José Rafael Balmaceda

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José Rafael Balmaceda
Born (1850-08-23)August 23, 1850
Renca, Chile
Died August 7, 1911(1911-08-07) (aged 60)
Santiago, Chile

José Rafael del Carmen Balmaceda Fernández (August 23, 1850 – August 7, 1911) was a Chilean politician, diplomat and brother of President José Manuel Balmaceda. He was of Basque descent.[1]

He was born in Renca, the son of Manuel José Balmaceda Ballesteros and of Encarnación Fernández Salas. He completed his studies at the Instituto Nacional and then attended the University of Louvain, where he graduated with a doctorate in Political Science. Early in his life he dedicated most of his time to his Hacienda San José in Puente Alto. Balmaceda married Ana Bello Codesido, and together they had seven children.

José Rafael Balmaceda started his political career by joining the Liberal Party and was promptly elected deputy for "Angol" (1888–1891) and was reelected for the "Balmaceda" congress as a deputy for "Concepción and Talcahuano", but this congress was dissolved after only a few months. After the 1891 Chilean Civil War that deposed his brother, President José Manuel Balmaceda, his house was looted, and he was exiled together with his family. In Buenos Aires, Argentina he published "The revolution and condemnation of the Vicuña ministry", under the pseudonym "Nemo", in which he defended his brother's policies and attacked the revolutionary party. He also published "History Pages" and "Death of Balmaceda".

After being allowed to return to Chile, he concentrated his efforts on the reconstruction of the political base that had been defeated in the war and became the force behind the Liberal Democratic Party. On the congressional elections of 1894 he was elected deputy for "La Serena, Elqui and Coquimbo" (1894–1897) and was reelected for the same region (1897–1900). On November 19, 1901, President Germán Riesco appointed him minister of Justice and Public Instruction, position he held until November 20, 1902, and later Minister of the Interior from March 18, 1905 to August 1, 1905.

In 1906, his son Ernesto was murdered in Belgium, prompting a celebrated case that came to define diplomatic privileges and immunities for the retinue and families of diplomatic staff.

President Pedro Montt appointed him Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cult and Colonization on August 29, 1908, a position he held until June 15, 1909. In 1909, he was elected a Senator for "Coquimbo" (1909–1915), but he died in Santiago before the end of his term in 1911 at the age of 61.

See also[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Joaquín Fernández
Minister of Justice and Public Instruction
Succeeded by
Rafael Orrego
Preceded by
Emilio Bello
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Juan Antonio Orrego
Preceded by
Federico Puga
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Cult and Colonization

Succeeded by
Agustín Edwards Mac Clure