Rojas Pinilla, Gustavo

Rojas Pinilla, Gustavo

(go͞ostä`vō rō`häs pēnē`yä), 1900–1975, president of Colombia (1953–57). As head of the armed forces he led the coup that ousted President Laureano Gómez in 1953. He ruled as a dictator, brutally suppressing all opposition. His attempted fiscal reforms failed, and his administration was riddled with corruption. In 1957 he was deposed by a military junta backed by both liberals and conservatives. He and his daughter, María Eugenia Rojas de Moreno (a senator), subsequently organized the National Popular Alliance, a political party with broad support among the urban poor. He ran for president in 1970, losing by only 1 1-2% of the vote. Ill health forced his retirement in 1973. His daughter ran unsuccessfully for president in 1974.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rojas Pinilla, Gustavo

 

Born Mar. 12, 1900, in Tunja, Boyacá Department; died Jan. 17, 1975, in Bogotá. Colombian state and political figure; general.

Rojas Pinilla was minister of communications in 1949 and commander in chief of the Colombian armed forces from 1950 to 1953. In 1953 he led a coup d’etat and, after becoming president, established a dictatorial regime. Following policies opposed to the interests of the people, Rojas Pinilla outlawed the Communist Party in 1954, began military operations against those areas where peasants lived and communists had great influence, and intensified the repression of the students. In 1957 he was overthrown and fled the country. Returning in the early 1960s, Rojas Pinilla founded a nationalist opposition movement, which later became the National Popular Alliance.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.