Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)

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Arias Madrid, Harmodio (1886–1962)

Harmodio Arias Madrid (b. 3 July 1886; d. 23 December 1962), Panamanian politician and president (1932–1936). Harmodio Arias was a prominent and highly respected politician in the 1920s and one of the leaders of the 1931 revolution that overthrew the government of Florencio Harmodio Arosemena. He and his brother Arnulfo became the leaders of a new and more nationalistic generation of middle-class Panamanians. He was very popular for his opposition to the ratification of the 1926 treaty with the United States. Harmodio became president in 1932 after one of the freest and most honest elections the country had seen.

He came from a modest family. In 1911, he earned a doctorate in law and political science at the University of London. In 1912, President Porras appointed him to a commission charged with drafting a legal code. He was a professor at the law school (1918–1920), deputy to the National Assembly (1920–1924), and Panama's representative to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and the League of Nations. As a member of the National Assembly, he staunchly defended national sovereignty. He also had a very successful law practice.

As president, Harmodio Arias attacked corruption and incompetence, for which he incurred the wrath of those accustomed to using the government for personal gain. He presided over an honest administration. In 1935, Arias founded the University of Panama. In 1936, he negotiated a new treaty with the United States that ended the latter's right to intervene in Panama's internal affairs. As the editor of El Panamá-América, he continued to be an influential voice in Panamanian politics after he left the presidency.

See alsoPanama .


Mélida Ruth Sepúlveda, Harmodio Arias Madrid: El hombre, el estadista y el periodista (1983).

Patricia Pizzurno Gelós, Harmodio Arias Madrid y las relaciones internacionales (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Araúz, Celestino Andrés. Antecedentes históricos y balance sobre la obra de gobierno de Harmodio Arias Madrid. Panama: Editorial Universitaria "Carlos Manuel Gasteazoro," 2003.

                                         Juan Manuel PÉrez