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Alvarez Martínez, Gustavo (1937–1989)

Alvarez Martínez, Gustavo (1937–1989)

Gustavo Alvarez Martínez (b. 12 December 1937; d. 26 January 1989), Honduran general, chief of the armed forces. When Honduras resumed a civilian government in January 1982 with the election of Roberto Suazo Córdova to the presidency, the military coalesced under the leadership of Colonel Alvarez Martínez, appointed by the national assembly as commander in chief of the armed forces. Leading the armed forces as a "third party" of hard-liners in the Honduran political spectrum, Alvarez Martínez centralized and modernized the command structure, a feat that earned him a promotion from colonel to brigadier general. Then, with President Suazo Córdova, he forged a united front that stressed military subordination to the constitution as well as an alliance between the armed forces and the Liberal Party of Honduras. However, fellow officers, annoyed by his "high-handedness," ousted Alvarez Martínez and split decisively with Suazo in 1984. Five years later, the general was assassinated in Tegucigalpa by six men, an act for which the Popular Liberation Front claimed responsibility.

See alsoHonderas .


James A. Morris, Honduras: Caudillo Politics and Military Rulers (1984).

James Dunkerley, Power in the Isthmus: A Political History of Modern Central America (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Centro de Documentación de Honduras. Militarismo en Honduras: el reinado de Gustavo Alvarez, 1982–1984. Tegucigalpa: Centro de Documentación de Honduras, 1985.

Ronfeldt, David F., Konrad Kellen, and Richard Millett. U.S. Involvement in Central America: Three Views from Honduras. Santa Monica: RAND, 1989.

Ruhl, J. Mark. "Redefining Civil-Military Relations in Honduras." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 38 (Spring, 1996): 33-66.

                                   Jeffrey D. Samuels

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