Osorio, Oscar (1910–1969)

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Osorio, Oscar (1910–1969)

Oscar Osorio (b. 1910; d. 6 March 1969), president of El Salvador (1950–1956). A graduate of the Escuela Politécnica Militar, he rose through the ranks until exiled to Mexico for conspiracy in 1945. Returning in 1948, he joined the young officers who overthrew President Salvador Casteñeda Castro in 1948. An admirer of the Mexican PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), he organized the military-civilian coalition that, through the PRUD-PCN (Revolutionary Party of Democratic Unification-National Coalition Party), dominated Salvadoran politics for thirty-one years.

Osorio led the military junta of 1948–1949 and was elected to the presidency in 1950. As president he launched what Charles Anderson termed the "controlled revolution," namely, a strategy in which the government would seek to satisfy growing middle-class demands for change by enacting a moderate program of socioeconomic reforms without seriously disrupting the existing social and economic structure. Limited political opposition would be allowed by permitting a few accepted political parties to participate in elections.

See alsoEl Salvador; El Salvador, Political Parties: National Conciliation Party (PCN).


Raymond Ashton, "El Salvador and The 'Controlled Revolution': An Analysis of Salvadorean Development, 1948–1965" (M.A. thesis, Tulane University, 1968).

Charles Anderson, "El Salvador: The Army as Reformer," in Political Systems of Latin America, 2d ed., edited by Martin C. Needler (1970).

Enrique Baloyra, El Salvador in Transition (1982).

José Z. García, "El Salvador: Recent Elections in Historical Perspective," in Elections and Democracy in Central America, edited by John A. Booth and Mitchell A. Seligson (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Leistenschneider, María. Teniente coronel Oscar Osorio y su administración. San Salvador: Ministerio del Interior, 1981.

                                           Roland H. Ebel