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Thursday, October 15, 2009

RIVAL PRESIDENTS OF HONDURAS FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:

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DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

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The old ghosts of Central America- extended presidential term limits and coups d'etat- have returned to haunt Honduras. Now, dissenting factions are being pressed by the international community to make up and inter the problem for good- in a region that has only recently experienced a dawn of democracy.

IN THE NEWS: HAVING AGREED WEDNESDAY ON A PROPOSAL WHICH WOULD ALLOW OUSTED HONDURAN PRESIDENT, MANUEL ZELAYA TO FINISH HIS TERM AS PRESIDENT, INTERIM PRESIDENT ROBERTO MICHELETTI ANNOUNCES THERE IS NO CONSENSUS ON THE DETAILS. ZELAYA, ISOLATED IN THE BRAZILIAN EMBASSY WHERE HE HAS TAKEN REFUGE SINCE RETURNING FROM EXILE, WOULD HAVE TO AGREE TO END HIS EARLIER ATTEMPT TO EXTEND HIS TERM LIMIT BY CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION. AND MICHELETTI WOULD HAVE TO CONSENT TO AN INVESTIGATION OF THE THE MILITARY COUP IN WHICH HE DISPLACED ZELAYA. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WILL REFUSE TO RECOGNIZE ELECTIONS SLATED FOR NOVEMEBER 29 UNLESS THE STANDOFF IS RECOLVED THROUGH PEACEFUL NEGOTIATION- PUTTING THE BOTH SIDES UNDER PRESSURE.

REARVIEW MIRROR:
Coup d'etats are not the only shadow associated with Latin America's past. The use of congress to change the constitution in order to extend presidential term limits was used long ago by presidents like Venzuela's Guzman Blanco and Honduras's Carias Andino. They were right wing presidents; today, governments on the left, like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Honduras's Manuel Zelaya have turned to the extension of term lmits and Zelaya, as a consequence was removed in a right wing military coup d'etat.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: From Spanish colonial times, Honduras's difficult terrain slowed its development. The country's poverty, its need for a railway and a means to develop and exploit its banana crop left it dependent on foreign investors, first Britain and then the United States. Violent political intervention by its neighbours combined with political parties (Liberals and Conservatives) which behaved more like armed camps with vested interests, led to a tradition of political violence, rigged elections and dictatorships, the most notorious among them the Carias dictatorship of 1932-1948. Post-war attempts to return to democratic and civilian rule were hindered by the United States which intervened on behalf of its own economic interests and propped up military dictators in order to oppose the spread of Communist infiltration from insurgencies in Guatemala and El Salvador and from the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. As such, Honduras became Washington's conservative strong-hold in Central America. The fall of the Soviet Union and the democratization of Latin America, brought in a new breed of Left-wing charismatic leader. Chavez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia and now, Zelaya of Honduras, have attempted what had in the past been a provocative strategy of right-wing demagogues- the extention of term limits by changing the constitution. The bid by Zelaya to extend his term limit was the reason used by Conservative forces to remove him in a military coup.

IN A NUTSHELL: Honduras's gradual and desultory return to civilian govenment after World Two was hindered by US president Reagan's support for Honduras' military in order to host Nicaragua's Contras in their attempt to unseat the left-wing Nicaraguan Sandinista government and to provide a bulwark against insurgemncies in El Salvador and Guatemala. The late 1990s saw a return to civilian government. But the stability of post Cold War Latin America was threatened once again by the perennial problem of extreme poverty. In the late 1990s, maverick leftist Hugo Chaves's Venezuela had replaced Cuba and the Soviet Union as the focus for reform froom the left. Zelaya, as president of one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, followed Chavez's example in attempting to govern from the left. The region's cold war rivalries may have been succeeded by a new polarization around wealth and poverty.

THEN AND NOW: 1981 saw the election of Roberto Suazo Cordova, the first civilian president
in decades. The Contra war in Nicaragua inceased the power of General Gustavo Alvarez who soon overshadowed the president. In 1986 Jose Azcona Del Hoya was elected president; at the same time a law was passed limiting presidents to a single term. In 2009, both trends were disappointed; President Zelaya tried to extend his term limit and the army quickly deposed him and took power.

CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:

RELEVANT DATES
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
.
PREVIOUS ENTRIES

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:

EYEWTNESS
PLUS CA CHANGE
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF

LOCATION OF NOTE: TEGUCIGALPA: Founded by the Spanish in the late 16th century, the city was a center of gold and silver mining. It became the headquarters of the Liberals under Francisco Morazan. Its university was foounded in 1847. The city of Comayagua was its rival for the seat of government though Tegucigalpa won the right permanently in 1880. To this day, it is still not served by a railroad.

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Tegucigalpa.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:

A Country without Communications
In 1840, Honduras declared independence, but ceased to develope its mineral wealth. Poor communications through the rugged interior, where main roads still consisted of mule tracks, where mangrove swamps encumbered the shorelines, made the country all but impossible to govern. Despite a new constitution in in 1851, local fiefdoms or centres of power in valleys remote from the capital limited centalized administration. Nevertheless it was Honduras that managed the capture and execution in 1860 of the American Adventurer William Walker in his attempts to achieve, through military force, the economic exploitation of much of Central America.

The Search for a Railway.
There is some irony in the fact that the sole solution to the country's practical unification and administration remained the building of a railway, a project which lent itself handily to foreign exploitation and local corruption. British investment between 1863 and 1867 was mostly swallowed up in profiteerring. However, the late 19th century saw rare stibility under the regimes of Aurelio De Soto and Luis Borgan.

Interference from Nicaragua
But at the end of the century, the regional political instability that had threatened Honduras at its birth, returned. In 1894, Nicaragua imposed a Liberal president, Polycarpo Bonilla, who remained in power until 1903 when the was over thrown by the Conservatives. In 1906, Honduras and El Salvador joined forces to fight Guatemala`s President Cabrera. The United States convened a peace conference in Costa Rica but Nicraragua, in the belief that it alone should broker the peace, refused to participate. In February, 1907, Honduran President Bonilla sent the army to counterattack invading forces from Nicaragua under president Zelaya and Nicaragua and was defeated.

The First Major US Interventions
The twentieth century opened with the first American intervetions: US marines landed in1907 in response to civil unrest. President Miguel Davila's acceptance, three years later, of a State Department loan to pay off the Biritsh railway debt marked the beginning of American involvement in Honduran railways and banana exports. In 1911, Washington backed the overthrow of Liberal President Davila and backed the re-instalment of Bonilla due to the latter's support of US impresario Samuel Zemurray's scheme for the growth and export of bananas from Honduras.
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Samuel Zemurray


Bananas and American Intervention.
Zemurray's Cuyamel Fruit Company had obtained concessions for fruit plantations and proceeded with the construction of a cross-country railway. By 1913, the US-owned United Fruit Company countrolled two-thirds of Honduram Banana exports. In 1919, US Marines intervened for a second time to quell civil disturbances. US troops returned in 1924 to defend American interests and back the government during electoral violence. The nationalist Miguel Paz Barahona won the election but national autonomy was dimmed as the reailway debt to Britain rose to $125 million. In 1928, Zemurray's Cuyamel Fruit Company persuaded two liberal candidates to retire and financed his own candidate, Vincente Mejira Conlindres who became president, defeating Tiburcio Carias Andino. But the 1932 elections saw Mejira lend his support to Carias as the latter won the presidency but only with a four-year term limit. In November of that year Liberals marched against Tegucigalpa and Carias repelled them with air strikes and military support from El Salvador.

The Carias Dictatorship.
From 1932 to 1948 Carias and his National Party would rule with unlimited power. The process began in 1936 when Congress gave him a six-year extension to his four-year term limit. In 1939 Liberal opponents were assassinated on Carias' orders. World War Two saw the dictatorship win US backing in the name of the war effort against Germany. In 1944 a women's protest march in Tegucigalpa was met with mass arrests. A demonstration in San Pedro was dispersed with bloody repression.

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Tiburcio Carias Andino

The Cold War
1954 saw military conflict narrowly avoided as Communists from Guatemala crossed the border into Honduras. In the same year, a three-month strike against United Fruit set new labour standards for Central America.

RELEVANT DATES:

1890- Liberal party founded.

1894- Nicaragua imposes Liberal president Policarpo Bonilla. Liberals in power until 1903.

1903- Conservatives take power in a coup d'etat.

1932- Carias and his conservative National Party win election. Constitution bars re-election after one 4-year term.

-November- armed Liberals march on Tegucigalpa from San Lorenzo. With Salvadoran support, Carias has rebels attacked from the air at El Sauce.

-last congressional elections for many years. All government powers concentrated in the hands of the presidency.

1932-1949- rule of Tiburcio Carias Andino's rightist National Party of Honduras. Martial law will last until 1946.

1936- Congress gives Carias a 6-year extension of his 4-year term, according to a revised constitution.

1939- Congress extends Carias' term until 1949, contrary to constitution.

1944- Carlos Ribiera Reina, a Liberal Party activist inprisoned for oppostion to Carias regime.

May- 300 women march in protest against Carias in Tagucigalpa. Protestors rounded up.

July 6- protest in San Pedro met with bloody repression.

1948- Carias retires and resigns. Juan, Manuel Galvez, the government candidate for president, wins elections easily.

-1957- National Party falls from power for the first time since 1932.

1957- civilian president ousted by military. A new Liberal president and congress are elected. A new constitution is brought in. -Ramon Villeda Morales becomes the first Liberal president elected in 25 years.

1963- Colonel Oswaldo Lopez Avellano ousts Villeda in a military coup.

1981- Roberto Suazo Cordova, a Liberal, becomes first civilian president in more than a century after US pressure for democratic relections due to increasing regional instability.

1986- a Liberal, Jose Azcona Del Hoyo elected civilian president after a law was passed limiting presidents to one term.

1993 -November- Carlos Reina- Liberal and human rights activist elected president, promises to reform the judiciary and limit the power of the army.

-Dec 2, Honduras' ruling party said it had enlisted 300 lawyers to check results of the country's disputed presidential election for evidence of fraud. Officials still hadn't declared Honduras' new president, five days after the country's contentious election.

2005 December - Liberal Party's Manuel Zelaya is declared the winner of presidential elections after his ruling party rival concedes defeat.

Dec 23, In Honduras, official results confirmed that opposition candidate Manuel Zelaya won the presidency in November elections.

2006- Jan 27, In Honduras Manuel Zelaya was inaugurated as the new president. He promised to fight corruption and help criminal and gang members become useful citizens.

-President Manuel Zelaya visits Cuba, the first official trip by a Honduran president to the island in 46 years. The two countries recently agreed their maritime boundaries after a long-running dispute.

Honduras joins Leftist Bloc

2008 August - Longtime US ally Honduras joins the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), an alliance of leftist leaders in Latin America headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a staunch US foe. President Manuel Zelaya says a lack of international support to tackle chronic poverty forced him to seek aid from Venezuela.

Zelaya Ousted in Coup by Conservative Opposition

2009- June 28- President Zelaya Ousted in Coup.

June 29- U.S. President Barack Obama has also called for Zelaya’s reinstatement, and the deposed president’s wife and youngest son are being protected at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa.

July 1- In a key next step, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza is seeking to meet in a third country with a delegation of Honduras's coup leaders to demand Mr. Zelaya's reinstatement.

July 2- Zelaya, 56, who originally planned to return on July 2, delayed his trip until the OAS decision.

July 3-
A caretaker government in Honduras said yesterday it was open to holding early elections to resolve the impasse over ousted President Manuel Zelaya, as the Organization of American States readied a mission to push for his reinstatement.


July 4- The Organization of American States suspends Honduras.

July 5- Ousted President Manuel Zelaya leaves Washington, D.C., on Sunday on a Venezuelan jet heads for Honduras, but the country's interim government vows to prevent his return and blocks the runway at the airport in Tegucigalpa forcing his plane to turn around.

July - The US refuses to recongnize the new government in Honduras, suspends aid and demands the return of Zelaya.

-the Organization of American States refuses to the recognize Zelaya and demands his reinstatement as president.

-In San Jose, Costa Rica, President Oscar Arias convenes talks between Zelaya and the interim government. The Arias Plan is accepted by Zelaya but rejected by the Honduras interim government.

-September- Zelaya returns to Honduras and takes refuge in the Brazilian Embassy. Interim president Micheletti demands that Brazil hand him over. Brazil's President Lula refuses. Micheletti threatens to close the embassy.

-Honduran interim government closes down media which support Zelya or critical of the government.

October- proxies for interim president Micheletti and for Zelaya begin talks in an attempt to find a settlemet.

-from his refuge inside the Brazilian Embassy, Zelaya demands the restoration of civil liberties in Honduras and the removal of troops surrounding the embassy.


RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.

Post-War US Support for Honduran Dictatorships.
A long period of military dictatorship backed by Washington began in 1957 with the overthrow of a civilian government. The United States saw a militarized, authoritarian Honduras as a rock of stability in the midst of Communist subversion in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. 1963 saw another civilian government toppled, this tme by Colonel Oswaldo Lopez Avellano who retained power through a rigged eelction in 1965. After the "Soccer War" of 1969, civilian rule had a brief rebirth in 1971-1972 before President Ramon Ernesto Cruz was overthrown and dictatorship resumed under Colonel Lopez Avellano who was soon accused of acceptring bribes in 1974. The following year he was forced from power and his government fell in disgrace as a bribery scandal involving high officials led to the suicide of United Fruit Company chairman E.M. Black. Military dictators came and went in the late 1970s and in 1981 Roberto Suazo Cordova was elected the first civilian president in decades.


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Oswaldo Lopez Avellano

Honduras Becomes a US Base in the Contra War.
In the early 1980s, civil wars in neighbouring El Salvador and Nicaraua led to concentration of power in the hands of General Gustavo Alvarez who set up counterinsurgency training camps and eventually assumed political power. He duly benefited when US President Reagan lifted the embargo on arms sales to military governments. By 1982, US-backed Nicaraguan Contras had set up bases in Honduras in efforts to bring down Nicragua's leftist Sandinista government and Honduras-based rebels began kidnapping businessmen for ransom. Alvarez, meanwhile, unleashed death squads, killing left wing activits and trade union leaders. President Reagan provided direct aid to the Honduran militaty in 1986 and Honduran troops threatened Nicaragua from the border. In the same year, a law was passed limiting presidents to single terms and a civilian president came to power once again with the election of Jose Azcona Del Hoyo. Amnesty was extended, military men and left wing guerillas accused of abuses.

Political Tensions in the Wake of the War.
Disappeareacnes and killings continued at the hands of right wing death squads and General Avellanos was assassinated. Two civilian presidents, a neo-liberal, Rafeal Callejas and a political liberal, Carlos Reina who promised to investigate human rights abuses, augured change. In 1995, military officers were, for the first time, charged with human rights abuses. 1997 saw the strengthening of civilian control with the election of Carlos Flores, a Liberal. By 1999, both the police and the military were under civilian control. In the same year, old tensions resurfaced as Honduras and Nicaragua narrowly avoided war over a border dispute and Nicragua protested a treaty between Colombia and Honduras over control of the Caribbean.

The Crisis of Lawlessness.
In 2000, a Honduran human rights body announced that 1,000 street children had been murdered in Honduras. The following year, the UN asked that Honduras put a stop to extra-judicial killings by police and in 2002, the newly elected president, Ricardo Maduro, declared that the army would now investigate murders allegedly carried out by police. While foreign relations strenghtened in 2003 with the restoration of diplomatic ties to Cuba, an agreement with the US to send troops to Iraq and a Central American free trade deal with Washington (approved by the Honduran congress in March 2005) , the problem of gangs, prisons and lawlessness increased in 2004 with the death of 100 inmates in a prison fire in San Pedro Sula. In December, 28 died when the Mara Salvatrucha gang, demonstrating opposition to the death penalty, ambushed a bus filled with holiday travellers.

President Zelaya
After disputes over election fraud were resolved, the election of a Liberal, Manuel Zelaya was confirmed on December 23, 2005. In July 2007 it was revealed that the US had set up a base in the north east of the country to combat drug trafficking. Controversy around Zelaya increased in when the president declared that the government version of events would be broadcast for two hours a day for ten days, to counteract misinformation. In the fall, Zelaya visited Cuba, the fiirst visit by a Honduran president in 46 years. His left-leaning policies gained strength when Honduras joined the Bolivarian Alternative for Americas, the South American bloc of left-leaning nations inaugurated by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Zelaya explained that increasing poverty in Latin America gave him little choice.

Zelaya Ousted in Coup.
On June 29, 2009, conservative members of Congress, protesting President Zelaya's moves to change the constitution in order to allow himself another term in office, ousted him in a military coup and sent in exile to Costa Rica. Roberto Micheletti became the interim president. Over the following days, Wahsington and the Organization of American States demanded his reinstatement, the OAS finally suspending Honduras from membership. Protesters supporting Zelaya were regualry dispersed by police, often with violence. In July, Washington refused to recognize Michelletti's interim government. Hugo Chavez, and many new South American left wing governments which have declared solidaruty with Chavez's Bolivarian revolution supported Zelaya's attempts to recover the Honduran presidency. The crisis quickly bcame a foocus for the entire Latin American region which, since the rise of Chavez in the 1990s, has been polarized between left and right. Talks between Zelaya and the interim government were convened in San Jose by Costa Rican president Ocar Arioas. The Arias Plan, a propsed settlement that would see Zelaya finish his term before new elections, was accepted by Zelaya but rejected by Micheletti. Throughout the remainder of the summer, tensions increased as Zelaya attempted to return by by air, only to be refused landing rights as troops blocked the runways at the Tegucigalpa airport. In another confrontation, he and his supporters in Nicaragua faced troops on the Honduras border. In September, he finally arrived back in Honduras only to face arrest whereupon he took refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Brazil's president Lula lent hs support, refusing a request by the interim government to expel Zelaya from the Brazilian embassy.


REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:

As early as 900 BCE, there was human settlement in Honduras. Mayan empires endured from the eighth through the fourth centuries.

Colonial Period.
Henrando Cortes sent his lieutentant Las Casas to explore Honduras for Spain in 1525 and indigenous tribes under the heroic chieftain,Lempira mounted resistance to Spanish settlement throughout the mid-16th century. From 1543, until the early 19th century Honduras, Nicaragua and Chiapas were part of Spain's Captaincy General. British pirates inhabited the the Caribbean coast during the 17th century while the Spanish developed the interior.

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La Dia de Lempira- commemorating the chieftain who resisted the Spanish.

Independance Versus Confederation.
Honduras was essentially the political vauum left after the formation of Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador; this rugged, infertile and thinly populated area, with most of its wealth undergound or on the north coast, would prove diffitult to rule. The regional move toward independence after 1821 brought about difficulties and inevitable conflicts as regions strove to define themselves as nations during parallel attempts to form a larger and stronger federal, Central American union. In 1823, Honduras joined Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala as part of the United Provinces of Central Ameirca, which distintegrated in 1839 after a civil war in which Rafeal Carrera of Guatemala turned against the Honduran president of the union, Francisco Morazan. Morazan was defeated and Honduras became an independent state in 1840.

PROFILE: Born around 1867, Tiburcio Andino Carias came from a mixed Indian, black and white background. In his youth, he served as a cook for a Liberal guerilla group led by his brothers and in 1907 fought with the Liberals, backed by Nicragua, against Tegucigalpa. After the Liberal vctory he obtained a law degree. In 1923 he left the Liberals for the conservative National Party, failed to win the election, but victory in the civil war that followed elevated him to the presidency which he held with strong support from the United Fruit Company. 1924 and 1928 saw electoral defeats and he lived in temporary retirement as a small farmer while his wife ran a road house. He was re-elected in 1932 and immediately quelled a Liberal uprising by force. In 1936 , he had his four-year single term limit extended by congress to six years. In 1939, he got another three years added, keeping him in power until his retuirement in 1948. Most of his rule was a tyranny in which local and federal democracy was suspended, although he did expand Honduras's dismal network of roads and brought in a degree of education reform. (courtesy of William Krehm- 'Democracies and Ryrannies of the Caribbean)

EYE-WITNESS: May 27, 1944: "Now it was was war without quarter between the dictator nand the people. In Tegucigalpa Varias peddled cynical tales: the demonstrators had tried assaulting the barracks...in another version they had broken into a bank...Four months after this excitement I interviewed Carias. Iron gates clocked behind me as I entered a massive castle...I was received...and ushered into the presence of the deictator...When I enquired why the ailing democrat Trejo Castillo had been kept in prison so long, Carias pointed plaintively to the broken panes and replied: 'That is what he got the mob to do. 'Tjey almost assassinated me.' he had, he told, me, given the country peace during his lengthy rule .The previous civil wars had left only destruction in their wake. On the lips of a man who had devoted four decades to such revolutioneering, the words had an odd ring. I asked whether or not he was defeating his laudable purpose by staying on as president: for months, Honduras had been heaving with demonstrations, shooting, invasions, bombings, all of which could be ended by the simple device of free elections. "They will have their elections," he rumbled, "but in 1948." -William Krehm, Democracies and Tyrannies of the Caribbean.

PLUS CA CHANGE:
In 1936, the Honduran congress extended President Tiburcio Carias' four-year term in office by two years. With the help of more extensions along with martial law, he would remain in power until 1946. In 2008, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya attempted to get congress to extend his term limit but in 2009 was overthrown in a right wing coup d'etat.


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF HONDURAS:

Ancient Honduras

900 BC- burial caves in Honduras.

435-950 AD- Mayan city of Copan.

763 -Yax Pasah, Copan’s last dynastic ruler.

Early Colonial Period

1502- Columbus, on fourth voyage, sights the Honduran coast. Names the land Honduras, meaning, "great depths"

1500-1600- (circa) Lenca chieftain Lempira mounts resistance to the Spanish. Groups of Maya inhabit the west,

1514- the Spanish penetrate the coast.

1524- Hernando Cortes sends an expeditionary force under his llieutenant, Las Casas to quell and insurrection by his subordinate Olid. But Olid manages a successful resisitance and captures Las casas.

1525-1539- Spanish conquest of Honduras.

The Captaincy General

1543-1773- Honduras, Nicaragua and Chiapas ruled by Spain's Captaincy General of Guatemala.

1576- Spanish discover ruins of Copan in westerm Honduras.

1600s- British pirates occupy parts of the Caribbean coast while the Spanish occupy the interior.

1797 - 5,000 black Carib Indians, the Garifuna or Garinagu exiled from St. Vincent Island to Roatan Island off Honduras.
Declaration of Independence and the United Provinces of Cent Am.

1821- Honduras declares independence as part of general declaration by the Captaincy General of Guatemala- both become part of the Mexican empire of Iturbide.

-Great Britain continues to control the Honduran coast.

-scattered villages among low, rough mountains and infertile valleys make settlement and rule difficult. Hondura will appear as a 'vacuum' among Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, who will interfere regularly in its politics.

1823- Honduras joins Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala as part of the United Provinces of Central America

1835 (curca)- Federalist soldiers of the United Provinces kill relatives of Guatemalan bandit and farmer Rafael Carrera; he swears vengeance.

1836- Honduras begins to become independent

1838- Carrera rules much of Guatemala.

1839- Civil war between Rafael Carrera and Francisco Morazan, Liberal president of the United Provinces of Central America. Morazan is defeated. Federation dissolves into Costa Rica, Nicaraua, El Salvador and Hondiras.

Honduras an Independent State

1840- Honduras achieves full independence. But the mines developed until then are now neglected.

1851- new constitution.

Problems of Transportation and Communication.

-US starts planning and projecting a railway from the Caribbean to the Pacific.

1860- Sept. 12- William Walker, US adventurer and invader of Nicaragua is captured by British and exectued by Honduran government.

1867-1870- British extend loans to plot a railway- but much of it is wasted in corruption.

-the capital is still a country town connected to Honduras by mule tracks.

The Stable Period.

1876-1883- regime of Marco Aurelio DeSoto provides rare stability.

-foreign capital begins to be used to develop gold mines.

1883-1891- with regime of Luis Borgan, stability continues.

1890- Liberal party founded.

Interference by Nicaragua and Guatemala.

1894- Nicaragua imposes Liberal president Policarpo Bonilla. Liberals in power until 1903.

1899- the US comapny United Fruit had made Honduras into a one-export Republic.

1903- Conservatives take power by force.

1906- El Salvador and Honduras combine to fight Cabrera of Guatemala. US sponsored peace conference to form a peaceful Central American federation in Costa Rica is boycotted by Nicaragua's Zelaya who feels he should lead it.

1907- Feb 20- Honduran president Bonilla launches attack against invading forces of Nicaraguan president Zelaya. Honduras defeated. Carias fighting as an officer among Liberals who supported Zelaya.

US Interference for Bananas and Railways.

1907- US marines land in Honduras to protect American interests during civil disturbance.

1910- President Miguel Davila accepts loan from State Department to pay off British railway loans.

1911- Feb 8- US assists in the overthrow of President Manuel Devila in order to support US impressario Samuel Zemurray's plans to start a banana business with the support of the Conservative manuel Bonilla.

Oct 1- Bonilla elected president with US help.

The Banana Monopolies

-Zemurray obtains concessions for Banana plantations for his Cuyamel Fruit Company and to build a trans-national railway.

1913- the American United Fruit Company controls two-thirds of Honduras' banana exports- the culmination of US inroads since the llate 19th century.

1919- Sept 11- second invasion of Honduras by US marines.

1920- downfall of Cabrera in Guatemala gives rise to new central American Union but new government in Guatemala opposes it.

1922- Feb 11- US marines withdraw from Honduras.

US Marines Protect US interests in Power Struggle.

1924- Feb 28- US marines sent to Hoduras to protect American intrerests during electoral violence.

-civil war develops

March 19- US troops arrive in Tegucigalpa to prevent overthrow of government by rebel forces.

-Nationalist Miguel Paz Barahona becomes president.

1926- debt to Britian for railway has risen to $125 million since 1870.

Carias and His Extended rule.

1928- Cuyamel Fruit Company arranges for 2 liberal candidates to retire in favour of Vincente Mejira Colindres bankrolled by Cuyamel in election. Carias defeated.

1932- Carias wins election with support from Mejira. Constitution bars re-election after one 4-year term.

-November- armed Liberals march on Tegucigalpa from San Lorenzo. With Salvadoran support, Carias has rebels attacked from the air at El Sauce.

-last congressional elections for many years. All government powers concentrated in the hands of the presidency.

Carias Dictatorship.

1932-1949- rule of Tiburcio Carias Andino's rightist National Party of Honduras. Martial law will last until 1946.

1933- Carias brings in internal passports.

1934- earthquake in central Honduras.

1936- Congress gives Carias a 6-year extension of his 4-year term, according to a revised constitution.

1938- Carias has Liberals Justo Umana and M.A. Zapata assassinated in Guatemala on orders from Carias.

1939- Congress extends Carias' term until 1949, contrary to constitution.

-some imprivements in education are made under the Caria government

1943- US Embassy discourgaes oppistion to Carias on grounds of the war effort.

November- Guatemalan minister uncovers a plot to assassinate Carias imprisons 28 accsued.-

1944- Carlos Ribiera Reina, a Liberal Party activist inprisoned for oppostion to Carias regime.

Carias Represses Dissent.

May- 300 women march in protest against Carias in Tagucigalpa. Protestors rounded up.

July 6- protest in San Pedro met with bloody repression.

1948- Carias retires and resigns. Juan, Manuel Galvez, the government candidate for president, wins elections easily.


The Cold War


1954- May 25- immiment war between Honduras and Guatemala as Guatemalan Communists cross border into Honduras.

1954- 3-month strike against US United Fruit Company. They set a new landmark for unions in Central America and win labour reforms.

1955- Honduras brings in its first labour code.

Ascent of the Military with US Support.

-1957- National Party falls from power for the first time since 1932.

1957- civilian president ousted by military. A new Liberal president and congress are elected. A new constitution is brought in.

-Ramon Villeda Morales becomes the first Liberal president elected in 25 years.

1960- Central American Common Market inaugurated.

Lopez Avellano

1963- Colonel Oswaldo Lopez Avellano ousts Villeda in a military coup.

-US recognizes Honduras as an island of stability between El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, because of its constant military rule.

1965- Lopez has himself re-elected in a fraudulent vote.

1969- June 27- soccer war, border war and conflict over immigration with El Salvador

1971-1972- Ramon Ernesto Cruz elected president.

1972- civilian president Ernesto ousted in military coup by Lopez.

1974- Lopez accused of accepting bribes from a US business.

1974- September- 5,000 killed in Hurricane Fifi.

1975- Lopez steps down after United Fruit Company chairman E. M. Black commits suicide over bribery scandal involving high Honduras officials including Lopez himself.

-Lopez is succeeded by Alberto Melgar Castro.

Honduras as a US Military Outpost.

-Colonel Juan Alberto Melgar Castro takes power.

1978- General Polycarpo Paz Garcia overthrows Melgar.

-Honduras becomes the largest recipient of US aid in the region.

1980- General Paz signs peace with El Salvador.

1981- Roberto Suazo Cordova, a Liberal, becomes first civilian president in more than a century after US pressure for democratic relections due to increasing regional instability.

-General Gustavo Alvarez has disproortionate power as head of the armed forces and sets up training camps for counterinsurgency in El Salvador in Honduras.

1982- President Rios Montt of Guatemala meets Prsident Reagan in Honduras. Reagan lifts embargo on weapons sales to military rulers.

The Sandinista War and a Base for the Contras.

1982- US-backed Contras set up in Honduras in a fight to bring down the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

-Salvadoran refugees given refuge in camps inside Honduran border.

1982- rebels kidnap 1o4 businessmen and officials.

1982-83- Alvarez used death squads to imprison trade union leaders and leftist activists as opposition increases. 184 killed by death squads in 1980-1989.

1983- Oct- military crushed leftist rebels at Olancho, killing 100.

1983- US builds air base at El Aguacate.

1984- Alvarez is deposed amid mass demonstrations. Salvadoran counterinsurgency camps are closed but Honduras continues to host US backed Contras against Nicaragua in return for aid.

-General Walter Reyes is deposed by junior officers for his plans to involve the military in the region's wars.
-splits in main politcal parties over the presidential succession.

1986- Reagan orders aid to Honduran army; US helicopters ferry Honduran troops to border with Nicaragua.

1986- a Liberal, Jose Azcona Del Hoyo elected civilian president after a law was passed limiting presidents to one term.

1987- amnesty extended both to the military and leftist guerillas accused of human rights abuses.

The Excesses of the Right; Response from the Left.

1988- increase in activity by right wing death squads.

-US sends 3,000 troops to Honduras.

-Inter-American court of human rights finds Honduran government guilty of disappearances of Honurans between 1981 and 1984,

-mass deminstrations against the presence of the Contras brings a state lof emergency.

1989- January- General Alvarez assassinated by leftist guerillas.

1989- February- Central American Summit in El Salvador agrees on demobilization of Contras on Honduran border with Nicaragua.

1990- January- Rafael Callejas Romero becomes president; introduces neo-liberal economics and austerity measures.

-end of the Contra War.

1992- new boundaries with El Salvador determined by International Court of Justice.

1993- March- Government commission to investigate human rights abuses by the military.

-November- Carlos Reina- Liberal and human rights activist elected president, promises to reform the judiciary and limit the power of the army.

1995- compulsory military service abolished.

-military officers charged with human rights abuses for the first time.

Liberalization Under Flores

1997- election of Liberal Carlos Flores as President- he promisews to restructure the army.

1998- May- police pass from military to civilian control, but abuses continue.

-October- Honduras devastated by Hurricane Mitch.

1999- cilvilian authorities take overe control of the army.

1999- November- Honduras ratifies 1986 agreement with Colombia over control of the Caribbean. Nicaragua objects to being excluded.

December- Nicaragua and Honduras agree to halt naval and military monoeuvres in border dispute as they await a solution,

2000- June- Supreme Court rules that atrocities committed in the 1990s are not covered by the 1987 amnesty.

2001-January- Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras annouces that 1,000 street children were murdered in 2000.

2001- August- UN asks Honduras to pput an end to extra-judicial killings of minors by police.

Crime, Gangs and Police Brutality

2002- January- Ricardo Maduro elected preisdent; declares, over much protest, that the army will take over extra-judicial killings.

2002- January- diplomatic ties restored with Cuba.

2003- May- Congress votes to send troops to Iraq for US.

2003- December Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua agree to free trade deal with US.


2004 May - Prison fire at San Pedro Sula kills more than 100 inmates, many of them gang members.

-Honduran troops withdraw from Iraq.

-December - Suspected gang members massacre 28 bus passengers in the northern city of Chamalecon.

-Dec 23, In Honduras assailants claiming to be members of a revolutionary group opposed to the death penalty ambushed a bus filled with people bringing home Christmas gifts and killed at least 28 people, including six children, in an escalation of the battle between gangs and the government. On Feb 10, 2005, US Border patrol officials arrested a Honduran gang leader wanted in the massacre. In 2007 a three-judge tribunal found two members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang guilty of killing 28 people in the shooting attack, and acquitted two other men.

2005- Sep 6, Dominican Republic legislators overwhelmingly approved a free-trade agreement with the US and five Central American countries, rejecting arguments that the pact would devastate the domestic sugar industry. The other five countries are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Costa Rica and Nicaragua had not yet ratified the pact.

-Nov 3, The Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based environmental watchdog said US businesses are unwittingly importing illegal Honduran wood, contributing to deforestation, corruption and social strife in the Latin American country.

-November - Tropical Storm Gamma kills more than 30 people and forces tens of thousands from their homes.
Zelaya Elected.

-Dec 2, Honduras' ruling party said it had enlisted 300 lawyers to check results of the country's disputed presidential election for evidence of fraud. Officials still hadn't declared Honduras' new president, five days after the country's contentious election.

2005 December - Liberal Party's Manuel Zelaya is declared the winner of presidential elections after his ruling party rival concedes defeat.

Dec 23, In Honduras, official results confirmed that opposition candidate Manuel Zelaya won the presidency in November elections.

2006- Jan 27, In Honduras Manuel Zelaya was inaugurated as the new president. He promised to fight corruption and help criminal and gang members become useful citizens.

Free Trade Deal With US

- April - Free trade deal with the US comes into effect. The Honduran Congress approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement (Cafta) in March 2005.

-Honduras and neighbouring El Salvador inaugurate their newly-defined border. The countries fought over the disputed frontier in 1969.

-Jul 15, A Honduras newspaper quoted a senior military official that the United States is helping Honduras establish a new military base to combat international drug trafficking in the northeastern province of Gracias a Dios.

Rapprochement with Cuba

2007- Feb 28, Honduras named its first ambassador to Cuba in 45 years, completing the restoration of diplomatic ties with communist-run island that were severed during the Cold War.

-2007 May - President Zelaya orders all the country's radio and TV stations to carry government propaganda for two hours a day for 10 days to counteract what he says is a campaign of misinformation.

October - The International Court of Justice in the Hague settles a long-running territorial dispute between Honduras and Nicaragua.

-President Manuel Zelaya visits Cuba, the first official trip by a Honduran president to the island in 46 years. The two countries recently agreed their maritime boundaries after a long-running dispute.

Honduras joins Leftist Bloc

2008 August - Longtime US ally Honduras joins the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), an alliance of leftist leaders in Latin America headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a staunch US foe. President Manuel Zelaya says a lack of international support to tackle chronic poverty forced him to seek aid from Venezuela.

Zelaya Ousted in Coup by Conservative Opposition

2009- June 28- President Zelaya Ousted in Coup.

June 29- U.S. President Barack Obama has also called for Zelaya’s reinstatement, and the deposed president’s wife and youngest son are being protected at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa.

July 1- In a key next step, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza is seeking to meet in a third country with a delegation of Honduras's coup leaders to demand Mr. Zelaya's reinstatement.

July 2- Zelaya, 56, who originally planned to return on July 2, delayed his trip until the OAS decision.

July 3-
A caretaker government in Honduras said yesterday it was open to holding early elections to resolve the impasse over ousted President Manuel Zelaya, as the Organization of American States readied a mission to push for his reinstatement.


July 4- The Organization of American States suspends Honduras.

July 5- Ousted President Manuel Zelaya leaves Washington, D.C., on Sunday on a Venezuelan jet heads for Honduras, but the country's interim government vows to prevent his return and blocks the runway at the airport in Tegucigalpa forcing his plane to turn around.

July - The US refuses to recongnize the new government in Honduras, suspends aid and demands the return of Zelaya.

-the Organization of American States refuses to the recognize Zelaya and demands his reinstatement as president.

-In San Jose, Costa Rica, President Oscar Arias convenes talks between Zelaya and the interim government. The Arias Plan is accepted by Zelaya but rejected by the Honduras interim government.

-September- Zelaya returns to Honduras and takes refuge in the Brazilian Embassy. Interim president Micheletti demands that Brazil hand him over. Brazil's President Lula refuses. Micheletti threatens to close the embassy.

-Honduran interim government closes down media which support Zelya or critical of the government.

October- proxies for interim president Micheletti and for Zelaya begin talks in an attempt to find a settlemet.

-from his refuge inside the Brazilian Embassy, Zelaya demands the restoration of civil liberties in Honduras and the removal of troops surrounding the embassy.

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