Oswaldo López Arellano

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Oswaldo López
Oswaldo Lopez Arellano.JPG
Sketch of Oswaldo López Arellano
President of Honduras
In office
3 October 1963 – 7 June 1971
Preceded by Ramón Villeda
Succeeded by Ramón Ernesto Cruz
President of Honduras
(Head of State of Honduras)
In office
4 December 1972 – 22 April 1975
Preceded by Ramón Ernesto Cruz
Succeeded by Juan Alberto Melgar
Personal details
Born Oswaldo Enrique López Arellano
(1921-06-30)30 June 1921
Danlí, El Paraíso
Died 16 May 2010(2010-05-16) (aged 88)
Political party National Party
Occupation General, Statesman
Religion Roman Catholic[citation needed]

Oswaldo Enrique López Arellano (30 June 1921 – 16 May 2010) was a two-time President of Honduras, first from 1963 to 1971 and again from 1972 to 1975. He gained power both times via military force.

He was born in Danlí in the department of El Paraíso to an influential family, son of Enrique López and Carlota Arellano. He attended the American School of Tegucigalpa where he learned to speak fluent English. He joined the Army at eighteen, graduated as a pilot from the Honduran Air Force School, and spent 1942-1945 in the U.S. state of Arizona studying mechanical aviation. López served as a colonel for a long time and eventually rose to the rank of general. He married Gloria Figueroa and they had five children: Gloria Carolina, Oswaldo, Enrique, Leonel, and José Luis.[citation needed]

López served briefly on a military junta during 1957, which resigned after elections were held. He served as president for the first time from 3 October 1963 until 7 June 1971, taking office when he seized power in the 1963 Honduran coup d'état, 10 days before presidential elections were due. He then allowed further elections (Honduran general election, 1971) to take place in April 1971 that saw Ramón Ernesto Cruz come to power. On 4 December 1972, López again seized power, in the 1972 Honduran coup d'état.

In 1975, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission exposed a scheme by United Brands Company to bribe President López with US$1.25 million, with the promise of another $1.25 million upon the reduction of certain banana export taxes. Trading in United Brands stock was halted, and on 22 April 1975 López was ousted in a military coup led by his fellow General Juan Alberto Melgar, in the 1975 Honduran coup d'état. This scandal is known in Honduras as "Bananagate".

López was a businessman. He owned several businesses in Central America. His eldest son, Oswaldo, died in 2003. He was the owner of TAN-SAHSA, the now defunct Honduran air carrier.

Lopez died on 16 May 2010 while undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.[citation needed]


  • Pauly, David and Thomas, Rich (1975) "The Great Banana Bribe" Newsweek 21 April 1975, p. 76;
  • Obituary (Spanish)

See also

Political offices
Preceded by
Ramón Villeda
President of Honduras
Succeeded by
Ramón Ernesto Cruz
Preceded by
Ramón Ernesto Cruz
President of Honduras
Succeeded by
Juan Alberto Melgar
Head of State