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Uribe Uribe, Rafael (1859–1914)

Uribe Uribe, Rafael (1859–1914)

Rafael Uribe Uribe (b. 12 April 1859; d. 15 October 1914), Colombian political caudillo, one of the leaders of the Liberal Party between 1880 and his assassination in 1914. Born on an estate in Antioquia, Uribe was the son of a wealthy landowner. He was educated at the Colegio del Estado (the present-day University of Antioquia).

Due to the singular nature of Colombian politics, Uribe was a political leader who had to do double duty as a military leader, like many others of his generation, in the all-too-frequent civil wars between Liberals and Conservatives. He participated in the civil wars of 1876, 1885, 1895, and 1899.

A charismatic caudillo, he never reached the presidency of the nation because he attained political leadership when the Liberal Party had been displaced by a coalition dominated by the Conservative Party; this group established a hegemony over the country until 1930. Uribe and the rest of the Liberal leadership had to labor under political persecution and even exile, a situation that eventually led to the most traumatic of civil wars, the War of the Thousand Days (1899–1902).

As an ideological leader, Uribe is reputed to have been instrumental in a major ideological shift of his party after 1904, when, in the short article "Socialismo de Estado," he exhorted the Liberals to move away from laissez-faire economics and espoused state intervention in economic and social welfare. His platform is reminiscent of the measures then being implemented in Uruguay by President José Batlle y Ordóñez (1903–1907), rather than the socialism his enemies accused him of. However, in the Colombia of the 1900s, it was considered subversive to ask the wealthy to pay taxes.

See alsoCaudillismo, Caudillo .


Charles W. Bergquist, Coffee and Conflict in Colombia, 1886–1910 (1978).

Helen Delpar, Red Against Blue: The Liberal Party in Colombian Politics, 1863–1899 (1979).

Gerardo Molina, Las ideas liberals en Colombia, 1849–1914 (1970).

Eduardo Santa, Rafael Uribe Uribe (1974).

Additional Bibliography

Toro Sánchez, Edgar. El liderazgo de Rafael Uribe Uribe y la modernización de la nación y el estado. Bogotá: Teleobjetivo Editores, 2000.

Villalba Bustillo, Carlos. Las dos repúblicas liberals. Barranquilla, Colombia: Antillas, 2004.

                                       JosÉ Escorcia

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