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López Arellano, Oswaldo (1921–)

López Arellano, Oswaldo (1921–)

Oswaldo López Arellano was the dominant military officer in Honduras from 1957 until 1975. Born on June 30, 1921, in Danlí, López Arellano joined the armed services in 1939 and was schooled in military aviation in the United States. As commander of the armed forces beginning in 1956, he was installed as provisional president after the coup of October 3, 1963. This coup, carried out ten days before scheduled elections, reflected the Conservatives' and the military's displeasure with the prospect for a victory by the Liberal candidate, Modesto Rodas Alvarado. López continued as provisional president until a new constitution confirmed him as president in 1965. During his presidency the poor performance of the military in the war with El Salvador (1969) brought discredit on the armed services. López maintained a mild military dictatorship during his term, which continued until 1971. The National Party became his personal political vehicle.

In 1971 Ramón Ernesto Cruz was elected president, but López, as chief of the armed forces, remained in control. In 1972, López again seized power and acted as president until he was toppled by his fellow officers in 1975. At that time, he was charged with corruption in accepting a bribe from United Brands (formerly United Fruit) to obtain lower banana export taxes. López subsequently became the president of the now bankrupt national airline, Servicio Aereo de Honduras, S.A. (SAHSA). He is a retired businessman.

See alsoHonduras, National Party (PNH) .


Raúl Alberto Domínguez, ed., Ascenso al poder y descenso del General Oswaldo López Arellano (1975).

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

Additional Bibliography

Domínguez, Raúl Alberto. Ascenso al poder y descenso del General Oswaldo López Arellano. Tegucigalpa: Imprenta Calderón, 1975.

                                      David L. Jickling

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