Bonifaz Ascasubi, Neptalí (1870–1960?)

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Bonifaz Ascasubi, Neptalí (1870–1960?)

Neptalí Bonifaz Ascasubi (also Ascazubi; b. 29 December 1870; d. 1960?), was elected president of Ecuador in 1931 but did not serve. A wealthy sierra landowner, in 1925 he became president of Ecuador's newly created Central Bank. His successful election bid brought together an unlikely coalition of small businessmen, artisans, campesinos, and workers—conservatives, liberals, and socialists—all adversely affected by the Great Depression. His platform, the Compactación Obrera Nacional (National Workers' Compact, 1932), called for mildly progressive reform. Bonifaz defeated his Liberal opponent, Modesto Larrea Jijón, in Ecuador's first free election in nearly forty years. However, Liberals still controlled Congress, and they distrusted Bonifaz, believing that he would favor banking and landowning interests. Congress voted to disqualify president-elect Bonifaz in 1932 on the grounds that he was not born in Ecuador. The charge was true: the son of a diplomat, Bonifaz had been born at the Peruvian embassy in Quito—technically not Ecuadorian soil. More seriously, Bonifaz had listed his citizenship as Peruvian until he was forty-six years old. Following Congress's action, Bonifaz lost an ensuing military struggle over the presidency, the War of Four Days. Hundreds died in bitter house-to-house combat in Quito.

See alsoVelasco Ibarra, José María .


Brief treatment of Bonifaz and the War of Four Days can be found in David W. Schodt, Ecuador: An Andean Enigma (1987), and in Osvaldo Hurtado, Political Power in Ecuador, translated by Nick D. Mills, Jr. (1985). Fredrick B. Pike, The United States and the Andean Republics (1977), provides the standard account of twentieth-century Ecuadorian politics. Rafael Quintero López, El mito del populismo en el Ecuador (1980), offers an extended reinterpretive discussion.

Additional Bibliography

Suárez Pasquel, Lucía. Fondo Neptalí Bonifaz Quito: Banco Central del Ecuador, 1984.

Troncoso, Julio C., and Neptalí Bonifax Ascásubi. Odio y Sangre: Hombres y hechos de la época. Quito: Fray Jodoco Ricke, 1958.

                                                Ronn F. Pineo