Elections and Events 1935-1969


Ching 2004:  Municipal elections are held every two years after 1935 (page 65).

January:  presidential election (Martínez / Partido Pro-Patria)

Anderson 1971: The Partido Pro-Patria presidential candidate runs unopposed and is elected (page 151).

Ching 1997:  “As the presidential election of January 1935 drew near, it became increasingly evident that Martínez’ victory was virtually guaranteed.  He had either exiled, arrested or placed under surveillance any persons who could have challenged him, and most of the military was firmly under his control.  Moreover, the municipal elections of 1933 and 1934 had given Martínez two opportunities to place in local office persons who were beholden unto him and his party, and thus would associate their political survival with producing favorable results on election day” (page 395).  “For the election of 1935 the government devised a series of tactics to get people out to the polls” (page 396).  Describes these (pages 396-397).  “A few days before voting began, Governors ordered the municipal officials to confirm their orders as to whom was to be placed on the Directorios and which persons were to receive votes as Deputies (Assembly elections took place simultaneous to the presidential election)” (page 397).  “According to the government’s statistics, 77% of registered voters cast their ballot during the election, a 20% increase over the 1931 election” (page 398).  “The final tally counted 329,555 votes unanimously in support of General Martínez” (pages 398-399).  “During the term 1935-39, local political affairs continued to be governed by the same policies which had been employed in the municipal elections of 1933 and 1934” (page 399).  “Pro-Patria kept fairly complete results for municipal elections after 1935, and the data from these elections show that unanimous voting was the norm” (page 402).  “In 1935, Martínez circumvented the constitutional restriction against consecutive terms in office by claiming that his first term was not actually his, but Araujo’s” (page 415).

Ching 2004:  “The presidential election of 1935” (pages 67-69).

García Guevara 2007:  “In January 1935 [Martínez] egregiously manipulated the election and received 334 thousand votes” (page 75).

Krehm 1957: “Al llegar al poder, Martínez había jurado respetar la Constitucíon que le prohibía reelegirse.  Pero se reeligió por el simple artificio de entregar el poder, seis meses antes de la elección, a su ministro de la guerra” (page 36).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “By the time [Martínez] ran for office on his own in 1935 he had established complete control over the electoral system” (page 84).

Williams 1997: “(P)opular elections for president of the republic were held on 13, 14, and 15 January 1935, but no results were posted” (page 27).  “(T)he only organizations that could, in practice, enter the field of politics were those that had the direct blessing of the regime.  As it happens, that meant only one: the official party, the Partido Nacional ‘Pro-Patria’.”

Wilson 1969:  “By the time of his election in 1935, many of the civilian politicians who initially gave their support broke with Martínez, leaving the military fully in charge” (page 259).


Leistenschneider 1980:  Maximiliano Hernández Martínez “gobernó como Presidente:  1o Marzo de 1935 al 8 de Mayo de 1944” (page 191).  “El 1o de marzo de 1935 entregó [Menéndez] el Poder Supremo al General Martínez, quedando el General Menéndez otra vez como Ministro de Guerra, Marina y Aviación” (page 200).

Turcios 2000:  “(E)l 1 de marzo de 1935 [Martínez] comienza su segundo período presidencial, después de las elecciones en las que no derrota a nadie, pues no había candidato opositor…Tan pronto como comienza el nuevo periodo presidencial, en 1935, ya se habla de una reforma constitucional” (page 423).


Ching 1997:  “Junior military officers remained the most immediate threat to Martínez’ political survival, and they continued to launch coups against Martínez.  The first coup [attempt] after the election took place in October 1935” (page 412).

Elam 1968:  “In October 1935, General Manuel Antonio Castañeda and twenty-five other officers and civilians were arrested and charged with plotting against the government.  A month later, the hand-picked Assembly reformed the military code and established the death penalty for all subversive activities” (page 55).

García Guevara 2007:  “For the third year in a row, Martínez ‘discovered’ and defeated another coup attempt or rebellion.  In October, General Manuel Antonio Castañeda Castro (no relation to General Salvador Castaneda Castro), officers from the ‘el zapote’ fort and barracks, and officers from San Miguel and Santa Ana plotted to overthrow the president…Hernández Martínez had violated the ‘moral economy’ of the young military officers who aspired for political power by preventing them from sharing the leadership.  Many civilians disagreed with the president’s desires to amend the constitution in order to remain in power for another term” (page 76).


Elam 1968:  “Related to the establishment of military dictatorship was the increasing identity of El Salvador with the Axis Powers…As early as 1936, Salvadorean officers began training in Italy and Germany.  Pro-Axis officers held key military and government posts until late in 1941” (page 48).

García Guevara 2007:  “In 1936, powerful coffee planters and professionals from Santa Ana and Sonsonate planned a coup when they recognized Martínez would attempt to hold on to power for another term” (page 78).


Williams 1997: “Nor were any results published for the elections for deputies to the National Assembly (legislature) in January 1936" (page 27).


Ching 1997:  “A second coup broke out in October 1936” (page 413).


Elam 1968:  “(I)n November of 1936, a similar conspiracy was uncovered and the army officers implicated were promptly tried and executed” (page 55).


Elam 1968:  “Not only was reelection prohibited by the constitution, but civilian opposition to ‘continuismo’ was widespread…Nevertheless, Hernández Martínez clearly had no intention of relinquishing control, and campaigning for a ‘reform’ of the electoral laws was well advanced by the middle of 1937.  Every conceivable device was used to convince the country of the wisdom of constitutional change and the need for Hernández Martínez’s reelection” (pages 52-53).

Holden 2004:  The Legión Nacional Pro-Patria “was renamed the Guardias Cívicas in 1937 and its members deputized by the state” (page 63).

December:  municipal elections

Ching 2004:  Makes reference to these elections (pages 63-64).  “The national government’s aversion to disorder tended to result in quick responses to electoral irregularities, as a case from Aguilares in San Salvador Department illustrates.  On the morning of the election of 1937, a faction emerged opposing the official candidates...It took only a few hours for news from Aguilares to result in soldiers arriving in the village with orders from the highest levels of government...Repression was not the government’s sole response to upstart candidacies.  In line with Martínez’s velvet glove approach, the government occasionally accepted opposition movements...(W)e do know that it was not uncommon for the government to change candidates at the last minute.  For instance, in 1937, there were thirty-seven other municipalities, along with Nueva Concepción, in which at least one of the candidates was changed in the week before or after the election” (page 66).  “If we look at only 1937, a year especially rich in electoral documentation, only 14 of the nation’s 257 municipalities witnessed an opposition movement that employed physical mobilization rather than simply the standard verbal and written lobbying.  None of these movements appear to have been particularly violent, and only two of them, including Aguilares, caused an election to be postponed” (page 67).


Krauss 1991:  “Most significant of all the Fascist infiltration of El Salvador was the appointment in 1938 of an active German army colonel, Eberhard Bohnstadt, as director of El Salvador’s military academy and adviser to the high command” (page 64).

Radical women in Latin America:  left and right 2001:  “1938:  Women’s right to vote is recognized by the Constitution” (page 33).

White 1973:  “The first large-scale conspiracy against Martínez was led by Colonel Asensio Menéndez in 1938, on the occasion (always a spur to conspiracies) of Martínez’s announcement of his intention to get himself re-elected.  This was uncovered and the conspirators exiled” (page 103).


Elam 1968:  “In January 1938…Hernández Martínez ordered the removal of all military barracks located in the capital” (page 55).


Ching 1997:  “Ratification of a new Constitution was a two-stage process that began in the municipalities and ended in a Constitutional Convention.  The new Constitution first had to be approved by the ‘cabildo abiertos,’ town-hall meetings at which the general populace theoretically voted on the proposed changes.  If the changes passed the cabildo, they would appear before a Constitutional Convention comprised of 42 popularly-elected delegates, three from each Department.  The cabildos were scheduled to take place in July 1938, and Martínez turned to Pro-Patria to insure that the process ran smoothly.  It seems as though Pro-Patria did not bother having the populace actually vote during the cabildos, for there is no record of voting or even mention made of the voting process” (page 416).


Elam 1968:  “(C)onvention participants…convened in November 1938 to write a new constitution” (page 53).


Ching 1998a:  “(I)n Santo Domingo de Guzmán, a predominantly Indian municipality located to the west of Sonsonate City, the Governor called in the Guardia Nacional when, following the local election of 1939, the Indians attempted to prevent the victorious ‘ladinos’ from assuming control of the municipal government.  Thus, the government defended Indians on its own terms, and when Indians exceeded the acceptable limits of appeal, they were quickly suppressed” (page 154).

Valle 1993:  “Monseñor Chávez y González se instala como Arzobispo de San Salvador en 1939, quiere decir en el apogeo de la dictadura de Hernández Martínez.  Estos nombramientos son el resultado de una negociación tácita y a veces subterránea entre el Vaticano y el poder constituido, de tal suerte que no es difícil inferir que Monseñor Chávez y González llegó a ser Arzobispo con la venia del dictador Hernández Martínez” (page 101).


Ching 1997:  “In January 1939, a third coup attempt was uncovered just hours before it began” (page 414).

Elam 1968:  “The new constitution, effected January 20, 1939, extended future presidential terms from four to six years” (page 53).  “In January of 1939, still another plot to overthrow Hernández Martínez was uncovered.  Twenty-five captains and lieutenants were imprisoned” (page 56).

Constituent assembly election

Williams 1997: “The only available reference to an electoral turnout is for the constituent assembly election in 1939 when 210,810 voters cast their ballots, a number nearly equivalent to the total electoral body according to the government” (page 27).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Todas las referencias al voto femenino se concentran en la Constitución de 1950, que ciertamente tuvo la virtud de establecer el voto universal sin cortapisa alguna (en 1939 se concedió con algunas limitaciones relativas a la edad y la educación de las mujeres)” (page 271).  “(L)o cierto es que para 1939 la reforma constitucional se ejecutó con bastante poca oposición.  De hecho, hubo legisladores que apoyaban una absoluta igualdad entre hombres y mujeres para el ejercicio del sufragio.  Incluso hubo opiniones que expresamente reconocían que la actividad femenina en la política ya era un hecho consagrado desde hacía tiempo…Ausentes de un estudio más a fondo sobre el particular, nos queda especular que la reforma se dio en la circunstancia de una posible reelección de Martínez (sería la 2da.) con la perspectiva de contar con los votos femeninos” (page 272).

Castro Morán 2005:  “La Constitución Política de 1939 suprimió la autonomía municipal y la autonomía universitaria” (page 135).

Ching 1997:  “In 1939…the Constitution would have to be amended if Martínez hoped to remain in office.  The draft of the new Constitution of 1939 preserved most of its 1886 predecessor, with the notable difference to be found in Article 92, which addressed presidential elections:  ‘As demanded by national interest, the citizen that will be elected President in March of the current year…according to this Constitution will be elected by the Deputies of the National Assembly, who are absolved this one time from applying the incapacity of Article 94 (forbidding re-election).’  For good measure the updated Article 92 also extended the presidential term from four to six years” (page 415).

Ching 2004:  “As [his presidential] term wound down, Martínez and his supporters installed a new Constitution (1939) that allowed a president to succeed himself for one term.  The Constitution also changed the term in office to six years and turned the selection of the president over to the National Assembly rather than to the popular vote” (page 55).

Gamero Q. 2000:  “En la Constitución de 1939 continuaba funcionando la Asamblea Nacional de Diputados que celebraba dos períodos de sesiones ordinarias al año y extraordinariamente cuando la convocaba el Poder Ejecutivo…El derecho de elegir era irrenunciable y su ejercicio obligatorio, salvo para las mujeres era voluntario” (page 124).  Describes procedures for election for the assembly.  

Hoopes 1970:  Hernández Martínez “abrogated the Constitution of 1886 in 1939 so that he could continue in perpetual control of the country” (page 100).

Turcios 2000:  “Contra todas las advertencias, el viernes 20 de enero de 1939, la Asamblea decreta la nueva Constitución…Al día siguiente, se acuerda el nuevo periodo presidencial que terminaría hasta el 31 de diciembre de 1944” (page 425).

March:  presidential election

Ching 1997:  “Martínez decided to have himself elected in 1939 by the Assembly rather than by popular vote, which suggests that he was aware of growing opposition to his political monopoly” (page 417).  “The presidential election itself was a highly secretive affair.  Martínez refrained from public pronouncements, and the government did not even announce the results of the voting” (page 419).

Ching 2004:  “The National Assembly dutifully elected Martínez to a six-year term in 1939” (page 55).

Krehm 1957: “Cuatro años más tarde (Martínez) halló algo políticamente trascendental--no el voto secreto, sino que las elecciones secretas.  Repentinamente anunció que se habían realizado reuniones en cabildo abierto y que todos habían votado unánimemente para que él fuera Presidente una vez más.  Nadie había visto esas reuniones” (page 36).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “At the end of his ‘first’ term in office in 1939 [Martínez] and his supporters changed the constitution to allow for his reelection and created a mechanism by which the legislature (as opposed to the popular vote) could choose new presidents” (page 84).

Williams 1997: Martínez is reappointed by the constituent assembly (page 27).


Elam 1968:  “(I)n June of 1940, it was decreed a national crime to express sympathy for the Allied cause” (page 49).  “By the fall of 1940, the nation was clearly suffering from the high price of Axis sympathy…In the face of growing hostility at home and pressure from abroad, Hernández Martínez reversed his policy by publicly denouncing European totalitarianism and praising the Allied cause in October of 1940” (page 50).


Ching 2004:  Mentions municipal election of 1941 (page 65).


Elam 1968:  “(I)n September of 1941…the government called for the creation of a civilian militia.  Fashioned from the membership of Hernández Martínez’s ‘Pro-Patria’ party, this group came to be recognized as a counterbalance to the armed forces” (page 60).  “Founded on September 18, 1941, ‘Acción Democrática Salvadoreña’ was intended to serve as a forum for the free discussion of international issues” (page 74).


Elam 1968:  “In late 1943, members of the clandestine ‘Acción Democrática Salvadoreña’ had met with seven junior and senior officers of the army and air force to choose a director for the anti-Martínez movement” (pages 58-59).


Ching 2004:  “Near the end of [his] term, Martínez was preparing to change the Constitution to allow him another six-year term, but mass protests drove him out of office” (page 55).

Holden 2004:  “(W)hen Hernández-Martínez signaled his intention to change the constitution again so that he could stay in office after his third term as president expired on 28 February 1944, popular outrage began building” (page 160).

Krehm 1957: “A principios de 1944...los habitantes de la capital se divertieron al leer en los periódicos, una mañana, que los departamentos habían votado por la reforma de la Constitución, para que Martínez permaneciera en el poder hasta diciembre de 1949" (page 37).

Leonard 1984:  “In 1944 no political parties existed in the country.  The ‘Pro-Patria’ was Hernández’s personal party, whose membership included present office holders and aspirants.  The ‘Acción Democrática’ was an opposition party without legal status…In Mexico City, a group of exiles formed the Committee For Democracy in Salvador, but, like ‘Acción Democrática’ [it] lacked a…chance for success without support of the Salvadoran army, an element loyal to the president” (pages 48-49).


Elam 1968:  “Ostensibly, the Constitutional Assembly which convened in January 1944, assembled for the purpose of amending the constitution to permit the expropriation of German property, but its main business was to alter the election laws to allow Hernández Martínez a fourth term” (page 58).


Cáceres Prendes 1996:  “(T)he reforms to the Constitution of 1939 approved by the legislature only the previous February…curtailed many civilian rights and granted extraordinary powers to the Executive” (page 56).

Castro Morán 2005:  “El 24 de febrero de 1944, el pueblo salvadoreño se enteró con creciente indignación, que una nueva Constitución regía la vida institucional del país y permitiría la continuación de Hernández Martínez en el poder durante un cuarto período” (page 135).

Holden 2004:  “Congress obediently passed the enabling legislation for the constitutional amendment on 24 February” (page 160).


Anderson 1981:  “The chief agent of Martínez’s overthrow was a democratic-minded physician named Dr. Arturo Romero.  When Martínez ‘elected’ himself again to the presidency in March 1944, the ‘Romeristas’ staged massive demonstrations of students and workers” (page 26).

Elam 1968:  “March 1 marked [Hernández Martínez’s] inauguration and the dictator celebrated the event in a gala evening of toasts and well-wishing.  Opposition groups, however, concluded that the time to act had arrived” (page 58).

Leonard 1984:  “The crisis was precipitated on March 1, 1944, when the constituent assembly elected Hernández to another four-year presidential term.  He was inaugurated on the same day” (page 49).

White 1973:  “In March 1944, with another re-election, discontent became more general” (page 103).

Williams 1997:  “(J)ust three months before his overthrow, a second constituent assembly decided unanimously to give Hernández Martínez a fourth term” (page 27).


Caldera T. 1983: “El 2 de abril de 1944 hubo un intento de golpe de estado, producto de un levantamiento militar, pero fue detenido a tiempo y se fusilaron a muchos de los insurgentes” (page 5).

Elam 1968:  “No sooner had a semblance of order returned than the dictator named a ‘Council of War’ to judge and prosecute those who had led the rebellion.  By its orders, ten officers were executed on the morning of the 10th while nine others were sentenced to death in absentia…In order to make it clear that continued subversion was futile, the executions were held on a downtown street in full view of the public, and martial law was proclaimed through the Republic” (pages 65-66).  “The failure of the April 2 rebellion had the effect of cleansing from the military all officers who might have shown a willingness to accept civilian government” (page 71).  “As president of ‘Acción Democrática Salvadoreña’s’ Civil Committee, [Arturo] Romero was responsible for coordinating civilian and military preparations for the April 2, 1944 uprising” (page 76).

Mahoney 2001:  “In April 1944, after Martínez amended the constitution to permit himself a fourth term in office, disenchanted officers from the army and air force staged a coup.  As had happened several times during his rule, Martínez survived the military revolt by drawing on the support of the National Guard and the National Police.  This time, however, the coup was particularly bloody, costing at least two hundred lives and seeing the execution of the leading conspirators” (page 208).

Webre 1979:  “The dictator’s newly found friendship with the United States contributed in part to the irony that the coalition of opponents that ultimately accomplished his downfall consisted of civilian democrats, pro-Axis officers, entrepreneurs and bankers frustrated by his economic restrictions, and coffee producers incensed by his decision in 1943 to increase revenues by raising the tax on exports.  The conspirators sprang their coup on April 2, 1944, while Martínez was out of the capital on holiday…Martínez responded with customary harshness” (page 13). 

White 1973:  “The revolt took the form of a military ‘coup’ which did not succeed, but the city became a battlefield for two days and there were many wounded and dead.  When Martínez reasserted his control, he blundered by continuing to repress and executing captured rebel leaders.  This provoked a strong reaction” (page 103).


Anderson 1981:  “On May 8, after a North American citizen was killed by the police, the United States ambassador advised the general to resign…A junta was then established under former President Andrés Ignacio Menéndez and Dr. Arturo Romero, who became an announced candidate for the presidency” (page 26).

Baloyra 1982:  “With the support of progressive elements clustered around Arturo Romero, Menéndez appointed a fairly representative cabinet and issued a call for elections…Romero organized the Partido Unión Democrática (PUD), and…began to campaign vigorously for the presidency.  The other main contender was General Salvador Castaneda Castro, a former minister of the interior during the Martínez era, who counted on the support of most of the military who opposed a return to civilian rule and of the landowners who were adamantly opposed to Romero’s reformist platform” (page 15).

Cáceres Prendes 1996:  “Strong anti-militaristic feelings were more than obvious among Salvadoreans; after all, Martinez did not yield to the military revolt, but to civilian disobedience.  Confrontation was therefore inevitable; it took place first around Constitutional issues and soon became openly political” (page 55).  “Menéndez assumed the presidency according to the law, but everyone, including himself, understood that this was just a momentary solution to a crisis of governance that still had to be decided” (page 56).

Caldera T. 1983: “(E)n este mismo año todos los sectores económicos se unieron en contra del Gral. Hernández Martínez y uno de los actos de protesta más fuertes fue la huelga ‘de mayo’ o de ‘brazos caídos’ en donde se paralizaron todas las actividades económicas” (page 5).

Eguizábal 1984: “Después del golpe fallido en abril de 1944, una Huelga General de brazos caídos obligo al dictador a renunciar el 8 de mayo del mismo año” (page 18).

Elam 1968:  “On May 8, Hernández Martínez spoke over the government’s radio stations and announced that he was resigning.  The following day, as the strike brought the capital to a complete standstill, it was announced that the Legislative Assembly had chosen General Andrés Ignacio Menéndez to succeed to the presidency” (pages 69-70).  “On the evening of May 25, 1944, Romero’s close friends formed the ‘Partido Unión Democrática…Both Romero and the party appealed strongly to El Salvador’s urban and rural labor and were considered to have the support of the vast share of union members in the country’” (page 77).

Leonard 1984:  “The [new] government…announced that free elections would soon be conducted to choose a constituent assembly to modify the 1886 constitution…The new environment…provided the opportunity for political parties to organize.  Eight new groups were founded.  All advocated constitutional government and varying degrees of social reform…The ‘Unión Democrática,’ under the leadership of Dr. Arturo Romero, represented the rising middle sector…The other significant party was the ‘Partido del Pueblo Salvadoreño.’…It offered a far-reaching social program that appealed strongly to the working classes.  Considered of lesser significance were the ‘Social Republicans’…and the ‘Partido Unificación Social Democrática’” (page 53).  “The six short months of political freedom only brought into conflict Salvador’s various long-suppressed self-interest groups” (page 54).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “General Andrés Ignacio Menéndez [gobernó] como Presidente Internino:  del 9 de mayo al 21 de octubre de 1944” (page 199).  “Hernández Martínez se vio obligado a presentar su renuncia a la Primera Magistratura, dejando como su sustituto en el Poder al General Andrés Ignacio Menéndez, su Ministro de Guerra, Marina y Aviación y su hombre de entera confianza…Durante este período de Gobierno el General Menéndez enfrentó una situación dificil.  Habían 5 partidos políticos…Los romeristas y castanedistas que eran los más numerosos, fueron los que chocaron entre sí llevando al país a una situación ingobernable” (page 200).

Mahoney 2001:  “With the Salvadoran government deeply divided and unable or unwilling to stop the civic protest movement, the U.S. ambassador persuaded Martínez to resign on May 9, 1944.  Before retiring to Honduras (where he was later assassinated), Martínez made sure power was transferred to Vice-President Andrés Ignacio Menéndez.  After Martínez’s fall, democracy seemed to be on the political horizon in El Salvador.  Provisional president Menéndez lifted the state of siege, issued a general amnesty for political prisoners, and abolished Martínez’s personal secret police force.  Presidential elections were scheduled for January 1945, and political organizational and party-building activities escalated” (page 209).

Webre 1979:  “The capital remained restless…and a paralyzing general strike soon broke out supported by government, bank, and commercial employees, by students, and by professionals…Martínez announced his resignation on May 8, and departed the country.  Probably not intending his absence to be permanent, he deposited the presidency into the hands of General Andrés Ignacio Menéndez, an honest, unambitious officer who had loyally stood in as interim president on a previous occasion.  This time, however, Menéndez named a broadly representative cabinet, restored freedom of the press, and issued a call for elections” (page 13).

White 1973:  “The period from 8 May to 21 October 1944 was one of political freedom in anticipation of free elections.  Martínez’s Vice President, General Andrés Ignacio Menéndez, had assumed the Provisional Presidency, but did not attempt to continue a policy of repression.  The hopes of reform were placed in the most outstanding civilian leader of the revolt of April and May, Arturo Romero…Romero was the hero of the hour and was expected to win the election” (page 104).

Williams 1997: “As of 9 May, El Salvador entered into a six-month period of heightened political activity as a variety of political groups prepared for the presidential elections scheduled for early 1945.  During these months, an opening toward a democratic form of government seemed possible but in the end failed due to the disorganized nature of the opposition and the military’s concern that events were spinning out of its control” (page 31).

Wilson 1969:  “Although civilian elements supported the dictator’s overthrow in 1944, the coup was effected by the military following Martínez’ execution of a number of young officers and, consequently, the consolidation of strong opposition within the armed forces” (pages 259-260).

Woodward 1985:  “Andrés I. Menéndez, a moderate military officer who was also a member of one of the principal families of the country, formed a provisional government” (pages 249-250).


Baloyra 1982:  “Lacking the unequivocal support of the military the Menéndez junta could do little to prevent the violence directed against the campaign of Romero and his PUD.  On 30 June 1944 the military high command forced Menéndez to postpone the August election and to name Colonel Osmín Aguirre, an architect of the massacre of 1932, as his chief of police.  This diluted the already feeble control that the government had over the security forces” (pages 15-16).

Cáceres Prendes 1996:  “(T)he National Assembly…continued to exist in its previous configuration of hard line backers of the dictatorship” (page 56).  “(T)he National Assembly…maintained the validity of the 1939 Constitution which they had recently reformed.  Under constant civilian pressure, in the first days of June the Assembly declared themselves incompetent to call for new elections and left the space open for other agreements to be made…Under civilian pressure, Menéndez on June 27 called for a plebiscite that would decide if constitutional reform was to be carried out.  By doing this he wanted to win time, since it was evident that the military, who opposed constitutional reform, was beginning to take steps to prevent it” (page 57).  “The idea of the plebiscite (which conformed to the 1939 Constitution) contradicted the demand for immediate elections for a legislature, something that the Constitution did not allow.  This…position, however, was initially agreed upon by the three branches of government on June 29 in what was known as the ‘Primer Decreto de los Tres Poderes,’ but it was immediately opposed by the whole Army” (page 58).

Elam 1968:  “The strongest opposition to Romero came from the ‘Partido Unificación Social Democrática,’ founded June 30, 1944.  Its candidate, General Salvador Castaneda Castro, could count upon assistance from the armed forces” (page 78).  “(T)he ‘Frente Unido Democrático’ was formed in June 1944” (page 82).  “(O)n June 21, the National Assembly selected [three] presidential designates” (page 84).

Webre 1979:  “Had the election been held when Menéndez intended, and had it been fair, the victor would likely have been Arturo Romero, a popular young physician who had been a central figure in the April 2 conspiracy.  But many of the officers involved in the coup attempt had perished in the repression, and their alliance with the dictator’s civilian opponents was largely a matter of convenience anyway.  Romero stood for a return to civilian rule and by 1944 military men did not have to be intransigent ‘martinistas’ to oppose that” (pages 13-14).


Cáceres Prendes 1996:  The Army “issued a public manifesto on July 1 against the decree and in support of the 1939 Constitution…Further negotiations followed, the idea of a plebiscite was discarded and the initial decree was replaced by another one on July 11.  This second agreement, called ‘Segundo Decreto de los Tres Poderes’ adopted the 1886 Constitution but also called for general elections for January 1945.  After March 1 of that year, when a new president was in place, the newly elected Assembly would write a new Constitution” (page 58).  Describes activities of the various parties leading up to the 1945 election (page 62).

Castro Morán 2005:  “El día 4 de julio se realizó la Junta Patriótica en Casa Presidencial, en la que participaron los Tres Poderes del Estado, delegados de los partidos políticos, candidatos a la Presidencia de la República, agrupaciones gremiales, periodistas y personas independientes.  La Junta resolvió, por acuerdo unánime, convocar a elecciones de Presidente y Vicepresidente de la República y Diputados a la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, en forma simultánea, para los días 14, 15 y 16 de enero de 1945; que los Diputados electos se constituirían en Asamblea Legislativa el 15 de febrero, con el fin de declarar la elección del próximo Presidente y Vicepresidente; que el período presidencial comenzaría el 1 de marzo; que a partir de esa fecha, los diputados se integrarían como Asamblea Constituyente, encargada de elaborar una nueva Constitución Política; que se adopta la Constitución de 1886, derogándose en lo conveniente la constitución de 1939 y sus reformas de 1944” (pages 143-144).  “El 11 de julio se emitió un llamado Segundo Decreto de los Tres Poderes que puso en vigencia todos los puntos acordados en dicha Junta Patriótica y se declaró Fiesta Nacional el 14 de julio” (page 145).

Elam 1968:  “Mounting pressure, finally in the form of a threatened general strike, caused the government, on July 11, 1944, to abolish the 1939 Constitution and reinstate the respected Constitution of 1886” (page 86).

October 20

Baloyra 1982:  “On 20 October 1944 the attacks against Romero culminated in a violent incident…Aguirre reacted by incarcerating hundreds of ‘romeristas,’ as well as the entire cabinet” (page 16).

October 21

Anderson 1981:  “(O)n October 21 Col. Osmin Aguirre y Salinas, the tough National Police chief who had helped put down the 1932 revolt, staged a coup against the junta and made himself the chief of state” (page 26).

Baloyra 1982: “Menéndez was forced to resign, and the members of the legislature were assembled at the Zapote barracks to witness the swearing in of Aguirre as provisional president.  He immediately cracked down on the opposition, driving most of the ‘romerista’ leadership out of the country” (page 16).

Elam 1968:  “At 4:00 A.M. on the twenty-first, after having easily consolidated control of the various military barracks in the capital, officers awakened President Menéndez and informed him that a military directorate had been established and that he was to accompany them to fort El Zapote.  Upon his arrival, the president was handed a written resignation which claimed that he was voluntarily leaving his office for reasons of bad health” (page 95).  “On the evening of the coup, leaders of the ‘Partido Unión Democrática,’ ‘Acción Democrática Salvadoreña,’ and the ‘Unión de Trabajadores Salvadoreños,’ were arrested and prepared for deportation.  Hundreds of other political opponents were jailed in the week that followed” (page 98).

Hoopes 1970:  “The colonel dissolved all the competing parties” (page 100).

Krehm 1957: Government is overthrown in reaction to Guatemalan coup of October 20th (pages 59-60).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El General Menéndez prometió elecciones libres, pero el 21 de octubre de 1944 se vio obligado a renunciar (según declaraciones de él, presionado por los militares)” (page 201).  “Coronel Osmín Aguirre y Salinas [gobernó] como Presidente Provisorio:  21 octubre 1944 al 1o marzo 1945” (page 203).

Leonard 1984:  On “October 21, 1944…President Menéndez resigned for ‘health reasons’ and an hour later was replaced by third presidential delegate Colonel Osmín Aguirre y Salinas after the national assembly declared the first two presidential delegates ineligible for office…(T)he military and elite were fearful of a Romero election victory.  His ‘Partido Democrático Unión’ represented the articulate middle sector” (pages 54-55).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “(T)he people who had mobilized against the dictatorship found their hero in a charismatic doctor named Arturo Romero, a presidential candidate who talked about reform and democracy.  But the past regime had not been dismantled; the army commanders were the same old generals; the landowners still feared change, and the legislature had the same members that had reelected Martínez.  All these groups came to see Arturo Romero as a dangerous reformer.  The dictatorship’s former chief of police, a conservative colonel named Osmín Aguirre, brought the democratic opening to a halt by toppling the interim government and sending Romero into exile” (page 85).

Mahoney 2001:  “Once the obstacle of Martínez was removed, public demonstrations and talk of civilian rule became unacceptable to senior representatives of the army, and this institution soon found itself in conflict with President Menéndez.  On October 21, 1944, Colonel Osmín Aguirre y Salinas carried out a coup d’état…With broad military backing, Colonel Aguirre brought full closure to the political opening:  the army repressed labor organizations, the short-lived civilian parties, and the student radicals” (page 209).

Parker 1981: “A new revolt on 21 October 1944 put Osmín Aguirre y Salinas in power, over the opposition of liberal forces which had fought to get rid of Hernández” (page 152).

Webre 1979: “The politics of the next four years were essentially the politics of the Salvadoran army.  At least three broad groupings seem to have emerged within the officer corps.  The one that appeared to be in ascendancy following the coup against Menéndez consisted of senior officers of Martínez’s generation and outlook and included the new president, Colonel Osmín Aguirre y Salinas, director of the national police and a principal figure in the massacre of 1932" (page 14).

Williams 1997: “Aguirre’s coup d’etat put an end to El Salvador’s democratic opening” (page 33).

Woodward 1985:  In “October a conservative faction, led by Osmín Aguirre Salinas, chief of police under Hernández, reestablished the dictatorship” (page 250).


Castro Morán 2005:  “El día 13 de diciembre de 1944 la Asamblea Legislativa por medio de Decreto 253 prorrogó el período presidencial del Gral. Salvador Castaneda Castro por dos años más” (page 152).

Elam 1968:  “By December, all hope of those resisting the new regime centered on an exile government in Guatemala, created and directed by Designate Miguel Tomás Molina.  Supported by hundreds of followers of Arturo Romero and a handful of disgruntled officers, this group directed across the border a constant flow of anti-government literature.  At the same time, it attempted to strengthen its position by gaining recognition as the legitimate government” (pages 100-101).  Describes attempted December invasion by these forces.  “Untrained and undisciplined, they proved no match for the regular troops dispatched to the department of Ahuachapán from San Salvador and Santa Ana.  Four hundred and fifty of the rebels lost their lives—many through a bombing attack ordered by Aguirre—while 150 government soldiers were killed” (pages 102-103).  “A week after the failure of the Ahuachapán invasion, Dr. Arturo Romero abandoned the race” (pages 105-106).


Anderson 1981:  “(I)n 1945, Juan José Arévalo, the idealistic Guatemalan president, and General Salvador Castaneda Castro, the Salvadorean strong man, planned a merger of their countries.  They declared Santa Ana, a major city in El Salvador near the Guatemalan border, as the new capital.  The citizens of Santa Ana had hardly time to celebrate their good fortune before this scheme, too, fell apart” (page 8).


Leonard 1984:  “Amidst the political uncertainty and economic adversity, Aguirre continued with plans to hold elections on January 14-16, 1945.  Leading opposition candidates Arturo Romero, Antonio Claramont, and Napoleon Viera Altamirano withdrew from the race in anticipation of a government-controlled election.  Claramont and Romero issued instructions to their followers to avoid the polls” (page 56).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El Partido Pro-Patria fue declarado extinguido.  Entre los partidos políticos había los siguientes candidatos:  Cipriano Castro, Arturo Romero, Napoleón Viera Altamirano y General Salvador Castaneda Castro.  En vista de la presión de las autoridades todos los candidatos se retiraron y sólo quedó el candidato Salvador Castaneda Castro” (page 204).


Radical women in Latin America:  left and right 2001:  “1945:  The Salvadoran Women’s League is formed” (page 33).

White 1973:  “Arturo Romero was expelled to Costa Rica, and with only minor right-wing opposition candidates left in the field, victory in the election could not but go to the candidate with the support of Osmín and the military, General Salvador Castaneda Castro” (page 104).

January 6

Elam 1968:  “On January 6, 1945, the last remaining civilian candidate, Napoleón Altamirano, announced his withdrawal from the campaign because the military support enjoyed by Castaneda Castro made opposition to him unrealistic” (page 105).

January 16 (14?):  election (Castaneda Castro)

Anderson 1981:  “In the subsequent elections of 1945, [Col. Osmin Aguirre] was succeeded in a fraudulent vote by his handpicked successor, General Salvador Castaneda Castro” (page 26).

Baloyra 1982:  “Aguirre went through with the election, but he made sure that Castaneda Castro’s victory was all but certain” (page 16).

Elam 1968:  “On January 14, General Salvador Castaneda Castro was elected president with an overwhelming majority of the votes cast.  For all practical purposes, he had no opposition” (page 115).

Krehm 1957: Describes election (page 122).  The independent parties withdraw with allegations of fraud and threats and peasants are trucked into San Salvador and given coupons for free food and drink each time they vote.  “Nadie se sorprendió cuando Castañeda obtuvo la victoria con un gran número de votos.”

Larde y Larin 1958: “Sin oposición alguna y como candidato oficial, el general Castañeda Castro fue electo, conforme a la Constitución del 86" (page 50).

Leonard 1984:  “Only the administration’s candidate, General Salvador Castaneda Castro, remained.  Without opposition, he received a reported 312,754 votes, more than a third of Salvador’s male population” (page 56).  “At the time of Castaneda’s presidential election, in January 1945, a constituent assembly also had been chosen.  Castaneda deputies outnumbered those representing the Aguirre faction 42-5, which meant the assembly would be subservient to the new president’s wishes” (pages 60-61).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  Aguirre “manipulated the electoral process to ensure that the most conservative candidate, another military man, General Castaneda Castro, was victorious.  It was clear that Martínez’s main legacy was an institutionalized and politicized army ready and willing to use the levers of power to defend the status quo against threats either real or imagined” (page 85).

Mahoney 2001:  “To formalize its control over national politics, the army held show elections for president in March 1945, bringing General Salvador Castaneda Castro to power in a virtually uncontested race” (page 209).

Parker 1981: “(F)ive candidates withdrew after accusing Aguirre of unfair practices to ensure the success of his candidate” (page 152).

Turcios 2000:  “Del 14 al 16 de enero de 1945 se celebran las elecciones, y el ganador triunfa, como en el pasado, sin rivales” (page 436).

Webre 1979: “Aguirre proceeded with the postponed elections, but close governmental control of the electoral machinery left little doubt as to the outcome.  The army’s candidate, General Salvador Castaneda Castro, easily defeated Arturo Romero.  Castaneda’s candidacy had met considerable opposition within the officer corps but, in the end, he seemed the least objectionable alternative” (page 14).

Woodward 1985:  “Aguirre and his chosen successor, Salvador Castañeda Castro, were elected in controlled balloting in January 1945.  They dealt harshly with leftist elements.  Since 1945 the military, in league with landholding interests, has run El Salvador most of the time” (page 250).


Leistenschneider 1980:  “El 17 de febrero se declararon electos para Presidente el General Salvador Castaneda Castro y como Vice-Presidente el doctor Manuel Adriano Vilanova” (page 204).

March 1

Anderson 1981:  “Between the 1931 coup and the presidency of Castaneda Castro, the military had become the chief force in the politics of the country…The oligarchy…frightened by the events of 1932, had yielded its dominant role in politics more or less willingly to the soldiers.  A tacit bargain had been struck which freed the very wealthy to look after the economic interests of the country while the soldiers ran the political show” (page 26).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “The whole of Castaneda’s term in office centered on the problem of political instability.  Though elections were orchestrated frequently, sometimes with the participation of visible—but always weak—opposition parties, the most visible problem for Castaneda continued to be his inability to organize a coherent and representative Cabinet” (page 78).

Castro Morán 2005:  “Castaneda Castro fue un burgués que disminuyó la represión e inició la corrupción.  Dentro de este gobierno, el Ejército en su conjunto, se encontraba en un equilibrio inestable:  el ejército tradicional estaba en el poder ocupando los más altos cargos militares; pero el ejército profesional buscaba la manera [de] encontrar su verdadero sitio” (page 152).

Elam 1968:  “(E)ven before his inauguration on March 1, it was clear that Castaneda had assumed leadership of a nation whose armed forces were again deeply divided in political opinion” (pages 115-116).

Holden 2004:  “In March 1945, the army handed over the presidency to one of its own, Gen. Salvador Castaneda Castro (who had been Hernández-Martínez’s interior minister), after suppressing the civilian political parties and proclaiming him the winner of the January 1945 elections” (page 161).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “General Salvador Castaneda Castro gobernó como Presidente de la República:  1o de marzo de 1945 al 14 diciembre de 1948” (page 207).

Leonard 1984:  “Castaneda was inaugurated on March 1, 1945…In less than a year, Salvador had come full circle.  The overthrow of Hernández in May 1944 stirred hope for political reform, but the Castaneda administration gave no promise of providing it” (page 56).  “The much maligned Castaneda administration survived several crises during its first nineteen months.  Three confrontations with the military alone occurred in 1945” (page 58).  Describes each.

Wade 2003:  “Like Martínez, Castaneda Castro represented the old guard of the Salvadoran armed forces and was relatively isolated from the junior officers” (page 32).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “An…effective mechanism for keeping internal control was the frequent restructuring of the services in order to prevent the creation of alliances and loyalties among officers and to guarantee a single line of authority.  The Police was transferred from the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Defense in March 1945” (page 79).

Elam 1968:  “(A) constituent assembly was called into session in March of 1945 and a new constitution was framed and promulgated eight months later” (pages 120-121).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “La inconformidad de la juventud militar contra Castaneda y su ‘vieja guardia’ se manifestaba desde antes de 1948.  Recién iniciado su gobierno, en junio de 1945 hubo un movimiento sedicioso que no tuvo éxito.  Un personaje salió exilado hacia México:  el mayor Oscar Osorio” (page 449).

Castro Morán 2005:  “El 10 de junio de 1945 tuvo lugar un intento de golpe de Estado liderado por oficiales jóvenes del Ejército profesional, que no participaron en el levantamiento del 2 de abril del año 1944 y creyeron que había llegado su oportunidad de gobernar.  Este intento fracasó y algunos de los alzados (el mayor Oscar Osorio, entre otros) salieron al exilio” (page 152).

Elam 1968:  “On June 10 a coalition of military officers…pooled their resources in an effort to overpower forces loyal to Castaneda’s government” (pages 117-118).  “(W)ith the exception of officers hoping for the return of Aguirre and his policies—a group which tended to cut across rank—most of the conspirators of June were junior officers unhappy over the fact that Castaneda had chosen to retain the system of senior officer control…Before calm could be restored and evidence gathered against those implicated, a second rebellion reputedly of greater dimensions took place on June 22” (pages 118-119).


Elam 1968:  “Encouraged by what they saw, civilians renewed their efforts.  By September Castaneda Castro was faced with another general strike” (page 12).


Leonard 1984:  “For several months [after its election in January, the constituent assembly] worked in secret…On November 30, 1945, all the country’s newspapers carried a surprise government statement, without comment, regarding the assembly’s decision to continue the 1886 constitution with certain modifications.  One of the most important of these was the reestablishment of the legal position of the church, the implication being that it would control public education” (page 61).  “The modified constitution…stipulated a four-year presidential term” (page 67).

Parker 1981: “In November [1945] the country returned to its 1886 constitution providing the traditional four-year presidential term instead of a six-year span stipulated in the 1939 document” (page 152).

Webre 1979:  “A new constitution promulgated in 1945 to replace the traditional liberal charter of 1886, which had been restored upon Martínez’s fall, was of little importance since Castaneda maintained a state of siege throughout most of his period in office” (page 14).



Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “In August 1946 the liberal opposition created a conflict between Castaneda and the Supreme Court which led to the resignation of all the members of the latter” (page 78).


Leonard 1984:  On “September 23, 1946, a seven-day general strike beleaguered the nation and threatened the collapse of the government…In response, the government imposed a state of siege and martial law…Castaneda emerged in a stronger position, but his dependence upon the military was more visible” (page 59).

December:  mayoral election

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  Quotes a source of information on the election of mayors in December 1946 (page 95).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “The political campaign for the presidential elections that were scheduled for March 1949 started early…Previous elections during Castaneda’s rule had all been characterized by public apathy; however, this campaign was memorable for the total disarray amongst the elites and the total lack of any popular representation.  Political parties began to be constituted around several well-worn political figures, mostly public officers in recent governments” (page 80).

Leonard 1984:  “Most prominent of the prospective [presidential] candidates was Osmin Aguirre, who shifted his tactics from potential revolutionary to presidential candidate in early 1947.  In January and February he demonstrated that he had significant backing from the older officers in the army and national guard, who were discontent with Castaneda’s inefficiency.  The wealthy capitalists and coffee growers also favored Aguirre’s candidacy because they wanted firm leadership over Castaneda’s vacillation in order to have peace and order among the laboring classes.  The younger military officers and civilian liberals disliked Aguirre because of his association with the older conservative elements, but they lacked enough power to prevent him from becoming the major opposition candidate to challenge the ‘official’ presidential nominee, whoever that might be…The search for an ‘official’ candidate began in mid-1947, when Castaneda reaffirmed his intention not to remain in office beyond inauguration day, March 1, 1949” (page 68).

January:  congressional election

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  Quotes a source of information on the election of deputies to the National Assembly in January 1947 (page 95).

Leonard 1984:  “For whatever reasons, a general apathy toward politics prevailed, as was evident in the January 1947 congressional elections.  Under censorship, the press failed to discuss the elections, and in many outlying areas people were even unaware of them.  Amidst a low voter turnout and without any opposition, Castaneda’s Partido Unificación Social Democrática’s slate of candidates continued their control of the legislature” (page 62).


Leonard 1984:  “Historically, the dominant force in Salvadoran politics had been the large landowning coffee growers, who in alliance with the military were a major force in any noncommunist revolutionary activity.  Provided Castaneda did not move on two sensitive issues affecting them—tax increases and improved labor conditions—this wealthy class saw no need for change” (page 63).   “When the government increased the coffee export tax in October 1947, many people in this class called for a change in government.  Castaneda quieted the situation with a Cabinet shake-up” (page 64).


Leonard 1984:  “In late 1947 Aguirre’s political strength was estimated to be so strong that rumors persisted to the effect that Castaneda wanted him removed from the country” (page 68).  “The first speculation that Castaneda intended to remain in office came in November 1947, when he took to the countryside to counter Aguirre’s popularity.  This resulted in persistent rumors that he intended to continue in office beyond the legal term” (page 69).


Elam 1968:  “The presidential campaign of 1948” (pages 126-129).  General Mauro Espiñola Castro is selected by the Partido Unión Nacional “to carry on the policies of the regime” (page 127).  “The ‘Partido Social Democrática’ supported Coronel Osmín Aguirre y Salinas; the ‘Partido Democrática Republicano’ ran General Salvador Peña Trejo; and Coronel José Asensio Menéndez became the candidate of the ‘Partido Acción Renovadora.’  None of the parties existed before 1948, and none of the candidates, with the exception of Asensio Menéndez, though it even necessary to outline a concrete program.  Each party devoted the better part of its time to condemning Espiñola while doing its best to hide its own candidate’s past…(W)hen [Espiñola]…showed himself to be so unpopular as to make his victory undeniable proof of a rigged election, Castaneda was forced to change his tactics.  Posters and handbills appeared demanding the continuation of the president” (page 128).


Leonard 1984:  “By late May 1948, three months before becoming the Social Democrat’s presidential candidate and the official opening of the campaign, Aguirre spoke confidently of an election victory” (page 68).


Elam 1968:  “(B)y August it was plain that Castaneda had forsaken his own candidate.  When Espiñola showed no indication of withdrawing, and when no signs of a coalition of government supporters developed, Castaneda was left with no alternative other than to abrogate the prohibition of reelection” (pages 128-129).

Leonard 1984:  “Talk that the national assembly would alter the constitution to extend the presidential term from four to six years began in August and continued throughout the campaign” (page 69).


Leonard 1984:  “The presidential campaign opened in October 1948…The failure to designate Espinola as the ‘official’ candidate, even after the campaign opened…, heightened speculation that Castaneda would continue” (page 69).  Discusses prospective candidates (pages 67-69). 

December 13

Elam 1968:  “On December 13, the National Assembly called for the formation of a new constitutional assembly.  Justification for this dangerous action rested on two unrelated factors.  First, Central American unity was near-at-hand, but its consummation hinged upon Castaneda’s ability to convene Isthmian leaders.  Second, the 1886 constitution had never been properly reestablished in 1944 and Castaneda was therefore eligible for a six-year term.  Rumors of an impending revolt had been circulating in San Salvador for months” (page 129).  “The actions of the National Assembly on December 13…immediately set the plans for revolt in motion” (page 130).

Leonard 1984:  “On December 13, 1948, President Castaneda convened a special session of the national assembly, which rushed through legislation calling for a constituent assembly to consider the legality of extending Castaneda’s presidential term an additional two years” (page 69).

Parker 1981: “On 13 December 1948 an obeisant legislature decided that Castañeda, having been elected under the 1939 constitution, was entitled to six years in office” (page 152).

December 14

Anderson 1981:  “Casteneda Castro had ambitions of being a second Hernández Martínez; but his fellow officers, seeing what was happening, removed him by a ‘golpe de estado’ on 14 December 1948…This new group of officers had come to maturity during the Second World War, and many of them had been trained either in the United States or by North Americans…(T)hey would continue the pact with the oligarchy and protect its economic interests while making a show of social change” (page 27).

Baloyra 1982:  “The ‘majors coup’ of 14 December 1948 sought to inaugurate a new model in Salvadoran politics.  The coup was precipitated by moves by Castaneda Castro that were apparently aimed at extending his mandate to a second term, but it is probable that a new and more institutionalized system of military rule would have come about sooner or later” (page 17).

Elam 1968:  “The Revolutionary Council, announced the day of the coup, was composed of  [Lieutenant-Colonel Manuel de Jesús] Córdova, Major Oscar A. Bolaños, Major Oscar Osorio, Dr. Humberto Costa and Dr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl.  As spokesman, Córdova announced the new government’s intentions and spelled out in detail the Council’s immediate program” (page 132).  Gives biographical information on Council members (pages 138-141).

Krehm 1957: On December 14 the government is overthrown and the Revolutionary Council (Consejo de Gobierno Revolucionario) is established headed by Colonel Manuel de Jesus Cordova.  Gives names of all members of the council (page 61).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “Consejo de Gobierno Revolucionario gobernó de Hecho, desde el 14 de diciembre de 1948, hasta el 14 de septiembre de 1950…(P)or haber tratado de reelegirse fue derrocado [Castaneda Castro] el 14 de diciembre de 1948 por un grupo de militares y civiles” (page 211).  Gives information on the five members of the Consejo.

Leonard 1984:  “(O)n December 14, a group of five young army officers headed by Manuel J. Córdova ousted Castaneda from office.  The former president was arrested, and held for trial…Subsequently, Aguirre was arrested and jailed.  The coffee growers, caught by surprise, failed to react.  The populace, unaffected by the coup, returned to normal activities on December 15…Córdova quickly formed a junta of three military officers, including himself, and two civilians…Designated as the Council of Revolutionary Government, the junta abrogated the existing constitution and promised to call soon for a constituent assembly to write a new document” (page 70).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “(A)fter four unremarkable years President Castaneda Castro sought to change the constitution to allow himself to be reelected.  The tactic failed for him just as it had for his predecessor, although for different reasons.  Whereas Martínez was felled by a nascent, albeit unsuccessful democratic movement, Castaneda Castro had broken the unwritten rule of the emergent military authoritarian system; individual generals would not be permitted to perpetuate themselves in office.  Instead, power would be exercised by the army as an institution…(T)he Consejo de Gobierno Revolucionario…turned toward the populist side of military rule.  Comprised of young officers and idealistic civilians, the junta portrayed itself as a renovator of the governing class” (pages 85-86).

Mahoney 2001:  In 1948 “a group of younger officers located at Fort Zapote overthrew General Castaneda in the so-called Majors’ Coup.  With this event, the professional military, as represented by professional junior officers, seized institutional control of the Salvadoran state and government” (page 210).

McDonald 1969: “In 1948 moderate elements of the military assumed power and embarked on a program of ‘controlled reform.’  One of the instruments they created was the Partido Revolucionario de Unificación Democrática (PRUD), a political party designed to consolidate the regime and buld an element of mass support for its policies” (page 402).

Wade 2003:  “The 1948 ‘revolution,’ which effectively ended ‘caudillo’ rule, was primarily [the] result of a fissure between junior officers and older generals.  Junior officers were mostly of working class backgrounds and did not benefit from the spoils system that had enriched the generals” (page 34).  “The Revolutionary Council of Government, comprised of three military and two civilian representatives, sought to institutionalize democracy and modernize the Salvadoran state…[It] banned political parties affiliated with religious groups, those receiving foreign aid, and the Communist Party” (page 35).

Webre 1979:  “On December 14, 1948, the morning after Castaneda called for a constitutional amendment to permit the extension of his term, the junior officers overthrew him” (page 15).

Wood 2000:  “Although the army displaced the National Guard as the principal national military institution in 1948, [the] pattern of close local cooperation between elites and representatives of the coercive apparatus of the state (which later included not only the National Guard but also large numbers of former soldiers organized into reserves under army command) endured until the leftist insurgency of the 1980s forced both landlords and the state to abandon some parts of the countryside” (page 227).

December 16

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “In a First Decree of December 16 the CGR…disbanded both the National Assembly and the Supreme Court and took over their functions” (page 98).

Hoopes 1970:  “A so-called Council of Revolutionary Government took power on December 16, 1948, consisting of three military officers and two civilians, headed by Major Oscar Osorio” (page 101).

December 26

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “On Sunday December 26 the CGR published a ‘Proclama de los 14 Puntos’…defining the ‘Principles and Objectives of the Revolution’…Special electoral laws are announced” (page 99).  “(T)he ‘Proclama de los 14 Puntos’ emphatically pronounced electoral freedom as the first and most important of the political rights the revolutionaries aspired to fulfill…The poor performance that the ‘men of 1948’ showed in dealing with this issue in the following critical years was to mark the future of Salvadorean politics for decades” (page 117).


Baloyra 1982:  “The experiment inaugurated in 1948 accepted the conventional wisdom that coffee was of predominant importance and that the operation of that sector should be spared any dangerous reforms that might upset the delicate balance of a country with a small territory, a protean economy, and a rapidly growing population” (page 17).  “(T)he fatal flaw of the Salvadoran system inaugurated in 1948 is that in trying to prevent partisan and electoral politics from disrupting the established order, the military precipitated a more direct confrontation between Salvadoran classes.  Yet the stubbornness with which the oligarchy resisted the institutionalization of a party system and competitive elections in El Salvador suggests that it clearly understood the socioeconomic implications of such a development” (pages 33-34).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “Aunque Córdova ostentaba la mayor jerarquía militar, no era totalmente aceptado por la juventud golpista por su carácter un tanto altanero y dominante.  Esta situación se volvió más contrastante cuando retornó de México el mayor Osorio…El 5 de enero de 1949, Córdova fue excluido del Consejo de Gobierno” (page 447). 

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(B)oth the U.S. and Great Britain recognized the CGR on January 21, when most other countries maintaining missions in El Salvador had already done so” (pages 106-107).  “Though the CGR gave the impression of great internal coherence, personal rivalries rapidly emerged.  Lt. Colonel Manuel de Jesús Córdova who was the senior officer and appeared initially as the leader of the coup and was the most visible spokesman of the Council until the arrival of Major Oscar Osorio, left the CGR on January 4, 1949” (page 107).  “On January 17, 1949 the Council signed a resolution reversing a previous one (No. 3 of December 21, 1948) by which the post of Chief of the Armed Forces was created, therefore cancelling the appointment of Maj. Humberto P. Villalta for that post.  Villalta, a key military figure in the revolution, did not comply so easily as Córdova” (page 108).

Leonard 1984:  “Córdova’s nepotism and alleged leftist leanings caused a split in the junta…He was forced to resign on January 4, 1949…Oscar Osorio emerged as the leader of the four remaining junta members” (page 70).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “Ya para febrero de 1949 se informó que un grupo de eminentes juristas había sido designado para elaborar el anteproyecto de Constitución” (page 453).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “The left of the ‘Romerista’ group, quite visible in the original coalition, was hit by the Villalta affair and soon found itself dislodged from the Ministry of the Interior.  Carlos Hayem, a well known ‘Romerista’ liberal was forced to present his resignation on February 4, 1949, and was replaced by Major José María Lemus, one of the key components and ideologue of the ‘military youth.’  The move was immediately perceived as connected with the projected elections for a Constituent Assembly, since the election machinery was controlled by the municipalities, which in turn depend on that Ministry.  The move…coincided with the appointment of two committees of lawyers to prepare a draft of the Constitution and a draft of the electoral laws” (page 119).

CCE 1951: “Por acuerdo No. 206 de 7 de febrero de 1949, publicado en el Diario Oficial de la misma fecha, el Honorable Consejo de Gobierno Revolucionario, designó la comisión que se encargaría de formular un proyecto de Ley Electoral” (page 40).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Everything seemed to indicate that elections would be held soon; however, by March 1949 both Osorio and Bolaños privately recognized that both Constitution and electoral laws would have to be studied by the CGR…and that in fact they did not expect ot hold elections before the beginning of 1950” (pages 119-120).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “In May, after considerable public pressure, the committee in charge of writing a draft of the Constitution announced they would produce it by August” (page 122).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “In June the draft of the electoral laws were ready” (page 122).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(I)n August a Decree 244 promulgated the ‘Law of Permanent Political Parties.’  The actual organization and dates of elections, however, were still kept undecided.  The new political parties law decreed…illegal the organization of parties of communistic ideas and also of those having religious affiliations, or those who received foreign aid, or whose constitution excluded people on the basis of ‘sex or class.’  Though there was no visible reaction to these dispositions, they were indicative of some of the fears of the ‘Osoristas’” (page 122).  Gives additional details on the guidelines for political parties.  “(D)espite the fact that the new law announced the eventual constitution of an Assembly-nominated Electoral Council (‘Consejo Central de Elecciones’ CCE) as an independent body that would supervise elections, all opposition groups doubted the veracity of official promises of fairness, and suspected the ruling group would somehow manage to impose itself when the actual polling take place” (page 123).

Elam 1968:  “In August of 1949 the Council decreed a new election law which outlawed all political parties based on sex, class, religion, Communist affiliation, or in receipt of financial assistance from outside the country” (page 144).

Johnson 1993:  “In August of 1949, the Legislative Assembly promulgated the ‘Ley de Partidos Políticos Permanentes,’ which controlled the inscription and formal structure of political parties.  It made the inscription process more rigorous and was intended in part to inhibit the temporary proliferation of small parties at every election” (page 106).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(B)y September 1949 there were signs of old and new organizations being activated.  The ‘Partido Republicano Salvadoreño’ PRS—whose leader José Andrés Orantes was known to be a protegé of former dictator Hernández Martínez—and the ‘Partido Nacional Republicano’ PNR conducted by Major Roberto Flores, a former backer of Castaneda Castro were both just prolongations of old political gangs.  Observers noted that ‘Osoristas’ were quietly organizing a party with the name ‘Revolucionario Salvadoreño’” (page 123).

Leonard 1984:  On September 5, 1949…the junta permitted the registration of political parties with the Interior Ministry, provided each one identified 2,000 members from five different departments” (page 71).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “El 22 de octubre de 1949, el mayor Oscar Osorio y el doctor Galindo Pohl renunciaron al Consejo de Gobierno, señal inequívoca de que se incorporarían a las actividades políticas que vendrían.  El Organismo quedó integrado por el mayor Bolaños y el doctor Costa” (page 447).

Dunkerley 1985:  “In 1949 Osorio established the ‘Partido Revolucionario de Unificación Democrática (PRUD), the model for all succeeding official parties in its toleration of a tame opposition within tightly circumscribed limits” (page 35).

Elam 1968:  In “October, Osorio had resigned from the Revolutionary Council in order to establish the ‘Partido de Unificación Democrática’” (page 144).

Hoopes 1970:  “On October 22, 1949, Major Osorio and a civilian member resigned from the council to affiliate with the [PRUD] and to prepare for the March 26-28, 1950, presidential-legislative elections” (page 101).

Leistenschneider 1980:  Oscar Osorio “formó parte del Consejo de Gobierno hasta el 22 de octubre de 1949, en que renunció, para dedicarse a su candidatura” (page 211).

Leonard 1984:  “The first political party to register was the ‘Partido Revolucionario de Unificación Democrática’ (PRUD), in late October.  It was formed by Osorio and Galindo Pohl, both whom had resigned from the junta, and Humberto Romero, one of Salvador’s original liberals.  The support base included the army, government workers, students, professionals, and the bulk of labor” (pages 71-72).

Ruddle 1972: “Osorio resigns to become an eligible candidate for the presidency; he is succeeded by Oscar Bolanos” (page 40).

Webre 1979: “Osorio...left the council in order to campaign for the presidency as the candidate of the official party of the ‘revolution’” (page 15).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “En diciembre de 1949 fueron aprobados los estatutos del Partido Revolucionario de Unificación Democrática (PRUD) que va a inaugurar en el país la tradición de los ‘partidos oficiales’ con su secuela de clientelismo político” (page 450).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  Discusses behind the scene negotiations leading to the announcement that, “instead of having a Constituent Assembly decide the outcome of Presidential elections, there were to be simultaneous elections for Constituent Assembly and for President…On December 30 four recently organized parties (‘Nacional Republicano,’ ‘Constitucional Demócrata,’ ‘Demócrata Salvadoreño’ and ‘Social Democrático Independiente’) offered the CGR collaboration in solving the acute national political problem…; they also called for elections for a Constituent Assembly, arguing that only after constitutional order had been restored should a presidential election take place.  But the crucial decisions were already made” (pages 127-128).

Leonard 1984:  “By the year’s end, five other political parties had been formed:  ‘Nacional Republicano,’ ‘Constitucional Democráta,’ ‘Democráta [Salvadoreño],’ ‘Social Democrática Independiente,’ and ‘Acción Renovadora.’  Each called for a return to constitutional government before any presidential election were held” (page 72).

Webre 1979:  “The PRUD owed its status as the ‘official’ party to the fact that it was organized by interests which had already achieved political power by other than electoral means.  Once organized and in operation, it could draw upon official resources, such as the treasury or the agencies of social control, in order to attract support or discourage opposition” (pages 18-19).


Krauss 1991:  “(A) faction of American-trained, reform-minded Salvadoran officers, who called themselves the Young Military, began to rise through the ranks in the 1950s.  They were the first of three generations of officers who would seek to loosen the traditional ties of the army and the oligarchs” (page 64).

Mahoney 2001:  “From 1950 to 1979…the armed forces as a whole—not individual military leaders—dominated the government.  Legitimacy issues were addressed by the military with the regular use of restricted elections in which the military’s official party typically ran in largely uncontested races.  Most military presidents formally advocated some civilian inclusion in government, but during the life of the military-authoritarian regime, little progress was actually made on this front” (pages 240-241).

Tilley 2005:  “By the 1950s, the 300,000 people identified by mid-century surveys as ‘Indian’ were officially conflated into a generic ‘peasant’ identity” (page 31).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(O)n January 25, 1950 the long awaited Electoral Law was finally decreed (Decree 464).  The Law—called ‘provisional’ to indicate its ad-hoc character—contained several positive aspects:  there would effectively be a central regulating body (CCE) to supervise the whole process; women would be able to vote on the same grounds as men, and there would be a fairer system for distributing deputies on the basis of the current population of each department—which increased the number of deputies from forty-four to fifty-two for the 1950 elections.  But the law maintained the traditional system of allocating all department’s deputies to the party obtaining a majority…(T)he law carried the much disputed stipulation, elections for both the National Constituent Assembly and the President of the Republic would be held simultaneously” (pages 128-129).  Gives additional information on the law.  “As anticipated, the new law was strongly objected to by all the political parties (with the obvious exception of PRUD) who threatened to boycott elections if it was not revised” (page 130).

CCE 1951: Gives law creating the Consejo Central de Elecciones and its dependencies (pages 13-19).  Gives electoral districts and number of congressional representatives to be elected from each (pages 21-22).

Eguizábal 1992a: “En enero de 1950 se promulgó la Ley Transitoria Electoral que instituía el sistema mayoritario de lista (el partido ganador en cada departamento obtenía el total de la representación) para las elecciones de diputados constituyentes.  Si ningún candidato presidencial obtenía la mayoría de los votos populares, su elección recaía en la Asamblea” (page 44).

Elam 1968:  In “January, two additional decrees called for the election of a constitutional assembly and a president, voting to take place March 26 through March 28, 1950.  For the first time, a Central Council of Elections was created whose functions were declared autonomous and independent of the government.  Assisted by departmental juries and electoral councils, the Central Council replaced departmental governors and town mayors in the task of collecting and tabulating the vote.  The January decrees further gave women the right to vote and introduced the secret ballot for national elections” (page 144).

Guía de elecciones 2003:  “Con la idea de garantizar la libertad del proceso electoral, la Constitución de 1950 establece un Consejo Central de Elecciones como autoridad suprema en material electoral, modificando el sistema de 1886 en el cual las Juntas Departamentales conocían de la elección de Diputados a la Asamblea Legislativa en la elección de Presidente y Vice-Presidente de la República.  El Consejo Central de Elecciones, a partir de esa declaración, era elegido por la Asamblea Legislativa” (page 12).

Hoopes 1970:  “Various parties which had previously organized were intimidated by the appearance of strict election laws curtailing the electoral participation of extremist parties” (page 101).

Webre 1979:  “The Revolutionary Council created the [CCE], a permanent and theoretically independent three-man commission, in order to insure impartial enforcement of the electoral laws” (page 16).

Williams 1997: Describes establishment of CCE (pages 42-43).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “The CGR was however determined to go ahead with the plan and on February 3, 1950 it finally called for elections for the days 26, 27 and 28 of March” (page 130).

March 26-29: general election (Osorio / PRUD)

Benítez Manaut 1990: Gives percents of the vote for PRUD and PAR (page 72).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “When elections finally took place only PAR agreed to participate, with the rest of the opposition abstaining” (pages 130-131).  Discusses reports on the election (pages 131-132).  “Opposition groups after the 1950 elections were initially reduced to the old PAR, which though losing the presidency managed to win in 4 of the 14 departments and elected 9 deputies (out of 50) to the Constitutional Assembly” (page 198).

CCE 1951: “Cuadro de la distribución de papeletas por departamento” (pages 49-50).  Gives for each department the estimated number of voters, number of ballots assigned by the CCE and number of ballots actually given to the departmental electoral board, and the numbers on the ballots assigned.  Gives the names of the delegates elected by the PAR (14) and PRUD (38) to the constituent assembly (pages 58-59).  “Cuadro estadistico de votantes y juntas receptoras de votos por cada pueblo y urnas en cada pueblo” (pages 105-111).  Gives for each town in each department the number of inhabitants, numbers who are male or female, number of electoral committees, and number of ballot boxes.  The “resumen” (page 111) totals this information for departments and for the country.  “Cuadros de escrutinios para diputados, para presidente” (pages 112-133).  Give for each town in each department the votes for PAR, votes for PRUD, null votes, and total votes.  These “cuadros” are the reports from the electoral boards of each department, and include additional information on delegates, voting irregularities, etc.  The “escrutinio presidencial” (pages 132-133) summarizes this information for the departments and for the country.  “Cuadro control de distribución de papeletas y urnas electorales en el departamento de...” (Pages 134-144).  Gives for each town in each department the number of registered voters, number of ballot boxes, number of ballots assigned, and number of ballots used.  The last tables in the report (pages 145-154) give the basic information from each town in each department given on pages 112-133.  PAR won 266,271 votes and PRUD won 345,139 votes.

Eguizábal 1984: “Durante la década del 50, el Partido Acción Renovadora, PAR, fue el principal partido de oposición.  Aglutinaba a elementos progresistas de ejército y a parte importante de la oposición civil durante la dictadura martinista...En lo político, aunque su candidato a las elecciones presidenciales de 1950 fue un militar, el PAR abogaba por el establecimiento de un régimen civil...El Coronel José Asencio Menéndez, candidato del PAR en 1950 [ganó] al 43.5% de los votos y el partido logró ocupar 14 de los 52 escaños en la Asamblea Constituyente elegida simultáneamente” (page 19).

El Salvador 1982: “PRUD’s candidate...won amid protests of electoral abuse” (page 4).  PAR receives 43% of the presidential vote and 14 congressional seats (page 28).

Elam 1968:  “Osorio won the election with 60 percent of the 611,000 votes cast…The P.R.U.D. also won a safe margin in the Constitutional Assembly” (page 145).

Hoopes 1970:  “Only the [PAR] opposed the official PRUD in one of the freest and largest elections in Salvadorean history.  The voter turnout, which exceeded 600,000, endorsed PRUD over PAR with a 60 percent vote” (page 101).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: Gives votes for top two presidential candidates and total votes cast (pages 8 and 28).  PRUD wins all seats in Congress (page 28).

Kantor 1969: Gives numbers of votes for PRUD and PAR (page 112).  PRUD wins a majority of the congressional seats.  Women vote for the first time.

Montgomery 1995: “Osorio won with 60 percent of the vote.  PRUD captured a decisive majority in the Constitutional Assembly” (page 46).

Parker 1981: Osorio “was elected president of the country with an announced 56 per cent of the vote” (page 153).

Radical women in Latin America:  left and right 2001:  “1950:  Women are able to vote” (page 33).

Ruddle 1972: Gives votes won by Osorio (page 86).

Soto Gómez 2005:  “El nuevo presidente fue electo el 1 de marzo de 1950 y llevó como único rival al Coronel Ascencio Menéndez, postulado por el Partido Acción Renovadora (PAR)” (page 191).

Webre 1979: “The PRUD and the PAR were El Salvador’s first permanent electoral parties....The PAR challenge to Osorio and the ‘juventud militar’ was a serious one.  Although the PRUD won the election of March, 1950, Menéndez received nearly 45 percent of the vote and the PAR captured fourteen seats in the Constituent Assembly elected simultaneously” (page 16).  “The lopsided electoral majorities of the PRUD era were meant to demonstrate to the doubtful and uncomprehending that the official party did, in fact, represent the real interests of the nation as a whole.  At the same time, regular elections provided frequent opportunities for the ritual repudiation of deviant alternatives of the Right or Left” (page 19).

Williams 1997: Gives votes cast, number of votes for president and constituent assembly seats won by PRUD and PAR, and null votes (page 44).

Woodward 1985:  “Osorio’s moderate [PRUD] dominated the state for the next decade, with both leftists and rightists charging that elections were fraudulent” (page 250).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  The Constitutional Assembly is inaugurated on May 11, 1950 (page 133).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “La Constitución fue finalmente decretada el 7 de septiembre de 1950 y tendría vigencia a partir del 14 de septiembre.  Este último día, la Constituyente se convertiría en Asamblea Legislativa.  Como una fecha simbólica, el teniente coronel Oscar Osorio tomó posesión de la Presidencia de la República en ese  mismo 14 de septiembre” (page 454). 

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Afte September, 1950…PAR slowly became the victim both of the growing intolerance of the PRUD’s militants and of their own incapacity to develop a coherent political platform of their own, which would allow them to become more than just ‘the opposition to’ the ruling party” (pages 198-199).

Ching 2004:  “Until the procedure was changed in the 1950 Constitution, voting in El Salvador was conducted publicly and orally.  This was perhaps the most salient feature of El Salvador’s political system.  Oral voting allowed a person’s vote to be known and subject to influence or threat.  Elections for both local and national offices were conducted in the municipalities under the watchful eye of incumbent municipal authorities” (page 55).

Dunkerley 1985:  “Under the constitution of 1950 the longstanding liberal principles around which oligarchic rule had been constructed were reformulated to allow for a modicum of state intervention” (page 35).

Elam 1968:  Osorio “was inaugurated September 14, 1950” (page 145).  “Soon after Osorio’s inauguration, national politics took on the characteristics of a one-party system, partly because of the successes of the government in its reform policies and partly because Osorio and his military collaborators showed little tolerance for organized opposition” (page 148).

Gamero Q. 2000:  “En la Constitución de 1950 el territorio se dividió en circunscripciones electorales que determinaba la ley y la base del sistema electoral continuaba siendo la población.  Se determine que la elección de los diputados no podía efectuarse simultáneamente con las elecciones para Presidente y Vicepresidente de la República.  Los miembros de la Asamblea se renovaban cada dos años, pudiendo ser reelegidos.  Se abolió la obligatoriedad del sufragio…Se crean el Consejo Central de Elecciones como autoridad suprema en material electoral y el Registro Electoral” (page 125).

Hoopes 1970:  “Major Osorio promulgated a new constitution on September 14, 1950 [and] granted women the right to vote in the next election” (page 101).

Johnson 1993:  “The 1950 Constitution further established universal suffrage and made secret balloting a constitutional right.  Articles 33 and 34 mandated the creation of the ‘Consejo Central de Elecciones’ (CCE) that had authority to oversee elections and the inscription of parties and candidates” (page 106).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “Teniente Coronel Oscar Osorio gobernó…14 septiembre de 1950 al 14 septiembre de 1956” (page 213).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “Fortunately for [Osorio], a period of high coffee prices accompanied his election, allowing him to give greater priority to the reform side of the reform/control mix that he and his fellow officers had established as the essence of military rule” (page 86).

Parker 1981: New constitution becomes effective on September 14, 1950.  “A Legislative Assembly would be elected every two years, with the suffrage granted to men and women over eighteen years of age.  The president would be elected by the people for a six-year term with no immediate re-election possible” (page 153).


Webre 1979:  “A close cooperative relationship soon developed between the traditional economic elite and the new, modernizing political elite.  The fact that world coffee prices in this period were high and the Salvadoran crop bountiful encouraged this harmony.  What is more, the oligarchs were sufficiently realistic to recognize that the officers and their middle-class civilian allies could not easily be displaced from power and, on the other hand, that they were hardly immune to the various forms of suasion available to the wealthy” (page 17).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(I)t took many people by surprise, including top officials, when on March 9, 1951 Osorio requested that the National Assembly declare a State of Siege for 30 days ‘to effectively control the enemies of democratic institutions’” (page 200).

Holden 2004:  “On 9 March 1951, the ‘junta’ imposed a state of siege, claiming to have evidence of simultaneous communist and reactionary conspiracies.  The emergency allowed the government to jail opposition labor leaders and politicians, silencing the legal opposition” (page 162).


Anderson 1981:  “In October 1951 [the Central Americans] met at San Salvador and established the Organización de Estados Centroamericanos (ODECA)” (page 9).


Holden 2004:  “Though they campaigned, no opposition party won a single legislative seat from 1952 to 1964” (page 162).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(A) new electoral law that continued the practice of casting a single vote for a single party slate of deputies in each Department…was ‘steamrolled through by the PRUD’ at the end of February.  At that time PAR also suffered a serious split when a large group of leftist joined the party and clashed with the conservative wing” (page 203).

Johnson 1993:  “In 1952, the nation’s first comprehensive election code was passed.  Among its many provisions, the one which stipulated the composition of the CCE raised the most opposition among independent parties.  The CCE was appointed by the Legislative Assembly; and because the Assembly was controlled by the official party, the CCE appointees could not be counted as apolitical.  In fact, the PRUD and PCN’s control over the CCE was an important means for controlling competition, since the CCE frequently used its power to disqualify opposition candidates and parties.  Other constitutional provisions also enabled the government to control political competition” (pages 106-107).

Webre 1979: “Established two years earlier as a guarantor of free and impartial elections, the CCE had effectively lost its independence by 1952.  The Legislative Assembly selected, and continues to select, the three members of the council:  it is recognized as routine that the party that controls the assembly will control the CCE as well" (page 18).

May 26:  congressional election

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Though other parties began to get organized early [in 1952], ranging from the right to the left, none challenged PRUD in the May legislative elections” (pages 202- 203).

El Salvador 1982: “PRUD through its control over the CCE managed to disqualify all the PAR’s legislative assembly candidates in the 1952 elections” (page 4).

Elam 1968:  “As early as the 1952 elections for the National Assembly, the ‘Consejo Central de Elecciones’ had lost its independence and was under the control of P.R.U.D. leadership” (page 148).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: PRUD wins all seats in an uncontested election (page 28). 

Webre 1979:  “(C)ontrol [of the CCE] enabled the PRUD to drive the PAR out of the assembly in 1952, and thereafter the official party held every seat until its own disappearance in 1961.  The PRUD owed its status as the ‘official’ party to the fact that it was organized by interests which had already achieved political power by other than electoral means” (page 18).

Williams 1997: “For the legislative elections of May 1952, PRUD ran unopposed after opposition groups withdrew their candidates at the last moment, claiming that fraud would be committed; thus, PRUD got all of the over seven hundred thousand votes cast” (page 46).

July:  municipal election

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “While bigger expectations existed for the oppositionists’ participation in the July municipal elections, these brought a new and total victory for PRUD.  Charges of fraud raised by PAR…did not move electoral authorities, now fully controlled by PRUD” (page 203).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: PRUD wins all seats in an uncontested election (page 28).  Due to the lack of opposition, PRUD wins all the mayoralty posts and municipal-council seats (page 28).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(O)n September 26, 1952 a new State of Siege was decreed due to allegations that the communists had organized a plot…Soon it was clear that the main target was the left, which had been very active among labor unions, the University and had even made timid incursions in the countryside…This time arrests were massive, reaching from 1200 to 2000 people” (page 203).

García Guevara 2007:  “The most important plot against the PRUD was foiled in 1952, when the regime arrested, tortured and exiled dozens of men and women who later became organized labor and guerrilla leaders…Fearing these political activists, PRUD leaders declared a state of siege, tied the many alleged conspirators to international Communist groups, and arrested hundreds of people [including Salvador Cayetano Carpio]” (page 108).  “The police did not capture Jorge Schafik Handal, who was Organizational Secretary of the illegal Salvadoran Communist Party” (page 109).

Holden 2004:  “Another state of siege…was declared on 26 September 1952, followed by the arrest of more students, union leaders, and politicians, signaling the end of hope for democracy under the majors’ ‘revolution’” (page 162).


García Guevara 2007:  “Osorio and the Legislature passed the…’Ley de Defensa del Orden Democrático y Constitucional’ in November 1952.  This law provided substantial penalties for the promotion of Communism and anarchism and encouraging illegal strikes and demonstrations” (page 110).


Holden 2004:  “On 4 December, President Osorio signed into law the Legislative Assembly’s ‘Ley de Defensa del Orden Democrático y Constitucional”, which not only outlawed communism, Nazism, fascism, and anarchism, but also set jail terms of up to seven years for anyone attacking ‘constitutional order’ in any one of twenty specified ways” (page 162).


García Guevara 2007:  “In order to prepare for the 1955 presidential elections, PRUD leaders…used…reorganization to remove officers and officials that had opposed the military’s repression” (page 113).

May 2-4:  congressional and municipal election

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins an absolute majority, winning all 54 seats and 260 mayoralties (the opposition refrains from participating) (page 72).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(B)y the time of the May 1954 elections for deputies and municipal councils the [PRUD] began to split over the selection of public officials aligned with one or another of several ‘presidential hopefuls’” (page 206).

Elam 1968:  “(I)n the contest for the Assembly in 1954, the government insured the success of the official party’s candidates.  When called upon to justify their actions, government spokesmen argued that unrestricted campaigning and subsequent political division would only enhance the growth of Communism in El Salvador” (page 149).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: PRUD, without opposition, wins all congressional seats and municipal offices (page 28).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “The 1955-56 Presidential Campaign” (pages 222-233).

Elam 1968:  “When it came time to select an official candidate, Osorio broke all traditions by suggesting Galindo Pohl as his successor.  A large contingent of army officers promptly informed him that a civilian candidate was unacceptable…Finally, Lieutenant-Colonel José María Lemus was chosen by Osorio and provided with the support of the official party” (pages 149-150).

May:  election

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Elections in May 1955 were a repetition of a now common ritual:  PRUD won all posts again” (page 207).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “On October 28, 1955 PAN, PAR and PAC sent a letter to Osorio requesting that the incoming elections be supervised by members of the contending parties, that every election take place in a single day instead of three as in the past, and that all forms of intimidation of the population, either by civilians or military, be banned.  Demands also included the old request for proportional representation in the legislative elections” (page 227).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(O)n November 9, six [parties] formed a coalition” (page 227).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “A multiple-party committee (which included all opposition parties and PRUD) presented a project to the National Assembly, which in December 23 dictated important reforms to the electoral law though some of the most important opposition demands were not included” (pages 227-228).


Elam 1968:  “At least token opposition was offered by five political groupings…After being disqualified by the Election Board, Roberto Edmundo Canessa of the ‘Partido Acción Nacional’ hinted that no loyal opposition could develop so long as the military controlled the government…Irregularities, too numerous to mention, punctuated the campaign” (page 151). 

Webre 1979:  “The candidate most dependent upon the electoral path and at the same time with the greatest potential for success in that direction was Canessa.  Following his resignation from the foreign ministry, this suave, eloquent aristocrat had participated in the formation of the [PAN], which, although it claimed to be a permanent, ideological party, resembled the other short-lived personalist organizations of the time” (page 22).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Presidential elections were set for March 4, and in the time left before them the opposition [spent] its time trying to constitute coalitions and hoping to discredit Lemus with dubious allegations regarding his nationality.  The coalitions made sense as a way of improving the possibilities of defeating the PRUD, since the new electoral law required an absolute majority for winning the presidential race.  Disputes over personalities, however, made it impossible to constitute a single front; on January 11, 1956 PAC and PID announced a coalition, and two days later another one was formed between PAN, PAR and PDN…Party candidates, however, were presented to the electoral registration office individually, since coalitions were still to be agreed upon in detail” (page 228).

Elam 1968:  “In January, less than two months before elections, candidates opposing Lemus formed two coalitions in an effort to overcome the official party’s advantage.  Colonel Rafael Carranza Amaya and his ‘Partido Auténtico Constitucional’ merged with the smaller ‘Partido Institucional Demócrata’ of Colonel José Alberto Funes to form a united front.  Opposing this coalition, and Lemus, were the two civilian candidates, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Roberto Edmundo Canessa (‘Partido Acción Nacional’), and lawyer Enrique Magaña Menéndez, whose party ‘Acción Renovadora’ had campaigned against Osorio in 1950.  They were joined by the fourth military candidate, Major Alvaro Díaz and his ‘Partido Demócrata Nacionalista’” (page 152).


Anderson 1981:  “Some civilian elements had planned to oppose [the official] ticket by running Roberto Edmundo Canessa, a coffee grower who had been head of the coffee growers’ association and minister of foreign affairs under Osorio; but a month before the election was to take place, Canessa’s candidacy was banned and he was exiled from the country.  Other opposition groups were likewise excluded” (pages 27-28).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(A) ‘United Front Against Imposition’ was constituted on February 17 with PAN, PAC, PID and PDN backing Carranza…but evidence of a massive fraud being prepared early in March convinced the coalition and PAR (who had also registered its candidates) to withdraw from the elections” (page 230).

Elam 1968:  In February, “three of the six candidates were disqualified.  Only Lemus, Carranza Amaya and Magaña Menéndez met the qualifications of the ‘Consejo Central de Elecciones’” (page 152).  Gives reasons for the disqualifications (pages 152-153). 

Webre 1979:  “As the campaign progressed, Osorio, becoming less certain of a clear PRUD victory, brought more direct mechanisms of control into play.  Barely a week before the election, the CCE disqualified Canessa on the basis of a technical error in his documentation, and at the same time suppressed the candidacy of Funes because of accusations of fiscal improprieties during his embassy to Guatemala.  The two ex-candidates then joined Major José Alvaro Díaz of the…[PDN], whom the CCE had also stricken from the ballot, and united behind Colonel Carranza…When Carranza…attempted to withdraw from the race, the authorities refused to permit it.  The government ordered both him and PAR candidate Enrique Magaña Menéndez to continue campaigning” (page 23).

March 4:  presidential election (Lemus / PRUD)

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins 94% of the vote (page 72).

El Salvador 1982: “(T)he opposition parties withdrew their candidates from the 1956 elections in protest.  Needing some surface legitimacy for the elections, however, PRUD prohibited the opposition parties from having their candidates/names withdrawn from the ballots” (page 5).

Elam 1968:  “Army units were in full view on the fourth of March to observe the voting.  Officers thought to be loyal to Colonel Amaya, Colonel Funes and Major Díaz were placed in custody.  Their arrest, however, was probably unnecessary since none of the officers campaigning against Lemus had any intention of promoting a situation in which civilians could gain political advantage” (page 153).

Holden 2004:  “(T)he armed forces took no chances with the 1956 presidential election.  Five of the six candidates were military officers; the sixth was a civilian who had been Osorio’s foreign relations minister.  After the ruling PRUD chose Lt. Col. José María Lemus, the government used its resources to promote Lemus while disqualifying all the opposition candidates but two.  Declaring Lemus the winner with 94 percent of the votes, the ‘junta’ demonstrated beyond all doubt the futility of the democratic hopes it had incited in 1948” (page 167).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: “Lemus, a hand-picked candidate of Osorio, was elected president unopposed, after three of the five opposition candidates had been declared ineligible by the army-controlled election board, and after the other two had withdrawn in protest” (pages 8 and 28-29).  Gives total votes for Lemus and votes for the opposition (pages 16 and 29).

Kantor 1969: Gives numbers of votes for Lemus and the opposition (page 114).

Mariscal 1979:  “El Coronel Lemus, candidato del partido oficial, llegó a la Presidencia en 1956, en unas elecciones en las que los candidatos de la oposición se retiraron como señal de protesta por la falta de libertad” (page 144).

McDonald 1969: “Lemus soon embarked on a program of repression against ‘left-wing’ tendencies within the country, perhaps inspired by the abortive attempt of Arbenz shortly before to establish a proto-communist regime in neighboring Guatemala” (page 403).

Parker 1981: “The announced vote was 93 per cent for Lemus over his combined opposition, the withdrawals of Carranza and Mazaña not having removed their names from the ballot” (page 154).

Ruddle 1972:  PID, PAC, PAN, and PAR “are disqualified from participating in the forthcoming elections by the electoral council” (page 40).

Soto Gómez 2005:  “El Teniente Coronel Lemus, cuyo nombre real era José María López,…fue electo el 1 de marzo de 1956, con la oposición de fuertes candidatos, como el agricultor Roberto Edmundo Canessa (PAN), el Coronel José Alberto Funes (PID), el Señor Enrique Magaña Menéndez (PAR), Coronel José Alberto Carranza Amaya (PAC), Mayor Álvaro Martínez (PDN) y los retirados antes de los comicios Profesor Salvador Merlos (PPD) y el General Claramount Lucero (PFP)” (pages 191-192).

Webre 1979:  “The presidential election of 1956 provides an excellent example of the PRUD system in operation and simultaneously reveals some of its weaknesses.  Osorio chose as his successor his minister of the interior, Lieutenant Colonel José María Lemus…A number of Osorio’s former associates emerged as presidential candidates representing ad hoc parties” (page 22).  Gives additional details.  “Colonel Lemus won the election with what a government publication modestly described as an ‘absolute majority’ of 93 percent of the vote.  The opposition had already boycotted the elections of 1952 and 1954 because of government interference.  This third experience with the PRUD machine served even more to lower respect for electoral politics…Government figures claimed that 712,000 Salvadorans voted in 1956" (page 24). 

White 1973: “Colonel José María Lemus came to the Presidency in 1956 as official party candidate, all opposition candidates having withdrawn in protest that the election was not really free.  His initial attitude on the question of political freedom or repression was rather more permissive than Osorio’s had become” (page 106).

Williams 1997: “It was not until 1956, when presidential elections were combined with legislative and municipal ones, that part of the opposition decided to stay in the race.  As a result of criticism about holding presidential, legislative, and municipal elections at the same time, the legislative assembly reformed the election law so that the election for president was held on a different date from the others.  In this manner, the people would have the possibility of splitting their preference.  This gave the opposition parties hope that they might get at least some seats in the legislature and they proceeded to choose candidates to oppose the PRUD” (page 46).  Gives votes received by Lemus and total votes cast (page 47).

May:  congressional election

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins 54 seats (page 72).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Elections for the National Assembly took place as scheduled on May 13, with only PAR in the race.  As expected, PRUD won all the posts” (page 230).

García Guevara 2007:  “The 1956 PRUD slate for the 54 assembly seats included 17 doctors and professors, five women and no military officers” (page 121).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: Gives total vote and percent of vote for PRUD and PAN (page 29).  PRUD won all seats in Congress.

Ruddle 1972: Gives votes for each party (page 86).

Williams 1997: “PRUD got over 550,000 votes to 34,000 for the one participating opposition party” (page 47).

July 1:  municipal election

Baloyra 1982: PAR wins the mayoralty of San Salvador (page 44).

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins 258 mayoralties (page 72).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “PRUD won all posts…in the municipal elections held on July 1.  These elections were little but ceremonial events, with votes being openly manipulated to present the façade of massive participation” (page 230).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: Gives total vote and percents of vote for PRUD and opposition parties (page 29).


Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “Lemus tomó posesión el 14 de septiembre de 1956” (page 459).  Lemus “derogó la impopular Ley de Defensa del Orden Democrático y Constitucional el 21 de septiembre de 1956…Esta ley había contribuido al desgaste y deslegitimación del ‘prudismo.’…El coronel Lemus logró un mayor acercamiento con la Iglesia Católica” (page 460).

Elam 1968:  “Tension within the officer corps and between military and civilian elements continued to mount after the inauguration of Lemus in September of 1956, despite his efforts to divert attention from politics and return the nation to the task of social and economic reform.  Civilian opponents could not forget the way in which Lemus had acquired the presidency or that coercion and fraud had provided him with an overwhelming majority of assembly seats in elections the previous May” (page 153).

Hoopes 1970:  “Emerging victorious, Lemus then abandoned his close ties with PRUD and established a personalistic rule under which he refused to grant any benefits to teachers and sought to muzzle the press through the control of newsprint” (page 101).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “Teniente Coronel José María Lemus gobernó como Presidente:  14 de septiembre de 1956 hasta el 9 de marzo de 1959” (page 217).

Valle 1993:  “Lemus, con el ánimo de mostrar una cara diferente [a Osorio y su gente] le anuncia al país que se derogará la ‘ley del orden democrático’, que permitirá el retorno de exiliados, muchos de los cuales habían partido en 1952 durante la famosa represión de Osorio” (page 44).


Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “Osorio’s chosen successor, Colonel José María Lemus, was ready to continue the modernizing endeavors, but coffee prices took a dive in 1957, less than a year into the new administration.  With fewer resources for new programs, the government faced growing social discontent.  In response, Lemus began to crack down” (page 87).

Mariscal 1979:  “El estilo de gobierno de Lemus, inicialmente abierto se fue cerrando ante la confrontación con la C.G.T.S….y la A.G.E.U.S.” (page 144).

Williams 2003:  “At the end of 1957, the Salvadoran economy entered a period of crisis as a result of the collapse in the international price of coffee” (page 307).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(A)s the 1958 elections for the Legislature and Municipal Councils approached party activity became more apparent, once again revolving around the theme of electoral legislation.  A ‘National Movement for the Reform of the Electoral Law’ had emerged at the end of 1957, and the National Assembly discussed a project presented by the opposition, which included the introduction of proportional representation on Congressional elections and the guarantee of a minimum percentage of the seats to the opposition” (page 294).

Webre 1979:  “Distrusted by the military, resented by the civilian population, and openly attacked by university leftists, Lemus had no need for economic difficulties.  But they came, beginning in 1958 with a drop in coffee prices” (page 26).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “In February 1958 the changes proposed were ruled out allegedly for being unconstitutional and because they required a more technical electoral record than the existing one” (page 294).

March 23: congressional election

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins all seats (page 72).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Once again the opposition abstained from the legislative elections held on March 23, and the whole Assembly was elected by PRUD” (page 294).

Eguizábal 1984: “(E)n las elecciones legislativas de 1958, la oposición se abstuvo de participar y el partido oficial esta vez se adjudicó la totalidad de los votos” (page 20).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: PRUD runs unopposed to retain all seats (page 29).

Ruddle 1972: Gives votes for PRUD (page 86).

April 27: municipal election

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins 254 mayoralties (page 72).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “In the Municipal elections of April 27, 1958 the only contending opposition party was PAR, which only participated in 6 of the 260 Municipalities of the Republic, but won in San Salvador and in a few more cities” (page 295).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: PRUD wins all but six mayoralties (page 29).


Anderson 1981:  “(I)n June 1958, meeting in Tegucigalpa, the five [Central American] states signed a Multilateral Treaty of Free Commerce and Economic Integration…Thus began the career of the Mercado Común Centroamericano (MCCA)” (page 9).


Booth 2006:  The reformist party Movimiento Nacional Revolucionario (MNR) appears in 1959 (page 100).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “At the end of the year the left put even more pressure on the political scene by formally launching a party with the name of ‘Partido Revolucionario Abril y Mayo’ (PRAM) on the basis of the already existing ‘Movimiento’” (page 298).

Webre 1979:  “By 1959, the Salvadoran economy, whose remarkable performance through the decade had done much to keep PRUD rule secure, was in a state of minor crisis…Meanwhile, rising costs and unemployment contributed to worker discontent” (page 26).


Leistenschneider 1980:  “Teniente Coronel José María Lemus gobernó como Presidente:  31 marzo de 1959 al 26 octubre de 1960” (page 217).  “Doctor Humberto Costa…gobernó como Vice-Presidente:  del 9 al 31 de marzo de 1959…Recibió el Mando Supremo el 9 de marzo de 1959, por visita que hizo el Presidente Lemus fuera de la República” (page 221).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  In June “a new political group emerged with the name ‘Movimiento Cívico Abril y Mayo’ (MCAM, a ‘Civic Movement’ whose named commemorated the ousting of dictator Hernández Martínez…The same month of June another party was announced, the ‘Partido Radical Democrático,’ which aimed at supporting a civilian candidate…It was constituted by non-Communist progressive radical liberals” (page 287).


Elam 1968:  In July 1959, “the ‘Partido Radical Democrático’ was founded with the sole purpose of ending military rule” (page 154).


Elam 1968:  In August 1959 “Osorio publicly denounced the revolutionary party and formed a new group called the ‘Partido Revolucionario de Unificación Democrática Auténtico’” (page 154).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  The “Frente Nacional de Orientación Cívica (FNOC)…came to light in October 1959, and was made up of several opposition parties together with student associations, the CGTS and independents; its main declared goal was to obtain the electoral reforms demanded in the past” (pages 295-296).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “Shortly after Castro’s victory in Cuba, the PCS began to take a more activist stance.  The party first organized a front organization, the [FNOC], which allowed party members to be active in mass mobilization” (page 203).


Anderson 1981:  “It was under the [Honduran] presidency of the Liberal Dr. Ramón Villeda Morales that the situation [for Salvadorans in Honduras] deteriorated still further…With the internal population of Honduras growing at an alarming rate, a loss of jobs in the banana industry, and an unfavorable trade balance, thanks in part to the MCCA, Hondurans began to feel the pinch of competition from abroad…In November of 1959, almost an entire decade before the war, there was an exodus of some three hundred Salvadorean families, escaping the harassment of Hondurans” (pages 74-75).


García Guevara 2007:  “In December…Salvadoran police arrested more activists and future political and guerrilla leaders including…Roque Dalton” (page 116).

Webre 1979:  “Disturbances broke out, and on the eleventh anniversary of the December 14 Revolution an angry crowd stoned the National Palace and tore down the flagpoles in Plaza Libertad…Lemus blamed these troubles on Communist infiltrators, and arbitrary arrests and detentions were common throughout 1960” (page 26).


Dunkerley 1988:  The PRAM “became part of the Frente Nacional de Orientación Cívica, established to contest the congressional and municipal elections of 1960.  Despite the fact that FNOC was based on a very loose platform of democratic and social reforms, the regime constantly denounced it as ‘Communist’, ‘Cuban-backed’ and ‘a threat to democracy’” (page 354).

Elam 1968:  “Another new party, the ‘Revolucionario Abril y Mayo,’ named in honor of the fall of Hernández Martínez, hinted that another revolution might be necessary unless the government stepped up its programs of reform” (page 154).  “By the end of 1960, nine political parties and six ‘nonpolitical’ organizations composed of students, labor, and professionals had been recognized by the government and scheduled to participate in a congress inaugurated to draw up a new electoral system” (page 160).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “The FNOC participated in the movement that led to the downfall of the Lemus regime on October 26, 1960.  Also in 1960, it organized its first military wing since the 1932 uprising, the Grupos de Acción Revolucionaria” (pages 203-204).

Webre 1979:  “More difficulties appeared in connection with the municipal and assembly elections scheduled for April, 1960.  Opposition to PRUD domination now began to unite in the [FNOC], a loose coalition of political parties, student associations, and antigovernment labor organizations.  The most prestigious of the parties associated with the FNOC was the [PAR]” (page 26).  “(T)he front resembled any number of temporary coalitions of interest which have accomplished the destruction of arbitrary regimes throughout the modern history of Latin America only to find themselves unable to function in their place.  Much more youthful than the PAR and more disturbing to the authorities was the leftist…Partido Revolucionario Abril y Mayo…The government quickly denounced the boisterous young party as Communist” (page 27).

White 1973:  “(B)y 1960, confronted by an increasingly militant Left, which included for the first time since 1932 an influential Communist Party, Lemus turned more and more to repression” (page 106).

Woodward 1985:  “In 1960…Osorio lost control of the [PRUD], and he then formed the Social Democratic Party (PDS) in opposition” (page 250).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “At the beginning of January 1960 elections were ordered according to the new Electoral Law (for both National Assembly and Municipalities) for April 24” (page 298).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Since PRUD and PAR were the only parties permitted according to the new legislation, the opposition got together in March 1 to organize a coalition with the name of ‘Union Nacional Opositora’ (UNO), including PAR, PAN, PRD and PRAM; however, they soon split due to difficulties in forming a common platform” (page 298).

April 24: congressional and municipal election

Aguilar Avilés 2000a:  “(E)n abril de 1960 ganó la Alcaldía de San Salvador el doctor Gabriel Piloña Araujo del PAR, en tanto que el PRUD hizo lo [posible] para que se anulara la elección, sin éxito” (page 451).

Benítez Manaut 1990: PRUD wins all seats and 250 mayoralties (page 72). 

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “(L)ocal and foreign observers agreed that apathy was widespread among the population, while the government announced that elections had been ‘positive for democracy’ and that the opposition victories were a proof that it was possible to defeat PRUD ‘with a positive agenda.’  Nevertheless, the FNOC continued active and demands for annulment of the elections emerged everywhere” (pages 298-299).

Dunkerley 1988:   “(T)he Front won six mayoralities—including that of San Salvador—from the PRUD and had clearly generated much popular support” (page 354).

Eguizábal 1984: “(E)l PAR ganó varias alcaldías, incluyendo la de San Salvador.  Hasta ahora cobran importancia los resultados de las elecciones municipales que tienen lugar al mismo tiempo que las legislativas, pues antes de esta fecha no habían tenido incidencia en la política nacional” (page 20).

Hoopes 1970:  “In the April 1960 congressional elections, the government party won 357,226 votes to 49,459 for the opposition; and since proportional representation was not then in effect, PRUD occupied all the seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The competing parties denounced the election and new electoral law, which required 5,000 signatures and made parties with Communist members illegal” (page 101).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: “PRUD again won all the seats” (pages 8-9, 29).  Gives major cities won by PAR (page 29).

Johnson 1993:  “The municipal and legislative elections scheduled for April of 1960 quickly became dominated by students, professionals and workers who were galvanized with the success of Castro and by the aborted revolutionary experiment in Guatemala.  For the first time, an opposition party, the [PAR], won the mayoralty of San Salvador thus dealing a significant first blow to ‘oficialismo.’  However, once again, no opposition party managed to win any representation within the legislature” (page 114).

Kantor 1969: “For the first time since 1950, the opposition participated in the election” (page 114).  Lemus changes election laws, leading to protests.

Ruddle 1972: Gives votes for PRUD and PAR (page 86).

Webre 1979:  “Since the PAR was the only party belonging to the FNOC legally recognized by the CCE, it was the only one eligible to participate in the April elections…The government, as usual, took no chances on the outcome of the election.  PRUD candidates for the Legislative Assembly encountered no difficulty qualifying before the CCE for all fourteen departments, whereas PAR tickets won recognition in only seven.  The regime also made use of intimidation…Although the PRUD once again won every seat in the assembly, the PAR triumphed in six mayoralties including that of the capital where Gabriel Piloña Araujo…defeated the PRUD candidate” (page 27).  “Although the PAR won the major municipal election in the department of San Salvador, the government had not permitted it to enter the assembly race there” (page 28).

Williams 1997: All seats are won by PRUD; PAR wins control of the municipal council of San Salvador (page 54).  “This electoral victory by PAR set the pattern for the following decade, when the regime decided that controlling voting results in San Salvador was too difficult or costly and allowed opposition activities to proceed with relatively little hindrance.”


Webre 1979:  “On July 14, the CCE announced its denial of the PRAM request for legal registration on the grounds that the party’s ideology was Cuban-inspired and, therefore, a threat to the ‘democratic structure’ of the country.  Following this decision, government agents subjected persons associated with the party to a wave of harassment, arrest, and detention” (page 28).


Cáceres Prendes 1995:  In August, “the National Assembly decreed a Law of Public Meetings designed to curtail oppositionist gatherings” (page 301).

Dunkerley 1988:  “(I)n August 1960, the regime, lacking experience in handling reformist opposition and fearful of the influence of Cuba, declared martial law, arrested the university authorities and occupied the campus.  Such a precipitate exclusion of a less than radical middle-class challenge and the reversion to dictatorial methods proved to be misjudged even in a political climate overshadowed by Cuba” (page 354).

Hoopes 1970:  “Opposition to Lemus mounted after the 1960 election, magnified by general unrest, increasing unemployment, and falling coffee and cotton prices.  On August 25, 1960, University of El Salvador students went on strike” (page 101).

Valle 1993:  “(L)a Iglesia Católica bajo la conducción o inspiración o con la cabeza visible de Monseñor Luis Chávez y González, organiza a mediados de 1960 una manifestación de apoyo al régimen de Lemus…(L)a Iglesia Católica organizó a principios de agosto de 1960, una manifestación de apoyo al Plan Metalío del coronel Lemus.  La Iglesia se encargó de movilizar miles de campesinos de todo El Salvador.  Estos concurrieron a la Plaza Libertad a dar su adhesión al Plan Metalío.  Pocos días después, el 16 de agosto de 1960, organizaciones sindicales, gremiales y partidos de izquierda organizan una manifestación para protestar por la manifestación que había organizado la Iglesia” (pages 45-46).  “(E)l gobierno puso en funcionamiento la mano fuerte…A raíz de esa represión instantánea que promueve el gobierno, inmediatamente después de esa manifestación de fuerzas populares y de izquierda, de algunos gremios y de algunos sindicatos, se organiza otra manifestación universitaria…De nuevo el régimen la reprime.  La represión llega a adquirir un carácter novedoso…Después vinieron otras manifestaciones” (page 47).

Webre 1979:  “In his effort to enlist the masses in the campaign against the ‘Red menace,’ Lemus was able to count upon the support of the Roman Catholic church.  On August 15, government trucks brought some twenty thousand ‘campesinos’ to San Salvador to attend a church-sponsored rally and hear orators attack ‘Communist’ parties such as the PRAM that wished to ‘abolish private property.’…The importation of peasants to the city was significant; by this time Lemus could not have staged a show of popular support in the capital in any other manner” (page 28).  “The evening following the great anti-Communist rally, a group of students took over Plaza Libertad and held a meeting of its own.  Speakers praised the Cuban Revolution, attacked the government’s actions against the PRAM, and loudly condemned the church hierarchy for interfering in politics.  The regime responded immediately” (page 29).


Anderson 1981:  “The focal point of discontent was the university; and Lemus, running true to form, could think of no better way to deal with it than to invade the university in September 1960…Roberto Edmundo Canessa was arrested at about the same time, tortured in prison, and released, only to die shortly thereafter in the United States” (page 28).

Cáceres Prendes 1995:  “Most commentators agree that the decisive events that precipitated the coup took place on September 2, when a large march was disbanded by the police who broke into the University main building…to capture students who had sought refuge there.  This time even non-committed observers and the press agreed that the level of violence employed by the police was excessive” (page 302).  “A criminal Court initiated a process against police brutality, but the National Assembly decreed a 3-day State of Siege through the country on September 5, at the request of Lemus” (page 303).

Elam 1968:  “In a series of clandestine meetings in September, officers and civilians began plotting the overthrow of Lemus” (pages 155-156).

Hoopes 1970:  “Elsewhere, the Fifth Regiment Barracks in Santa Ana was assaulted by revolutionaries, and a 30-day siege was begun.  In a parade on September 16 protesting the siege, one law student was shot to death and three others were seriously wounded.  The public regarded these strong-arm tactics as repulsive” (pages 101-102).

Valle 1993:  “El 2 de septiembre de 1960 hay una violenta incursión de las fuerzas de seguridad a la rectoría de la Universidad” (page 47).  “Simultáneamente, el régimen había decretado el estado de sitio, y el país entró en un período de régimen represivo, corto pero intenso.  Entre el 2 de septiembre y el 26 de octubre, cuando cae Lemus, en esas siete u ocho semanas, hay un aumento de la protesta, hay manifestaciones y declaraciones de varios sectores” (page 48).  “El 15 de septiembre de 1960 hay una gran manifestación popular que se reprime a balazos” (page 49).

Webre 1979:  “The government declared a thirty-day state of siege on September 5 and instituted press censorship” (page 29).

White 1973:  “On 2 September [Lemus] finally sent his police into the university building, usually a safe sanctuary…In contrast to the mistreatment or even murder of working-class or particularly rural agitators, this type of repression provoked an immediate outcry and widespread condemnation among the ruling classes” (page 106).

October 26

Baloyra 1982:  “To assuage the Left and the moderates the junta assured them of its intention to conduct a free and open election soon.  It also moved to try to gain the support and confidence of the military” (page 40).

Bland 1992:  “A group of maverick junior officers...staged the 1960 coup with the aim of allowing a political opening.  With an outpouring of popular support, they established a junta that included three civilians and promised to conduct free and open elections” (pages 167-168).

Brockett 2005:  “The best known university rector…, Fabio Castillo, was one of the civilian members of the October 1960 junta, a member of the Partido Comunista de El Salvador” (pages 74-75).

Dunkerley 1988: “Late in October a group of officers dismayed at the discontent caused by the repression and Lemus’s increasingly erratic behaviour staged a bloodless coup and established a junta in which were included civilian reformists associated with or sympathetic to the students’ campaign and FNOC” (page 354).

Holden 2004:  “On 26 October 1960 a left-leaning military-civilian ‘junta’ associated with ex-president Osorio removed Lemus from office.  It imposed new taxes on coffee exporters, hinted that it would depoliticize the military, and promised absolutely free elections” (page 172).

Hoopes 1970:  “(O)n October 26 a junta composed of three military men and three civilians took command.  Its leanings were leftist and popular.  For the first time in its political history, the leftist [PRAM] was legalized by the temporary junta” (page 102).

Kantor 1969:  “The junta consisted of three army officers and three civilians, a peculiar combination of military men and Castro sympathizers” (page 114).

Krauss 1991:  “The reformist officers brought into their government social democratic intellectuals and technocrats pledged to support land reform, unions, Indian rights, and an expansion of social security, education, and health care.  Their line sounded too much like Fidel Castro’s; Eisenhower withheld recognition” (page 64).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “Junta de Gobierno de El Salvador (salvadoreños) gobernó por un Golpe de Estado del 26 de octubre de 1960, al 25 de enero de 1961.  Esta Junta estaba formada por:  Dr. René Fortín Magaña..., Dr. Ricardo Falla Cáceres…, Dr. Fabio Castillo Figueroa…, Coronel César Yanes Urias…, Teniente Coronel Miguel Angel Castillo…, Mayor Rubén Alonso Rosales…(A)l llegar la Junta de Gobierno asumió el Poder Ejecutivo y Legislativo, gobernando por medio de Decretos-Leyes” (page 223).  “Durante la administración de la Junta de Gobierno lo más importante fue:  Decreto No. 44—Separados de sus cargos los Alcaldes y se nombran sustitutos…Desmilitarización de la Policía Nacional” (page 224).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “The coup plotters hoped to reinvigorate the reformist spirit, but it was one year after the Cuban Revolution and the most conservative sectors of the political system were frightened by the junta’s liberalizing tone” (page 87).

McDonald 1969:  “The new military and civilian junta promptly ended Lemus’ policies and allowed several left-wing parties and groups to reform” (page 403).

Valle 1993:  “Quienes derrocaron a Lemus, instauran la llamada Junta de Gobierno Cívico-Militar, integrada por tres militares, algunos de ellos considerados osoristas, y tres civiles…Hubo júbilo popular al saberse la expulsión de Lemus” (page 49).

Walter 2000:  “El derrocamiento del gobierno de José María Lemus el 26 de octubre de 1960 dio paso a una Junta Revolucionaria de Gobierno integrada por tres militares y tres civiles” (page 471).  “Efectivamente, los primeros decretos de la Junta de Gobierno desmantelaron las medidas represivas que había impuesto el Presidente Lemus con miras a controlar la desobediencia civil:  se levantó el estado de sitio, se liberó a los presos políticos y se autorizó el retorno de los exiliados.  Además, la Junta se comprometió a efectuar elecciones libres en la brevedad posible…Efectivamente, en pocas horas comenzaron a aparecer en público una serie de caras que habían estado tras barrotes o en el exilio:  Roque Dalton e Italo López Vallecillos fueron excarcelados y treinta y ocho exiliados volvieron al país, incluyendo Shafick Handal” (page 472).  Discusses goals of the junta in relation to elections (pages 472-473).

Webre 1979:  “The new rulers dissolved the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court, lifted the state of siege, and within five hours of the initial call to rebellion threw open the doors of San Salvador’s Central Penitentiary and released the prisoners of the Lemus regime into the welcoming arms of a cheering crowd.  By nightfall a throng, estimated at more than eighty thousand, jammed into Plaza Libertad for an orderly celebration rally sponsored by the FNOC.  Almost immediately, speculation spread regarding the ideological orientation of the new government.  The ‘osorista’ officers involved had recruited civilian participants among those sectors most disaffected with Lemus, the traditional liberal opposition and the university Left.  The three civilian members of the new Governing Junta (Junta de Gobierno)…were all young professionals with ties to the university” (page 31).  “The ideological heterogeneity within the movement that seized power from Lemus is apparent from the fact that it soon announced its sole mission to be the restoration of order and constitutionality and promised to conduct a free and open election as soon as possible” (page 32).

White 1973:  “Lemus had also fallen out with his predecessor, Osorio, and the ‘coup’ was the result of a conspiracy between at least two clearly separable groups:  supporters of Osorio and advocates of gradual but far-reaching structural social reforms in the direction of equality…The junta, during its three months of power, did not attempt to carry out any major reforms, but it made clear its intention to hold really free elections, allowing even the Left to organize” (page 106).

Williams 2003:  “Faced with rapidly eroding popular support, heightened pressures from oligarchic factions, and internal dissent within the military, a group of pro-Osorio officers overthrew Lemus in October 1960.  A military-civilian junta took over the government” (page 307).

Woodward 1985:  “After growing disorder from both left and right, it appeared that [Osorio] would attempt to overthrow the moderate, pro-United States President José María Lemus, and a small group of leftist officers moved in quickly and took over the government” (page 250).


Caldera T. 1983: The Partido Demócrata Cristiano (PDC) is founded on November 25, 1960 (page 9).

Dunkerley 1988:  “In the wake of the coup against Lemus the PAR was presented with unprecedented competition in the formation of the PCD (November 1960), which was firmly anti-Communist, pledged to a temporal application of Catholic social doctrine and soon showed singular skill in orchestrating a largely urban and petty-bourgeois following around its programme for evolutionary social reform and authentic liberal democracy” (page 356).

Walter 2000:  “La segunda fuerza política que surgió durante la década de 1960 fue el [PDC], fundado en noviembre de 1960 como una organización inspirada en la doctrina social de la Iglesia Católica y comprometida con las reformas sociales y económicas que el país necesitaba para superar el subdesarrollo” (page 482). 

Webre 1979:  “Fortín Magaña indicated the scope of political freedom the new government was prepared to allow when he announced that the hitherto proscribed April and May Revolutionary party (PRAM) would be allowed to participate in the scheduled election” (page 32).

Williams 2003:  “(T)he [PDC] was formally established in November 1960 by a group of middle- and upper-class professionals who were looking for alternatives to the traditional opposition groups” (page 307).

December 15: Central American Common Market established by the Organization of Central American States


Baloyra 1982:  The Partido Social Demócrata (PSD) is formed in December 1960 (page 40).

Walter 2000:  “Por un momento, parecía que la Junta habría de recibir el apoyo necesario para sobrevivir y llevar a cabo su limitado programa de gobierno.  El 3 de diciembre, Estados Unidos reconoció a la Junta, con lo cual se quitaba algo del estigma de supuestas inclinaciones castristas.  Pocos días después, la Junta derogó la ley electoral y dejó en suspenso a los partidos políticos, nombrando a su vez a un nuevo Consejo Central de Elecciones que quedó encargado de convocar a un congreso preelectoral para discutir la nueva ley electoral antes de octubre de 1961.  La Junta también procedió a remover a buen número de los alcaldes municipales debido a que la mayoría de ellos, dijo, llegaron al cargo por fraude” (page 474).

Webre 1979:  “Although many countries quickly recognized the new regime in San Salvador, the United States…declined to do so until December” (page 32).


Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  In 1961, the PCS “created a second military wing, the Frente Unido de Acción Revolucionaria…(FUAR), which incorporated the members of the GAR” (page 204).

Walter 2000:  “(D)espués del golpe de enero de 1961, el PRUD no tuvo más expresiones de sus puntos de vista y terminó, hacia mediados de 1961, transformándose en el PCN…(Q)uizás la expresión más acabada del pensamiento del PCN es la misma Constitución Política, que fue elaborada por la constituyente electa en diciembre de 1961, integrada totalmente por partidarios del PCN” (page 481).

Webre 1979:  “Following the coup the proliferation [of new parties and organizations] continued until, by early 1961, there were nine political parties representing various positions, interests, and personalities” (page 32).

White 1973:  “The ‘Partido de Conciliación Nacional’ (PCN) is the vehicle through which the continuity of the régime is translated into the terms of formal democracy.  It was founded after the ‘coup’ of 1961, but inherits the tradition of official parties which dates from the nineteenth century…The PCN is the successor of the [PRUD] of Osorio and Lemus, and inherited not only the forms of organization but a good many of the personnel” (page 193).

January 23

Baloyra 1982:  “The coup came two days after a congress in which nine parties [PRAM, PSD, PAR, PAN, PAC, PID, PUCA, PAD, PDC] and six professional organizations met to draft a new electoral statute” (pages 40-41).

January 25

Baloyra 1982:  “(O)n 25 January 1961 the junta was replaced by a ‘directorio cívico-militar’…Thus, a group of genuine ‘aperturistas’ working toward a transition were replaced by obstructionists who favored a controlled blueprint and a return to business as usual” (page 40).

Bland 1992: “In a mere three months...most of the officer corps, wary of potential division with their institution and encouraged by the oligarchy, launched a successful countercoup and installed a traditional brand of military leader.  As for the political future of the country, 1961 marked the installation of a new military party that sought to build a representative coalition that would legitimize the leaders chosen from its ranks and therefore ensure the dominance of the old regime” (page 168).

Booth 2006:  “On January 25, 1961, just after John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in the United States, a conservative coup encouraged by the Eisenhower administration took place in El Salvador.  Although Kennedy recognized the new government, under the aegis of the Alliance for Progress he apparently also pressured the interim junta to begin implementing mild democratic and social reforms” (page 97).

Dunkerley 1988:  “Rivera’s leadership of the 1961 coup, resolute arbitration of differences within the officer corps, and establishment of the PCN in September laid the basis for the conversion of his presidency to ‘constitutional’ status in the election of March 1962” (page 355).

Hoopes 1970:  “Facing the imminent return of Major Osorio and the clearly leftist orientation of the caretaker government, a group of young army officers of the First Infantry Regiment in San Carlos barracks in San Salvador, under the direction of Colonel Aníbal Portillo, chief of staff in the existing junta, replaced the three-month-old ‘Junta of Government’ with their own ‘Civil-Military Directorate’ of three civilians and two military men” (page 102).

Kantor 1969: “(A) civic-military directorate took over the country, pledging to fight communism and reform the country’s social system...(T)he new government organized the National Conciliation Party as a mechanism through which it could control the country” (page 115).

Krauss 1991:  “The election of John F. Kennedy in November worried Salvadoran hard-liners.  Fearful that the Democrat would embrace the reformist junta, the army right struck on January 25, 1961.  The toppling of the junta wiped out hopes for democratic change in El Salvador for more than a decade…Fascinated by counterinsurgency, the Kennedy administration chose El Salvador as a laboratory.  Without the knowledge of the American ambassador, the CIA launched a secret Salvadoran intelligence agency operating from the presidential house.  It became known as the Salvadoran National Security Agency, or Ansesal.  The CIA supplied Ansesal with electronic and photographic equipment as well as an archival system to collect and cross-index files on thousands of Salvadoran leftists.  The Americans turned to National Guard Col. José Alberto ‘Chele’ Medrano to take charge of the agency” (pages 64-65).  “Under Medrano’s leadership and U.S. advice, Ansesal functioned as the intelligence command center for the National Police, National Guard, Treasury Police, air force, army, and navy” (page 66).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El 25 de enero de 1961 fue depuesta la Junta de Gobierno por un Golpe de Estado” (page 224).  “Directorio Cívico Militar de El Salvador (salvadoreños) gobernó 25 enero de 1961 al 25 enero de 1962…[Fue] compuesto de tres civiles y dos militares, quienes desde un principio asumieron los Poderes Ejecutivo, Legislativo y Judicial, después llegó a integrar el Directorio el Mayor Mariano Castro Morán, al retiro del Coronel Rivera.  Miembros…Coronel Anibal Portillo…, Teniente Coronel Julio Adalberto Rivera…, Dr. J. Antonio Rodríguez Porth…, Dr. José Francisco Valiente…, Dr. Feliciano Avelar…, Mayor Mariano Castro Morán” (page 225).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “After only three months a conservative countercoup returned the government to authoritarianism, where it would remain for many years” (page 87).

McDonald 1969: “The second civilian-military junta expressed its disapproval of the alleged ‘leftist’ inclinations in the preceding regime and placed new restrictions on the recently emancipated political organizations” (page 403).

Valle 1993:  “(E)l 25 de enero de 1961 [fue] el derrocamiento de la Junta Cívico-Militar y el ascenso del Directorio Cívico-Militar” (pages 40-41).  “(A)l día siguiente se inauguró un Foro para discutir las bases de un nuevo estatuto electoral” (page 51).

Walter 2000:  Discusses the reforms that led to the Junta’s overthrow (page 474).  “(H)ubo ciertos elementos de continuidad con el gobierno anterior, especialmente en lo referente al compromiso de celebrar elecciones lo antes posible para Asamblea Legislativa y alcaldías municipales y de respetar la libertad de organización de los partidos políticos.  Los representantes de los partidos políticos se reunieron con el Directorio dos días después del golpe para intercambiar opiniones sobre los planes del gobierno…(L)os partidos en cuestión [PDC, PAR, PUCA, PAC, PAN] acordaron integrarse a un Consejo Consultivo Preelectoral que formularía un anteproyecto de ley electoral” (page 475-476).

Webre 1979:  “The coup, a manifesto circulated on the twenty-fifth explained, was a necessary reaction to the dangerous political tensions that had built up as a consequence of the Junta’s having allowed extremist forces to run wild in the country.  The rebels made no pretense that this was anything but a military undertaking.  By late morning, officers from all the armed services gathered in a general meeting at San Carlos and chose Lieutenant Colonel Julio Adalberto Rivera and Colonel Aníbal Portillo to form a new junta.  Rivera, who did all the talking, immediately declared the orientation of the rebellion to be primarily anti-Communist, anti-Castro, and anti-Cuba…The United States, which had only hesitantly and belatedly recognized its predecessor, came immediately to the support of the new junta” (pages 36-37).

White 1973:  “While the Communist Party itself was not legalized, the “Partido Revolucionario Abril y Mayo,’ of clear left-wing orientation and including communists, was to be permitted to participate in the election.  When this became clear, the junta was overthrown, on 25 January 1961, by a movement supported by a majority of army officers and the civilian élite” (pages 106-107).

Woodward 1985:  “The new regime lasted only a few months, and, in January 1961, right-wing military units installed a junta which broke relations with Cuba and instituted a more conservative regime” (page 250).


Valle 1993:  “A raiz del golpe de estado del 25 de enero de 1961, se emitió [una] proclama suscrita por la totalidad de los militares de alta en El Salvador” (page 10).  “Proclama de la Fuerza Armada al pueblo salvadoreño.  5 de febrero de 1961” (pages 173-190).


Baloyra 1982:  “Colonel Rivera became the leader of the ‘directorio.’  Token civilian participation was discontinued when most civilian members resigned in April” (page 41).


Webre 1979:  Discribes the nomination and election of Duarte (pages 42-43).

Williams 2003:  “In its first convention in May 1961, the PDC elected Duarte as its general secretary” (page 307).


Baloyra 1982:  “The decision to resurrect the official party was announced on 2 September 1961, and the ‘directorio’ scheduled elections for a constituent assembly for 17 December.  Reacting to this sudden call, the PDC, the PAR, and the PSD formed a united front, the Unión de Partidos Democráticos (UPD), to contest the election.  The candidates of the official party, now called the National Conciliation Party (PCN), campaigned on the record of the ‘directorio’ and accused the UPD of ‘reaction’” (page 42).

Dunkerley 1985:  “The ‘Partido de Conciliación Nacional’ (PCN) ruled El Salvador for 18 years, from its foundation in September 1961 until the coup of October 1979.  In establishing the party, Colonel Julio Rivera aimed to provide a durable vehicle with which the military might maintain power and yet avoid the pitfalls of a purely institutionalist rule, retaining space for negotiation and a degree of flexibility…(I)ts principal claim to being democratic lay in the commitment to hold elections every five years” (page 72).

Eguizábal  1982?: “El 12 de septiembre de 1961, se promulgó una nueva ley electoral, instaurando la representación proporcional como modo de escrutinio” (page 86).

Elam 1968:  “Amid growing criticism of the unconstitutional nature of the new regime, the directorate, now reduced to Colonel Portillo and Feliciano Avelar, set December 17, 1961, for the election of a constitutional assembly.  Recognition of political factions was limited to the ‘Partido Conciliación Nacional’ and five relatively weak conservative parties.  The PRAM and the new Christian Democrat party were ignored” (pages 162-163).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “Teniente Coronel Julio Adalberto Rivera…formó parte del Directorio hasta el 11 de septiembre de 1961, fecha en que renunció para lanzar su candidatura Presidencial por el Partido Oficial” (page 225).

Webre 1979:  In September, “the capital learned of the formation of the…Partido de Conciliación Nacional, PCN, a party composed of ‘elements representative of the various national sectors’ and supporters of the Directorio…Soon after the party’s foundation, the Directorio announced elections to be held December 17,1961, to choose a constituent assembly.  The established parties not unexpectedly greeted the news of the PCN’s formation and the precipitous call for elections with great indignation” (pages 43-44).  “Throughout the campaign for the constituent assembly in late 1961, the UPD was never able to group itself solidly around a single valid issue” (pages 44-45).  “Having access to the resources of the entire government and military establishment, the official party was able to carry its message to every corner of the republic, while the UPD had to restrict its campaign to a small area around the capital” (page 45).

December 17:  constituent assembly election

Anderson 1981:  The Directorio Cívico Militar “brought into being a Constituent Assembly to overhaul the old constitution of 1950; but in this assembly only the new official party, the [PCN], had any significant participation” (page 29).

Baloyra 1982:  “The PCN won the majority of the seats in the assembly by a margin of 37 to 17” (page 42).

Castro Morán 2005:  “El 17 de diciembre de 1961, se llevaron a cabo las elecciones para diputados a la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, las cuales significaron un verdadero plebiscito manifestado por el pueblo en aquella memorable jornada, en aprobación y respaldo a los decretos leyes dictados por el Directorio Cívico Militar” (page 171).

Hoopes 1970:  “Congressional elections were held on December 17, 1961.  Since the majority of the 380,890 voters favored the PCN candidates, they were graciously awarded every seat in the 54-member National Assembly…Six parties participated in the election, including the official PCN, PRUD, PAC, PAR, the Christian Democratic party (PDC), and the Democratic Socialist party (PSD).  (The last three formed the Union of Democratic Parties (UPD) to offer a more unified opposition to the official party.)  The Democratic Action party (PAD), PAN, and the Radical Democratic party (PRD) were not permitted to present candidates” (page 102).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: “(L)eftist parties were either outlawed or ignored in planning elections for a constituent assembly” (page 9).  Gives votes won by each party and coalition, number of registered voters, and percent who voted (page 30).

Kantor 1969: “The military directorate even resigned from office after a newly elected National Assembly elected a provisional president, Dr. Eusebio Rodolfo Cordón Cea.  The National Conciliation Party had won all fifty-four seats in the Assembly that was to hold office until 1964" (page 115).

McDonald 1969: “The junta firmly controlled the election for the 1961 Constituent Assembly, which drafted a new constitution and named Colonel Julio A. Rivera as provisional President...The Constituent Assembly converted itself into a regular Congress, and was subsequently renewed along with municipal offices in 1964 and 1966” (page 403).

Montgomery 1995: “Only the PCN and five minor conservative parties were allowed to participate...A month later the Constitutional Assembly revised the 1950 constitution, gave itself the status of a national assembly, and scheduled a presidential election for April” (page 53).

Valle 1993:  Tomo lugar “la elección de la Asamblea Constituyente de 1961, en la que participó el Partido de Conciliación Nacional (oficial) y una coalición electoral llamada Unión de Partidos Democráticos (UPD); por supuesto estas elecciones fueron boicoteadas por los sectores de izquierda.  El FUAR…hizo propaganda contra las elecciones hasta el mismo día en que se realizaron” (page 57).

Walter 2000:  El Directorio “convocó a elecciones para el 17 de diciembre, en las cuales participaron los partidos inscritos:  el PCN, la Democracia Cristiana y el PAR.  El PCN recibió un poco más del 68% de los votos pero, según la ley electoral que no contemplaba la proporcionalidad, se quedó con la totalidad de curules en la Constituyente” (pages 478-479).

Webre 1979:  “Not surprisingly, the PCN easily triumphed over its opposition, winning every single seat in the constituent assembly” (page 45).

Williams 1997: Gives votes for PCN and opposition (page 69).


Webre 1979:  Describes the activities of the various political parties in preparation for the April election (pages 46-48).


Baloyra 1982:  “The assembly quickly produced a somewhat altered version of the Constitution of 1950, declared an amnesty, and scheduled presidential elections for 29 April 1962” (page 42).

Eguizábal 1984: “Entre los cambios menores que estableció la Constitución de 1962, fue reducir la duración del mandato presidencial de seis a cinco años” (page 21).

Elam 1968:  “In January 1962, the assembly rewrote the 1950 constitution and changed its own status from a constitutional assembly to that of a national assembly.  Presidential elections were scheduled the following April” (page 163).

Hoopes 1970:  “On January 3, 1962, the National Assembly, all of whose members were affiliated with the PCN, wrote a new constitution, reducing the president’s term from six to five years and moving his inaugural up from September 15 to July 1 in order to coincide with the fiscal year” (page 102).  “The legislative power is exercised by 52 deputies, who are popularly elected every two years to the unicameral National Legislative Assembly” (page 111).  “The legislators assemble annually in San Salvador on July 1…El Salvador holds biennial congressional and municipal elections, ballots usually being cast on a specified date in March.  Presidential elections are held every five years, with the president beginning his new term on July 1, as do all elected officers.  Eligibility to run for public office is determined by the [CCE], which uses its power to exclude the extremist parties from participating in the electoral process.  For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 14 departments, 39 districts, and 261 municipalities” (page 112).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El 25 de enero de 1962 el Directorio Cívico Militar entregó el Mando Supremo al Designado por la Asamblea Constituyente Dr. Eusebio Rodolfo Cordón” (page 226).  “Gobernó como Presidente Provisorio:  25 enero al 1o de julio de 1962” (page 227).  “Lo más importante durante la administración…fue:…Reformas al Art. 203-M (Transitorio) de la Ley Electoral;…Elección de Miembros Propietarios y Suplentes del Consejo Central de Elecciones; Decretos Nos. 56 y 57—Reformas a la Ley Electoral;…Decreto No. 60.  Se obliga a todos los patronos privados conceder permiso el día 28 de abril para que ejerzan el sufragio” (page 228).

Walter 2000:  “(L)a Constitución de 1962 abrió un nuevo periodo en la historia política del país en tanto fue acompañada por la participación de nuevas fuerzas políticas y un entorno internacional marcadamente distinto al de 1950.   Los comienzos de esta nueva etapa política no parecieron muy esperanzadores.  La ley electoral todavía discriminaba a los partidos minoritarios al no contemplar mecanismos de representación proporcional.  Tampoco garantizaba una autoridad electoral verdaderamente independiente e imparcial.  El resultado de esta situación fue un boicot de la oposición a las elecciones presidenciales que se realizaron el 29 de abril de 1962” (page 479).

Webre 1979:  “When the assembly convened in January, 1962, it unanimously elected Eusebio Rodolfo Cordón Cea, a sixty-two-year-old lawyer, to serve as provisional president of the republic until Rivera could arrange his own legal election and installation…The constituent assembly set aside the Constitution of 1950, then reenacted it with only minor changes.  It also legalized the actions of the Junta de Gobierno and the Directorio, declared a general amnesty for everyone active in politics since 1960, and scheduled a presidential election for April 20, 1962” (page 45).


Baloyra 1982:  “Rivera was nominated in February 1962, and he ran unopposed, since the opposition parties abstained” (page 42).

Webre 1979:  “At a televised convention in early February, the PCN quickly nominated Colonel Rivera as its candidate for the presidency.  As his vice-presidential candidate, Rivera chose Francisco Roberto Lima, El Salvador’s ambassador to the United States…If anyone could smooth over the natural antagonisms between the economic elite and the reformist regime, it was thought Lima could” (page 45).


Webre 1979:  “In March, explaining they had no confidence in the intentions or good faith of the authorities, the Christian Democrats joined the PAR in declaring their resolve to abstain from the election.  The old pattern of ‘prudista’ politics seemed to be reestablishing itself.  As the deadline for filing candidacies approached, it became apparent that none of the opposition parties intended to offer a nominee.  The CCE asked the Legislative Assembly for a twenty-day extension but this too passed without the appearance of a candidate” (pages 46-47).

April 29: presidential election (Rivera / PCN)

Anderson 1971: The candidate of the PCN runs unopposed and is elected (page 155).

Benítez Manaut 1990: PCN wins 92 percent of the vote, the opposition calls for blank votes (page 73). 

Dunkerley 1985:  “Rivera converted his provisional presidency into one that was ‘constitutional’…opposed only by a donkey nominated by the students as ‘the only candidate worthy of competing with officialism’” (page 72).

Eguizábal 1984: “El Salvador: resultados electorales de 1962" (page 28).  Gives for each party the number of votes received, percent this constitutes of total vote, and seats won.

Hoopes 1970:  “The previously strong showing of the PCN and the inability of even a coalition of parties to attract a larger vote in the preceding election caused the opposing parties to boycott the April 29, 1962, presidential election and to refuse to present opposition candidates.  Thus, Julio A. Rivera and his PCN running-mate Roberto Francisco Lima, former Ambassador to the United States, were elected by a mere third of the total eligible voters” (page 102).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: “The major opposition parties...boycotted the election” (pages 9 and 30).  Gives the percent of popular vote for the official candidate and the number of persons who cast invalid or blank ballots to indicate their opposition.

Kantor 1969: Only the PCN candidate is on the ballot; gives number of votes he receives, also number of potential voters (page 115).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El Coronel Rivera fue postulado por el Partido oficial; su elección fue única pues los demás partidos no concurrieron a votar” (page 229).

Schooley 1987: Gives votes for Rivera, total electorate, and number of blank and invalid votes (page 52).  “On the abolition of the junta the constituent assembly became the National Assembly and promulgated a new constitution.”

Ulloa 1991:  “En estas elecciones un nuevo partido oficial—que había venido a sustituir al partido oficial, que a su vez habían sustituido al partido oficial del general Hernández Martínez—garantizaba la continuidad del ejército y de las fuerzas armadas en el ejercicio del poder político en El Salvador; ese partido era el Partido de Conciliación Nacional,…que en esas elecciones se postuló y participó él solo, puesto que no hubo oposición” (page 19).

Walter 2000:  “(L)os cinco partidos opositores al PCN argumentaron que no se les había dado suficiente tiempo para hacer campaña política y que no existían garantías de que los resultados reflejarían fielmente la voluntad popular.  En todo caso, la oposición no tendría muchas probabilidades de derrotar al candidato oficial…[La victoria del coronel Rivera], “asegurada desde el momento que la oposición se retiró de la contienda, también se  debió al sólido apoyo que logró desde las bases del antiguo PRUD y de toda la red de apoyos de la organización paramilitar en las zonas rurales.  Recibió un total de casi 370 mil votos, correspondiente al 92% de los sufragios emitidos; los votos restantes fueron clasificados como nulos o en blanco” (page 479).

Williams 1997: Gives number of votes cast, null votes, and blank votes (page 71).

Williams 2003:  “Colonel Julio Adalberto Rivera, a member of the junta, was elected president as the candidate of the military’s new party, the PCN” (page 307).


Valle 1993:  “El FUAR existió en El Salvador entre 1961 y 1962.  Dos meses antes de la llegada de Julio Rivera a la Presidencia del país, el FUAR difundió [un] documento con un diagnóstico sobre el problema de la tierra, una crítica a la fugaz ‘Alianza para el Progreso’ y propuestas sobre reformas agraria, urbana, bancaria, educacional, tributaria, administrativa y de política exterior” (page 11).  “Proyecto de plataforma programática del Frente Unido de Acción Revolucionario FUAR.  Mayo de 1962” (pages 191-224).


Anderson 1981:  In 1962, “the foreign minister of El Salvador went to Honduras with several of his staff to discuss the immigration question with President Villeda.  This led to the Treaty of Immigration of Amatillo, 24 July 1962.  By this the government of Honduras agreed to allow those Salvadoreans in the country to go unmolested” (page 75).

Elam 1968:  “Rivera’s ability to withstand political extremism increased markedly after his inauguration on July 1, 1962, aided by the fact that opposition to the political role of the armed forces measurably subsided” (page 164)

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El 1o julio de 1962, el Coronel Julio Adalberto Rivera, recibió el Mando Supremo del Gobierno Provisorio del Dr. Rodolfo Eusebio Cordón…El Dr. Francisco R. Lima, asumió el cargo de Vice-Presidente de la República” (page 229).

Valle 1993:  “(E)l 1 de julio de 1962 [viene la asunción] de Julio Rivera a la Presidencia Constitucional, como candidato único en las elecciones, llevado por el partido oficial, el Partido de Conciliación Nacional” (page 41).

Walter 2000:  “La oposición reconocida legalmente no tenía argumentos de fondo para cuestionar la legitimidad de los resultados ya que no había participado en las elecciones.  A su vez, la oposición de izquierda estaba marginada y sin voceros debido al exilio y supresión de sus dirigentes.  Esta habría de ser la gran estrategia del gobierno: mantener a la izquierda marxista o radical fuera del terreno de la acción pública y atraerse al resto de la oposición para que participara en el juego de la política electoral y parlamentaria” (page 479).

Webre 1979:  “To all appearances, El Salvador had come full circle in the less than two years since the fall of Lemus.  Once again a government party ruled and a president had come to office unopposed.  Meanwhile, the opposition was weak and in disarray” (page 47).  “Contributing to optimism about Rivera’s chances of successfully guiding El Salvador through a bloodless transition to political democracy and social justice was the country’s remarkable economic growth in the early 1960s.  The almost two years of political uncertainty which preceded Rivera’s assumption of the presidency had little effect on the republic’s economy…(A) new type of production and export activity, manufacturing, became important in the early 1960s with the activation of the Central A…(A) new type of production and export activity, manufacturing, became important in the early 1960s with the activation of the Central American Common Market (CACM)…The only profitable outlet for these products was among the other members of the CACM” (pages 71-72).  “Rivera’s approach to the ‘democratization’ of Salvadoran politics was confined almost exclusively to the realm of electoral competition among formal political parties” (page 74).


Hoopes 1970:  “Stiff anti-Communist laws were passed on September 20, 1962, thereby strengthening the executive’s punitive powers in dealing with PRAM-inspired bombings and other acts of leftist violence” (page 102).


Anderson 1981:  “The overthrow of [Honduran president] Villeda’s constitutional government by the army in 1963 actually caused a temporary improvement in the situation [for Salvadorans in Honduras], as López Arellano took firm steps to end the physical violence.  But Salvadoreans had by this time become a convenient target for Nationals as well as Liberals, and while the violence abated, the propaganda against them was stepped up” (page 75).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “FUAR was defunct by the end of 1963” (page 204).

Webre 1979:  “The PDC…announced to the government that it would continue to abstain [from elections] unless significant reforms were made in the electoral system.  Most important among the party’s demands was the establishment of a system of proportional representation in the Legislative Assembly.  At that time, El Salvador elected its assembly deputies from multimember districts on the principle of majority representation; that is, whichever party won a plurality in a particular department would receive all the seats for that department.  Since opposition parties rarely enjoyed sufficient concentrated voter strength to carry a department, this measure insured the maintenance of the ‘oficialista’ monopoly over the Legislative Assembly” (page 76).


Hoopes 1970:  “A medical student strike in February 1963 was followed by a demonstration of 4,000 leftists in March” (pages 102-103).


Hoopes 1970:  “In May, President Rivera sent to Congress a bill, later passed, authorizing proportional representation in congressional elections” (page 103).


Elam 1968:  “In August 1963, electoral laws were altered to allow proportional representation in the National Assembly, thus fulfilling one of the president’s most important inaugural promises” (page 164).

Kantor 1969: “About this time, the government began to concern itself with the lack of a responsible opposition, and in August 1963 a law was passed creating a system of proportional representation for filling the seats in the National Assembly” (page 116).

Walter 2000:  “El gobierno de Rivera no tardó mucho tiempo en definir el perímetro del nuevo campo de juego.  En agosto de 1963, la Asamblea Legislativa (la antigua constituyente, que se convirtió en órgano legislativo al promulgar la Constitución), aprobó una nueva ley electoral, una de las piezas de legislación más importantes de la historia política de El Salvador” (page 479).  Gives details (pages 479-480).

Webre 1979:  “Reforms promoted by Rivera made it possible for opposition parties beginning in 1964 to win seats in the Legislative Assembly and to expand beyond the token victories in municipal elections the PRUD had allowed in 1960.  This electoral solution, by providing a permanent institutional forum for the expression of dissent as well as access, however limited, to decision-making and patronage, promoted the growth of the relatively well-organized and ideologically coherent Christian Democratic party.  At the same time it mitigated against the traditional alphabetical proliferation of mini-parties” (page 48).  “Rivera…agreed to the change in spite of the fact that it would weaken his party’s formal position.  In doing so, he insured that the opposition would not boycott the assembly and municipal elections in 1964; and he reinforced his own reputation as a democrat as well” (page 77).

White 1973:  In 1963 “Rivera introduced a form of proportional representation for the Legislative Assembly and so gave the reformist opposition a chance to have a number of seats, while the government could be sure, through its control of rural voting, that this need never mean opposition control of the Assembly.  Before 1963 the reformist opposition had on several occasions boycotted elections, including the one at which Rivera himself gained the Presidency” (page 107).  “There are 52 seats in the Legislative Assembly, and they are allocated by department:  nine to San Salvador department and smaller numbers to each of the other thirteen departments, according to their population.  Voters vote for parties not individuals, and the resulting selection of the parties follows the usual formula for proportional representation…[In] the system which applied in El Salvador before 1963…the party which got the most votes in a department took the whole representation of that department” (page 198).

Williams 1997: “(T)he passage of a new electoral law...opened the possibility for recognized opposition parties to win seats in the legislative assembly.  As opposed to the winner-take-all provisions of the 1950s, the new law established a system of proportional representation whereby deputies from each department were apportioned according to the number of votes received by each party.  However, representation in the municipal councils continued under the terms of the winner-take-all procedures of the past” (page 72).

Zamora 2003:  La reforma electoral “fue acompañada de una relativa apertura política, que le permitió al nuevo partido de oposición abrirse espacio en todo el país y convertirse en el primer partido nacional de oposición” (page 16).  “El bipartidismo polarizante abrió un juego político más complejo, pero con un límite muy claro:  no se permite la alternancia en el gobierno.  A la oposición se le da un espacio, incluso puede crecer dentro de la representación proporcional y capturar poder municipal; pero cuando este ascenso la convierte en alternativa real a la mayoría parlamentaria, o al control del Ejecutivo, la naturaleza estructural anti-democrática del sistema se vuelve patente y los mecanismos de fraude electoral y represión política se vuelven abiertos y generalizados” (page 17).


Anderson 1981:  “ORDEN was the brainchild of ‘Chele’ Medrano, back when he was head of the Guardia…ORDEN was designed as a patriotic society, working closely  with the army reserve, the security forces, and conservative elements to maintain order in the countryside and to track down subversives” (page 150).

Brockett 1998:  ORDEN “grew rapidly, eventually ‘enlisting’ up to 100,000 peasants and residents of small towns.  Assisted by U.S. Green Beret trainers, it linked its members to the military regime through both patronage and socialization into its national security ideology.  ORDEN functioned as an auxiliary to the national guard for maintaining rural order and as an instrument of repression with which the regime could—hypocritically—deny complicity” (page 132).

Hoopes 1970:  “In 1964 the [CCE] reduced the National Assembly to 52 seats and proscribed the electoral participation of a number of political parties, including PRAM, PAC, PSD, PAD, and PRUD” (page 103).

Krauss 1991:  “To be a member of Orden was one of the few ways a peasant could gain respect inside and outside his community…At campaign time, Orden became an appendage for candidates whom Medrano personally favored…It would provide the far right with a political base in the countryside for the next twenty years.  As Orden became increasingly important in the countryside, so did leftist groups, as priests, lay workers, and activists of the new Christian Democratic party spread liberation theology” (page 66).

Lindo-Fuentes 2007:  “The rise of Salvador Cayetano Carpio to the [PCS’s] highest post of secretary general in 1964 signified the resurgence of the traditional line.  Ironically, Carpio had promoted the creation of the military wings in the early 1960s, but he had come into the party through the union movement and believed in the need for widespread mass organizing before embarking on armed action…(W)hen Carpio became party leader in 1964, he represented the traditionalist faction, and it was at the party’s Fifth Congress in 1964 that he and the other traditionalists reestablished delayed insurrection as the party’s official line” (page 205).

Valle 1993:  “Viendo la posibilidad de la organización política y viendo la apertura de la representación proporcional, un grupo de izquierda decide intentar a fines de 1963 y principios de 1964 la inscripción del Partido Revolucionario Abril y Mayo, como partido legal, para participar en las elecciones.  La primera gran tarea fue encontrar dos docenas de salvadoreño que tuvieran el valor de dar su nombre, su cédula de identidad y su dirección para presentar un pliego en el Consejo Central de Elecciones que les permitiera, no inscribir el partido, sino que les permitiera comenzar a recoger firmas legalmente para inscribir el partido…(E)l sistema lo rechaza y le niega el derecho a recoger las firmas” (pages 84-85).  “Aunque se cerró la posibilidad del PRAM, siguió vigente la búsqueda de una posibilidad de participar en elecciones.  Como estaba inscrito, según la ley electoral, el Partido Acción Renovadora se buscó la forma de utilizarlo como un vehículo de participación” (page 85).

Walter 2000:  “A partir de 1964, la presencia de la Organización Democrática Nacionalista (ORDEN) complementó la labor de orientación política del Ejército.  ORDEN se organizó desde la Guardia Nacional y fue dirigida originalmente por el General José Alberto Medrano como una agrupación de inteligencia y educación política” (page 483).

Webre 1979:  “In 1964, only three Salvadoran parties possessed anything resembling a national organization—the official PCN, the veteran PAR, and the emerging PDC.  As the March elections approached, rumors abounded that two of the parties might ally against the third…PDC strategists intended to concentrate their campaign efforts upon the capital city and the surrounding department of San Salvador…Party leaders assigned Guillermo Ungo and Adolfo Rey Prendes to the first and second spots on the San Salvador assembly ticket.  The task of insuring their victory fell to José Napoleon Duarte who received the mayoral nomination…The party also fielded candidates for the deputies’ seats from the other 13 departments and for some 60 of the republic’s 261 municipal councils” (page 77).  “Although the government continually reiterated its pledge that it would maintain the electoral process ‘free of fraud and violations of the law,’ the two opposition parties made no secret of their willingness to abandon the race should such assurances prove worthless.  The PDC and the PAR both drew criticism from more committed oppositionists for their decision to participate in the elections at all” (page 80).

March 8:  congressional and municipal election

Benítez Manaut 1990: Gives seats won by PCN, PDC, and PAR and mayoralties won by PCN and PDC (page 73).  José Napoleón Duarte (PDC) wins the mayorship of San Salvador, which includes one-fourth of El Salvador’s population.

Caldera T. 1983: “La mayor de las victorias para el PDC representó haber ganado la Alcaldía de San Salvador.  Ahora bien, para que oficialmente se reconociera este triunfo, los demócratas cristianos instalados en la Biblioteca Nacional--local donde se estaban escrutando los votos--tuvieron que hacer fuertes protestas, ya que según sus propios escrutinios ellos le ganaban al PCN por más de mil cuatrocientos votos, y este hecho no se quería reconocer.  Al tanto de los acontecimientos, el Cnel. Rivera, consciente de que debía abrir una válvula de escape, decidió respetar el hecho de que un partido que no fuera el oficial ganara en una ciudad importante, reconociendo así el triunfo de José Napoleón Duarte como el nuevo Alcalde de San Salvador” (page 18).

Dunkerley 1985:  “In 1964, the PDC was allowed to win 14 seats in Congress against 32 held by the PCN.  That year it also won control of 37 municipalities, including San Salvador where considerable resources had been poured in to obtain Duarte’s victory in the election for mayor” (page 79).

Eguizábal 1984: “Aparentemente, el nivel de competitividad electoral en el plano local ha sido siempre mayor que a nivel nacional.  Dado este rasgo, resulta útil el estudio sistemático de las elecciones municipales en los últimos años, para caracterizar con mayor precisión al régimen político salvadoreño, pero, basta aquí tener en cuenta el número de alcaldías controladas por la oposición; y señalar que a partir de 1964 la lucha por la alcaldía de la ciudad capital se convirtió en un locus importante del combate político, y la función de alcalde de San Salvador la de mayor rango desempeñada por líderes de la oposición” (page 20).  “Los resultados electorales de 1964 permitieron que la oposición que conformaban el PDC y el PAR ocupara 20 escaños sobre 52 en la Asamblea Legislativa, 14 y 6 respectivamente, y el primero lograra el control de 37 alcaldías, incluyendo la de San Salvador” (page 22).

El Salvador.  Ministerio de Educación Pública 1964: Includes names of deputies in outgoing congress (pages 21-23), officials of the CCE (page 25), and an extensive collection of newspaper articles published before and after the election.  Gives the number of seats won by PAR and PDC together and the seats won by PCN (page 228).  Reprints article by Carlos Sandoval stating “Creo que más de un 70 por ciento de los electores no concurrieron a las urnas, lo que da a estas elecciones un escaso significado como registro de la opinión pública.  El abstencionismo, no obstante, fue el que decidió el resultado final de los votos” (page 229).

El Salvador.  Presidencia.  Departamento de Relaciones Públicas 1964: Includes laws, proclamations, newspaper clippings, letters to and from the President, etc., all regarding the 1964 election.  Gives number of registered voters (page 52) and number of ballot boxes and voting booths (page 65).  Gives congressional seats won by the PCN and total of seats won by the PAR and PDC (page 122).

Elam 1968:  “(O)pposition candidates…win sixteen seats in the National Assembly in the election of March 8, 1964” (page 164).

Hoopes 1970:  “After the three-party (PCN, PDC, and PAR) elections, in which the PCN won 32 seats, the PDC 14 seats, and PAR six seats, it was apparent that the limited three-way contest had counteracted any stimulus to greater political activity which proportional representation might have encouraged” (page 103).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: “(O)pposition party members were elected to the Legislative Assembly for the first time since 1931" (pages 9 and 30).  Gives percent of vote and seats won by two opposition parties and official party.  “Legislative election returns, 1964" (page 31).  Gives by department each party and the number and percent of votes received and seats won, and totals the valid votes.  Duarte elected mayor of San Salvador (page 22).  Gives mayoralties won by the PCN and PDC (page 30).

Walter 2000:  “(L)a oposición decidió participar en las elecciones legislativas de 1964 después de recibir seguridades de las autoridades de que podría colocar a sus observadores en las mesas de votación para garantizar una mayor pureza electoral.  Los resultados de la elección de ese año fueron sorprendentes.  El PCN ganó 32 de los 52 escaños, dejándolo en control de una mayoría calificada que le aseguraba la aprobación de los créditos externos y los tratados internacionales.  Pero para una oposición que no había ocupado un solo curul legislativo desde 1952, una representación de 20 diputados no dejaba de ser algo extraordinario” (page 480).

 “A nivel local, la oposición política logró avanzar de manera significativa en el control de los concejos municipales de las principales ciudades.  El premio político más importante siempre fue la Alcaldía de la ciudad capital, San Salvador.  La Democracia Cristiana logró su primer gran triunfo electoral precisamente cuando tomó control del Concejo Municipal de San Salvador en 1964, llevando como candidato a Alcalde al Ingeniero José Napoleón Duarte, uno de los fundadores de la Democracia Cristiana y figura histórica de la política salvadoreña de la segunda mitad del siglo XX” (page 483).

Webre 1979: “Despite a serious effort by the government to produce a large popular participation on election day, only about one-fourth of the electorate turned out.  Early, unofficial returns surprised all observers.  Napoleon Duarte actually won in the capital by a narrow plurality, and the PDC picked up deputies’ seats not only in the department of San Salvador but also from nine others.  In the end, the Christian Democrats emerged with thirty-seven municipalities, including the capital, and fourteen deputies in the Legislative Assembly.  The PCN, of course, retained a healthy majority in the legislature and swept the remainder of the municipalities; but the significance of this election was that the opposition had broken the official party’s monopoly and had done it with the government’s encouragement and support.  Also significant was the fact that the PDC now eclipsed the PAR as the dominant party within the opposition” (page 81).

Williams 1997: Gives seats won by PCN, PDC, and PAR and municipalities won by PCN (page 72).

Williams 2003:  “In the 1964 elections, the PDC became the second most important electoral force in the country, winning 37 of the 261 municipalities (including the capital) and 14 of the 52 seats in the legislature” (page 307).


Webre 1979:  “Upon assuming office [as mayor of San Salvador] on May 1, 1964, Duarte inherited a plethora of urban problems…Neither the physical nor the administrative structure of San Salvador was adequate to accommodate the city’s growing population.  The PDC attributed the municipality’s inability to meet new demands to its institutional relationship to the central government.  To correct what they saw as an excessive concentration of authority at the center, the Christian Democrats proposed a new municipal code which, reflecting the party’s ideological commitment to decentralization, proposed to expand the effective autonomy of all municipalities in El Salvador” (page 83).

Wood 2000:  “The PDC built up a significant party apparatus during José Napoleón Duarte’s three terms as mayor of San Salvador from 1964 to 1970.  The party’s philosophy drew on social Catholic thought and even appealed to some military officers” (page 230).


Anderson 1981:  “Colonel Rivera attempted some measure of reform, in 1965 raising the minimum wage for day laborers in agriculture to C2.25.  The oligarchy greatly resented this and immediately took measures to cancel its effect…The situations of the ‘campesinos,’ who were by law forbidden to organize for their own protection, was worse after the 1965 law than before.  In this desperate situation a fierce struggle over the land arose” (page 32).

Baloyra 1982:  “The conservative faction of the PAR left the party following a takeover by a younger and more radical faction led by Fabio Castillo, a member of the 1960 junta and a former university rector.  In 1965 that conservative faction created the Partido Popular Salvadoreño (PPS), which sought to offer an electoral outlet for the weaker faction of the bourgeoisie” (page 44).

Booth 2006:  “The 1965 agricultural minimum wage law caused the number of ‘colonos’ and ‘aparceros’ (peasants cultivating for subsistence a plot of land donated by the owner) to drop to one-third of the 1961 level by 1971…Thus, in the 1960s a dramatic change in Salvadoran rural class relations greatly increased rural poverty…(T)he number of newly landless peasants more than tripled between 1961 and 1971” (page 99).

McElhinny 2006:  “The establishment of the Central American University by the Jesuits in 1965 introduced a significant new impetus for major reforms and quickly associated the Jesuits with many of the most contentious local struggles” (page 176).

Walter 2000:  “La tercera agrupación política en importancia durante la década de 1960 fue el Partido Acción Renovadora (PAR), fundado en la década de 1940 con finalidades más que nada electorales pero que gradualmente se inclinó hacia una posición de reformismo civilista cuando una nueva dirigencia tomó el control del partido en 1965” (page 482).

Webre 1979:  “Once the republic’s oldest and proudest opposition party, the [PAR] suffered a bitter power struggle in the wake of the 1964 elections in which the Christian Democrats displaced it as the strongest opposition group.  This struggle, from which a radical leftist faction including many former ‘pramistas’ and led by university rector Fabio Castillo Figueroa emerged victorious, precipitated a split in the party’s ranks.  The leftists, calling themselves the…’nueva línea’…retained the ‘parista’ name and banner while the party’s conservatives, the…’vieja guardia,’…gradually drifted away and into a new organization, the…Partido Popular Salvadoreño, PPS” (page 93).  “Founded in 1965, the MNR represented a highly intellectualized democratic socialism whose adherents valued ideological purity over broad political appeal” (page 102).

White 1973:  The Movimiento Nacional Revolucionario (MNR) “began as a small group of friends in 1964 and started public activity in 1965” (page 203).  The Partido Popular Salvadoreño “was formed (in 1965) primarily among landowners in the west” (page 204).


Leistenschneider 1980:  “Terremoto del 3 de mayo de 1965” (page 231).

Webre 1979:  “(T)he earthquake which struck San Salvador in May, 1965, [left] more than one hundred dead and thousands homeless” (page 89).


Anderson 1981:  “(T)he Declaration of Marcala, 24 July 1965…came about as a result of a personal meeting between Presidents Oswaldo López Arellano and Julio Rivera” (pages 75-76).  Includes statement on immigration between the two countries.


Anderson 1981:  “Following Marcala, work on the immigration treaty proceeded rapidly, and it was signed on 21 December 1965…Both parties agreed to prevent illegal immigration.  Salvador ratified promptly, but Honduras hesitated more than a year before finally having its legislature ratify the document on 25 January 1967” (page 76).


Holden 2004:  “(T)he semi-secret Organización Democrática Nacionalista (ORDEN) [was founded] by Pres.—and Lt. Col.—Julio Adalberto Rivera in 1966.  Its purpose was to report subversive political activities to the government; within a year it had about thirty thousand civilian and retired military members, according to a U.S. intelligence report” (page 64).

McClintock 1998:  “In 1966…the paramilitary organization ORDEN was established; most of ORDEN’s leaders were retired security officers and army reservists, and its ranks ultimately included between fifty thousand and one hundred thousand armed peasants.  During the 1970s, ORDEN was increasingly aggressive in stuffing ballot boxes and in attacking popular organizations and political opponents” (page 104).

Valle 1993:  “En 1966 la izquierda revolucionaria—es decir el Partido Comunista Salvadoreño y sus aliados de izquierda no comunista—para poner a prueba la apertura política y desarrollar una campaña de educación y concientización política decidió lanzar a un candidato y una propuesta de programa de gobierno para las elecciones de marzo de 1967; para tales fines la izquierda utilizó la inscripción electoral del Partido Acción Renovadora (PAR) y propuso a Fabio Castillo Figueroa como candidato a la Presidencia de la República y a Jesús Góchez Castro como candidato a la Vicepresidencia” (page 18).  “A mediados de 1966, ante el cierre de la puerta y de las posibilidades francas para poder inscribirse, los sectores de izquierda deciden utilizar este membrete; se infiltran en las estructuras débiles y pequeñas de este partido y de repente, el PAR se convierte en un partido de izquierda a mediados de 1966, a pesar de que en 1965 había actuado como partido de derecha” (page 86).  “Entre 1966 y 1968 hubo un auge de huelgas de reivindicaciones gremiales” (page 92).

Wade 2003:  “ORDEN was formed in 1966 by the military for the purposes of thwarting communism by way of indoctrination—or murder, if deemed necessary.  ORDEN soon was followed by the emergence of more ruthless and ubiquitous ‘death squads’” (page 42).

White 1973:  “ORDEN was started in semi-secrecy during 1961-65, probably 1964 or 1965, by President Rivera and General José Alberto (‘Chele’) Medrano, under the wing of the ‘Guardia Nacional.’  Its purpose is anti-revolutionary activity of various kinds, particularly training, imparted by the ‘Guardia Nacional,’ for counter-guerrilla military operations…The organization developed rapidly in the later 1960s and now embraces thousands of men throughout the rural areas and even in small towns” (page 207).

March 13:  congressional and municipal election

Benítez Manaut 1990: Gives seats and mayoralties won by PCN, PDC, and PAR (page 73).

Caldera T. 1983: “Para 1966 en elecciones para Alcaldes y Munícipes, el PDC creció en adeptos, ya que de 58.000 votos que había obtenido en la primera votación de esta naturaleza pasó a obtener más de 75.000, lo que implicó subir de 14 a 15 diputados y de 12 alcaldías a 17, y lo más importante, se repitió el triunfo en la Alcaldía de San Salvador” (page 19).

Dunkerley 1988:  “In the poll of 1966 [the PCN] ceded twenty-one of the fifty-two seats to the opposition (PDC—fifteen; PAR—four;  PPS—one; PREN—one)…In 1966 [the PDC] won control of a third of the country’s towns and did not lose that of the capital until 1976” (page 357).

Eguizábal 1984: Gives percent of vote and seats won by each party (page 23).

ICSPS El Salvador 1967: Gives for the three regions of El Salvador the number of seats won by the PCN and the PDC and the total of seats for each region (page 5).  Gives the combined total percent vote and seats won by the PREN and PPS (page 9).  Gives the percent of the popular vote received by the PDC.  “Legislative election returns, 1966" (page 32).  Gives by department each party and the number and percent of votes received and seats won, and totals the valid votes.   “PCN retained its majority of mayors and municipal council seats, although the PDC narrowed the margin” (page 31).  Duarte re-elected mayor of San Salvador by a landslide vote.

Kantor 1969: Gives seats won by each party (page 116).

Webre 1979:   “When [Duarte] ran for reelection for the first time in 1966 he did so with widespread backing, including that of the normally conservative newspaper ‘El Diario de Hoy,’ and won overwhelmingly.  PDC gains elsewhere were more modest, but the party did increase its delegation in the Legislative Assembly to fifteen and it also picked up a large number of minor municipalities” (pages 90-91).

White 1973:  “(T)he PDC…gained 32 per cent of the votes in the legislative elections of 1966, and the PAR about 8 per cent” (page 202).  The PPS “gained its first seat in the Legislative Assembly, for the Department of Ahuachapán, in 1966” (page 204).  “The ‘Partido Republicano de Evolución Nacional’ (PREN)…dissolved after having failed to achieve any notable success in the legislative elections of 1966.  A considerable part of its funds came from wealthy members of the Salvadorean Palestinian community” (page 205).

Williams 1997: Gives seats won by PCN, PDC, and PAR (page 73).


Brockett 2005:  “The Asociación Nacional de Educadores Salvadoreños (ANDES) was formed on June 21, 1966…The first secretary-general of ANDES, Mélida Anaya Montes, led the organization throughout the 1966-1977 period, the last several years while covertly a top FPL leader” (page 79).


Valle 1993:  “(S)e proclama a Fabio Castillo en septiembre de 1966 como candidato del Partido Acción Renovadora” (page 90).


Hoopes 1970:  “To achieve his party’s nomination, Colonel Sánchez Hernández had to beat seven other strong contenders, including Colonel Mauricio Rivas Rodríguez, Undersecretary of Defense, and Lt. Colonel Mario Guerrero, head of the national communications network” (page 103).

Leistenschneider 1980:  “El 24 de Octubre de 1966 [General Fidel Sánchez Hernández] fue electo por el Partido de Conciliación Nacional Candidato a la Presidencia de la República” (page 235).

Valle 1993:  “Rivera tenía cuatro años de gobernar y había dicho que tenía la intención de garantizar un proceso electoral abierto.  Rivera tuvo la idea de lanzar ocho precandidatos para la presidencia en el [PCN], que era el oficial” (page 87).

Webre 1979:  “The PDC’s national convention in October, 1966, accepted the decision of Napoleón Duarte not to sacrifice certain reelection in San Salvador in 1968 for a gamble on the presidency and turned overwhelmingly to its secretary-general, Abraham Rodríguez, a thirty-eight-year-old lawyer and university professor” (page 93).  “As its vice-presidential candidate, the convention chose Mario Pacheco, an engineer educated in Mexico and, like Rodríguez, a founding member of the PDC” (page 94).

White 1973:  “An interesting innovation in the role of the PCN appeared to be introduced before the 1967 Presidential election:  instead of its Presidential nomination vote being a pure formality, the names of eight ‘pre-candidates’ for the Presidency and Vice Presidency were circulated for discussion within the party…The discussion took place, at provincial as well as national level, and it appeared as if the party was choosing the President freely from among the colonels whose names were submitted, in effect, by the outgoing President and the army.  However, when the party’s nomination convention took place in October 1966, President Rivera made a speech in which he unexpectedly said that he hoped that Colonel Sánchez Hernández would get a unanimous vote” (page 197).


Booth 2006:  “The Democratic National Union (Unión Democrática Nacionalista-UDN), a coalition of leftist elements, [is] formed in 1967” (page 100).

Valle 1993:  “La campaña presidencial para las elecciones de 1967 tuvo algunas novedades.  Una de ellas fue que habían dos movimientos significativos de oposición política al oficialismo que funcionaban separadamente: la izquierda revolucionaria con una virtual unidad completa y sin fraccionalismos y la Democracia Cristiana” (page 19).

Webre 1979:  “In addition to Sánchez Hernández of the PCN and Rodríguez of the PDC, there were two other candidates for the presidency in 1967.  The nominee of the New Line PAR was Fabio Castillo, whom conservatives considered a Communist…The conservative PPS chose as its candidate a retired army major named Alvaro Martínez…A coffee grower himself, Martínez’s connections with the landed oligarchy and the officer corps potentially threatened two major elements in the PCN coalition” (page 94).  “Characterizing the 1967 election as a choice between communism and liberty, Sánchez Hernández ignored the other two parties and concentrated his attacks almost exclusively upon Castillo and the PAR…The ‘oficialistas’ spared no effort in their campaign of innuendo, direct accusation, and harassment” (page 97).

White 1973:  “There were persistent rumours of the likelihood of a ‘coup’ from the Right because the government refused to proscribe the PAR before the 1967 elections.  It was permitted to fight the election because the government knew that its own control of the rural vote was an absolute guarantee against a PAR victory” (page 202).

March 5: presidential election (Sánchez Hernández / PCN)

Anderson 1971: Gives names of the candidates; the election is won by the PCN candidate (page 155-156).

Baloyra 1982:  “In 1967 each opposition party had presented its own presidential candidate and the official candidate, Sánchez Hernández, had been elected with 54 percent of the vote.  His election had not been tainted by blatant manipulation, and he was, therefore, able to extend some bridges to the progressives” (page 45).

Benítez Manaut 1990: Gives percent of vote won by PCN, PDC, PAR, and PPS (page 73).

Brockett 2005:  “The opening of the political system continued with the election of Colonel Fidel Sánchez Hernández in 1967 for a five-year presidential term marked by a more tolerant attitude toward mass organizing and open discussions of reform” (page 231).

Eguizábal 1984:   Gives number of votes won by PAR and PDC candidates (page 23).

El Salvador 1982: Gives percent of the presidential vote for PCN, PDC, PAR, and PPS (page 29).

Hoopes 1970:  “In the presidential elections of 1967, the official candidate, 41-year-old career officer and Minister of the Interior under the Rivera administration, Colonel Fidel Sánchez Hernández, substantially bested his two rivals, lawyer Abraham Rodríguez of the PDC and academician Dr. Fabio Castillo of PAR, by 233,756 votes to 90,089 and 49,537, respectively” (page 103).

Kantor 1969: “This was the first election in the country’s history in which several candidates campaigned for office, the election was fairly conducted, and the overwhelming majority of the population accepted the result” (page 117).  Gives number of votes won by each party’s candidate.

Montgomery 1995: Gives the percent of the votes won by the PDC, the PCN, and the PAR (page 61).

Valle 1993:  “Algunos creen que esa elección fue limpia, sin imposición, fue sin fraude…(Y)o creo más bien que el fraude es una cuestión estructural.  Tú cometes fraude al hacerle creer a la gente que su voto está siendo ‘monitoreado’ por un aparato electrónico.  Se comete fraude apostando fuerzas de seguridad cerca de las urnas de votación…Con todo hubo juego político, hubo elección y Fabio—es decir la izquierda—sacó 77,000 votos.  Eso creo que marcó un hito en la historia política del país…Hubo oportunidad de divulgar posiciones políticas en todo el país” (page 91).

Walter 2000:  “Una vez terminado el recuento de los votos, el Coronel Sánchez Hernández había ganado con un 54.4% de los votos válidos, proporción que, en comparación con los resultados obtenidos por los candidatos presidenciales oficiales en las últimas décadas, resultaba bajo en extremo.  La apretada victoria de Sánchez Hernández empujó al PCN hacia posiciones de mayor reformismo social y económico” (page 484).

Webre 1979: “(S)ince the far-right PPS failed to gain a significant following, it became more and more apparent that disaffected voters would split their ballots between the PDC and the PAR.  A much greater number, satisfied with the government’s performance or anxious about the possibility of disorder, would vote for the official party…As expected, the ‘oficialista’ candidate Sánchez Hernández easily won an absolute majority at the polls on March 5” (page 100).  “In spite of its poor showing, the PDC had still run second overall. Christian Democrats had never anticipated victory, and although the PAR’s strong performance in urban areas (especially the capital) gave them some cause for concern, they could derive solace from the fact that the PDC had held its own in rural areas in spite of the ‘paristas’’ more explicit appeal to the peasantry…Christian Democrats attributed their difficulties in 1967 in part to the campaign style of the PCN which exploited anti-Communist hysteria to block intelligent discussion of more genuine issues…The presidential election was different from prior electoral experiences of the PDC as well.  It involved a countrywide race by a single candidate and thereby tested party strength and appeal throughout the republic independently of the popularity of local candidates or the importance of local issues” (page 101).

White 1973:  “The result of the 1967 Presidential election gave the PAR 14.4 per cent of the national vote, against 21.6 per cent for the PDC and 54.4 per cent for the PCN; but in the Department of San Salvador the PAR led the opposition with 29 per cent as against 25 per cent for the PDC and 41 per cent for the PCN.  A similar result was obtained in the department containing the second largest city, Santa Ana.  In rural areas, however, the PAR was able to make very little headway…Immediately after the election, the PAR was finally proscribed” (page 203). The PPS gained 9.6 per cent of the total vote, and unlike the other parties the PPS did better in rural areas than in the capital, where the vote was only 5.5. per cent” (page 204).

Williams 1997: Gives votes for PCN and opposition and abstention rate (page 74).


Valle 1993:  “(L)a Huelga de Acero S.A. de abril de 1967 fue apoyada y llevada al triunfo por una Huelga General Progresiva dirigida por un comando unitario sindical” (page 22).


Leistenschneider 1980:  Sánchez Hernández “asumió la Presidencia de la República el 1o de Julio de 1967 para el período constitucional 1967-1972…Vice-Presidente, Dr. Humberto Guillermo Cuestas” (page 236).

Valle 1993:  “Sánchez Hernández se instala como Presidente el 1o. de julio de 1967.  Comienza un gobierno aparentemente modernizante” (page 94).  “Ante la sorpresa de mucha gente, nombra como Director de la Guardia Nacional al Coronel José Alberto Medrano quien tenía una trayectoria conocida en la represión del país…Eso desconcierta un poco a alguna gente que tenía esperanzas de que Sánchez Hernández sabría interpretar el momento histórico” (page 95).


Baloyra 1982:  “The new PAR was declared illegal in 1968, and most of its followers gravitated to Guillermo Ungo’s MNR” (page 44).

Brockett 2005:  “Public school teachers have been significant participants in the contentious politics of El Salvador since the mid-1960s…After unsuccessful strike attempts in 1965 and 1967, the newly formed Asociación Nacional de Educadores Salvadoreños (ANDES) went on full strike in early 1968…The ‘elected’ but military government often responded with harassment and sometimes with violence…This repression was said to be critical in developing the ‘revolutionary consciousness’ of those teachers who were later to join the Fuerzas Populares de Liberación (FPL)” (page 8).

Hoopes 1970:  “Regarded as one of the nation’s oldest and strongest political parties, the [PAR] has ceased to exist.  It was officially proscribed after, instead of before, the 1967 elections, so that ‘official’ interests could measure the strength of the ‘left.’  Promising to reform the country’s judicial system, to exercise greater control over public administration, to provide more social welfare, and to implement land reforms, PAR still could manage little better than 12 percent of the total national vote.  Nevertheless, PAR has reemerged as the Revolutionary party (PR), directed (as was PAR) by Dr. Fabio Castillo.  The newly formed PR is a replica of its predecessor” (page 108).

Johnson 1993:  “A key in facilitating the organization of the rural poor was the Church.  Rural priests organized peasants into the ‘Federación Cristiana de Campesinos Salvadoreños’ (FECCAS) in 1968, giving El Salvador’s poor majority a national voice for the first time.  Comprised mostly of day laborers and small-holders, FECCAS tended to be critical of the timid state reforms and argued for fundamental change in the agrarian structure.  FECCAS also was linked to the Christian Democratic party and provided this urban-based opposition party with a rural constituency.  The possibility of losing control over the rural vote was a major threat to the military regime” (pages 112-113).

Krauss 1991:  “Catholic activists brought the small peasant groups together into a national organization called the Christian Peasant Federation (FECCAS), which led strikes and other work actions.  FECCAS and Orden went head to head for the hearts of the peasantry” (page 66).

Walter 2000:  “(L)a cancelación del PAR después de las elecciones presidenciales de 1967 envío una señal de alarma al resto de [los] partidos:  el programa del PAR era demasiado radical y su candidato presidencial, el Dr. Fabio Castillo, demasiado identificado con las causas de la izquierda” (page 484).


Valle 1993:  “En el Diario Oficial de El Salvador, del 4 de enero de 1968, aparecieron los Estatutos del MNR, con lo cual la inscripción del partido, realizada mediante sentencia del Consejo Central de Elecciones, el 13 de diciembre de 1967, cobraba plena vigencia” (page 23).

March 10:  congressional and municipal election

Anderson 1981:  “In the March 1968 municipal and legislative elections, the PDC carried a great many localities, substantially increasing its representation in the legislature and on the municipal level” (page 88).

Benítez Manaut 1990: Gives seats won by PCN, PDC, PPS, and MNR (page 73).

Brockett 2005:  “Reformers came close to taking control of the national congress in the election of 1968” (page 232).

Caldera T. 1983: Gives number of seats won.   “Los demócratas-cristianos habían crecido vertiginosamente y al analizar los resultados obtenidos tenían la sensación de estar a un paso del poder; habían ganado más de ochenta Alcaldías...Según sus proyecciones, en las próximas elecciones ganarían la mayoría de las alcaldías, las diputaciones, y sin lugar a dudas en el 72 llegarían a la presidencia” (page 20).

 Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 2 1968:  For the March 10, 1968 elections for the Legislative Assembly gives the characteristics of parliament, the electoral system, and the general political considerations and conduct of the elections (pages 91-92).  “In the absence of any more detailed results, it should be mentioned that the outcome of the March 10 elections was to give the Party of National Conciliation 27 out of the 52 available Assembly seats” (page 92).

Danby 1982: Gives seats won by PDC (page 5).

Dunkerley 1988:  “(I)n 1968 [the PCN] respected the wishes of the electorate to an even greater degree in reducing its parliamentary majority to only two:  PCN—twenty-seven; PDC—nineteen; PDS—four; MNR—two…[The election] engendered an expectation within the urban populace that electoral support for the opposition was a viable means of altering the social condition of the country and securing genuine political change” (page 357).

Eguizábal 1984: Gives seats and mayoralties won by each party (page 23).

El Salvador 1982: Gives assembly seats and municipalities won by the PDC and percent of vote won by Duarte of the PDC as mayor of San Salvador (page 29).

Herman 1984: Gives mayoralties won by PDC and seats won by PDC and MNR (page 99).

Hoopes 1970:  “In the congressional and municipal elections of March 10, 1968, the PDC won an additional four seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The right-wing PPS won five seats, and the left-wing National Revolutionary Movement (MNR) received only one seat.  While the official party triumphed in 151 of the 261 municipalities, the PDC won seven of the 14 largest cities, including the mayoralty of San Salvador” (pages 103-104).

Valle 1993:  En las “elecciones de 1968, el Movimiento Nacional Revolucionario (MNR) como una alternativa de izquierda moderada y sin el apoyo claro del PR participó en las elecciones de marzo de ese año y ganó un puesto en la Asamblea Nacional Legislativa, en la figura de Rodrigo Antonio Velázquez Gamero, fundador del partido MNR” (page 24).

Webre 1979: Gives percent of San Salvador mayoral vote won by Duarte (page 101) and states that PDC won the mayorships of Santa Ana and San Miguel (page 102).    “In all, the PDC held or gained control of 78 of the republic’s 261 municipalities (a net decline of 5 from the previous period, but a decline compensated by the importance of the cities won).  Much more significant, however, was the increase in the party’s Legislative Assembly representation from 15 to 19.  Counting 6 deputies elected from smaller parties, the opposition now controlled 25 seats to the government’s 27” (page 102).  “As a result of the 1968 election, the Christian Democrats reinforced their status as ‘la oposición’…The PCN, on the other hand, found its position weakened, especially in the Legislative Assembly” (page 104).

White 1973:  “The MNR had some success in the legislative elections of 1968, the high-water mark to date in general opposition electoral strength.  Two deputies were elected, alongside the nineteen of the PDC” (page 203).

Williams 1997: The elections of 1968 “made it clear that in an environment relatively free of legal impediments the opposition was at the verge of breaking through to majority status” (page 74).  Gives seats won by the PDC, PCN, and the opposition.

Williams 2003:  The PDC “gradually increased its political influence in the legislature and municipal government, reaching a peak of 19 seats in the legislature and 81 municipalities in 1968” (page 307).


Anderson 1981:  Discusses escalating issues between El Salvador and Honduras (pages 80-88).  ODECA “had scheduled a meeting in San Salvador for early July, and President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States was to attend as a gesture of goodwill, and in hope of resolving the Honduras-El Salvador dispute.  Quietly, through the good offices of the United States, a deal was worked out, with a decree of amnesty for Martínez Argueta being presented to the Salvadorean legislature by its president…The PDC representatives and other nongovernment members bitterly opposed this move, but the ruling PCN had enough votes to pass it” (pages 88-89).


Lamperti 2006:  “By 1969 perhaps as many as 300,000 Salvadorans were living in Honduras, most of them without legal residence documents or land titles.  Earlier in the century Honduras had welcomed such migrants, many of whom moved to the Caribbean coast seeking work in the banana industry.  Thousands of others settled on unused land and undertook subsistence farming.  By the late 1960s, however, these Salvadorans could be portrayed as rivals of local campesinos for land and jobs, and they offered a convenient scapegoat for Honduran governments facing serious domestic discontent and for large landowners resisting reform…The plight of the Salvadorans in Honduras was also a useful distraction for the government of Sánchez Hernández” (page 101).

White 1973:  “(P)olitical and economic considerations played an important part in the decision taken by [Honduran president] López Arellano’s government early in 1969 to dispossess and expel large numbers of the Salvadoreans who had settled in the Honduran countryside” (page 184).

Wood 2003:  “The Alas brothers [activist priests of the parish of Suchitoto] were part of the liberation theology movement that fundamentally reshaped the Latin American Catholic Church in the late 1960s and 1970s” (page 90).  “The Alas brothers were key figures in the spread of both liberation theology practices and opposition organizations in north-central El Salvador.  Beginning in 1969, José Inocencio Alas organized base Christian communities” (page 91).


Anderson 1981:  “In April 1969 the director of the [Honduran Instituto Nacional Agrario] declared publicly that the institute would proceed immediately to order Salvadorean ‘campesinos’ dispossessed of their lands, although many had cultivated them for many years” (page 92).


Anderson 1981:  “In the midst of all this came the games which were to give the war its name and to confuse the outside world into believing temporarily that the conflict was some kind of comic-opera battle over soccer.  The World Cup eliminations were going on that spring and summer, and Honduras was slated to play El Salvador in a best-of-three-game series” (page 95).

Durham 1979:  A “critical issue concerned the presence in Honduras of some 300,000 Salvadorean immigrants, or roughly one of every eight persons in Honduras in 1969.  In June [of 1969], Honduras reversed its policy of tolerating the immigration and suddenly began expelling large numbers of these Salvadoreans from their rural homesteads.  This action prompted the government of El Salvador to close its borders to refugees and to file a complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights” (page 2).  “El Salvador had benefitted for many years from the gradual migration of 10 percent or more of its low-income inhabitants…But once the expulsion of migrants began, the Salvadorean government could plainly see the threat of having those benefits reversed all at once.  Internal documents indicate that national advisors were greatly worried about the social and political consequences of great numbers of landless and unemployed refugees…By an unfortunate coincidence, the expulsions also began shortly before the soccer teams of the two countries met in the World Cup semi-final matches.  With the defeat of the Honduran team in San Salvador on June 15, 1969, many of the Honduran spectators were set upon and mauled by the crowd.  The immediate reaction in Honduras was to step up the expulsion of Salvadorean campesinos” (page 163).

Lamperti 2006:  “On June 26…the government of El Salvador broke off diplomatic relations with Honduras” (page 101).


Baloyra 1982:  “The 1969 war with Honduras gave Sánchez a respite by conferring on his administration an aura of legitimacy and forcing the opposition to adopt a low profile.  This was a very temporary respite, however.  The economic consequences of the war were very somber” (page 45).

Durham 1979:  “On July 14, 1969, the armed forces of the Republic of El Salvador invaded the territory of the neighboring Republic of Honduras.  The attack began a war that lasted only 100 hours, but left several thousand dead on both sides, turned 100,000 people into homeless and jobless refugees, destroyed half of El Salvador’s oil refining and storage facilities, and paralyzed the nine-year-old Central American Common Market” (page 1).  “(T)he majority of the Soccer War refugees had lived in the countryside and worked in agriculture” (page 124).

Lamperti 2006:  “The first shots were fired on July 3, and low level cross-border skirmishing continued until the 13th.  On July 14 the Salvadoran army and air force attacked” (page 101).  “Pressure from the United States and the OAS then produced a call to cease-fire on July 18, and the gunfire finally stopped on Sunday, July 20.  At least 2000 people, most of them civilians, had been killed on both sides…The imposed peace was not popular in El Salvador, where many people had dreamed of a decisive triumph…Tens of thousands more people were returning to El Salvador as refugees owning nothing beyond what they could carry, and they added to already severe problems of poverty and unemployment.  The social safety valve of emigration to Honduras was gone, and the border was closed to trade as well.  The Central American Common Market, which had been a plus for the Salvadoran economy, became in reality only a memory” (page 102).

Webre 1979:  “Perhaps the most serious of all the war’s consequences, however, was the loss to El Salvador of the Honduran demographic ‘safety valve’ and the subsequent necessity to provide domestic accommodations for an increasing population.  Immediately this meant finding food, clothing, and shelter for the thousands of refugees who would not be returning to Honduras anytime in the near future” (page 119).


Webre 1979:  “On August 14, the Sánchez Hernández administration revealed in general terms a broad program of reform legislation, the most significant element of which was to be a ‘democratic program of agrarian reform.’…At the end of August, the Agriculture Ministry secured legislative authorization to create an agrarian reform commission to undertake a thorough study of Salvadoran agriculture and make recommendations for its reform” (page 122).


Webre 1979:  The Christian Democratic “party leadership announced on October 22 that, the National Unity Front having outlived its usefulness to the republic and become an instrument for the suppression of dissent, the PDC was formally dissociating itself from the government and returning to its accustomed role of open opposition.  The Casa Presidencial reacted immediately, charging the Christian Democrats with cowardice and treachery in the face of the enemy.  But the PDC’s action broke the spell; the multipartisan alliance rapidly fell apart” (page 121).