MORE than any other Central American nation, Honduras best fit the popular, but misunderstood, concept of the "banana republic." Tiburcio Carías had ruled as dictator since 1933. His two main support groups-- the landowners and the military--desired no change. Most political opposition was eliminated or exiled, and the small middle sector was disorganized. Like Hernández in Salvador and Ubico in Guatemala, Carías played upon the sympathies of the poor, but did nothing to improve their status. Despite these conditions, U.S. officials were convinced that most of the people were satisfied with Carías's rule, as evidenced by the meaningless demonstration in the spring of 1944 following the fall of Hernández and the isolated revolts instigated by Honduran exiles until 1949. Carías remained entrenched in power until his resignation in 1949. He faced no serious threat.
Several factors contributed to the Honduran image of a "banana republic." Rugged mountains and inadequate transportation meant that contact was limited among the towns and villages, each of which acquired its own sense of self-sufficiency. Knowledge of or interest in people living only a few miles away was restricted. The differences among towns was