Chacón, Lázaro (1873–1931)

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Chacón, Lázaro (1873–1931)

Lázaro Chacón (b. 27 June 1873; d. 1931), president of Guatemala (1926–1930). Lázaro Chacón was born in Teculután, Zacapa. His grandfather was a military officer and his father was a cattle rancher. A career army officer, General Chacón assumed the presidency of Guatemala on 27 September 1926, the day following the fatal heart attack of General José María Orellana, his boyhood friend. Chacón's critics charged that the new president "was a man of very little intelligence, less education and no experience in government affairs."

Upon assuming the presidency, Chacón committed his government to the continuation of the policies of his predecessor. Also, with the country in the midst of a remarkable economic boom, Chacón announced his intention to prevent all forms of social and political unrest. Supported by a large majority of Guatemalan liberals, Chacón easily won the December 1926 presidential election. From most reports, the outcome of the election was never in doubt. Most of Guatemala's traditionally powerful landed elite had little reason to oppose Chacón's promises of prosperity and stability. While the opposition Progressive Party candidate, future president Jorge Ubico y Castañeda, ran a campaign that was vaguely reformist, Chacón capitalized on his links to the Guatemalan military and on the economic prosperity enjoyed by the nation's coffee elite to secure an easy victory.

When the Guatemalan economy was crippled by the effects of a worldwide depression in the late 1920s, Chacón's government was already unpopular with the Guatemalan upper and middle classes. Accused of mismanagement, corruption, and inept administration, the Chacón government appeared to be on the verge of anarchy. In December 1930, Chacón suffered a massive stroke. With Chacón incapacitated, the government wallowed in a sea of indecision until Jorge Ubico was elected president in early February 1931.

See alsoGuatemala .


Joseph A. Pitti, "Jorge Ubico and Guatemalan Politics in the 1920's" (Ph.D. diss., University of New Mexico, 1975).

Wade Kit, "Precursor of Change: Failed Reform and the Guatemalan Coffee Elite, 1918–1926" (Master's thesis, University of Saskatchewan, 1989).

Additional Bibliography

Gaitán, Héctor. Los presidentes de Guatemala: Historia y anéc-dotas. Guatemala de la Asunción: Artemis-Edinter, 2004.

                                            Wade A. Kit