Colombia History in 1960’s and 1970’s

By | December 15, 2021

The mandate of Lleras Camargo (1958-1962) was one of the best in all of Colombian history. The pact signed in Stiges in 1957, which had put an end to the fierce antagonism between liberals and conservatives, allowed the liberal president to govern in full respect of constitutional freedoms. Lleras Camargo launched a ten-year economic plan which met with general applause and was supported by North American aid as it was deemed consistent with the objectives pursued by the Alliance for Progress, announced in Punta del Este in August 1961. Among the various initiatives aimed at the rehabilitation of the national economy, left in disastrous conditions by the previous government of Rojas Pinilla, the plan concerned agriculture, education, hygiene and industrial development. Land reform, Instituto Colombiano de la Reforma Agraria), which through appropriately compensated expropriations had to transfer, from overcrowded urban areas and from the sierras unproductive, thousands of families to land suitable for cultivation. The project – opposed by left liberals who judged it inadequate and by conservatives who considered it revolutionary – got off to a very slow start. Greater luck was given to the problems of housing, water supply (infected water was responsible for 10% of mortality), public education and the fight against banditry that made communication routes unsafe. Production and trade were significantly increased and exports registered, for the first time, a new product such as cotton. At the end of the presidency of Lleras, Colombia was in full swing and the prospects appeared satisfactory. For Colombia history, please check historyaah.com.

According to the “family pact” a liberal had to be succeeded by a conservative. In fact, G. León Valencia was elected (August 1962) with 62% of the votes. Other candidates presented themselves in the elections, including the old dictator Rojas Pinilla, who had returned from exile and returned to the political arena with demagogic promises to the masses and a campaign against North American interference in national life. The new president did not show much ability in carrying out the ten-year plan set up by his predecessor, especially as regards the agrarian reform stubbornly opposed by the landowners; moreover, his attempts to impose new taxes met with the disapproval of parliament, which instead decreed the increase in wages. L’ the inevitable rise in the cost of living and the collapse of the price of coffee in 1963 dragged the country into an inflationary spiral. There were manifestations of discontent and unrest throughout the country, severely repressed (1963-64) by gen. A. Ruiz Novoa, Minister of War. The legislative elections of March 1964 registered the abstention of 70% of the electoral body, which intended to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the governors. A general strike, proclaimed for January 25, 1965, involved gen. Ruiz Novoa, who, suspected of plotting a military coup, was dismissed on January 27. The legislative elections of March 1964 registered the abstention of 70% of the electoral body, which intended to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the governors. A general strike, proclaimed for January 25, 1965, involved gen. Ruiz Novoa, who, suspected of plotting a military coup, was dismissed on January 27. The legislative elections of March 1964 registered the abstention of 70% of the electoral body, which intended to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the governors. A general strike, proclaimed for January 25, 1965, involved gen. Ruiz Novoa, who, suspected of plotting a military coup, was dismissed on January 27.

Meanwhile the national economy, which had lost the support and confidence of foreign capital, was severely damaged. To straighten it was called J. Vallejo, who, as Minister of Finance, imposed a series of measures that gave satisfactory results, inducing the USA and the World Bank to grant loans. In this way, President Valencia was able to carry out his tumultuous mandate, characterized by states of siege and violence at the University of Bogotá. In March 1966, Roias Pinilla’s party won the legislative elections thanks to the abstention of the voters; but the general consultation of May 1 brought the 85-year-old leader to the presidency of the Republicliberal Colombia Lleras Restrepo who assumed powers on 7 August. The old politician vigorously resumed Lleras Camargo’s ten-year plan and gave new impetus to agrarian reform, also supported by the Church, which ceded lands it owned. In a short time the worrying phenomenon of banditry in the countryside was almost completely crushed and the guerrilla fueled by the pro-Castroists suffered a setback.

The first trip of a pontiff to Latin America took place in Colombia on the occasion of the visit (22-24 August 1968) of Paul VI to Bogotá to attend the work of the International Eucharistic Congress and to inaugurate the II conference of the Latin Episcopal Council- American (CELAM) in Medellin. The Church’s lively concerns for the subcontinent materialized with the creation (March 26, 1969) wanted by the pope, of a fund, Populorum progressio, intended to combat misery in Latin America. The first endowment of the fund (one million dollars) was assigned to Colombia for the implementation of the agrarian reform.

The general elections of April 1970, held in a climate of great tension, recorded the victory of the candidate of the Frente Nacional, Misael Pastrana Borrero, conservative, a victory opposed by the party of Rojas Pinilla, which contested the regularity of the elections, so much so as to induce the government to proclaim (July 19) a state of siege again (which remained in force until 1974) to prevent a coup. Anti-government demonstrations then took place with the occupation of the University of Bogotá by the police, with unrest in the countryside and occupations of farms: protests fueled by the extreme slowness of government measures, inspired by an ineffective “gradual reformism”.

The presidential elections of April 1974 coincided with the expiration of the historic coalition of liberals and conservatives. The result of the consultations demonstrated the weakness of the opposition, which, despite contesting the “Stiges pact”, which was considered the result of an agreement between the ruling classes, was unable to emerge. The victory went to the liberal candidate A. López Michelsen, followed by the conservative candidate. In third place, a woman, ME Rojas de Moreno Diaz, candidate of ANAPO and daughter of gen. Rojas Pinilla. The glaring abstention could demonstrate Colombians’ skepticism about the possibility of radical changes through elections. However, the new president (who removed the state of siege on December 29) has always professed advanced social ideas and is a firm believer in agrarian reform. However, he found the country burdened with problems: inflation, which made the progress achieved useless; the masses of disappointed peasants who overpopulate the cities; the resurgence of the guerrillas; the demagogic propaganda of the ANAPO movement led by the irreducible gen. Rojas Pinilla.

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