Mariano Ospina Perez
Mariano Ospina Perez was a Colombian engineer and political figure, member of the Colombian Conservative Party. He served as President of Colombia between 1946 and 1950.Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edicion; Page 209; Bogota, Colombia; 1983
Ospina was born in Medellin, Antioquia on November 24, 1891. He died in Bogota, Cundinamarca, on April 14, 1976, at the age of 86.
Ospina was son of Tulio Ospina Vasquez and Ana Rosa Perez, who were members of the traditional Colombian political families. He was the grandson of former president of Colombia Mariano Ospina Rodriguez and nephew of president Pedro Nel Ospina.
Ospina studied in the Colegio San Ignacio in Medellin, Antioquia the city were he grew up and also studied engineering in the Escuela de Minas de Antioquia (Mining School of Antioquia) where he graduated as mining engineer.Lozano, Miguel Angel; Mariano Ospina Perez , Un Hombre de Accion y de Principios, trans. Mariano Ospina Perez, a man of action and principles; Universidad Nacional; Fundacion de Estudios Historicos, Mision Colombia; Editorial El Globo, S.A.; Page 25; Bogota, Colombia; 1991 After graduating Ospina travelled for two years in which he toured and studied in Louisiana, London and Paris. He took some courses on gold mining, sugar cane production, economy, labor relations, cooperativism, civil engineering and railways systems.
Ospina, who studied engineering at the Escuela de Minas de Medellin and Louisiana State University, served as the executive administrator of the National Federation of Coffee Growers and was a prominent businessman in other sectors before becoming president in 1946.Safford, Frank R.; The Ideal of the Practical; University of Texas Press; Page 238, ISBN 0-292-73803-X
The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia
In 1928, after the Second National Congress of Coffee Growers had created the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, the first regional committee was established as el Comite de Cafeteros de Antioquia. Ospina was its first President, and the first registered member of the association.Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Cafe en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 22; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
The first Board of Directors of the newly organized Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia assembled in Bogota, in August 3, 1929. Its first members were Mariano Ospina Vasquez, Alberto Camilo Suarez, Gabriel Ortiz Williamson, Carlos Caballero, Jesus del Corral and Mariano Ospina Perez, the greatest dignitary in the History of the Federation, for whom the organization of the national coffee industry was one of his most serious and ambitious concerns.Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Cafe en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 28; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
In December of 1930, the Fourth National Congress of Coffee Growers convened in Bogota. Due to the vast knowledge and experience acquired by Ospina in the coffee industry, as a result of running his own coffee business, he was summoned by the Minister of Industry Francisco J. Chaux and by President Rafael Olaya Herrera to preside over this Congress. Ospina was elected President of this Fourth Congress. At the adjournment of this Congress, Ospina was elected, by the unanimous vote of the delegates, as Gerente de la Federacion (General Director). He served in this position for four years, until 1934.
In 1954, during the election of members of the Board of Directors (of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia), Ospina, who served as President of the Republic from 1946 to 1950, was elected and installed as President of the Board of Directors. His return to the Federation marked the reappearance of one of Colombia's greatest coffee names, in an active role, in the History of Colombia's coffee industry.Uribe C., Andres; Brown Gold, The Amazing Story of Coffee; Random House, Inc.; Pg 113; NY, NY,; 1954, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 55-5793
Ospina, grandson of Mariano Ospina Rodriguez, not only was one of the founders of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, but was later elected as General Director of the Coffee Federation, and served in such capacity from 1930 to 1934. His main objective was to assist, finance, and educate the coffee growers while implementing an aggressive program to penetrate the world market and to successfully capture a substantial share of it.Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Cafe en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 99; ISBN 958-33-1279-7
Under Ospina's aegis, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia successfully consolidated the nation's coffee industry and promoted it in the world markets to great effect. Colombia became the largest producer of prime Coffea arabica coffee in the world. Pizano, Diego; El Cafe en la Ecrucijada, Evolucion y Perspectivas; Editorial Alfaomega; Bogota; August 2001, Page 31, ISBN 958-682-192-7 He laid a very solid corporative foundation, and today, the Colombian Coffee Federation congregates and supports over 500,000 independent coffee growers and small farmers.
Upon his return to Colombia in 1914 Ospina contacted the leadership of the Colombian Conservative Party and was nominated to run for the office of Counselor to the City Council of Medellin, representing the Conservative Party. In 1915 Ospina was elected as councilman and later for a second term in 1917. This same year he was elected Deputy for Antioquia. In 1919 Ospina was appointed Railway Superintendent of the Ferrocarril de Antioquia.Melo, Jorge Orlando; Historia de Antioquia, trans. History of Antioquia; Editorial Presencia Ltd.; Primera Edicion; Page 151; Bogota, Colombia; November, 1988
In 1921 he ran once again for the Assembly of Antioquia resulting elected. After his father's death in this same year Ospina took over his father's job as Director of the Mining School. He was later elected as MP, first as Representative to the House of Representatives and then as Senator.
In 1922, his uncle Pedro Nel Ospina was elected president and he was also elected as senator of Colombia for a four year period. In 1926 the new elected president Miguel Abadia appointed Ospina as Minister of Public Works but he only lasted eight months in office until 1927. Between 1930 and 1934 he was manager of the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de ColombiaFederacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; El Cafe en el Desarrollo de Antioquia; trans. Coffee in the development of Antioquia; Editorial Colina; January, 2000; Page 98; ISBN 958-33-1279-7 and since then he acquired the nickname of "Hombre de los Cafeteros" (the man of the coffee growers) working for the Coffee Federation for almost a decade while also working as union leader and senator.
The Conservative party was relying on candidate Laureano Gomez to become the official candidate for the presidency of Colombia. Ospina's name was suggested for the 1946 elections to take advantage of the division the opposing Colombian Liberal Party was having within its lines between Jorge Eliecer Gaitan and Gabriel Turbay. With only three weeks remaining for the main election Ospina was appointed as the official conservative party candidate for the presidency of Colombia. Ospina defeated his liberal political contenders with less than 40% of the votes due to a large abstention.
Ospina was elected as the 43rd President of Colombia in 1946. During his administration, Colombia reached the highest level of coffee exports in number of bags and as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP. He was determined to fortify the nation's infrastructure and created Ecopetrol (Colombian Petroleum Company) and Acerias Paz del Rio (the country's largest steel mill)..Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edicion; Page 210; Bogota, Colombia; 1983 He was also committed to social responsibility and, to that effect, he created a financial institution (La Caja Agraria), the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor and the Housing Credit Agency to help meet the credit, educational and social needs of blue collar workers, coffee growers, and other small farmers and peasants.
During his presidency the country was facing a political struggle between the conservative political forces, the liberal political forces the development of the Colombian Communist Party in the Boyaca, Narino, Norte de Santander and Santander Departments against the conservative government. The communist and liberals blamed president Laureano Gomez for directly interfering with the presidential election of 1946, by calling off one million eight hundred liberal votes as invalid. Ospina was dubbed by the communists as Laureano Gomez successor with the mission of perpetuating the Conservative party in power.
During his presidency on April 9, 1948 the liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan was running for the presidency of Colombia for a second time, this time Gaitan had won his party's primaries and had a large support from the masses when he was assassinatedArismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edicion; Page 211; Bogota, Colombia; 1983 in confusing circumstances by Juan Roa. The confusion and anger triggered by Gaitan's assassination provoked the Bogotazo a massive riots that extended through out the Colombian capital Bogota and extended later to the rest of the country to generate a ten year period of violence known as La Violencia. The government forces supported by the conservative started a repression campaign against the liberals after a failed attempt to establish a government of national unity with a shared responsibility in the government. Ospina was heavily criticized by the liberals, especially in the National Congress where in 1948 the opposing party tried to impeach him, but Ospina closed congress before they achieved their goals and generated a decade of civil-military dictatorship (lasted until 1958 when the National Front was created).
In 1949, in the middle of a generalized violence Laureano Gomez was elected as president of Colombia. Later on both conservative leaders became political enemies and created divisions in the Conservative party. Ospina fomented a moderate wing of conservatives while Laureano Gomez supported extreme conservative politics. Ospina ultimately supported the coup d'etat against Gomez that established the military administartion of Gustavo Rojas, Ospina's former Minister of Post and TelegraphLozano, Miguel Angel; Mariano Ospina Perez , Un Hombre de Accion y de Principios, trans. Mariano Ospina Perez, a man of action and principles; Universidad Nacional; Fundacion de Estudios Historicos, Mision Colombia; Editorial El Globo, S.A.; Page 151; Bogota, Colombia; 1991Ocampo Marin , Hector; Mariano Ospina Perez, El Presidente, trans. Mariano Ospina Perez, the Presidente; Camara de Comercio de Medellin para Antioquia; Imprenta Universidad de Antioquia; Page 146; Medellin, Colombia; June 2001, ISBN 958-9221-40-8 (Nowadays the Colombian Ministry of Communications).
Ospina later had political differences with Rojas and withdrew his support from him, choosing instead to encourage the creation of the National Front. Ospina was later considered as presidential candidate for the party elections of 1962 and 1974 but was replaced by Misael Pastrana who replaced him as head of the moderate conservatives.
Ospina married Bertha Hernandez de Ospina, one of the first women to become Senator of Colombia.
He was a member of Phi Iota Alpha. His private secretary was Mr. Antonio Salazar Herrera.
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