September 17 – Honduran Teacher’s Day

October 21 – Day of the Armed Forces of Honduras

The history of the creation of the Armed Forces of Honduras dates back to 1825, but it was on October 21, 1956, after the overthrow of Julio Lozano Díaz, that this date was established as the day dedicated to this glorious institution.

President Julio Lozano had assumed de facto the position of Head of Government on December 5, 1954, after President Juan Manuel Gálvez, feeling ill on November 16, 1954, handed over power to him as the Vice President of the Republic and went to Panama.

Don Julio Lozano governed by means of Decrees-Laws. Having power in his hands and with the clear intention of staying in power, he sought to legalize himself by calling for elections on October 7, 1956. The elections to install a National Constituent Assembly were won by a wide majority by the Movement he led, which were considered fraudulent and a mockery of the citizens. This was the main cause for the Armed Forces to directly intervene in the political affairs of the nation for the first time on October 21, 1956, demanding that President Díaz hand over power to a Military Junta led by General Roque J. Rodríguez, Colonel Héctor Caraccioli, and Major Roberto Gálvez Barnes. These actions were received with satisfaction by the majority of the population.

This Military Junta committed to and called for elections for a National Constituent Assembly, which took place on September 22, 1957. The Assembly took office on October 21, 1957, appointing liberal José Ramón Villeda Morales as Constitutional President, who inaugurated his government on December 21 for the 1957-1963 period.

In September 1957, the same National Constituent Assembly granted autonomy to the Armed Forces for the performance of their responsibilities as a recognition for their institutional defense when they deposed Lozano Díaz, and for restoring the country to constitutional normality in a civic and patriotic manner. They were also responsible for electing Colonel Oswaldo López Arellano as the head of the Armed Forces.

Since the coup d’état on October 21, 1956, and with a bellicosity that includes the coup d’état on October 3, 1963, and the government of General Oswaldo López Arellano; the coup d’état on December 4, 1972, and the new mandate of General López Arellano; his replacement on April 22, 1975, by Colonel Juan Alberto Melgar Castro; the replacement of the latter by a Military Junta on August 7, 1978; the provisional presidency of General Policarpo Paz García from July 20, 1980, to February 1, 1982; and the recent presidential succession on June 28, 2009, the Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the country’s political life.

It is worth remembering the proclamation of 1972, which stated: «The armies were not created to violate the constitutional order, but on the contrary, to be the main guarantors, and that is what the Honduran armed institution has wanted to be. But when the fundamental principles on which the constitutional regime is based degenerate, it is not possible for the army to stand idly by and allow chaos to take place.»

According to the current Constitution of the Republic, in Chapter X, Article 272, «The Armed Forces of Honduras are a National Institution of a permanent, essentially professional, apolitical, obedient, and non-deliberative nature. They are constituted to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic, maintain peace, public order, and the rule of law, the principles of free suffrage, and the alternation in the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic.

They will cooperate with the National Police in the preservation of public order. In order to guarantee the free exercise of suffrage, the custody, transportation, and surveillance of electoral materials, and other aspects of the security of the process, the President of the Republic shall make the Armed Forces available to the National Electoral Tribunal, from one month before the elections until their declaration.»

Additional Information

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