Romero, Carlos Humberto (1924–)

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Romero, Carlos Humberto (1924–)

Carlos Humberto Romero (b. 1924), president of El Salvador (1977–1979). Educated at the National Military Academy, Romero rose through the ranks to become minister of defense during the presidency of Arturo Armando Molina (1972–1977). He resigned that post to become the military-backed PCN (Partido de Conciliación Nacional) candidate in 1977.

Aligned with the agro-exporting wing of the PCN, Romero ended the mild reformism of the Julio A. Rivera, Fidel Sánchez Hernández and Arturo Armando Molina administrations (1960–1977), thereby galvanizing the guerrilla and urban popular organizations into mass action. Responding to appeals by business and agro-export groups to curb the agitation, Romero's repressive policies alienated both the Roman Catholic Church (producing the so-called war of the Romeros—a reference to the struggle between President Romero and Oscar Arnulfo Romero, archbishop of El Salvador, who was assassinated by a right-wing death squad in 1980) and the Jimmy Carter administration (1977–1981). With the tacit approval of the United States, he was overthrown by a group of progressive officers on 15 October 1979 and went into exile to Guatemala.

See alsoEl Salvador; Molina, Arturo Armando; Romero, Oscar Arnulfo.


Enrique Baloyra, El Salvador in Transition (1982).

James Dunkerley, The Long War: Dictatorship and Revolution in El Salvador (1982).

Steffen W. Schmidt, El Salvador: America's Next Vietnam? (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Brockett, Charles D. Political Movements and Violence in Central America. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Francisco Lazo M. El sistema político salvadoreño y sus perspectivas: Notas para la discusión. San Salvador, El Salvador: CINAS, 1992.

Latin America Bureau. El Salvador under General Romero: An Analysis of the First Nine Months of the Regime of President Romero. London: Latin America Bureau, 1979.

Rico-Martínez, Francisco. Ideología y sociedad: El Salvador, 1975–1983. México, D.F.: Edición Taller de Arte e Ideología, 1990.

                                      Roland H. Ebel