Mariano Ospina Pérez

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This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Ospina and the second or maternal family name is Pérez.
Mariano Ospina Pérez
Mariano Ospina Pérez.jpg
17th President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1946 (1946-08-07) – 7 August 1950 (1950-08-07)
Preceded by Alfonso López Pumarejo
Succeeded by Laureano Gómez Castro
29th Minister of Public Works of Colombia
In office
7 August 1926 (1926-08-07) – 17 May 1927 (1927-05-17)
President Miguel Abadía Méndez
Preceded by Laureano Gómez Castro
Succeeded by Salvador Franco Ferreira
Personal details
Born Luis Mariano Ospina Pérez
(1891-11-24)24 November 1891
Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Died 14 April 1976(1976-04-14) (aged 84)
Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
Nationality Colombian
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Bertha Hernández Fernández (1946–1976)
Alma mater
Profession Mining Engineer
Religion Roman Catholic

Luis Mariano Ospina Pérez (24 November 1891 – 14 April 1976) commonly known as Mariano Ospina Pérez, was a Colombian politician and the member of the Colombian Liberal Party. He served as the 17th President of Colombia between 1946 and 1950.


Early years[edit]

Ospina was born in Medellín, Antioquia on 24 November 1891.[1] to his parents Tulio Ospina Vásquez and Ana Rosa Pérez, who were members of the traditional Colombian political families. He was the grandson of former president of Colombia Mariano Ospina Rodríguez and nephew of president Pedro Nel Ospina.[1]

Ospina studied in the Colegio San Ignacio in Medellín, Antioquia, the city where he grew up and also studied engineering in the Escuela de Minas de Antioquia (Mining School of Antioquia), where he graduated as mining engineer.[2] After graduating Ospina travelled for two years in which he toured and studied in Louisiana, London and Paris.[1] He took some courses on gold mining, sugar cane production, economy, labor relations, cooperativism, civil engineering and railways systems.

Ospina, who studied engineering at the Escuela de Minas de Medellín and Louisiana State University, served as the executive administrator of the National Federation of Coffee Growers and was a prominent businessman in other sectors before becoming president in 1946.[3]

The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia[edit]

In 1927, after the Second National Congress of Coffee Growers had created the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, the first regional committee was established as “el Comité de Cafeteros de Antioquia”. Ospina was its first President, and the first registered member of the association.[4]

The first Board of Directors of the newly organized Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia assembled in Bogotá, on August 3, 1929. Its first members were Mariano Ospina Vásquez, Alberto Camilo Suárez, Gabriel Ortiz Williamson, Carlos Caballero, Jesús del Corral and Mariano Ospina Pérez, the greatest dignitary in the History of the Federation, for whom the organization of the national coffee industry was one of his most serious and ambitious concerns.[5]

In December 1930, the Fourth National Congress of Coffee Growers convened in Bogotá. Due to the vast knowledge and experience acquired by Ospina in the coffee industry, as a result of running his own coffee business, he was summoned by the Minister of Industry Francisco J. Chaux and by President Rafael Olaya Herrera to preside over this Congress. Ospina was elected President of this Fourth Congress. At the adjournment of this Congress, Ospina was elected, by the unanimous vote of the delegates, as “Gerente de la Federación” (General Director). He served in this position for four years, until 1934.[6]

In 1954, during the election of members of the Board of Directors (of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia), Ospina, who served as President of the Republic from 1946 to 1950, was elected and installed as President of the Board of Directors. His return to the Federation marked the reappearance of one of Colombia's greatest coffee names, in an active role, in the History of Colombia's coffee industry.[7]

Ospina, grandson of Mariano Ospina Rodríguez, not only was one of the founders of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, but was later elected as General Director of the Coffee Federation, and served in such capacity from 1930 to 1934. His main objective was to assist, finance, and educate the coffee growers while implementing an aggressive program to penetrate the world market and to successfully capture a substantial share of it.[8]

Under Ospina's aegis, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia successfully consolidated the nation's coffee industry and promoted it in the world markets to great effect. Colombia became the largest producer of prime Coffea arabica coffee in the world.[9] He laid a very solid corporative foundation, and today, the Colombian Coffee Federation congregates and supports over 500,000 independent coffee growers and small farmers.

Political career[edit]

Upon his return to Colombia in 1914 Ospina contacted the leadership of the Colombian Conservative Party and was nominated to run for the office of Counselor to the City Council of Medellín, representing the Conservative Party. In 1915 Ospina was elected as councilman and later for a second term in 1917. This same year he was elected Deputy for Antioquia. In 1919 Ospina was appointed Railway Superintendent of the Ferrocarril de Antioquia.[10]

In 1921 he ran once again for the Assembly of Antioquia resulting elected. After his father's death in this same year Ospina took over his father's job as Director of the Mining School. He was later elected as MP, first as Representative to the House of Representatives and then as Senator.[1]

In 1922, his uncle Pedro Nel Ospina was elected president and he was also elected as senator of Colombia for a four-year period. In 1926 the new elected president Miguel Abadía appointed Ospina as Minister of Public Works but he only lasted eight months in office until 1927. Between 1930 and 1934 he was manager of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia[11] and since then he acquired the nickname of "Hombre de los Cafeteros" (the man of the coffee growers) working for the Coffee Federation for almost a decade while also working as union leader and senator.

Presidential candidate[edit]

The Conservative party was relying on candidate Laureano Gómez to become the official candidate for the presidency of Colombia. Ospina's name was suggested for the 1946 elections to take advantage of the division the opposing Colombian Liberal Party was having within its lines between Jorge Eliécer Gaitán and Gabriel Turbay. With only three weeks remaining for the main election Ospina was appointed as the official conservative party candidate for the presidency of Colombia. Ospina defeated his liberal political contenders with less than 40% of the votes due to a large abstention.[1]

The Presidency[edit]

Ospina was elected as the 43rd President of Colombia in 1946. During his administration, Colombia reached the highest level of coffee exports in number of bags and as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). He was determined to fortify the nation's infrastructure and created Ecopetrol (Colombian Petroleum Company) and Acerias Paz del Río (the country's largest steel mill).[12] He was also committed to social responsibility and, to that effect, he created a financial institution (La Caja Agraria), the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor and the Housing Credit Agency to help meet the credit, educational and social needs of blue collar workers, coffee growers, and other small farmers and peasants.[12]

During his presidency the country was facing a political struggle between the conservative political forces, the liberal political forces the development of the Colombian Communist Party in the Boyacá, Nariño, Norte de Santander and Santander Departments against the conservative government. The communist and liberals blamed president Laureano Gómez for directly interfering with the presidential election of 1946, by calling off one million eight hundred liberal votes as invalid. Ospina was dubbed by the communists as Laureano Gómez successor with the mission of perpetuating the Conservative party in power.[13]

See also: Bogotazo and La Violencia
La Violencia
Bogotazo.jpg
Prelude
Murder of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán
El Bogotazo
Political Parties
Liberal Party
Conservative Party
Colombian Communist Party
Presidents of Colombia
Mariano Ospina Pérez
Laureano Gómez
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla

During his presidency on April 9, 1948 the liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was running for the presidency of Colombia for a second time, this time Gaitán had won his party's primaries and had a large support from the masses when he was assassinated[14] in confusing circumstances by Juan Roa. The confusion and anger triggered by Gaitán's assassination provoked the Bogotazo a massive riots that extended throughout the Colombian capital Bogotá and extended later to the rest of the country to generate a ten-year period of violence known as La Violencia. The government forces supported by the conservative started a repression campaign against the liberals after a failed attempt to establish a government of national unity with a shared responsibility in the government. Ospina was heavily criticized by the liberals, especially in the National Congress where in 1948 the opposing party tried to impeach him, but Ospina closed congress before they achieved their goals and generated a decade of civil-military dictatorship (lasted until 1958 when the National Front was created).

Ospina created the Colombian Petroleum Company ECOPETROL (Empresa Colombiana de Petroleos), the Telecommunications Company TELECOM, the Social Security Administration ISS (Instituto de Seguro Social), the petroleum pipeline from Barrancabermeja and Puerto Berrío, the hydroelectric dams of Sisga, Saldaña and Neusa, and established the Colombian Economic Development Plan under the direction of the Economic Mission of Professor Lauchlin Currie. He also fomented, financed and increased the production and exports of coffee.[15]

Post-Presidency[edit]

In 1949, in the middle of a generalized violence Laureano Gómez was elected as president of Colombia. Later on both conservative leaders became political enemies and created divisions in the Conservative party. Ospina fomented a moderate wing of conservatives while Laureano Gómez supported extreme conservative politics. Ospina ultimately supported the coup d'etat against Gómez that established the military administration of Gustavo Rojas, Ospina's former Minister of Post and Telegraphs.[16][17]

Ospina later had political differences with Rojas and withdrew his support from him, choosing instead to encourage the creation of the National Front.

He died in Bogotá, Cundinamarca, on 14 April 1976, at the age of 84.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 209; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  2. ^ 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 25; Bogotá, Colombia; 1991
  3. ^ Safford, Frank R.; The Ideal of the Practical; University of Texas Press; Page 238, ISBN 0-292-73803-X
  4. ^ Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Café en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 22; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
  5. ^ Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Café en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 28; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
  6. ^ Informe del Gerente de La Federacion al Sexto Congreso Nacional de Cafeteros, Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, Junio de 1934, Colombia.
  7. ^ Uribe C., Andrés; Brown Gold, The Amazing Story of Coffee; Random House, Inc.; Pg 113; NY, NY,; 1954, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 55-5793
  8. ^ Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Café en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 99; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
  9. ^ Pizano, Diego; El Café en la Ecrucijada, Evolución y Perspectivas; Editorial Alfaomega; Bogotá; August 2001, Page 31, ISBN 958-682-192-7
  10. ^ Melo, Jorge Orlando; Historia de Antioquia, trans. History of Antioquia; Editorial Presencia Ltd.; Primera Edición; Page 151; Bogotá, Colombia; November, 1988
  11. ^ Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Café en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 98; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
  12. ^ a b Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; Page 210; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  13. ^ (Spanish) The PPCC and the fight for the peasants rights and resistance to violence Colombian Communist Party Accessed 21 August 2007.
  14. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; Page 211; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  15. ^ Ocampo López, Javier; Historia Ilustrada de Colombia, trans. Illustrated History of Colombia; Plaza & Janes Editores Colombia S.A.; Primera Edición; Page 177; Bogotá, Colombia; September, 2006; ISBN 958-14-0370-1
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ 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