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Mariano Baptista

Mariano Baptista Caserta was President of Bolivia during the 1892-96 period. A member of the Conservative Party, he was renowned for his stirring oratorical style.

Much more agreeable and less severe than his predecessor Aniceto Arce, Baptista vowed to open up the political process and decompress the climate of mutual mistrust between Liberals and Conservatives. To this end, he proclaimed amnesty and did his best to rule transparently and by the rule of law. However, popular fatigue with the Conservatives' successful efforts at replicating themselves in power eroded his support. His reputation took another serious blow when ex-President Hilarion Daza, who had decided to return to Bolivia from exile to explain his controversial actions during the War of the Pacific, was murdered by his own guards upon entering the country from Chile via railway. His murder was never explained, and no one was punished. Most Bolivians felt that Daza's presence (and willingness to talk) discomforted many old wartime leaders of Conservative persuasion (including Arce) and reopened barely healed wounds. In sum, Daza's murder was hung around Baptista like an albatross for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, the political climate continued to deteriorate, presaging the coming of the end of Conservative rule.

Still, some important international treaties were signed during the Baptista administration, especially with Argentina in regard to the Puna de Atacama, with Paraguay concerning the disputed Chaco region, and others with Brazil and Peru. Baptista was also involved in the signing of the first (preliminary) peace treaty ending the War of the Pacific. He retired from politics after the end of his term and died in 1907.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mariano Baptista

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