Lleras Camargo, Alberto (1906–1990)

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Lleras Camargo, Alberto (1906–1990)

Alberto Lleras Camargo (b. 3 July 1906; d. 4 January 1990), president of Colombia (1945–1946 and 1958–1962). Born into a middle-class Bogotá family, Lleras Camargo briefly attended university but was quickly drawn into Liberal journalism and politics. Elected to Congress in 1930, he became the youngest interior minister in Colombian history during the first term of Alfonso López Pumarejo (1934–1938). In López's troubled second term (1942–1945), Lleras was ambassador to the United States; he completed López's term upon the latter's resignation in July 1945, a period of severe political and labor unrest. He served as secretary general of the Organization of American States (1948–1954) and rector of the University of the Andes in Bogotá (1954). In 1956–1957 he negotiated with exiled Conservative leader Laureano Gómez the agreements that formed the basis for the bipartisan National Front; in May 1958 he was elected president under that agreement. Lleras's regime faced serious problems of pacification and rehabilitation after more than a decade of violence; the western department of Caldas, plagued by murderous bandoleros, proved especially intractable. Reform projects inspired by the Alliance for Progress, such as a 1961 Agrarian Reform Law, produced indifferent results. After leaving office, Lleras edited the magazine Visión; in 1978 he retired from public life, though not before expressing dissatisfaction with the Liberal leadership of the late 1970s.

See alsoColombia, Political Parties: Liberal Party; Organization of American States (OAS).


Ignacio Arizmendi Posada, Presidentes de Colombia, 1810–1990 (1990), pp. 245-248.

Robert H. Dix, Colombia: The Political Dimensions of Change (1967).

John Martz, Colombia: A Contemporary Political Survey (1962).

Additional Bibliography

Téllez, Edgar, and Alvaro Sánchez. Ruidos de sables. Bogota: Planeta, 2003.

Villar Borda, Leopoldo. Alberto Lleras: El último republicano. Bogota: Planeta, 1997.

                                       Richard J. Stoller