The conduct of foreign policy in Honduras has traditionally been dominated by the presidency, with the minister of foreign affairs essentially executing that policy. After Honduras returned to civilian rule in 1982, however, the military continued to exercise power over aspects of foreign policy associated with national security. General Gustavo Álvarez reportedly directly negotiated the presence of the anti-Sandinista Contras in Honduras with the United States, as well as the establishment of a United States military presence at Palmerola Air Base and the training of Salvadoran troops at a Regional Center for Military Training in Honduras (Centro Regional de Entrenamiento Militar--CREM). Military influence over these aspects of foreign policy continued through the end of the decade, when regional hostilities subsided and reduced Honduras's geostrategic importance for United States policy toward the region.
In the second half of the 1980s, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the dynamic leadership of Carlos López Contreras, reportedly became a professional and well-respected cadre of diplomats. Key positions in the ministry were reportedly chosen on the basis of competence rather than political affiliation. With the change in government in 1990, however, politicization once again became the norm, with preference given to PNH loyalists. President Callejas's active involvement in the regional integration process in Central America has tended to eclipse the prominence of the role of the minister of foreign affairs in the process of formulating foreign policy.
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