Guillermo León Valencia

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This article is about the Colombian politician. For the poet, see Guillermo Valencia. For the football player, see Guillermo León.
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Valencia and the second or maternal family name is Muñóz.
Guillermo León Valencia
21st President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1962 (1962-08-07) – 7 August 1966 (1966-08-07)
Preceded by Alberto Lleras Camargo
Succeeded by Carlos Lleras Restrepo
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia
In office
25 May 1953 (1953-05-25) – 13 June 1953 (1953-06-13)
President Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláeza
Preceded by Evaristo Sourdis Juliao
Succeeded by Juan Uribe Holguín
Colombia Ambassador to Spain
In office
President Laureano Gómez Castro
Preceded by Francisco Umaña Bernal
Succeeded by Alejandro Galvis Galvis
Personal details
Born Guillermo León Valencia Muñoz
(1909-04-27)27 April 1909
Popayán, Cauca, Colombia
Died 4 November 1971(1971-11-04) (aged 62)
New York City, New York, United States
Nationality Colombian
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Susana López Navia (1931–1964)
Religion Roman Catholic

Guillermo León Valencia Muñoz (27 April 1909 – 4 November 1971) was the 21st President of Colombia from 1962 to 1966.

Personal life[edit]

Valencia was born in Popayán, Cauca on April 27, 1909, to Colombian poet and politician Guillermo Valencia, and his wife Josefina Muñoz.[1] On January 31, 1931 he married Susana López Navia, a 20-year-old secretary with whom he had four children: Pedro Felipe, Alma, Ignacio, and Diana.[2]

Political career[edit]

Valencia was elected to the city council of Popayán and the Assembly of Cauca. Later he was also elected to the City Council of Bogotá and worked as diplomat for Colombia to the United Nations and was appointed Colombia's Ambassador to Spain by President Laureano Gómez Castro.[3] In 1949 he was appointed by President Mariano Ospina Pérez as Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs but declined the offer;[4] Valencia however accepted to become Minister of Foreign Affairs on May 25, 1953 during the remainder of the administration of Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez until General Rojas Pinilla took over.[5]

During the transitional government of the Military Junta that took power after the coup d'état that deposed General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, Valencia was considered to succeed the Junta, but as the political accords of the time prescribed, a member of the Colombian Liberal Party should succeed the Junta Militar, and thus, Valencia had to wait until the following election. Effectively, in 1962, Valencia was nominated by the Colombian Conservative Party as candidate for the presidency. During the elections of 1962, Valencia faced in opposition the liberal Alfonso López Michelsen, but won the election with 1,636,081 votes over the 625,630 votes received by López.


Valencia committed his administration to substantial economic and social reforms. In the economic front he created the Junta Monetaria (Federal Reserve), doubled the production of electric power and promoted oil drilling and the export of crude oil. In matters of social reform, his administration increased the national budget for education by 20%, and under the auspice of the government of the United States, launched the construction of Ciudad Kennedy, a project of 200,000 affordable homes for lower income citizens.


  1. ^ Méndez Valencia, María Alexandra. "Valencia, Guillermo". Gran Enciclopedia de Colombia del Círculo de Lectores (in Spanish). Luis Ángel Arango Library. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  2. ^ Ríos Peñaloza, Gilma (August 1996). "Primeras Damas del Siglo XX" [First Ladies of the 20th Century]. Revista Credencial Historia (in Spanish). Bogotá: Biblioteca del Banco de la República (80). Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  3. ^ "Bogota Names Envoy to Spain". The New York Times. 1950-09-27. 
  4. ^ González Díaz, Andrés (1982). "Ministros bajo la presidencia de Mariano Ospina Pérez" [Minister under the Presidency of Mariono Ospina Pérez]. Ministros del Siglo XX [Minister of the 20th Century] (in Spanish). Imprenta Nacional. OCLC 11225363. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  5. ^ González Díaz, Andrés (1982). "Ministros bajo la presidencia de Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez" [Minister under the Presidency of Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez]. Ministros del Siglo XX [Minister of the 20th Century] (in Spanish). Imprenta Nacional. OCLC 11225363. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Alberto Lleras Camargo
President of Colombia
Succeeded by
Carlos Lleras Restrepo