Enrique Olaya Herrera

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Olaya and the second or maternal family name is Herrera.
Enrique Olaya Herrera
Enriqueolayaherrera1.png
13th President of Colombia
In office
August 7, 1930 – August 7, 1934
Preceded by Miguel Abadia Mendez
Succeeded by Alfonso López Pumarejo
Colombia Ambassador to Holy See
In office
November 24, 1935 – February 18, 1937
President Alfonso López Pumarejo
Preceded by Carlos Emilio Restrepo
Succeeded by Darío Echandía Olaya
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
January 30, 1935 – May 18, 1935
President Alfonso López Pumarejo
Preceded by Darío Echandia
Succeeded by Jorge Soto del Corral
In office
June 18, 1935 – October 9, 1935
President Alfonso López Pumarejo
Preceded by Jorge Soto del Corral
Succeeded by Ernesto González Piedrahita
In office
November 21, 1921 – January 4, 1922
President Jorge Holguín
Preceded by Miguel Arroyo Diez
Succeeded by Antonio Gómez Restrepo
In office
August 7, 1910 – November 23, 1911
President Carlos Eugenio Restrepo
Preceded by Carlos Caldero
Succeeded by José Maria González Valencia
Minister of Agriculture and Commerce
In office
November 11, 1921 – November 28, 1921
President Jorge Holguín
Preceded by Jesús del Corral
Succeeded by Lucas Caballero
Personal details
Born Enrique Alfredo Olaya Herrera
(1880-11-12)November 12, 1880
Guateque, Boyacá, United States of Colombia
Died February 18, 1937(1937-02-18) (aged 56)
Rome, Lazio, Kingdom of Italy
Nationality Colombian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) María Teresa Londoño Sáenz (1911-1937)
Children María Olaya Londoño
Lucía Olaya Londoño
Alma mater Universidad Republicana
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Profession Lawyer, Diplomat
Religion Roman Catholic

Enrique Alfredo Olaya Herrera (November 12, 1880 – February 18, 1937) was a Colombian journalist and politician, President of Colombia from August 7, 1930 until August 7, 1934 representing the Colombian Liberal Party.[1]

Early years[edit]

Olaya Herrera grew up in an intellectual environment full of inconformism and erudism and had to live in through the Thousand Days War. He studied in the local public school of Guateque along his parents. He was son of Justiniano Olaya and Emperatriz Herrera Olaya Herrera had two brothers; Leonidas and Joaquín. When he was 12 years old, Olaya Herrera was regarded as the "child journalist of Guateque" because he founded a newspaper called "El Patriota" (The Patriot) and with he obtained many exchange notes with major newspapers like El Espectador based in Medellín. Olaya Herrera studied Law in the Republicana University and founded a weekly magazine called "El Estudiante" (The Student) in a newspaper format and which was written by hand.[2]

Political career[edit]

Olaya Herrera is a member of the "Centennial Generation" which date from 1925 to 1940 and grouped a bunch of ideologues and leaders in which were notable Alfonso López Pumarejo, Laureano Gómez, Eduardo Santos, Mariano Ospina Pérez, Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez, Luis López de Mesa, Luis Eduardo Nieto Caballero and others.

During the "Regeneration" period, Olaya Herrera attacked it as he became a journalist for the newspaper "El Autonomista" (The Autonomist) which was owned by Rafael Uribe Uribe and Ricardo Tirado Macias. Back in his hometown of Guateque Olaya Herrera maintained a newspaper called "El Soldado Cubano" (The Cuban Soldier) in which he showed his admiration for José Martí.

The bipartisan political convulsion between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party had escalated and provoked the thousand days civil war. Most of the centennial generation was pushed into the war to follow their political beliefs. Olaya Herrera was also pushed into active participation in politics along the Liberal Party. Olaya Herrera radicalized and joined the armed liberal militias led by General Cenón Figueredo. Olaya Herrera participated in a confrontation in the village of Nocaima, Cundinamarca.

After the war Olaya Herrera continued studying Law and finally graduated with a thesis named "La Liberacion Condicional" (The Conditional Freedom) and was published by the University. In 1904 he obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence and in 1906 he traveled to Belgium where he studied diplomacy and sociology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles focusing on diplomacy, politics and journalism.

Politics and constitutional reform[edit]

Upon his return from Belgium, Olaya Herrera joined the cause against the government of General Rafael Reyes criticizing the treaties between the United States, Colombia and the loss of Panama. On March 13, 1909 Olaya Herrera publicly made a speech during a Liberal Party event in which he officially participated along with Nicolás Esguerra, José Vicente Concha and Miguel Abadía Méndez in a movement called "Trecemarcismo" from "13 de Marzo" (March the 13th). After President Reyes resignation on March 16, 1909 Olaya Herrera postulated himself for the Constituent Assembly and was later elected. He helped reform the Colombian Constitution of 1886 representing the Quesada Department. Among his party members participating were Rafael Uribe Uribe, Benjamín Herrera, Gabriel Vargas Santos, Nicolás Esguerra, Tomás O. Eastman, Carmelo Arango and Tomás Quevedo Álvarez. The conservatives had deputies Carlos E. Restrepo, José Vicente Concha, Pedro Nel Ospina, Guillermo Valencia, Emilio Forero, Hernando Holguín, Abel Carbonell, Pedro M. Carreño and Guillermo Quintero Calderón. Both sides concluded the constitutional reform and initiated a period of reconciliation, political tolerance and a sense of nationalism. Carlos Eugenio Restrepo assumed the presidency of Colombia from 1910 until 1914 sponsored by the Republican Party which Olaya Herrera supported.

President Restrepo appointed Olaya Herrera as the first Minister of Foreign Relations on August 7, 1910 until his resignation on November 23, 1911. During the administration of President Jorge Holguín, Olaya Herrera was appointed to the same office from 1921 until January 4, 1922 for who he also served as Minister of Agriculture. During the 1920s Olaya Herrera served also as a diplomat (mainly improving Colombian relations with the United States) and with the Colombian congress.

Presidential candidate[edit]

During the 1930s the Liberal leadership considered Olaya Herrera as the most suitable leader to recover the presidency from the Regeneration Movement hegemony. He was appointed by the Liberal party in Bogotá as presidential candidate after a group of liberal and conservative friends registered him in the candidates list on January 22, 1930 in the town of Puerto Berrío. Olaya Herrera named his political movement "Concentracion Nacional" (National Concentration).

Olaya Herra was elected on February 9, 1930 with 369,962 votes against the other candidates Guillermo Valencia with 213,417 votes and Alfredo Vázquez Cobo with 213,417 votes. Former conservative president Carlos Eugenio Restrepo adhered to Olaya Herrera among other light conservatives.

Presidency[edit]

Olaya Herrera began a concertation government giving half of his government public offices (mainly ministries and department governments) to the opposition party led by Laureano Gómez, but his party members gradually pushed them out of office.

Economic crisis and War with Peru[edit]

After the Wall Street Crash of 1929 Olaya Herrera was given special faculties and dictated some economic reforms that developed at some level the industry and manage the debt generated by the war with Peru which originated in 1932 when the Amazonian port of Leticia was taken over by invading Peruvian soldiers. Previously, during the presidency of Jorge Holguin, the Salomón–Lozano Treaty which defined the Peru-Colombia border was signed under secrecy. Once the treaty surfaced to the public in Peru, it became unpopular and a group of Peruvian citizens took the town of Leticia, which was colonized by both Peruvians and Colombians, that the treaty had awarded Colombia. General Alfredo Vázquez Cobo was entrusted by Olaya Herrera to lead the armed operations in southern Colombia. The war was financed by the government and the solidarity of the citizens, who donated jewelry and money to support the cause. After many battles the war ended with the signing of the Rio Protocol in 1934,[3] which upheld the Salomón–Lozano Treaty and officially ended the border conflicts between Colombia and Peru.

Public works[edit]

During his government Olaya Herrera tried to develop the Colombian national industry and for this he supported many infrastructure projects mainly highways, maritime and fluvial ports (Barranquilla and Buenaventura) and railroads. He also supported public education and the exploration and exploitation of energy natural resources such as oil, mainly in the northern region of Catatumbo.

Olaya Herrera also tried to improve the association between guilds, for that he created a Bank of Agrarian Credit (Spanish: Caja de Crédito Agrario), the Mortgage Central Bank (Spanish: Banco Central Hipotecario) to finance low income housing and for the improvement of production and exporting of Coffee products the government of Olaya Herrera also created the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. He also helped introduce labor law reforms.

Public order issues[edit]

During the first two years as president there were two main focus of violence in the country; in Boyaca and Santander initially motivated by political reasons. The town with most problems were Chiquinquirá, the towns of western Boyaca, the Garcia Rovira Province in Santander Department and some towns in the areas of Norte de Santander Department were conservative public employees resisted being in charge of liberals until the end of his government on August 7, 1934.

Post-government and death[edit]

After finishing his term as president in 1935 Olaya Herrera was appointed Minister of Foreign Relations during the government of Alfonso López Pumarejo and later appointed ambassador of Colombia to the State of the Vatican City in Rome, Italy where he died on February 18, 1937 serving. He was planning to run for a presidential reelection upon his return to Colombia.

Personal life[edit]

Enrique Olaya Herrera, María Michelsen de López, Clemencia Holguin de Urdaneta, Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez, Alfonso López Pumarejo and María Teresa Londoño de Olaya. (Jockey Club de Bogotá - August 7, 1934)

Olaya Herrera married María Teresa Londoño Sáenz in 1911 and had two daughters; Maria and Lucia.

References[edit]

External links[edit]