 Colindres Mejía saw himself forced to borrow $250,000 from the fruit companies to ensure the army payroll.

Election of Carías

In spite of increasing unrest and grave economic tensions, the elections of 1932 were relatively peaceful and just. In February 1932, the National Party of Honduras (PNH) nominated Carías as its presidential candidate; initially there was elect to Venancio Alleys to the Vice-presidency but when declining this appointed to Abraham Williams". The liberals for their part appointed Ángel Zúñiga Huete as their candidate. Carias won the elections by a margin of some 20,000 votes. The General assumed power on 16 November 1932, in what would become the longest period of a single government, in the history of Honduras.

Initially it was thought that the government of Carías, like that of his predecessors, would not survive for long. Shortly before his inauguration, liberal dissidents rose in rebellion. As Carías took control of the government forces, he obtained arms in El Salvador and in short order crushed the uprising.

During the first part of his administration, Carías focused on avoiding financial collapse, improving the armed forces and building roads. At the same time that seated the bases to prolong his stay in the power.

The Honduras economy continued to be depressed through the decade of the 1930s. In addition to the drastic fall in banana exports caused by the depression, the banana industry saw loomed in 1935, by epidemics like the Black sigatoka. In a year, extensive areas including those in the zone of Trujillo, were abandoned, and thousands of Hondurans remained without work. For 1937 it had controlled the plague but a lot of zones affected remained out of production. Because of this, Honduras lost big part of the international market.

Carías had made an effort to improve the armed forces, even before he became president. Once in power, his motivation to continue his work increased. This loaned him special attention to the decadent Forces Area by what founded the Military School of Aviation (1934) having an American colonel as his commander.

With the passage of time, Carías moved slowly but without pause, to strengthen in the power. He won the support of the banana companies through the opposition to the strikes and other labour riots. He strengthened his position in the national financial circles and with foreigners through conservative economic politics. Even with the rise of the depression, continued making regular payments on the external debt, adhering strictly to the terms of the agreement with the forks of British Bonds. Likewise, it satisfied its other creditors. Two small loans were paid completely in 1935.

Repression

Political controls initiated slowly under the government of Carías. The Communist Party of Honduras (PCH) was declared illegal. But the Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH) was still active. Even, to the leaders of a small lifting in 1935 offered them free aerial transport in case they wished to return to Honduras.

To finals of 1935, doing upsetting in the need of the internal order and the peace, Carías began to repress the press and the political activities in his against.

On the other hand, the PNH began a publishing campaign doing upsetting in the continuity of Carías so that it continued the peace and the order in the country. However the Constitution of 1924 like the one of 1894 forbade the reelection. Carías presented his plan of reelection in front of the delegation of the United States in Tegucigalpa. The Americans concluded that if similar governments had been established in Guatemala, The Saviour and Nicaragua, did not see why Carías could not extend his mandate. In this way United States threw by embroiders it the 'Treaty of 1923'.

The General Carías then summoned to a national constituent assembly to modify the constitution. This assembly chosen to the 'dedazo' incorporated 30 articles of the Constitution of 1924 in the new constitution. The main changes were the elimination of the prohibition on the immediate reelection of the president and the vice-president and the extension of the presidential term from four to six years. Other changes included restoration of the death penalty of death, the reduction of the powers of the term of office, and the negation of the citizenship and the right to the vote of women.

The opposition Liberal Party (PLH) and other sectors reacted to these changes, treating to overthrow to Carías. Numerous efforts did in 1936 and 1937, but without success. For finals of the decade of 1930, the National Party was the only political organisation recognised in the nation. Numerous leaders opposition leaders were imprisoned, and some were chained and forced to work in the streets of Tegucigalpa. Others, including the leader of the PLH, Zúñiga Huete, had exiled .

During his presidency, Carías cultivated a narrow relation with his fellow dictators of Central America, generals: Jorge Situate of Guatemala, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez of The Saviour, and Anastasio Somoza García of Nicaragua. His narrower relation was with the dictator Situate, who helped to Carías to reorganise his secret police, and also captured and shot the leader of an uprising in Honduras who had committed the error of crossing into Guatemalan territory. The relations with Nicaragua were somewhat tenser in consequence of the border dispute. But Carías and Somoza succeeded in keeping under control this dispute along the years 1930 and 1940.

Last period of Carías

When winning the second period of six years, ratified the Article of the Constitution that prorrogó the presidential period to said six years and the Presidency in the General headlines Carías and Williams until 31 December 1948.

In 1944 the bonds of Carías with these dictators turned into something not wanted, once that popular uprisings deposed to Situate of Guatemala and to the Salvadorian Martínez Hernández. During a time, seemed as if the revolutionary contagion extended to Honduras.

A plot of civilians and military with the purpose to overthrow to Carías was discovered, but crushed by the government in 1943. In May 1944, a group of women began to protest out of the Presidential Palace of Tegucigalpa, to demand the release of the political prisoners. In spite of the strong measures taken by the government, the tension grew and Carías saw forced finally to free to some prisoners. This gesture did not satisfy to the opposition, and the demonstrations against the government followed extending.

In July several demonstrators were murdered by governmental troops in San Pedro Sula. In October, a group of exiled invaded to Honduras from The Saviour, but did not succeed in his efforts for overthrowing to the government. The soldiers remained loyal, and Carías continued in the charge.

Election and exert of Gálvez

The government of United States in turn, wanted to be done with problems in Central America. Therefore, it urged Carías to allow free elections once his current term ended. For that then, Carías, had more than seventy years. The general yielded to these pressures and announced elections for October 1948, in which it would abstain to present as candidate. Nevertheless, Carías found ways to use his power.

General Carias nominated his ex-minister of war (1933), Juan Manuel Gálvez as a presidential candidate by the National Party. On the other hand, exiled opposition figures were authorised to return to Honduras. Of this form, the PLH, treating to surpass years of inactivity and division, nominated to Ángel Zúñiga Huete like his presidential candidate.

But the liberals, quickly convinced that they did not have any possibility of winning and, accusing to the government of manipulation of the electoral process, boycotted the elections. This gave to Gálvez a victory without opposition and in January 1949 he assumed the presidency.

Once president, Gálvez showed to be an independent person. Much more of what had anticipated . The president Gálvez adopted some policies of Carías, such as the construction of roads and the development of the exports of coffee. In 1953 almost a fourth part of the budget of the government devoted to the construction of roads.

Gálvez also followed the greater part of the fiscal politics of the previous administration, the reduction of the external debt and paying off the last of the British bonds. The fruit companies followed receiving a good deal by part of Gálvez. For example, in 1949, United Fruit received a favourable agreement of twenty-five years.

In addition, Gálvez established some remarkable changes in comparison to the last fifteen years. The education that received greater attention and began to perceive a greater part of the national budget. The congress approved a law of income tax, although its application was sporadic at best.

The most evident change was in the political sand. A considerable degree of freedom of press was restored. The Liberal Party was allowed to reorganise, as well as other political groups. The workers also benefited during this period. He established the working time of 8 hours, paid holidays paid, and responsibility of the employer for workplace safety and regulations of the employment of women and boys.

The strike of 1954

The relative peace that Honduras had enjoyed during almost two decades was destroyed by a series of events during the last year (1954) with Gálvez as head of government. The tension in the entire Central American region increased with a confrontation developed between the left-handed government of the president Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán of Guatemala and the United States.

Part of this confrontation was due to the expropriation of land from the United Fruit Company by the Guatemalan government. Likewise United States accused to the government of Arbenz Guzmán to boost the agitation between the workers of the Fruit Company. In 1952 United States had considered to take actions to overthrow to the Guatemalan president. But the government of Gálvez, that had given asylum to oppositores to this government between them Carlos Castillo Armas, that did not wanted to cooperate in the direct actions against of Guatemala, and the plans were not activated.

This was until principles of 1954, when a big operation concealed developed in Honduran territory against the Guatemalan president. The government of Honduras had showed worry, because of the tensions between the workers of the industry of the banano and the United Fruit Co. The administration of Gálvez concluded, that this was due to the influence that the left-handed government of Guatemala had on the Honduran workers.

For principles of May 1954, the tensions had increased. In the first place, they gave a series of strikes against the operations of the United Fruit Company in the coast north of Honduras. To the few days, the strike extended and included the operations of the Standard Fruit Company, with what the sector bananero of the country arrived to a deadlock.

The strikers presented a wide range of complaints. Between which include : The increase of wage, better conditions of work, medical profits, payment of extra hours, and the right to the collective negotiation. The initial efforts of the government to put end to the strike fracasaron and the unemployments began to extend to other industries. On 21 May, the number of strikers approached to 30.000, and the economy of the country was under a strong pressure.

In addition to having to lidiar with the strike, likewise the government saw increasingly involved in the movement to overthrow to the government of Arbenz in Guatemala. To finals of May, an agreement of military assistance subscribed between United States and Honduras, and big quantities of American arms were sent quickly to Honduras.

Big part of this help received send to the rebellious anti-Arbenz headed by Castle Arm. In June these strengths crossed the border of Guatemala and after several days of political manoeuvres, and little armed fight, Arbenz escaped to the exile and Castle Arm took the power in this country.

With the overthrow of Arbenz finished the foreign influence between the Honduran workers. The strike finished in July of this year, the sindical leaders that had been accused to have bonds with Guatemala were imprisoned, but the banana companies yielded to some demands of the workers. This marked the beginning of a labour strength more organized and the decrease in the power of the companies fruteras.

The constitutional crisis of 1954

In the middle of these conflicts, campaigning for the elections of 1954 continued. Dissatisfied with some politics of Gálvez to the liberalisation, Carías decided to run for president in spite of his advanced age, ensuring the nomination of the PNH. This movement, however, divided to the party. The most moderate members separated of the party and formed the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR). Its candidate was ex-vice president Abraham Williams Calderón. This division among the nationalists motivated the Liberals, who joined behind the candidature of Ramón Villeda Morales, a doctor of Tegucigalpa. So much the campaign like the elections were very free and honest. On 10 October 1954, roughly 260,000 of the more than 400,000 voter attended to the urns. Villeda Moral won the elections with 121,213 votes, Carías received 77,041, and Williams carried 53,041.

Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH) also obtained the majority in the term of office. But under the Constitution, Villeda did not obtain the necessary majority of votes to be president (-8000 votes). Something resembled it sucedido in 1924. This situation left in hands of the term of office the decision to choose to the new president. To complicate things more, Gálvez went to Miami, purportedly to receive medical treatment, although some sources ensure that he simply fled the country, leaving the government in the hands of the vice-president Julio Lozano Díaz.

National Party (PNH) and the National Movement revolutionary (MNR) were not had to accept the election of Villeda by what boycotted the legislative assembly, producing a constitutional crisis. By what of agreement to this constitution, touched him to the Supreme Court of Justice choose to the president. As the court was dominated by Carías appointees, the Liberal Party of Honduras was opposed to such course of action. In this conjuncture, Lozano Díaz suddenly suspended the term of office and proclaimed president until new elections.

References

History of Honduras (1900–1954) Wikipedia


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