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Carlos Humberto Romero
Humberto Romero 1977.jpg
37th President of El Salvador
In office
1 July 1977 – 15 October 1979
Vice President Julio Ernesto Astacio
Preceded by Arturo Armando Molina
Succeeded by Revolutionary Government Junta
Álvaro Magaña as President
Minister of National Defense
In office
1 July 1972 – 1 July 1977
President Arturo Armando Molina
Preceded by Fidel Torres
Succeeded by Federico Castillo Yanes
Personal details
Carlos Humberto Romero Mena

(1924-02-29)29 February 1924
Chalatenango, El Salvador
Died 27 February 2017(2017-02-27) (aged 92)
San Salvador, El Salvador
Political party National Conciliation Party
Spouse Gloria Guerrero de Romero
Children Four
Alma mater Captain General Gerardo Barrios Military School
Military service
Allegiance  El Salvador
Branch/service Salvadoran Army
Rank General

General Carlos Humberto Romero Mena (29 February 1924 – 27 February 2017) was a Salvadoran army general politician who served as President of El Salvador from 1 July 1977, until his overthrow in a coup d'état on 15 October 1979.

Early life

Romero was born in Chalatenango, El Salvador, on 19 February 1924.

Military career

Romero studied at the Captain General Gerardo Barrios Military School and the Command and General Staff School. He did specialized horse riding studies in Mexico.

Romero was a member of the National Conciliation Party, and also served as Defense Minister from 1972 to 1977.

He launched his candidacy for the National Conciliation Party (PCN) in the February 1977 presidential elections. On 24 February, the Central Elections Council declared that he had won the election with 67.3% of the vote and was to be sworn in as President while Julio Ernesto Astacio was declared Vice President. The opposition forces grouped in the National Opposition Union (UNO) filed complaints about numerous acts of fraud and electoral coercion committed in the vote. The period between his election and the inauguration proved to be extremely dangerous for his opponents. On 28 February 1977, the military forces dissolved a UNO protest rally in the Plaza Libertad in San Salvador.


Jimmy Carter with Carlos Humberto Romero President of the Republic of El Salvador. - NARA - 176138
Carlos Romero with U.S President Jimmy Carter, 8 September 1977.

General Romero was sworn in on 1 July 1977. He responded to accusations of "electoral fraud" by declaring a state of emergency for thirty days and established a rigidly conservative government.

Romero's time in office was largely characterized by escalating violence and instability. In the late 1970s, political unrest increased, because of El Salvador's severe socio-economic inequalities unaddressed by his government and widespread discontent with government policy culminated in widespread protest and rebellion, which was met with reprisal by government forces. President Romero increased government education spending, but this won him no popularity with the left. The different police, military and government paramilitary forces launched a bloody repression campaign against leftist groups that ended the lives of 4 Catholic priests and numerous leaders and militants of workers and peasant organizations. He is accused of having ordered the student massacre of 30 July 1975. Left-wing armed groups responded to the violence exerted by the State with attacks on the security forces and government officials. The repression plunged the country into a serious social crisis.

1979 coup

Romero held power until October 1979, when he was deposed with a reformist coup d'état by dissident, politically leftist and moderate military officers and civilians. The coup d'état that deposed Romero was preamble to El Salvador's twelve-year civil war.

Later life and death

After being deposed, Romero lived in exile in Guatemala before returning to El Salvador. He died on 27 February 2017 at the age of 92 of natural causes.

Orders and decorations

Order of Isabella the Catholic - Sash of Collar.svg Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carlos Humberto Romero para niños

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