Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero

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Rafael Callejas
President of Honduras
In office
27 January 1990 – 27 January 1994
Vice PresidentJacobo Hernández Cruz
Preceded byJosé Azcona del Hoyo
Succeeded byCarlos Roberto Reina
Personal details
Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero

(1943-11-14) 14 November 1943 (age 75)
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Died22 October 2019
Political partyNational Party of Honduras
Spouse(s)Norma Gaborit
Alma materMississippi State University
ProfessionBusinessman, politician

Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero (born 14 November 1943) was the President of Honduras from 27 January 1990 to 27 January 1994, representing the National Party of Honduras (PNH).

Early life and education[edit]

Callejas was born on 14 November 1943 in Tegucigalpa in Honduras. He studied agricultural economics at Mississippi State University becoming an expert on financial and economic issues connected to agronomy. At Mississippi State University, Callejas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1965 and a Masters of Science degree in 1966.[1] Also in 1966, Mississippi State University's Department of Agricultural Economics published Callejas' thesis titled Hog Production Opportunities in Mississippi.[2] In 1990, Callejas was named Mississippi State University's Alumni of the Year[3] and was invited with U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle delivered the university's commencement address.[1]


Between 1967 and 1971 Callejas worked at the Council for Economic Planning (CONSUPLANE).[4] In 1968, Callejas was made the Director of Economic Planning by the then President Oswaldo López. in 1975 another General and President, Juan Alberto Melgar, named Callejas Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources. When another general and President Policarpo Paz took over in a coup in 1978, Callejas remained in his post. During the transition to democracy culminating in November 1981 elections, which were won by the Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH), he rose within the ranks of the National Party of Honduras (PNH), and in 1982 presided over their central committee. He supported former President Ricardo Maduro's Unidad y Cambio (Unity and Change) movement within the PNH that brought the party more towards the center, and a liberal economic path. Callejas then created his own faction, the Movimiento Nacional Callejista (National Callejista Movement), to advance his candidature in the 1985 presidential elections. At the time both main political parties allowed various candidates to stand, and while Callejas gained the highest vote of any candidate with 42.6%, the PLH candidates gained 51.5% of the total vote, and therefore it was their most voted for candidate, José Azcona, with 27.5% of the vote, who became President.


Until 2015, Callejas was President of the Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras (FENAFUTH).[5] Under his tenure, Honduras qualified for the FIFA World Cups in 2010 and 2014, the first time Honduras qualified for two consecutive World Cups. During his tenure, Honduras qualified for all major football soccer competitions in all age brackets, including the Olympic Games.[citation needed]

President (1990-1994)[edit]

His election in 1989 marked the first time since 1932 that power was transferred peacefully between Honduras' two major parties.

Callejas was once again the PNH candidate in the 1989 elections where a reported 200,000 identifications from deceased Honduran citizens were used. Callejas won with 52.3% of the votes, becoming the first PNH President since 1972. He had to confront severe economic problems, and he followed the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by cutting public spending, resulting in many public servants being laid off, and by devaluing the Lempira. At the time of the devaluation of the Lempira, the Honduran Central Bank, presided at the time by Ricardo Maduro Joest, did not have any dollars available to the general public. Instead, people were given back devalued Lempiras causing a lot of suffering in what was already one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Gasoline supplies were non-existent when he took office and long lines of cars were seen at the gas stations trying to obtain fuel. This led to many strikes and a lot of social agitation, until his government successfully negotiated with the United States the write-off of a $US430 million debt, in September 1991.

He presided over a liberal reformist government, opened the Honduran economy to local and foreign investment and managed steady growth during the last three years of his presidency, although during the fourth year fiscal indiscipline led to a new set of economic measures being imposed by the following government. Poverty was reduced by 8% under his tenure. Infrastructure was a priority and large investments in the rich Sula Valley area were made in more than 90 kilometers of four-lane highways.

His government had some important accomplishments in the social area, such as the creation of the Family Assistance Program (PRAF) and the Honduran Fund for Social Investment (FHIS). Expatriates of the previous Military and Liberal governments were allowed to return to Honduras, with no risk to their lives, and the irregular forces of the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries, the Contras, were required to leave Honduras in April 1990 after intense negotiations.


He was accused of 7 counts of corruption during his term. He was also accused by an aide in the Bush White House, resulting in a Bush executive order denying him of US visa status.

In 2005, Honduran Congress revoked the law by which ex-Presidents, among other former officials, had legal immunity. Mr. Callejas voluntarily presented himself to court (first person to do so after the law was revoked). Mr. Callejas then faced trial, being acquitted by Judicial System of all counts presented against him.

On 3 December 2015, Mr. Callejas was indicted in U.S. Federal Court in connection with the ongoing 2015 FIFA Corruption Case.[6] 12 days later, he flew to the United States and was taken into custody.[7] A few days later, he was released on bond.[8] He is represented by prominent criminal defense attorney Manuel Retureta of Retureta & Wassem, PLLC in Washington, DC. On 27 March 2016, he pleaded guilty to accepting $500,000 in bribes in 2012 to be shared with another football official.[9][10][11]

In December 2016, Callejas was banned for life by the FIFA Ethics Committee.[12]


  • Hog Production Opportunities in Mississippi, Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics, (Starkville, MS), 1966.[2]
  • Plan de Gobierno, 1990-1994: cambio : participación, bienestar y dignidad nacional, República de Honduras, (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), 1990.[13]
  • Declaración del Gobierno de la República de Honduras sobre la prevención y el control del alcoholismo, la drogadicción y la farmacodependencia, Instituto Hondureño para la Prevención del Alcoholismo, Drogadicción y Farmacodependencia, República de Honduras, (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), 1990.[14]
  • La Modernización del Estado: Exposiciones del Presidente de la República y los cuatro candidatos a la Presidencia, lunes 5 de julio de 1993, República de Honduras, (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), 1993.
  • Las Relaciones Entre Chile y Honduras: nuevas perspectivas a la luz del proceso de paz en Centroamérica, Consejo Chileno para las Relaciones Internacionales, (Tegucigalpa, Honduras), 1993.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Quayle, Callejas Deliver Commencement Addresses With AM-Bush, Bjt". Associated Press. 12 May 1990. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b Callejas Romero, Rafael (1966). Hog Production Opportunities in Mississippi. Starkville, Mississippi, United States: Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics.
  3. ^ "College and School Alumni of the Year". List of Alumni of the Year Awardees. Mississippi State University. Archived from the original on 12 August 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Rafael Leonardo Callejas". Biography of Rafael Leonardo Callejas. Centro de Estudios y Documentación Internacionales de Barcelona. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  5. ^ Slater, Matt (9 November 2016). "FIFA ethics investigator calls on ex-Honduras president Rafael Callejas to be banned from football for life". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  6. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca R.; Apuzzo, Matt; Borden, Sam; Rashbaum, William K. (3 December 2015). "More Charges as FIFA Inquiry Widens". Retrieved 22 December 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
  7. ^ "teleSUR English". Telesurtv.net. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  8. ^ Associated Press: "Honduran Ex-President Ordered Freed on $4M Bond in FIFA Case.[dead link]
  9. ^ Fifa corruption: Ex-Honduran president Callejas admits charges, BBC News, 28 March 2016
  10. ^ https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/file/799016/download
  11. ^ https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/796966/download
  12. ^ "Fifa corruption crisis: Rafael Callejas & Alfredo Hawit get life bans". BBC. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  13. ^ Callejas, Rafael Leonardo (1990). Plan de gobierno, 1990-1994 : cambio : participación, bienestar y dignidad nacional. Tegucigalpa: República de Honduras.
  14. ^ Callejas, Rafael Leonardo (1990). Declaración del Gobierno de la República de Honduras sobre la prevención y el control del alcoholismo, la drogadicción y la farmacodependencia. Tegucigalpa: Instituto Hondureño para la Prevención del Alcoholismo, Drogadicción y Farmacodependencia.
  15. ^ Callejas, Rafael Leonardo (1993). Las relaciones entre Chile y Honduras : nuevas perspectivas a la luz del proceso de paz en Centroamérica. Santiago de Chile: Consejo Chileno para las Relaciones Internacionales. Archived from the original on 6 January 2013.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
José Azcona del Hoyo
President of Honduras
Succeeded by
Carlos Roberto Reina