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López Michelsen, Alfonso (1913–2007)

López Michelsen, Alfonso (1913–2007)

Alfonso López Michelsen was president of Colombia from 1974 to 1978. Born on June 30, 1913, the son of Alfonso López Pumarejo (president 1934–1938 and 1942–1945), López Michelsen was educated in Bogotá, the United States, and Europe, and received his law degree in 1936. In 1958 he organized the leftist Liberal Revolutionary Movement (MRL) in opposition to the bipartisan National Front. A decade later López rejoined the official Liberal fold, becoming governor of Cesar Department in 1967, and later foreign minister. In 1974 he won the first post-Front presidential election; his program included a series of fiscal reforms and an opening to the nonviolent left. Growing popular discontent fueled by rising inflation turned violent in the general strike of September 1977. The resurgence of guerrilla activity led López, once a critic of emergency powers, to impose a state of siege in June 1975. Running again in 1982, López was defeated by the Conservative Belisario Betancur Cuartas. López's writings include Cuestiones colombianas (1955); the novel Los elegidos (1953); Colombia en la hora cero (1963), which he co-authored with Indalecio Liévano Aguirre; and his reflections on Colombia, Visiones del siglo XX colombiano a través de sus protagonistas ya muertos (2003). He died of a heart attack in Bogotá on July 11, 2007.

See alsoColombia, Political Parties: Liberal Party .


Hernando Gómez Buendía, Alfonso López Michelsen (1978).

Ignacio Arizmendi Posada, Presidentes de Colombia, 1810–1990 (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Tirado, Thomas C. Alfonso López Pumarejo, el conciliador. Bogotá: Planeta, 1986.

                                   Richard J. Stoller

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