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Manuel Lisandro Barillas Bercián (17 January 1845–15 March 1907) was a Guatemalan general and acting president of Guatemala from 6 April 1885 to 15 March 1886 and President from 16 March 1886 to 15 March 1892. He was born in Quetzaltenango, and assassinated (at the behest of his enemy Manuel Estrada Cabrera, President of Guatemala at the time) in Mexico City in 1907.
Barillas Bercián was able to become interim president of Guatemala after the death of President Justo Rufino Barrios in the Batalla of Chalchuapa in El Salvador in April of 1885, by means of a clever scam: he went to the General Cemetery when Barrios was being laid to rest and told the Congress president: "please prepare room and board for the 5,000 troops that I have waiting for my orders in Mixco". The congress president was scared of this, and declared Barillas interim president on the spot. By the time he realized that it was all a lie, it was too late to change anything.
Instead of calling for elections, Barillas Bercián was able to be declared President on 16 March 1886. Due to his lack of political training, his government was disastrous for the country, losing the next election to José María Reina Barrios in 1892.
Barillas stayed in Guatemala busy with his land properties during the government or Reina Barrios, but when Reina was murdered in 1898 after his reelection, Barillas had to go to exile in Mexico, as the new president, Manuel Estrada Cabrera, was his personal enemy. In Mexico, Barillas was involved in several conspiracies to take over the Guatemalan government.
Barillas Bercián was assassinated in Mexico City in 1907 by two assassins sent to kill him by President Manuel Estrada Cabrera, who had lost patience with the constant conspiracies lead by Barillas while in exile in Mexico. The two murders were from Estrada Cabrera personal guard, and never thought that they could be prosecuted by this crime, as they were used to perpretate crimes under total impunity in Guatemala. Once captured, they were interrogated and confessed that two senior officials in the Guatemalan government had sent them to Mexico to kill Barillas.
- Krehm, William (1999). Democracies and Tyrannies of the Caribbean in the 1940's. COMER Publications.
- Hernández De León, Federico. El Libro de las Efemérides, Tipografía Nacional, Guatemala, 1,922.
Alejandro M. Sinibaldi
|President of Guatemala
José María Reina Barrios
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