Liberalism in Honduras

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Liberalism in Honduras, as a form of Latin American liberalism, has old historical roots. Influenced by the French revolutionaries, from 1789 to 1799, when the door was opened for ideas of positivism. People turned to liberal ideas: the idea of liberty, equality, and popular sovereignty.

In the early years after the region achieved independence from Spain, Honduras was a constituent of the United Provinces of Central America. Friction between liberals and conservatives undermined the federation. The liberal position was in favour of republicanism, free trade, less centralised government, and, above all, the removal of the political and economic powers of the Catholic Church.

The Honduran liberal, Francisco Morazán, became president of the United Provinces in 1830. Morazán enacted many reforms, including freedom of speech, press, and religion; equality of socioeconomic status; and trial by jury. All of these were objected to by the conservatives. The separation of Church and State, which allowed for secular marriage and divorce and an end to government-enforced tithing, made much of the clergy an enemy of Morazán and the liberals. This led to a breakdown of this federation.

Independent Honduras came under control of the conservatives. Their dominance lasted until 1876, when the liberal Marco Aurelio Soto assumed the presidency on 27 August 1876[1]. He and his Secretary General Ramón Rosa were the principal proponents of liberal reformism in Honduras.[1] In the following period liberals dominated the country and encouraged foreign investment and economic growth. Soto and his successors were responsible for the reform of the powers of judiciary and church, a professionalization of the armed forces and a modernization of communications and education.[1] In this way they paved the way for Honduras to become a state capable of taking its place in the world.

Liberals held the presidency until 1903, with Luis Bográn (1883-1891), Ponciano Leiva (1891-1893), José Policarpo Bonilla Vásquez (1894-1899) and Terencio Esteban Sierra Romero (1899-1903). After this period, liberals ruled the country between 1907 and 1911 (Miguel Rafael Dávila Cuéllar), 1920 and 1924 (Rafael López Gutiérrez and 1929 and 1933 (Vicente Mejía).

After that year, a period of conservative and/or dictatorial rule started. It was not until 1957 that the liberals would regain power with the (democratic) election of Ramón Villeda to the presidency. He was deposed by a bloody military coup in 1963. This led to another long period of military rule that ended in 1980 and in 1982, when Honduras became a presidential democracy again with the election of the liberal Roberto Suazo as president. Liberals were also elected president in 1985 (José Azcona), 1993 (Carlos Roberto Reina) and 1998 (Carlos Roberto Flores).

In contrast to most other liberals in Latin America, the Honduran liberals remained united in one party, the Liberal Party of Honduras (Partido Liberal de Honduras), however after the 2009 Honduran coup d'état former president Manuel Zelaya and his supporters including some former liberal party members split away from the liberal party to form a new party LIBRE. The PLH is member of the Liberal International and nowadays the traditional centre liberal party. It was founded in 1890 and is a party with both conservative and progressive wings. The diversity of the party is reflected by the existence of factions within the party.

See also

Further reading

  • Zaldivar Guzman, Raúl: Liberalismo en Honduras (Tegucigalpa, 1964)
  1. ^ a b c "La Reforma Liberal". www.historiadehonduras.hn. Retrieved 2018-01-17. 
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