What is Ecuadorian politician Eloy Alfaro remembered for? | News

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The people of Ecuador commemorate this January 28 the 110th anniversary of the assassination of then President José Eloy Alfaro, who is considered the founder of democracy in the South American country.

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Over the years, Eloy Alfaro was recognized as one of the top leaders of the South American country, not only for having held the presidency of Ecuador twice, but also because he became the main representative of radical liberalism.

Who was José Eloy Alfaro?

The Ecuadorian military man and politician, the son of a Spanish father, demonstrated from a young age a leadership capacity that, together with his identification with anticlerical liberalism, later known as Ecuadorian radical liberalism, would lead him to participate, in 1864, in a pronouncement against President Gabriel Garcia Moreno.

Although he was not imprisoned, he had to go into exile and it would be in Panama where he would settle, starting several businesses, marrying a local woman and linking himself to the world of politics and groups of liberal intellectuals.

He returned to his homeland in 1875, after the assassination of García Moreno, and fought against the government of Antonio Borrero, supporting Ignacio de Veintemilla’s coup d’état, after which he was appointed colonel.

However, months later he would declare himself against the new president, who did not fulfill the promised liberal program. Beginning in 1883, Alfaro was proclaimed supreme chief of Manabí and Esmeraldas and organized an army that defeated the dictator.

After the “restorative” triumph, a Constituent Assembly elected José María Plácido Caamaño as president, whom the hero would face since he installed himself in power in 1884, for almost four years.

The fight against the three presidents caused tradition to baptize him as the “Old Fighter”, since it would not be until 1897, two years after the Liberal Revolution was unleashed in Guayaquil, that a Constituent Assembly, after issuing the eleventh Constitution, elected him for the head of state.

Presidencies of Eloy Alfaro

During his first government, which lasted until 1901, Alfaro dedicated himself to consolidating the liberal triumph, establishing the separation between Church and State, and promoting the construction of the railroad between Quito and Guayaquil.

However, the second Alfarista government, developed between 1906 and 1911, was even more notable, since in this period “the Magna Carta of Ecuadorian liberalism (1906)” was promulgated; construction of the trans-Andean railway continued; secularization in public education was consolidated and infrastructure and communication works were carried out.

His presidency is remembered for the reform of various laws to give legal certainty to citizens; seek by all means national unity; the prioritized attention to education and the training of new teachers with a new mentality and attitudes, which represented an educational revolution.

In the same way, he exempted from the territorial tribute the indigenous people of the Sierra and the montuvios of the Coast; he abolished prison for debts and was a precursor to gender equality by giving women prominence in political life, being the first president of his country to appoint a woman to public office.

Likewise, he stood out for his support for freedom of thought and freedom of expression, achieving ideological transformations accompanied by his interventions in the social field.

His imprint was not limited to Ecuador, he also promoted a meeting of Hispanic-American representatives in Mexico for the formation of an American Public Law; He intervened before Queen María Cristina in favor of the independence of Cuba and fought to revive the idea of ​​Bolívar’s Gran Colombia.

In 1910 the political situation was very delicate, since the border conflict with Peru had become more tense, while fissures were produced within the liberal party, where the radical liberalism of Alfaro and the oligarchic liberalism of Leónidas Plaza Gutiérrez clashed.

After the 1911 elections, Emilio Estrada, who was suspiciously elected president, allied himself with Plaza’s supporters and Alfaro was deposed and had to leave the country.

When Estrada died, Carlos Freile Zaldumbide assumed the presidency, with which the Ecuadorian hero and other radical leaders returned to the country, but Freile Zaldumbide imprisoned them in Guayaquil.

Murder of Eloy Alfaro

On January 28, 1912, a mob stormed the prison in Quito where Eloy Alfaro, Flavio and Medardo Alfaro, Luciano Coral, Ulpiano Páez and Manuel Serrano remained, murdering them and then harassing their bodies, which were finally burned in El Ejido.

The maddened and bloodthirsty crowd that stormed the panopticon, viciously murdered the characters, mutilated the bodies and dragged them away, was the result of the ambition and disloyalty of several liberal leaders who did not care about the unity of the party or the precepts Alfaro transformers.



But, the legacy of the fighter transcends to this day, because his destiny to free Ecuador from oppression, fight corrupt governments and put an end to differences, generating equal opportunities, continue to be contemporary claims.

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