The constitution of Honduras, established in 1982, did not provide structures for popular democratic participation. In June 2009, President Manuel Zelaya called for a referendum on whether a constituent assembly should look to rewrite the constitution or not. He had been elected in 2005 as a cattle-rancher conservative but moved to the left and allied himself with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He maintained that he wanted to guarantee wider and fairer representation to all Hondurans.
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.
In response to labor strikes on banana plantations throughout the country, which were a result of a large drop in wages for plantation workers, Chiquita Brands International closed its plantation in Tacamiche and three other farms in June of 1994 due to their heightened involvement in the strikes. The closure was not only devastating to the strike, which soon after conceded to a pay increase, which due to inflation was far below the amount from before the strike, but also for the people living on the plantations.
During the 1950s, Honduras was characterized by a large gap between the few rich citizens and the many poor laborers. In 1952, Honduras held its first ever agrarian census. The wealthy landowners, who only consisted of 4.2 percent of the total population, owned an astonishing 56.8 percent of the arable land in Honduras. Meanwhile, the poor farmers of Honduras, who made up 65.1 percent of the population, only owned 15.7 percent of the arable land. To make matters worse, the wealthy landowners who possessed the majority of the land did not use it effectively.