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Juan Manuel Gálvez Durón Edit Profile

Lawyer , politician , President

Juan Manuel Gálvez Durón was the chosen successor of Tiburcio Carias Andino, when the National Party strongman decided to leave after 16 years in the presidency of Honduras (He was the 39th President of the country). He had been a long-time lawyer of the United Fruit Company, a judge, a deputy to the 1924 constituent assembly, minister of government and private secretary to President Paz Barahona (1925-1928), and minister of defense under Carias.

Background

Juan Manuel Gálvez Durón was born in Tegucigalpa on 10 June 1887.

Career

He traveled widely through Honduras by jeep and light airplane and enhanced his image as a “simple democratic citizen.”

In 1954 both Tiburcio Cartas and his former vice president, Abraham Williams Caldernó, sought the presidency. The reorganized Liberal Party nominated Ramón Villeda Morales. Although Villeda Morales and the Liberals won a plurality, there was no clear winner. Gálvez left the country suddenly on November 16 for medical treatment at Gorgas Hospital in Panama, turning the presidency over to Vice President Julio Lozano Dias.

Only the Liberal deputies showed up at Congress for selection of a president from the top two candidates. Lozano, basing his authority on a clause in the 1936 Constitution which covered this impasse, assumed dictatorial powers on December 5. Gálvez returned to Tegucigalpa two days later, but did not contest his fellow Nationalist’s assumption of dictatorial power. Later, Lozano appointed Gálvez president of the Supreme Court.

Subsequently, Gálvez continued to live his usual modest life, enjoying general respect and recognition.

Achievements

  • Important institutional changes under Gálvez included introduction of the income tax, creation of the Central Bank and a National Development Bank, and passage of the banking law and commercial code. The Francisco Morazán Military School was established during his tenure. A non-Communist labor movement developed as a politically potent force after a 69-day banana workers strike in May-July 1954, when Gálvez insisted on the signing of a collective labor contract.