Alfonso López Michelsen

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is López and the second or maternal family name is Michelsen.
Alfonso López Michelsen
Alfonso Lopez Michelsen.jpg
President López in 1977.
24th President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1974 (1974-08-07) – 7 August 1978 (1978-08-07)
Preceded by Misael Pastrana Borrero
Succeeded by Julio César Turbay Ayala
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia
In office
14 August 1968 (1968-08-14) – 7 August 1970 (1970-08-07)
President Carlos Lleras Restrepo
Preceded by Germán Zea Hernández
Succeeded by Alfredo Vázquez Carrizosa
1st Governor of Cesar
In office
21 December 1967 (1967-12-21) – 14 August 1968 (1968-08-14)
President Carlos Lleras Restrepo
Succeeded by Luis Roberto García Díaz-Granados
Personal details
Born (1913-06-30)30 June 1913
Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
Died 11 July 2007(2007-07-11) (aged 94)
Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
Resting place Central Cemetery of Bogotá
Nationality Colombian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Cecilia Caballero Blanco (1938–2007)
Relations Alfonso López Pumarejo (father)
Children
Alma mater Our Lady of the Rosary University (JD, 1937)
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Alfonso López Michelsen (30 June 1913 – 11 July 2007) was the 24th President of Colombia from 1974 to 1978.

Early years[edit]

López was the son of former two time president of Colombia, Alfonso López Pumarejo. He was born and raised in Bogotá. He studied at the Gimnasio Moderno School and later in other cities; Paris, Brussels, London and Santiago de Chile. He graduated with a degree in law from the Universidad del Rosario.

During his father's presidency, López maintained a low profile in politics and instead focused on becoming a university professor at the Universidad del Rosario. [1]

In 1938, López married Cecilia Caballero Blanco in Bogotá. They moved to the outskirts of Bogotá in a hacienda in the then municipality of Engativá, Cundinamarca Department (nowadays a Locality of Bogotá). Settled in this town, López had his first experience with politics becoming a town councilman. During this time, his fellow councilmen included Álvaro Gómez Hurtado and Julio César Turbay Ayala

Political career[edit]

In 1959, a group of his former students founded the Liberal Revolutionary Movement (MRL) as a reaction to the pact between his party, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party to create the National Front. Lopez Michelsen was then offered the leadership of the newly created MRL and he accepted becoming a presidential candidate for the 1962 presidential elections. López lost the election by a large margin to Conservative candidate Guillermo León Valencia.

Governor of the Department of Cesar (1967-1968)[edit]

In 1966, López was elected as a senator and negotiated the return of the MRL to the Liberal Party in 1967. This same year López traveled to the city of Valledupar after being appointed by President Carlos Lleras Restrepo as the first governor of Cesar Department, a newly created province in the northern Caribbean Region of Colombia. López traced his grandmothers' family ancestors from this town "the Pumarejos". During those years, he also helped to create the Vallenato Legend Festival (now one of the most important Colombian cultural events) along with vallenato composer Rafael Escalona and journalist Consuelo Araújo. He served as governor of Cesar from December 21, 1967 until August 14, 1968.

Cabinet[edit]

  • Secretary of Government: Luis Roberto García
  • Secretary of Development: Alvaro Pupo Pupo
  • Administrative Office Chief: Alvaro Araujo Noguera
  • Chief of Planning: Jorge Chaild Velez
  • Chief of Education: Cesar Fernandez Dager
  • Chief of Agricultural Sector: Hernan Osorio
  • Chief of Public Works: Emiro Alfonso Zuleta
  • Chief of Budget and Accountability: Teobaldo Manjarrez
  • Chief of General Services: Damazo Lora
  • Chief of Personnel: Jorge Gomez
  • Chief of Judicial Bureau: Uribe Habid Molina
  • Administrator of Rents: Diomedes Daza Daza
  • Private Secretary: Cesar Escobar Ortega
  • Chief of Public Relations: Rafael Escalona

Minister of Foreign Affairs[edit]

A year later, he was then appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs until the presidential term of President Carlos Lleras Restrepo ended in 1970.

Presidency (1974-1978)[edit]

In 1974, López was selected by the Liberal Party in as their candidate for president after defeating former president Carlos Lleras Restrepo in the party presidential primaries with the support of former candidate Julio César Turbay. He won the general election by a large margin against the Conservative Party candidate Álvaro Gómez Hurtado and the ANAPO candidate, María Eugenia Rojas.

In his inaugural speech on August 7, 1974, López was mostly remembered for calling the border disputed area in the Gulf of Venezuela by its native name "Gulf of Coquibacoa" given by the wayuus. On September 14, 1977 in Bogotá a bloody riot started in all sections of the city, the riot was called The National Civic Strike. The motivations were in the situation of food shortage that field, the high unemployment figures and the negative the government of President López to negotiate the labor contract documents. The September 14 were work stoppages of oil workers, Cement, of Palma and teachers who opposed the deployment status of teaching led by the Minister Hernando Durán Dussán. In the support of the strike converged sectors of the left: the Communist Party, and MOIR Revolutionary Socialist Union with the industry Ospino Pastrana's Conservative Party, a strange confluence only be explained by the new scenario national front post. The two days riot left a death toll of 80 people, and 2000 people injured.

Post presidency[edit]

Upon the end of his term in 1978, he again became the leader of Liberal Party. He ran for president again in 1982, but was defeated by the Conservative Party candidate, Belisario Betancur.

He continued to actively participate in the decision making of the Liberal Party until the early 1990s when he decided to withdraw from political activity. He was a regular columnist for the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo which drew attention to many critical issues. For this reason he was called "el hombre que pone a pensar al pais" (Spanish for "The man who made the country think") [2]

Lopez Michelsen died in Bogotá on July 11, 2007 after suffering a heart attack. [3]

References[edit]