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The Soccer War

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#1 Mahross



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Posted 07 January 2004 - 01:43 PM

In 1969, an old rivalry between El Salvador and Honduras erupted into a brief war, momentaraly shifting attention from El Salvador's deteriorating political situation. The battle was caused by a number of issues, including a long-standing dispute over the exact location of a border between the two countries and the huge numbers of Salvadorans who had migrated into Honduras.

By the late 1960s, more than 300,000 Salvadorans had settled in Honduras, and many Hondurans resented losing their jobs to the rard-working immigrants. In addition, the two countries differed on how to aplly rules relating to the emerging Central American Commmon Market. Ssalvadoran companies competed strongly against their Honduran counterparts, which slowed Honduran efforts to industrialize. Finally, rich Honduran landowners sought a sapegoat for land imbalances in thwei own country, and focused attention on the easiest target: Salvadoran immigrants.

Honduras began to expel Salvadorans in the late 1960s, causing the Salvodaran press to trumpet allegations of mistreatement at the lands of Honduran authorities. Tensions peaked around the June 1969 World Cup playoffs between the two countries, and erupted into war on July 14. Throughout the four-day war, the only organized call for peace was a rally staged by the the Salvadoran Communist Party in San Salvador. Begun under the pretense of "protecting the human rights of Salvadoran settlers," the war ended when the Organization of Ameriacan States arranged a cease-fire. By August, Salvadoran troops returned home to a "victory celebration" staged in the capital in an official attempt to salvage some national pride.

Who won? The "Soccer War," as it came to be known, left 3,000 dead, 6,000 wounded and caused $50 million in damage. Relations between the countries worsened and Honduras closed its borders to Salvadorans, blocked shipments of Salvadoran goods and stopped buying Salvadoran products. As Salvadoran emigrants returned home, land pressures and unemployment increased.

In the end, the Salvadoran military was the only group that benefitted from the war. The "effectiveness" of the armed forces had been demostrated, and Colonel Sanchez Hernández rode a wave of nationalistic fervor into the presidency in the 1970 elections. The military-allied PCN received 60 percent of the vote versus 28 percent for the PDCs. Nonetheless, repression, torture and disappearances of dissidents continued.

#2 Friedrich



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Posted 07 January 2004 - 04:13 PM

Thanks for the post, Mahross. I haven't ever heard of it. Even if I have a very close friend who was very into the guerrilla those days along Jesuits.
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

"A mon fils: depuis que tes yeux sont fermes les miens n’ont cessé de pleurir." - Mère française, Verdun

#3 TA152



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Posted 07 January 2004 - 09:58 PM

An interesting side note to the soccor war was that Corsairs and Mustangs flew against each other. I have a magizane article about it that was run in the 1970's so I don't remember which country had which plane but there was air combat.
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#4 The_Historian



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Posted 08 January 2004 - 03:18 PM

I remember watching the 1970 World Cup as a kid (praying for England to get hammered, obviously! tongue.gif ), and also that particular game. It ended in a riot, then the next thing I heard on the news that the two sides had gone to war. I couldn't believe anyone was anal enough to fight over a bloody game of football! It became the standard playground joke for years afterwards-don't like a decision? well, just declare war on your opponents! :D


[ 08. January 2004, 09:20 AM: Message edited by: The_Historian ]


#5 Mahross



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Posted 08 January 2004 - 09:09 PM

TA - I believe it was El Salavador who used them.

#6 Kai-Petri



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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:12 AM

Just to remind you guys that soccer is serious businez...
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