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El Salvador, Honduras and the Soccer War

            In 1969, immigration from El Salvador to Honduras was rampant. This prompted former president of Honduras, Oswaldo Lopez, to blame the deterioration of his country's economy on the vast number of El Salvadorian immigrants.1 His comments increased border tensions between the two nations immensely. Relations between Honduras and El Salvador reached new levels of astriction when they faced each other in a three-round soccer match that preceded the 1970 World Cup. On July 14, 1969, the Salvadorian army launched an assault on the Honduras troops.2 The origins of the war can be dated back to an era where a common market of the advanced economies, like the EEC, was regarded as a very beneficial system. The movement of hoards of laborers between Honduras and El Salvador usually to work in different fruit companies' plantations, that did not aid either country's economy much at all, sparked these tensions.3 For nearly fifty years over-crowded El Salvador had been exporting labor forces to Honduras, despite efforts by Honduras to control the intake during those controversial years.4 Over three hundred thousand Salvadorian workers had settled in Honduras; over twelve percent of the country's population.5 The Salvadorian immigrants may have been beneficial to Honduras in a macro-economic way by providing cheap, hard-working laborers for banana plantations, but their presence had aroused resentment from Hondurans who greatly dislike foreign parties encroaching on their own labor market.6 .
             Tensions in Honduras before the war were already high, especially amongst large land owners attempting to protect their interests from the immigrants. In 1966, these large land owners formed the National Federation of Farmers and Livestock-Farmers of Honduras.7 They pressured the then Arellano government, and succeeded in launching a propaganda campaign that was aimed at advancing their cause. The campaign also boosted Honduran national pride and incited Honduran attacks on Salvadorian immigrants.

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