Tiburcio Carías Andino

(b. 1876)

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(b. Tegucigalpa, 1876; d. Tegucigalpa 1969)

Honduran; leader of the National Party 1923–48, President of Honduras 1933–49 Carías Andino graduated in law from the Central University of Honduras in 1898. He participated in the civil war of 1893 on the side of the Liberals and, having distinguished himself in battle, was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general in 1907. After the Liberals' triumph of the same year he was named Commander of Arms, Political Governor of the northern departments of Copán and (latterly) Cortés, and military chief of the northern region, becoming one of the most powerful political figures in the country.

In 1919 Carías lent his support to the faction of the Liberals which in 1923 formed the National Party. The Liberal and National parties continue to dominate the Honduran political system in the 1990s. In the 1923 presidential elections, Carías polled the most votes but failed to achieve the absolute majority required by the constitution. The ensuing débâcle between different factions in Congress led to the civil war of 1924 which was settled by US intervention. Carías subsequently consolidated his power through his control of Congress and the Supreme Court. In 1928, he was defeated at the polls and gained considerable prestige by peacefully accepting electoral defeat; such behaviour not constituting the norm in Honduran politics during the first half of the twentieth century.

In 1932 Carías was finally elected President for the constitutionally mandated four-year term. In 1936 he convened a constituent assembly to issue a new constitution extending the presidential period from four to six years. In 1940 the constitution was again reformed to permit Carías to remain in power until 1949. His opponents were repressed, exiled, or bought off, and the regime's stability guaranteed by Carías near-total control of the National Party, together with the support of the United Fruit Co. and the US government. After the end of the Second World War, opposition to the regime increased. In 1948 Carías selected his successor, Juan Manuel Gálvez. However, Gálvez distanced his government from the dictatorship, resulting in the division of the National Party into two factions. Carías Andino maintained considerable influence within the National Party until his death in 1969.

During his period in power, Carías achieved economic and political stability, and the extension of state authority throughout the nation. However, this was achieved through the suppression of civil liberties and conservative fiscal policies.

Subjects: Politics.

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