Belisario Porras Barahona

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Belisario Porras Barahona.jpg

Belisario Porras Barahona (28 November 1856, Las Tablas – 28 August 1942, Panama City). Panamanian journalist and politician. He served three terms as President of Panama soon after its independence from Colombia.

Porras was born on the thirty-fifth anniversary of Panama's declaration of independence from Spain. Raised by his grandmother, his early education was paid for by his father in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, which Panama was a province of at the time. He joined his father when he went to secondary school, went on to study law at the National University in 1874, and won a scholarship from the Colombian government to study in Belgium from where he later returned to the Panamanian

Working as a reporter, he aligned himself with the local Colombian Liberal Party, and was soon the target of persecution by the reigning Conservative government in Bogotá. Exiled to Nicaragua and El Salvador, he took jobs as a professor and a reporter.

As the Thousand Days War began in Colombia, the Liberals in Panama sent for Porras to lead the invasion of the Isthmus in 1900. Working with General Victoriano Lorenzo and others, he began his struggle from Costa Rica in the West. He organized a volunteer army and reached the capital where he was defeated in the Battle of Calidonia Bridge. Porras returned to exile until 1904, after his homeland had acquired its independence, and became a diplomat until becoming president in 1912. The Panama Canal was finished during his first term in office.

Preceded by
Pablo Arosemena
President of Panama
1912–1916
Succeeded by
Ramón Maximiliano Valdés
Preceded by
Pedro Antonio Díaz
President of Panama
1918–1920
Succeeded by
Ernesto Tisdel Lefevre
Preceded by
Ernesto Tisdel Lefevre
President of Panama
1920–1924
Succeeded by
Rodolfo Chiari