Santos, Eduardo (1888–1974)

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Santos, Eduardo (1888–1974)

Eduardo Santos was president of Colombia from 1938 to 1942. A lawyer by training, Santos entered Liberal politics through journalism; in the 1920s he built Bogotá's El Tiempo, which he owned and directed, into one of the continent's most important newspapers and a force in the Liberal Party. In 1938 he succeeded Alfonso López Pumarejo in the presidency, abandoning his predecessor's vocal reformism but laying the institutional basis for much of Colombia's modern economic structure. The Industrial Development Institute, the Municipal Development Institute, and the Territorial Credit Institute, among others, were created during his administration.

During World War II Santos was among the most pro-U.S. leaders of Latin America, for which he was attacked by the pro-Axis Conservative leader Laureano Gómez. During his administration the Conservatives returned to Congress after four years' absence, and political life was relatively normal. Santos's battles to publish El Tiempo during the military regime of the mid-1950s attracted world attention, and the newspaper's editorials carried enormous weight as an expression of elite opinion during the bipartisan National Front years (1958–1974) and thereafter. The newspaper has remained in Santos's extended family, and in the early twenty-first century it is the heart of a large media group, the Casa Editorial El Tiempo (CEET), with a variety of print and online publications. For several decades family members involved with the newspaper declined government appointments, but in 2002 Francisco Santos was elected vice president as the running mate of Álvaro Uribe, to the rumored consternation of many in the family.

See alsoColombia: Since Independence; Gómez Castro, Laureano.


Bushnell, David. Eduardo Santos and the Good Neighbor, 1938–1942. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967.

Dix, Robert. Colombia: The Political Dimensions of Change. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967.

                                        Richard Stoller

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Santos, Eduardo (1888–1974)

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