Policarpo Paz García

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Policarpo Paz García
Policarpo Paz Garcia.jpg
Sketch of Policarpo Paz García
46th President of Honduras
In office
7 August 1978 – 27 January 1982
Preceded by Juan Alberto Melgar Castro
(Head of State)
Succeeded by Roberto Suazo Córdova
Military of Honduras
In office
7 August 1978 – 27 January 1980
Preceded by Juan Alberto Melgar Castro
Succeeded by Gustavo Álvarez Martínez
Personal details
Born Policarpo Juan Paz García
(1932-12-07)7 December 1932
Goascorán, Honduras
Died 16 April 2000(2000-04-16) (aged 67)
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Nationality Honduran
Political party Military
Spouse(s) Carlota Márquez de Paz García
Alma mater Escuela Militar de Honduras
Profession Physician, Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Policarpo Juan Paz García (7 December 1932 – 16 April 2000) was a Honduran military leader and autocrat who served as President of Honduras from 7 August 1978 until 27 January 1982.


Paz was born in 1932 in La Arada, Goascoran, Valle, Honduras.

Paz took power in 1978 in a "cocaine coup" financed by the Medellín Cartel-linked drug lord Juan Matta-Ballesteros.[1] The CIA took "a close and friendly interest" in the coup as Paz, unlike his predecessor Juan Alberto Melgar Castro, was a keen supporter of Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza Debayle - actually the United States had cut off support for Somoza by 1978.[1] Under Paz, the Honduran army and intelligence service received a cut of Matta-Ballesteros' profits in return for protection, as Honduras became a major shipment route for cocaine and marijuana from Colombia.[1] When the US Drug Enforcement Administration set up its first office in Tegucigalpa in 1981, its resident agent "rapidly came to the accurate conclusion that the entire Honduran government was deeply involved in the drug trade."[2]

His tenure is also noted for corruption, and the high level of military repression, including the startling leap of activity attributable to Battalion 316, a secret right-wing paramilitary death squad trained by the CIA. The services of Batalión 3-16 were called upon during the Reagan administration and the American military activity in Central America to support the Contras.

The military had ruled Honduras almost continuously since 1963, and Paz was the last of the generals to rule the country. The Honduran general election, 1981 saw Roberto Suazo elected President, and Paz handed over power in January 1982.

Since then he lived devoted to his private work in the capital city of Tegucigalpa until his death, which occurred in that city at age 67 on 16 April 2000 due to kidney failure.

See also[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Juan Alberto Melgar
Head of State
President of Honduras
Succeeded by
Roberto Suazo