Miguel Antonio Caro

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Miguel Antonio Caro
Miguel Antonio Caro 2.jpg
2nd President of Colombia
In office
September 18, 1894 – August 7, 1898
Preceded by Rafael Nuñez
Succeeded by Manuel Antonio Sanclemente
President of Colombia
Interim
In office
August 7, 1892 – September 29, 1892
Preceded by Rafael Nuñez
Succeeded by Rafael Nuñez
2nd Vice President of Colombia
In office
August 7, 1892 – September 18, 1894
President Rafael Nuñez
Preceded by Eliseo Payán
Succeeded by José Manuel Marroquín
Personal details
Born Miguel Antonio José Zoilo Cayetano Andrés Avelino de las Mercedes Caro Tobar
(1845-11-10)November 10, 1845
Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Republic of New Granada
Died August 5, 1909(1909-08-05) (aged 63)
Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Nationality Colombian
Political party Conservative
Other political
affiliations
National Party
Spouse(s) Ana de Narváez y Guerra
Occupation Journalist, philologist, politician

Miguel Antonio Caro Tobar (November 10, 1845 – August 5, 1909) was a Colombian scholar, poet, journalist, philosopher, orator, philologist, lawyer, and politician.

Early life[edit]

His father, José Eusebio Caro and Mariano Ospina Rodríguez, were the founders of the Colombian Conservative Party.[1] His father’s criticisms of President José Hilario López led to his exile to New York City.[2]

Caro did not attend college or university. Nevertheless, as autodidact, he was very well versed in economics, world history and literature, social science, jurisprudence, linguistics and philology. He was also well known as great orator, debater and poet. Also, as a scholar, he translated several of the works of Virgil from Latin. He was appointed as Director of the National Library, was elected to congress, and founded of the Academia Colombiana de la Lengua.[3]

Political career[edit]

Caro, as philosopher, scholar and orator, played a decisive and important role in the preparation, composition and enactment of the new Constitution of 1886. The significant achievement gave him an enormous prestige in the political realm.[4]

During the presidential election of 1892, the Colombian Conservative Party was divided in two movements: traditionalists and nationalists. The nationalists nominated Rafael Núñez as candidate for President and Caro as Vice-President. The traditionalists nominated Marcelino Vélez and José Joaquín Ortiz. The liberals did not participate. Obviously, the conservatives won, and the nationalists outnumbered the traditionalists. Thus, Núñez and Caro were elected for the 1892-1898 presidential term.[5]

Presidency[edit]

Núñez had expressed his clear desire not to be inaugurated but to retire to his native city of Cartagena. Nevertheless, Caro insisted for Núñez had to be inaugurated as president before retiring. Thus, Núñez accepted and was inaugurated in Cartagena and then immediately resigned. Therefore, Caro, as vice-president, began acting as President.[5]

Caro never used the title of President but the one of Vice President of Colombia in charge of the Executive Office. Although he was the legitimate and constitutional president of Colombia, he did so to show respect to his mentor Rafael Núñez whose illness had forced him to cede day-to-day power.[6]

The vehement adversion and tenacious opposition from the liberals and traditionalists conservatives to his government made Caro impose a severe censorship law against the opposition. On August 4, 1893, by decree and invoking the law 61 of 1888, known as the law of the horses, he muzzled the opposition newspapers and curtailed the freedom of the press.[5] In a subsequent decree, Caro shut down the major opposition and liberal newspapers El Redactor and El Contenporáneoand expelled its directors Santiago Pérez de Manosalbas and Modesto Garcés. Other opposition leaders and activists were incarcerated.[3]

During the six years as president, Caro had to crush three coup attempts by the liberals.[3]

On January 22, 1894, the Colombian Liberal Party launched a major offensive against the government of Caro. With its principal leaders spelled out of the country or detained, its newspapers closed and the freedom of the press and freedom of association suspended, the party found no other alternative but to start a civil war. This revolt rapidly extended throughout the country, mainly in the states of Boyacá, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Bolívar (Bolívar Department), Tolima and Santander (Norte de Santander Department). Even though the rebels had been aided by foreign countries, they were promptly defeated by the armies of President Caro. On March 15, 1895, the civil war came to an end at the battle of “Enciso”, in Santander.[6]

Almost a year later, in January 1896, the traditionalists sent to Caro a very stern admonition, known as the "Manifesto of the 21", expressing their discontent and disapproval of the affairs of his administration. The manifesto's main signatory was Carlos Martínez Silva, and 20 other prominent dignitaries and political leaders. They urged Caro to lift martial law, reinstate civil liberties and have a magnanimous approach towards the liberals.[6]

Caro was so disillusioned and offended by this that he resigned the presidency on March 12, 1896. Caro appointed General Guillermo Quintero Calderón to replace him and retired to his family retreat in Sopó. General Quintero Calderón designated Abraham Moreno, of the opposition group, as Minister of Government. That infuriated Caro, and he retook his office of the presidency on March 17, 1896.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; p. 74; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  2. ^ Staff report (August 7, 1909). Miguel Antonio Caro Dead. New York Times
  3. ^ a b c Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; p. 136; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  4. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; Page 134; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  5. ^ a b c Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; p. 135; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  6. ^ a b c Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; p. 137; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
  7. ^ Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; Page 138; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983

Bibliography[edit]

  • The 1893 Bogotazo: Artisans and Public Violence in Late Nineteenth-Century Bogota. D Sowell - Journal of Latin American Studies, 1989
  • Limits of Power: Elections Under the Conservative Hegemony in Colombia, 1886-1930. E Posada-Carbo - The Hispanic American Historical Review, 1997
  • Rodríguez-García, José María "The Regime of Translation in Miguel Antonio Caro's Colombia." diacritics - Volume 34, Number 3/4, Fall-Winter 2004, pp. 143–175
  • The Political Economy of the Colombian Presidential Election of 1897. CW Bergquist - The Hispanic American Historical Review, 1976
Political offices
Preceded by
Eliseo Payán Hurtado
Vice President of Colombia
1892–1894
Succeeded by
José Manuel Marroquín Ricaurte
Preceded by
Rafael Nuñez
President of Colombia
1894–1898
Succeeded by
Manuel Antonio Sanclemente