Gustavo Rojas Pinilla

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This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Rojas and the second or maternal family name is Pinilla.
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Gral. Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.jpg
19th President of Colombia
In office
13 June 1953 (1953-06-13) – 10 May 1957 (1957-05-10)
Preceded by Laureano Gómez Castro
Succeeded by Alberto Lleras Camargo
25th Minister of Posts and Telegraphs of Colombia
In office
3 December 1949 (1949-12-03) – 7 August 1950 (1950-08-07)
President Mariano Ospina Pérez
Preceded by José Vicente Dávila Tello
Succeeded by José Tomás Angulo Lourido
Personal details
Born (1900-03-12)12 March 1900
Tunja, Boyacá, Colombia
Died 17 January 1975(1975-01-17) (aged 74)
Melgar, Tolima, Colombia
Nationality Colombian
Political party National Popular Alliance
Spouse(s) Carola Correa Londoño (1930–1975)
Children
Alma mater Trine University (BCE, 1927)
Profession Civil Engineer
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Allegiance Colombia
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1920–1957
Rank General
Battles/wars

Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (12 March 1900 – 17 January 1975) was the 19th President of Colombia from 1953 to 1957. An Army General, he mounted a successful coup d'état against the incumbent President, Laureano Gómez Castro, imposing martial law and establishing a dictatorship-style government in Colombia.

Biographic data[edit]

Rojas was born in the city of Tunja, Boyacá, on March 12, 1900, and died in Melgar, Tolima, on January 17, 1975.[1]

Early years and education[edit]

Gustavo Rojas Pinilla began his career in the school of cadets Escuela Militar de Cadetes Gral. José María Cordoba of Bogotá in 1917. He obtained his degree in 1920. In 1923 while serving in Manizales, Caldas, he was promoted to lieutenant in the army. He became dissatisfied with the army and in 1924 he requested permission to retire from active service so that he could study civil engineering in Tri-State Normal College, in the United States where he obtained the title of civil engineer in 1927. From there he started taking part in the construction of highways and other works of engineering as part of his military career.

Military career[edit]

Gustavo Rojas Pinilla-Busto-Medellin.JPG

In 1946, already a colonel, Rojas was nominated as commander of the First Brigade in Tunja and in 1948 was named commander of the Third Brigade in Cali. There, he gained major recognition in the country for having managed to appease the rebellion that happened in this region as a consequence of the assassination of the popular leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948, for which he was honoured by the incumbent Conservative President Mariano Ospina Pérez. On October 11, 1949, he was promoted to General and on October 19 assigned to the Central Command of the Army.

In 1951, he was nominated as a delegate for Colombia to the United Nations in Washington, and as such he inspected the Colombia Battalion, then attached to the American 21st Infantry Regiment in Korea.[2] In 1952, he was ascended to General of the Army and appointed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Colombia by President Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez.[3]

War with Peru[edit]

In 1932, Rojas was called to the front lines in order to defend the country in the war against Perú. The following year he was assigned to Buenaventura's port as commander of the Coast Battery and military engineer of the region in case of a Peruvian attack. In 1936, he became an engineer of the technical department of the Colombian Army, ammunitions factory, on behalf of which he was sent on a special mission to Germany to obtain the machinery necessary to make ammunitions in Bogotá. On his return to Colombia he was nominated as chief of the technical department of the munitions factory.

Colombian envoy to the United States[edit]

In 1943, he was sent to the United States to acquire weapons and other machinery for the Colombian military. In 1944, he became assistant director of the School of War, and in 1945 the director of Civil Aeronautics. It was there where he presented his project for airports in Colombia under the name "Tracks of landing in Colombia," which served as a dissertation for his promotion to colonel of the Army, a plan which he would subsequently bring into being with the El Dorado Airport and other airports during his later presidency.

Political career[edit]

On December 3, 1949, Rojas was appointed as Minister of Posts and Telegraphs[4] in the government of President Mariano Ospina Pérez.[5][6]

Rojas was a Colombian Army General, considered by some as military dictator of Colombia from 1953 to 1954. Although he led the coup d’état (June 13, 1953) to reestablish peace and political order in the nation,[7] he was elected President of Colombia in 1954.[8]

Presidency[edit]

Although General Rojas had become the Head of State by means of a political coup d’état on June 13, 1953, to restore peace and order, the National Constituent Assembly, by its Legislative Act Number 1 of 1953, recognized and appointed him as legitimate and constitutional President of Colombia.[9]

Rojas enacted legislation that gave women the equal right to vote. He introduced the television and constructed several hospitals, universities and the National Astronomic Observatory. He was also a strong supporter of public works and infrastructure, promoting and conducting projects such as the Atlantic railway, the hydroelectric dam of Lebrija and the oil refinery of Barrancabermeja.[10]

Coup d'etat[edit]

On June 13, 1953, Rojas seized power by means of a political coup d'état supported by Liberals and Conservatives.

On May 10, 1957, the people of Colombia, dissatisfied with the government of Rojas, launched a massive national protest demanding his resignation. Rojas was ousted and the events of this day were called a “coup d'état of public opinion”.[9] A military Junta of five Generals assumed the control of the nation.

The military Junta was integrated by: General Gabriel París Gordillo, General Rafael Navas, General Luis E. Ordóñez, General Deogracias Fonseca and Admiral Rubén Piedrahita. The Junta ruled until 1958, when a plebiscite adopted an 1886 Constitution as Magna Chart, and General Gabriel París Gordillo was elected as Chairman of the Colombian Military Junta of Government.[11]

Presidential Candidate[edit]

In the election of 1962 Rojas ran a first time as the presidential candidate of his newly created ANAPO opposition party. He came in fourth, but his result was nonetheless declared invalid due to him being a former coup leader.

In the election of 1970 he ran again for the presidency, with a populist platform. He was defeated by a narrow margin by Misael Pastrana, but alleged that this was the result of fraud.

The presidential election of April 19, 1970, was difficult and controversial. Rojas and Misael Pastrana Borrero were both running for office. Rojas seemed to be winning the elections until a nationwide malfunction of communication systems happened. After these were restored, the votes had already been counted. The results were very close, giving a slight margin in favor of Pastrana Borrero. The supporters of Rojas challenged the results and accused the government of President Carlos Lleras Restrepo of fraud. The case was brought before the Electoral Court, which ruled in favor of Pastrana Borrero on July 15, 1970, certifying him as President of Colombia.[12] This alleged electoral fraud led to the formation of the 19th of April Movement.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 223; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  2. ^ Coleman, Bradley Lynn (October 2005). "The Colombian Army in Korea, 1950–1954". The Journal of Military History (Project Muse (Society for Military History)) 69 (4): 1137–1177. doi:10.1353/jmh.2005.0215. ISSN 0899-3718. 
  3. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 217; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  4. ^ Lozano, Miguel Angel; Mariano Ospina Pérez, Un Hombre de Acción y de Principios, trans. Mariano Ospina Pérez, a man of action and principles; Universidad Nacional; Fundación de Estudios Históricos, Misión Colombia; Editorial El Globo, S.A.; Page 151; Bogotá, Colombia; 1991
  5. ^ 1946-1950 De La Unidad Nacional a la Hegemonia Conservadora, Hernán Jaramillo Ocampo, Editorial Pluma, Printer Colombiana, Bogotá, 1980
  6. ^ Ocampo Marín , Héctor; Mariano Ospina Pérez, El Presidente, trans. Mariano Ospina Pérez, the Presidente; Cámara de Comercio de Medellín para Antioquia; Imprenta Universidad de Antioquia; Page 146; Medellín, Colombia; June 2001, ISBN 958-9221-40-8
  7. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 216; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  8. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 263; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  9. ^ a b Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 226; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  10. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 225; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  11. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 227; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  12. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 243; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983