Alfonso López Michelsen, 94 years of the Colombian history

· Politic
Former President Alfonso Lopez Michelsen died at the first hours of this date, July 11, in his house in Bogotá due to a heart attack, according with all the Colombian information agencies. Lopez was President of Colombia between 1974 and 1978, the founder of the Liberal Revolutionary Movement that was a dissidence of the Liberal Party as a reaction to the National Front in 1959. He was Senator of the Republic, 1966, the first Governor of the Department of El César and Minister of Foreign Relations of President Carlos Lleras Restrepo. He was a member of the prestigious Academia Colombiana de Jurisprudencia, professor in Law, writer, journalist in El Tiempo and a dinamic politic who did work until his last days, concerned specially with the actual situation of his country. He criticized the government and the armed group of FARC in the recent events where 11 deputies of Valle del Cauca lost their lives after five years of kidnapping. About that violent act that moved the national and international indignation, the former President said that they are not looking for solutions but victory. His biography was writen by the Professor of History and Director of the Institute for United States Policy Research at the University of Calgary, Stephen J. Randall, who said that López Michelsen is one of the most Colombian influencial men of the last 50 years. Senator Cecilia López said that López went ahead his time in subjects as the development of the agriculture, the dignification of the women and his work for peace in Colombia.

Alfonso López Michelsen (1913 – 2007)

Alfonso Antonio Lázaro was born on June 30, 1913 in Bogotá. His father was also President of Colombia twice: Alfonso López Pumarejo (1934-1938; 1942-1945). He studied in places like Saint Michel College in Brussels, the French Lyceé in London and Lille (France), lawyer from Universidad del Rosario of Bogotá, especialization in the Bello Code in Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Public and Constitutional Law in Washington and he got recognizations in law for his thesis “The Posession in the Bello Code”.

As an act of protest against the National Front of 1960 that was a political agreement between the two traditional parties – Liberal and Conservative – in the way that they would gobern the country by turns, López founded the Liberal Revolutionary Party (Movimiento Revolucionario Liberal MRL). In 1968 the MRL was integrated in the Liberal Party and López was elected as the first Gobernor of the new Colombian Department, El César. Between 1968 and 1970 he was Minister of Foreign Relations of President Lleras Restrepo.

President of Colombia (1974-1978)

As President of Colombia López has some of the following records and critics:

  • He declared the economic emergency in order to correct the fiscal deficit.
  • Taxes and fiscal reform.
  • He increased troice the national saving.
  • He increased the public investment in 61%.
  • Exportations were increased.
  • The inflation reached the highest level of the Colombian history.
  • The farm economics were supported so farmers stayed with an increase in 16% in the agriculture sector.
  • He created the Instituto Colombiano de Hidrología, Meteorología y Adecuación de Tierras and Instituo Colombiano de la Reforma Agraria.
  • Salaries increased 200%.
  • 1100 worker unions got official recognition.
  • Electricity capacity increased in 40%.
  • Investment in oil production.
  • Plans of housing for 246 families.
  • 30 new hospitals and plans of health services.
  • He participated in the hemispheric conference about the new Agreement on the Canal of Panama.
  • He faced the Workers´ National Strike of September 17, 1977 that became a critic moment for the country.
López as Former President

Althoug his failure to a second turn as President in 1982, López became a prominent figure of the National life until his last days. His authority as intellectual and experienced politician was appreciated even for those who were at the other side of his ideologies. He is the author of the following works that are precious in the history and discussions of Colombia:

  • Cuestiones colombianas (Colombian Subjects), 1955.
  • Los últimos días de López (The Last Days of Lopez), about his father. 1961.
  • El Estado fuerte, una introducción al estudio de la Constitución de Colombia (The Strong State, an Introduction to the Constitution of Colombia), 1966.
  • La Real Audiencia y el Derecho Público en Colombia (The Royal Audience and the Public Law in Colombia).
  • La generación del Centenario (The Generation of the Century).
  • Por qué se perdió Panamá (Why Panama was lost).
  • Esbozos y atisbos (Outlines and Spyings), 1980.

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