Roberto Francisco Chiari Remón

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Roberto Francisco Chiari Remón

Roberto Francisco Chiari Remón (March 2, 1905 in Panama City – March 1, 1981) was the President of Panama in 1949 and from 1960 to 1964. He belonged to the Liberal Party.

Before being president[edit]

He was president of the Chamber of Commerce. He worked in the sugar company of his family with his father and brothers. He was the only one of his brothers that was interested on politics. He was elected to the National Assembly on 1940. During the Ricardo de la Guardia administration he was Minister of Health and Public Works. He was one of Domingo Díaz Arosemena's vice presidents and briefly served as acting president in 1949. He lost the presidential elections of 1952. He was president of his Liberal Party for the next 8 years.


He was elected in a clean and peaceful election. He was campaigning against former president Ricardo Arias and Victor Goytia.

His administration[edit]

His government worked hard on the education sector. The General Hospital of the Social Security was inaugurated and an extensive vaccination program was developed.

His administration is most remembered for the historic events of January 9, 1964, known today as Martyrs' Day. During a dispute between Panamanian and American students regarding the right to raise the Panamanian flag next to the U.S. flag at Balboa High School the Panamanian flag was torn. This flag desecration sparked four days of fighting between civilians and the US Army. 22 Panamanians and four Americans died. Following these events, Chiari made the decision to break diplomatic relations with the United States, making Panama the first Latin American country to make this call. This spurred negotiations that ultimately ended in the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties, which disbanded the Canal Zone and relinquished U.S. control of the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999. Because of this, Chiari is known as el presidente de la dignidad (The President of Dignity).

After his presidency[edit]

After leaving office, he retired from public life and he returned to work in his private companies. He was president of the Industrial Sindicate from 1967 to 1969.

Interesting facts[edit]

  • He was the first Panamanian born after the independence that became President. His father, Rodolfo Chiari, was also President of Panama.
  • He was a hard worker. When he was president he arrived to his office at 7 a.m., before than everybody else in the office.
  • He donated his salary as President to the Panamanian Red Cross.
  • The decision to break diplomatic relations with the U.S. was a decision in which he took the interests of the country before his own, because he then had in jeopardy his economic interests on a sugar quota his company exported to the US and the dairy products he sold to the Canal Zone.
  • He died during some Carnivals, but his family rejected that the festivities be cancelled for mourning. There wasn't even a state funeral. Chiari died in Panama City on March 1, 1981.


  • "55 mandatarios"" (55 presidents). History Album of the Panamanian newspaper La Prensa. Page 62-64.
Political offices
Preceded by
Daniel Chanis
First Vice President of Panama
Succeeded by
Alcibíades Arosemena
Preceded by
Daniel Chanis
President of Panama
November 20, 1949 – November 24, 1949
Succeeded by
Arnulfo Arias
Preceded by
Ernesto de la Guardia
President of Panama
Succeeded by
Marco Aurelio Robles