Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)

Hondurans campaign for democracy, 1944

Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)
 

President Tiburcio Carías—founder of the National Party of Honduras—governed Honduras throughout the 1930s and 1940s (known as “decades of Dictators” in Central America as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala were also under lasting rule of their respective, oppressive dictators). His presidency started on February 1, 1933, and lasted until January 1949. On November 16, 1943, Carías and the National Party rigged and swept the municipal elections. This victory gave him the opportunity to modify the Honduran Constitution to allow him to stay in office for an extended period of time.

Nicaraguan students campaign against government, 1944

Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)
 

In 1936, Anastasio Somoza was elected president of Nicaragua. He ran under the the Liberal Nationalist Party, or PLN. He was elected with broad support among liberals in Nicaragua, although, soon after his election, small numbers of Nicaraguans started to gather in opposition to his presidency. In 1937, a small group of university graduates formed a dicussion group that was highly critical of Somoza; the members of this unnamed group would go on to found the Independent Liberal Party, or PLI - the organization that led the campaign against Somoza in 1944.

Ecuadorians overthrow dictator (Glorious May Revolution), 1944

Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)
 

Beginning with the cacao surge during the 1870s, the conservative landowners in the Sierra and liberal exporting bourgeoisie in the Coastal region had fought for control of Ecuador. Indigenous and lower class Ecuadorians quickly became marginalized, and were extremely frustrated by this by the early 1900s. By this time, Ecuadorian politics and politicians were known to be corrupt and both the lower and even upper classes of society were disenchanted. This was only exacerbated by tough economic times, as the 1929 US Stock market crash greatly affected the Ecuadorian economy.

El Salvadorans bring down a dictator, 1944

Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)
 

In 1938, El Salvadoran president General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez proposed changing the country’s constitution so that he could continue holding his position beyond the end of his second term.

Guatemalans overthrow a dictator, 1944

Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)
 

Beginning in 1931 Jorge Ubico ruled Guatemala with an iron fist with the help of the vicious secret police. He admired Hitler’s tactics. By the summer of 1944, a similarly brutal dictator, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, was overthrown in the face of a widespread nonviolent campaign in nearby El Salvador. This campaign served as a template for Guatemala’s own movement.

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