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Rodríguez Lara, Guillermo (1923–1988)

Rodríguez Lara, Guillermo (1923–1988)

Guillermo Rodríguez Lara (b. 4 November 1923; d. 1988), president of Ecuador (1972–1976). Born of a modest family in the provincial town of Pujilí, Rodríguez Lara became a career army officer; his training included study at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as military courses in Argentina and Colombia. During thirty-three years of service he rose to become director of the Army War Academy and eventually commanding general of the army in April of 1971. When a series of events provoked the ouster of José María Velasco Ibarra on 15 February 1972, Rodríguez Lara became head of the new, self-styled "national revolutionary government."

At the outset of his administration, an explicit program for socioeconomic reform and modernization was outlined, but the military leadership was somewhat ambivalent. Traditionalists fought to block agrarian and tax reforms while opposing a nationalistic policy toward the new petroleum industry. Other officers fought for such measures, while Rodríguez Lara sought with increasing difficulty to maintain a position of compromise. Not a persuasive or crowd-pleasing personality, he lacked a popular movement of his own. In September 1975 an uprising by rightist officers was put down, but Rodríguez's position had been fatally damaged. He was forced to resign on 11 January 1976 and was succeeded by a three-man military junta that eventually returned Ecuador to elected government. Rodríguez Lara retired to his farm outside Pujilí and lived there quietly until his death.

See alsoEcuador: Since 1830 .


John Samuel Fitch, The Military Coup d'état as a Political Process: Ecuador, 1948–1966 (1977).

John D. Martz, The Military in Ecuador: Policies and Politics of Authoritarian Rule (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Febres Cordero, Francisco. De Flores a flores y miel. Quito: Ojo de Pez, 1996.

Jaramillo Palacio, José María. Velasco Ibarra: Presidente idealista: Medio siglo de história en el Ecuador, 1930–1980. Quito: Delta, 1995.

                                        John D. Martz

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