Presidential Profile: Ricardo Maduro Joest

President Ricardo Maduro converses with former President Carlos Flores.

TEGUCIGALPA -- Ricardo Maduro graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics, he went to high school in Pennsylvania and grade school in Tegucigalpa.

His roots stem from two distinguished families: the Midence family of Honduras, businessmen and founders of the Bank of Honduras, original printers and distributors of Honduran currency before the Central Bank was established; and the Maduro family in Panama, also noted business people.

Maduro has a long business history, as a young man he was the General Manager of Xerox in Honduras. In 1976 he began his job as Executive Director of Inversiones La Paz. In this position he founded, organized and promoted individually and within his family's business many different companies, including: Aquacultivos de Honduras, Granjas Marinas San Bernardo; Jetstereo; Comercial Ultramotor; Automundo; Fuji de Honduras; Banco de la Produccion; Supermercados Todos; Centros Comerciales Multiplaza and Hoteles Camino Real-Intercontinental.

In 1983, the Honduran American Chamber of Commerce (HAMCHAM) awarded Maduro their "Businessman of the Year" award. In 1991, the Honduran daily El Heraldo awarded him their "Man of the Year" award and in 1997 he received the "Boris Goldstein" award from the Association of Managers and Businessmen of Honduras (GEMAH).

Maduro began his political career just over 15 years ago. He was a founding member of the Unity and Change (Unidad y Cambio) movement, whose objective was the renovation and restructuring of the National Party. 

This movement gained control of the party and carried Rafael Leonardo Callejas to the Presidency in 1989. Maduro began his work with the party with a position on the Tegucigalpa Committee, however, given his organizational and managerial talents he quickly rose to First Committee Member of the National Party Central Committee and President of the same. He was campaign manager for ex-President Callejas in 1985 and 1989.

In 1989, Maduro organized the National Party and it won the election. Callejas then named Maduro President of the Central Bank and Coordinator of the Economic Cabinet.

During his stint as President of the Central Bank, by means of liberalizing government price control of more than 1500 products; establishing a real money exchange rate; opening up the financial sector; liberalizing exterior commerce, and encouraging non- traditional exports such as melon, palm oil, shrimp as well as the maquila industry, Maduro was the author of a profound restructuring of the Honduran economy.

At the same time, he began a reform of the government that lead to the reduction of its size, the restructuring of some state businesses, the restructuring of the bilateral external debt and an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that made possible the flow of payments that were already approved , along with new loans. These together with the recuperation of the Honduran Economy allowed the country to catch up on its payments of the external debt and permitted economic growth.

In 1994, he was mentioned as a possible Presidential candidate for the National Party, however he chose to return to private life at that time.

In April 1997, a painful family tragedy hit the Maduro family. Ricardo Ernesto, just 24- years old was murdered during a kidnapping attempt in San Pedro Sula. 

Ricardo Ernesto's death caused profound grief and indignation on a national level. Just one week after the assassination, the Industrial Chamber of Commerce of Cortes organized a peace march in which 50,000 persons participated to protest crime and ask for peace. 

The Maduro family decided to create a Foundation in memory of Ricardo Ernesto. The Ricardo Ernesto Maduro Andreu Foundation (FEREMA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the continuous improvement of the quality, equality and efficiency of education in Honduras. The foundation has conducted a serious analysis of the education system in Honduras and has promoted important changes in the educational policies.

On August 4, 1999, Maduro announced his decision to seek the Candidacy for President of the Republic and in December 2000, he won the National Party Primary Election. On November 25, 2001 Maduro won the National Presidential Election and will be sworn in on January 27, 2002 as President of the Republic.

President-elect Maduro, while born in Panama, is Honduran by birth. His parents were Mr. Osmond Maduro Cardoze, a Panamanian and Mrs. Maria Cristina Joest Midence, Honduran by birth. He has three daughters: Carolina, Cecilia and Lorena, and three grandchildren.