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Rodas Alvarado, Modesto (1921–c. 1978)

Rodas Alvarado, Modesto (1921–c. 1978)

Modesto Rodas Alvarado (b. 16 March 1921; d. c. 1978), a charismatic Honduran political leader. The Liberal Party in Honduras had been out of power since 1932 when its leader, Ramón Villeda Morales, became president in 1957. Rodas Alvarado, who had been provisional secretary of the Liberal Party in 1954, was president of the National Congress during Villeda Morales's period in office (1957–1963). Rodas Alvarado became the Liberal candidate to replace Villeda Morales in the election of 1963. All signs pointed toward his probable victory. During the campaign he talked about ending the military's budget autonomy and restricting its ability to nominate candidates for the position of chief of staff. Had he been elected he probably would have carried forward the land reforms and other measures opposed by landholders, fruit companies, and conservative military elements.

A few days before the scheduled election, the military under General Oswaldo López Arellano took over. U.S. President John F. Kennedy refused to recognize the new government, but in December 1963 President Lyndon B. Johnson granted it recognition. In retrospect, the 1963 coup was a major setback for Honduran political development. After the coup, Rodas dropped completely out of public life. His contribution was symbolically recognized by the continuation of the Rodista Liberal Movement, the faction of the Liberal Party led by President Roberto Suazo Córdova in the 1980s.

See alsoHonduras; López Arellano, Oswaldo; United States-Latin American Relations; Villeda Morales, Ramón.


"Military Forces Under López Overthrow Villeda Government," New York Times, October 4, 1963.

Thomas P. Anderson, Politics in Central America, rev. ed. (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Caballero Zeitún, Elsa Lily, and Marcos Carías Chaverri. Crisis y política social en Centroamérica: Tendencias y perspectivas: el caso de Honduras. Tegucigalpa, D.C., Honduras, C.A.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Editorial Universitaria, 1990.

Salomón, Leticia. Política y militares en Honduras. Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Centro de Documentación de Honduras, 1992.

                                                   David L. Jickling

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