Players displayed none of the fervent nationalism that had been stoked by their respective governments back home, none of the animosity that had exacted a grave human toll already and would turn even worse in the days ahead.
El Salvador wore royal blue, trimmed in white; Honduras wore white, trimmed in royal blue, the common colors of their national flags. The countries also shared the same language, the same religion, with similar cultures—commonalities that would only make it more difficult to understand what followed two weeks later. A few thousand soccer supporters, mostly Salvadoran, made the odd-mile trip northwest for the match, the deciding contest in a three-game series. They joined Mexican locals in filling about 15, of the lowest seats of a stadium that held , Back home, as Salvadorans danced beside their radios celebrating the early 1—0 advantage, the armies of both nations—carrying the same weapons and wearing identical uniforms—stood poised across their jungled, mile border.
Earlier that month, the Honduran government had begun kicking Salvadorans out of its country, hundreds at a time, then thousands, often with a nudge from a military rifle. Central America, a thick rope of seven countries that links North and South America, was not a stable place to begin with.
By the s, some , Salvadoran peasant farmers— campesinos— had relocated to Honduras, where they could farm freely. This unfolded as the two nations were advancing through the first round of Concacaf qualifying, past countries like Suriname and Costa Rica, destined for one another. The first printed word was a slang term for a Salvadoran. Guanaco: If you believe yourself decent, then have the decency to get out of Honduras. Get out or expect punishment. The first wave of expulsions came on June 2 as Salvadoran families were forcibly moved from Honduras to the other side of the border.
Game 1 would be played six days later, in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, the home team winning 1—0. Honduras claimed only one player like that. Within hours of the first expulsions, back in early June, Red Cross refugee centers on the Salvadoran side of the border had been overwhelmed.
But the director of the Red Cross, Baltasar Llort Escalante, said he saw no evidence of such atrocities at the refugee centers or at Salvadoran hospitals. Salvadorian nationals who were residing in Honduras arrive at the Red Cross headquarters in San Miguel on July 7, Following the armed conflict between El Salvador and Honduras, 14, nationals residing in Honduras returned to their country.
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The site of the first match of the qualifying series, Estadio Nacional, was turned into an internment camp for Salvadorans. June in Central America means intermittent rain and temperatures in the 80s. The venue had no roof, limited facilities and, now, a throng of intimidated refugees.
Those of us who were there saw nothing of the kind, but it was impossible to intrude any rational statements into the Honduran press. No birth or death records exist for such a person. The massive public funeral that Kapuscinski said the Salvadoran team attended—it never happened. The newspaper he cites as his main source, El Nacional , appears to have been entirely made up.
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The misleading title, The Soccer War , has since become ubiquitous. Even those who take issue with its accuracy use it. The confusion was furthered by a brief UPI story that appeared in American newspapers the morning after the match. That report hinted at off-field tensions between the two countries but did not cover their cause. The truth is that the rubber match had been scheduled for a neutral site many months earlier. The war was still more than two weeks away when Honduras and El Salvador met in Mexico City, but by this time saber rattling at the border had devolved into mortar fire and skirmishes among ground troops that left handfuls of casualties.
The mercurial striker, who would go on to play for the Indiana Tigers of the American Soccer League, made it past his opponent, outran another Honduran and ended up one-on-one with Varela. Neither military was particularly well equipped for war. They rigged special seat straps and removed passenger-side doors, turning single-engine light aircraft into bombers: A pilot had only to tilt the plane, release the strap on one of the football-sized mortar rounds seated next to him and shove the shell into the sky.
This would be the last war, anywhere in the world, in which prop planes were used. Here the Salvadorans employed an eccentric American plane restorer named Archie Baldocchi as a consultant. The year-old Californian had married a Salvadoran woman years earlier and had fallen for her homeland, too. Baldocchi served the war effort by retooling one of his prized Mustangs and configuring other old warbirds for fresh fighting. On the morning of July 14, FAS mechanics readied the big American planes for battle and loaded ordnance onto Cessnas, Pipers and other puddle jumpers.
The plan was to strike at sunset, then fly home under the cover of darkness. The game was becoming more physical, but the Mexican referee, Abel Aguilar Elizalde, did not raise a single card the entire match. In the 75th minute, following a hard tackle on Cardona, Elizalde blew his whistle and jogged over to the scene, eager to continue the game.
But the Honduran goal machine stayed down, curled in a ball of pain. Eventually he was carried off the field. He would not return. The Hondurans pressed forward without their star. In the 88th he punched a free kick over the crossbar. But first: Elizalde glanced at his wristwatch and gesticulated like an orchestra conductor. Ninety minutes would not be enough time to decide the victor.
Thomas P. An hour later the radio informed locals that their country had just bombed Honduras. Dan Hagedorn was at his desk near the Panama Canal when he heard the click-clack of a nearby teletype. The year-old U. Army information specialist and historian-in-training was stunned by the words being inked across paper.
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In rural Central America, everything turns pitch black when the sun goes down, and the air war that dominated the conflict was fought largely in this dark. Even in daylight, the hostilities in July were typified by randomness and indiscretion. The rest of the world, meanwhile, was looking elsewhere. To Vietnam. And to the heavens. As morning broke on the second full day of conflict, July 16, Apollo 11 was launching from Cape Kennedy, Fla.
A nationwide Honduran radio network last night exhorted civilians in the western highway area to grab machetes or other weapons and move to the front to assist the army. A stamped notation on section 1 of this 2 part telegram indicates that the classification was upgraded to Secret; Noforn.
The 1969 War with Honduras
The final section of this telegram, however, bears the stamped notation Confidential; Noforn. The Department of State requested that the Embassy comment on statements implying that the Salvadoran Government might hope for the deployment of an international peacekeeping force, in order to publicly justify its withdrawal from Honduran territory. Confidential; Limdis; Immediate. No record of a reply from Tegucigalpa was found.
kerpfernticmase.ga The Embassy offered its thoughts on U. Confidential; Immediate. Confidential; Priority. In a report on the status of the Honduran—Salvadoran conflict, the Department of State noted that despite progress with troop withdrawals, prisoner repatriations, and protections for immigrants, tensions remained high and both countries were engaged in large arms purchases, auguring poorly for short-term regional stability.
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