Gustavo Rojas Pinilla : biography
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla was a Colombian politician, military officer, General of the Army and President of Colombia between 1953 and 1957.Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 223; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
Early years and education
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla began his career in the school of cadets Escuela Militar de Cadetes Gral. José María Cordoba of Bogotá in 1917. He obtained his degree in 1920. In 1923 while serving in Manizales, Caldas, he was promoted to lieutenant in the army. He became dissatisfied with the army and in 1924 he requested permission to retire from active service so that he could study civil engineering in Tri-State Normal College, in the United States where he obtained the title of civil engineer in 1927. From there he started taking part in the construction of highways and other works of engineering as part of his military career.
leftIn 1946, already a colonel, Rojas was nominated as commander of the First Brigade in Tunja and in 1948 was named commander of the Third Brigade in Cali. There, he gained major recognition in the country for having managed to appease the rebellion that happened in this region as a consequence of the assassination of the popular leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948, for which he was honored by the incumbent Conservative President Mariano Ospina Pérez. On October 11, 1949, he was promoted to General and on October 19 assigned to the Central Command of the Army.
In 1951, he was nominated as a delegate for Colombia to the United Nations in Washington, and as such he inspected the battalion Colombia that was fighting against communism during the Korean War. In 1952, he was ascended to General of the Army and appointed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Colombia by President Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez.Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 217; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
Although General Rojas had become the Head of State by means of a political coup d’état on June 13, 1953, to restore peace and order, the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (Congress), by its Legislative Act Number 1 of 1953, recognized and appointed him as legitimate and constitutional President of Colombia.Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 226; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
Rojas enacted legislation that gave women the equal right to vote. He introduced the television and constructed several hospitals, universities and the National Astronomic Observatory. He was also a strong supporter of public works and infrastructure, promoting and conducting projects such as the Atlantic railway, the hydroelectric dam of Lebrija and the oil refinery of Barrancabermeja.Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 225; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
In 1970 Rojas ran for President of Colombia as candidate of his ANAPO (Alianza Nacional Popular) opposition party, with a populist platform. He was defeated by a narrow margin by Misael Pastrana, but alleged that this was the result of fraud.
The presidential election of April 19, 1970, was difficult and controversial. Rojas and Misael Pastrana Borrero were both running for office. The results were very close, giving a slight margin in favor of Pastrana Borrero. The supporters of Rojas challenged the results and accused the government of President Carlos Lleras Restrepo of fraud. The case was brought before the Electoral Court, which ruled in favor of Pastrana Borrero on July 15, 1970, certifying him as President of Colombia.Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos, trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd.; Italgraf; Segunda Edición; Page 243; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
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