Former Honduran President Passes Away

Honduran leader Oswaldo Lopez Arellano, who served as president of Honduras for over 10 years, died this past Sunday. Arellano was 89.

A statement from the family revealed that the former general and two-time president passed away from prostate cancer at a private hospital in Tegucigalpa.

Colonel Lopez Arellano, with backing from the military, ousted President Ramon Villeda Morales in 1963. Two years later the ruler held a constitutional assembly which formalized his title as President of Honduras.

President Lopez Arellano stayed in power until 1971, when the presidency changed hands after national elections that were held with his support. His successor was Ramon Ernesto Cruz of the National Party.

As head of Honduras Armed Forces in 1972, Lopez Arellano was displeased with the leadership of Ramon Ernesto Cruz, and another military coup ensued, resulting in the reinstating of Arellano.

Lopez Arellano himself was ousted by the armed forces in 1975 after dissident officers accused him of receiving a $2.5 million bribe they said the U.S. banana company, United Brands, offered to reduce a banana export tax.

His years in power coincided with a short-lived war with El Salvador in 1969 known as the “Soccer War.” Thousands died in the short, bloody conflict which broke out after teams from the two nations played a World Cup qualifying match, in which opposing supporters were beaten or killed.

After retiring from power, Lopez Arellano became a businessman with holdings in banks, and the now defunct Honduran airline, TAN-SAHSA. He was buried on Monday in Tegucigalpa. He is survived by his wife Gloria Figueroa and their five children.

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