Juan Manuel Gálvez


Juan Manuel Gálvez

Juan Manuel Gálvez Durón (1887-1972) was President of Honduras from January 1, 1949 until December 5, 1954. His election, for the National Party of Honduras (PNH), ended the 16 year dictatorship of Tiburcio Carías Andino.Once in office, Gálvez demonstrated more independence than had generally been anticipated. Some policies of the Carías administration, such as road building and the development of coffee exports, were continued and expanded. By 1953 nearly one-quarter of the government's budget was devoted to road construction. Gálvez also continued most of the prior administration's fiscal policies, reducing the external debt and ultimately paying off the last of the British bonds. The fruit companies continued to receive favorable treatment at the hands of the Gálvez administration; for example, United Fruit received a highly favorable twenty-five-year contract in 1949.

Gálvez, however, instituted some notable alterations from the preceding fifteen years. Education received increased attention and began to receive a larger share of the national budget. Congress actually passed an income tax law, although enforcement was sporadic at best. The most obvious change was in the political arena. A considerable degree of press freedom was restored, the Liberal Party and other groups were allowed to organize, and even some labor organization was permitted. Labor also benefited from legislation during this period. Congress passed, and the president signed, legislation establishing the eight-hour workday, paid holidays for workers, limited employer responsibility for work-related injuries, and regulations for the employment of women and children.

Gálvez was deposed by his vice president Julio Lozano Díaz on December 5, 1954 while being treated abroad for a heart condition.


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