Honduras 1981, Premundial of dictatorships

Premundial was a tournament whose format was similar to what today is the final round of CONCACAF. In those years at a single venue was played, and editing 1981, It was carried out in Tegucigalpa, Honduran capital. That tournament held in November, as participants took the first two places in the area of ​​North America: Mexico and Canada; the first two in the area of ​​Central America: Honduras and El Salvador; and the first two of the groups A and B of the Caribbean: Cuba and Haiti.

that Premundial, I not only had significance in the strict sense sport. but also a strategy meant to satisfy the political interests of some of the participating countries. One might say that mostly, nations took sides in the tie, They were under the rule of dictatorships (some dark), which (not all), hermanaban hugged and under common ideologies. However, in the field they ceased to be respected, appealing to nationalism as a weapon for the pursuit of sporting hegemony. Then the social and political profile breaks down each of the participating teams.

Honduras: The host, He is going through a tough economic situation. In 1982 (World Cup year), the country would do elections. He predicted that the victory of the tournament selection catracha, It could be translated literally in the reelection of the military government, led by General Policarpo Paz Garcia. Premundial was a highly alienatorio element for the Honduran people and made its inhabitants forgive, or at least momentarily forget all the outrages committed by the current government. Although in those elections did not succeed Paz Garcia, but Roberto Suazo Córdova (civil servant), It mattered little to the thousands of Hondurans what he did or did not do their government at that moment and during the World.

At the end of the day, Selection of Honduras won the title Premundial and sorting Spain. Flanked by its great figures: Chelato Ucles, Gilberto Yearwood (Considered the best player in history in Honduras), Anthony Costly and Ramon Madariaga Primitivo, Honduras swept the tie, but the story was very different in the World Cup, where it was last-place in its group.

Honduras participated without much fortune in Spain 82.
Honduras participated without much fortune in Spain 82.

The Savior: The military junta of Jose Napoleon Duarte, ruled that country to 1981. At the same time, Duarte faced in a bloody civil war against the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a social democratic organization of Marxist-Leninist. this conflagration, that extended to 1989, left thousands dead, in a country divided by absences, both democracy, as the rule of law. In the foreign policy sphere, the governments of Honduras and El Salvador were similar and had good relationship. They seemed far removed from those social and political conflicts of the past decade (Particularly the call "Soccer War").

But,on the football field it remained hostile circumstance. On the playing court and in the stands, Clashes between Hondurans and Salvadorans represent a veritable time bomb, which ultimately ended up not detonate. At the "Select", He ended up classifying Spain 82, as runner contest, hand and virtuosity Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez. this feat, He could stop for a few days (including days of World) guerrilla warfare that terrorized the guanaco people for nearly a decade, but the military showed her dowry of arrogance and conceit, after the victory against Mexico.

El Salvador hand Magico Gonzalez got his pass to Spain 82.
El Salvador hand Magico Gonzalez got his pass to Spain 82.

In Spain 82, El Salvador was the victim of Hungary, who gave him the biggest win in the history of the World Cup, to receive one of ten goals difference. He finished last in its sector, like the Spanish ranking in the World.

Mexico: The Mexican Football Federation (true to his custom), He invested about 500 million pesos for the knockout in Central America. In an era of difficult economic recession and socio-political crisis, an investment so it seemed incongruous and incomprendible, but football stood as the main social distractor and had to use it as a method of alienation. Since those years, the Federation maintained its collusion with the press linked to the civil dictatorship, by then, He took about 52 years in political power.

In that controversial 1981, the government of Jose Lopez Portillo promised its inhabitants, building a high-speed train that would run from the Capital, to the city of Toluca. Budgets are wasted arbitrarily, just in a period of unsustainable conditions of poverty; while Formula One savoring, as a competition whose investment would bring profit, not only for sponsors, but for the development of the Federal District and the entire country, which did not happen. These facts meant a paradigmatic window (curiously repeats the current Mexican society).

Mexico deposited its hopes on a young Hugo Sanchez.
Mexico deposited its hopes on a young Hugo Sanchez.

Ultimately, Tri lackluster performance resulted in the surprise elimination. The failure of an overvalued selection (Hugo Sánchez, like green banner and brand new Atletico Madrid contract) he just got a win, to Cuba; a defeat, to El Salvador; and three draws, He drew the ire of politicians who sought absurdly haughty expropriate football. In consecuense, sponsors and investment managers made crumbs and football ended for failing to hide the abuses and excesses of government.

Canada: He enjoyed a period of stability in those years. The government was in charge of French-Canadian Pierre Elliot Trudeau liberal who from 1968 He ruled the country in two periods, without falling into a dictatorial government itself. During this progressive government cut, sport represented preserve culture and promotion of education. In the political arena, immigration and equity were liberalized in the use of official languages (English and French). democratically, Trudeau lost the elections in 1979 against conservatives led by Joe Clark, who made his inability valid outside parliament.

This led to the premature return of Trudeau in front of power in 1980. For the World Cup year (1982) He managed to unify the Anglophone provinces, by issuing a constitution is not approved by Quebec, territory that sought its sovereignty. Although Canadian policies 1981 They were progressive, the footballing progress was not optimal. "The Country of the Maple Leaf" finished fourth in the FIBA ​​Americas, with a defeat, three draws and a win, achieving the same number of points Mexico, minus goal difference. Your desired classification to the World Cup made it to 1986. By then they had to settle for their sports victories in ice hockey and other winter sports.

Mexico and Canada met in 1981.
Mexico and Canada met in 1981.

Cuba: Fidel Castro, ideology completely opposed to all other nations, in 1981, He wore at the time twenty-two years power. Much of the population had a strong sense of belonging to the Communist government, It coming to hold parliamentary elections a month before the Premundial. thousands, They moved to various countries, seeking exile of communism, mainly in the United States. In February of that year, members of the Cuban militia stormed the Ecuadorian embassy in Havana, by taking hostage the ambassador, counselor and a clerk, in retaliation for providing political asylum to a group of anticommunist Cuban settled in Ecuador.

The situation debunked over that nation after the blockade imposed by the capitalists in 1960. further, the country was recovering from an epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever that struck the population and left near 300 thousand cases and around 200 deathly victims. However, Castro's government made little difference to the weak result of your selection, which ranked fifth in the tournament. The justification might be that football was not considered on the island as a national sport, which it aroused little interest of the Cuban people. Probably if it had been baseball sport in question, We are talking about a very different context.

Haiti: In that country, Football also was taken as a distractor for the urban population, in the interests of government interests, particularly in the capital, Prince Port. The population multiplied four times its population in a span of 20 years, which encouraged even more poverty in the country. Still he reigned the yoke of those twenty-two years dictatorship Duvaleriana, FRANCOIS initiated in 1964 and succeeded by his son Jean Claude, until 1986.

Probably the World Cup qualifying in Spain would be seen as a smokescreen necessary to cover the drain was inserted under which the Caribbean country. However, the weak footballing performance "Voodoo nation" finally succumbed in fair, with only two draws and three defeats. Social injustices continued for another five years and Haiti never revived the glories of that World Cup ticket, achieved at home 1973.

Haiti played the World 1974 but could not repeat either the 78 or the 82.
Haiti played the World 1974 but could not repeat either the 78 or the 82.
Sergio Castillo

Sergio Castillo

Historian football and other sports. anthropological identities footballing visionary. I've posted for football. You can read me in Colgadosporelfutbol.com and futbolysociedad.blogspot.mx and follow me on @ scastillo14. México D.F.


One thought on “Honduras 1981, Premundial of dictatorships

  1. Totally wrong in your comment.

    1.Policarpo Paz García was not a candidate in the elections in Honduras to 1981. The military transferred power to the winner of the same.
    2. While it is true Honduras finished last in the group, He did not ridicule in Spain 82.
    3. Jose Napoleon Duarte was no dictator in El Salvador. He was president elected by the people of 1984-89.

    Infórmemonos better before commenting blinded by stereotypes.

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