War of Four Days

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War of Four Days

War of Four Days, a struggle beginning 29 August 1932 in Quito that resulted from the congressional disqualification of president-elect Neptalí Bonifaz Ascasubi. Bonifaz, previously the first president of the Banco Central, in 1931 won Ecuador's first free election in nearly forty years. In the inevitable post election maneuvering, Congress voted to disqualify Bonifaz on the grounds that he had been born on foreign soil. The son of a Peruvian diplomat and Ecuadorian mother, he was born at the Peruvian Embassy in Quito, technically foreign territory. More to the point, however, Bonifaz had until age forty-six listed his citizenship as Peruvian. A bitter military clash over the presidency erupted, with fighting in and around Quito. Four battalions from the Quito garrison supported Bonifaz, defending against attacks from General Ángel Isaac Chiriboga Navarro and Colonel Carlos Salazar. Quito suffered four days and nights of fierce combat during which the city went without light, water, and food. Fighting raged from house to house, with sharp exchanges of artillery fire in residential neighborhoods. The anti-Bonifaz provincial units prevailed by 1 September 1932, but only after at least 200 people had been killed.

See alsoBonifaz Ascasubi, Neptalí .


David W. Schodt, Ecuador: An Andean Enigma (1987), provides a summary treatment of Ecuadorian political economy. Osvaldo Hurtado's Political Power in Ecuador, translated by Nick D. Mills, Jr. (1985), offers an interpretive analysis. John D. Martz, Ecuador: Conflicting Political Culture and the Quest for Progress (1972), and George I. Blanksten, Ecuador: Constitutions and Caudillos (1964), provide accounts of the political context.

Additional Bibliography

Sampedro Villafuerte, Arturo. De Flores a Mahuah: 170 años de pobre democracia. Ecuador: Editorial J. Cárdenas G., 2000.

                                            Ronn F. Pineo