The Soccer War (1969)

The so-called Soccer War or the War of the 100 hours was named by the coincidence of this fact with those derived from a football game that pitted national teams of Honduras and El Salvador, during qualifying for the World Cup Football 1970. The name that is known to this war was coined by the Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński.

In her political tensions between the two countries that ultimately led to an armed conflict is evident. It was a short war (lasted only 4 days). The social situation in both countries was explosive and was sought by the military rulers a convenient outlet for political power groups in each country.

The landowners controlled most of the arable land in El Salvador. This led to the steady emigration of poor regions of Honduras near the border with El Salvador peasants. In 1969, Honduras decided to land reform, for which they expropriated and expelled the Salvadorans who had lived there for generations and who had become owners based on their own efforts.

This generated a persecution of Salvadorans in Honduras and a “return” massive to El Salvador. This escalation of tension was used by the governments of both countries to guide their people’s attention outward instead of each country’s internal political conflicts. The media of both countries played an important role in encouraging hatred between Hondurans and Salvadorans. Conservatives in power in El Salvador feared that more farmers would imply more socioeconomic pressures in El Salvador, why decided to intervene militarily in Honduras.

On July 14, 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras and got close to the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire took effect on July 20. The Salvadoran troops withdrew in early August.

At the end of the war, the armies of both countries found a pretext to rearm and Central American Common Market was in ruins. Under the rules of the market, the Salvadoran economy (which was the most industrialized in Central America), was gaining much ground in relation to the Honduran economy.

The two nations signed the General Treaty of Peace in Lima, Peru on October 30, 1980 by which the border dispute be resolved in the International Court of Justice.

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