Guardia Navarro, Ernesto De La (1904–1983)

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Guardia Navarro, Ernesto De La (1904–1983)

Ernesto De La Guardia Navarro (b. 30 May 1904; d. 2 May 1983), president of Panama (1956–1960). Born in Panama City, Guardia Navarro, a conservative businessman with a degree from Dartmouth, was the first Panamanian president since World War II to complete his term in office. Elected to the presidency in 1956 as a candidate of the National Patriotic Coalition, he furthered programs begun by President José Antonio Remón Cantera (1952–1955). He created a minimum wage, sponsored housing projects, undertook minor educational reforms, and lowered unemployment levels. In 1958 he began negotiations with U.S. President Eisenhower over the fine points of the Eisenhower-Remón Treaty, seeking an equal status for the Spanish language and the Panamanian flag in the Canal Zone.

In April 1959 a group of Cubans intending to overthrow Guardia Navarro's government landed in Colón. The conflict was quickly resolved and the invaders deported. In November of the same year, violence erupted when protesters marched into the Canal Zone carrying Panamanian flags. Eisenhower conceded, and the Panamanian flag was raised in the zone. In 1960, Guardia Navarro's term ended peacefully with the election of a member of the opposition.

See alsoEisenhower-Remón Treaty (1955); Panama Canal, Flag Riots.


Manuel María Alba C., Cronología de los gobernantes de Panamá, 1510–1967 (1967), pp. 360-364.

Ernesto J. Castillero R., Historia de Panamá (1982), pp. 267-270.

Additional Bibliography

Tack, Juan Antonio. Ilusiones y realidades en las negociaciones con los Estados Unidos de América. Panamá: Manfer, 1995.

                                            Sara Fleming