Torrijos Herrera, Omar

Torrijos Herrera, Omar

(ōmär` tōrē`hōs ārā`rä), 1929–81, military leader, dictator of Panama (1968–78). As a lieutenant colonel, he led, together with Col. Boris Martínez, the coup (1968) that ousted President Arnulfo AriasArias, Arnulfo
, 1901–88, president of Panama (1940–41, 1949–51, Oct., 1968). A Harvard-trained physician, he led the coup that deposed President Florencio Harmodio Arosemena in 1931. He subsequently served in cabinet and diplomatic posts.
..... Click the link for more information.
. In 1969, he exiled Martínez, and promoted himself to brigadier general. Later that year, following a coup attempt by younger officers, he tightened his grip on the country. He instituted wide-ranging economic and social reforms, espousing birth control, expropriating land, and attacking Panama's powerful families. In Sept., 1972, an elected assembly granted Torrijos full civil and military powers for six years. He successfully negotiated new Panama Canal treaties (1977) with U.S. President Jimmy Carter that transferred the Canal Zone and ultimately the canal to Panamanian control. In 1978, he chose not to run for president, though he remained as commander of the National Guard. He died in a plane crash.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Torrijos Herrera, Omar

 

Born Feb. 13, 1929, in Santiago, Veraguas Province; died July 31, 1981. Panamanian state and military figure. Brigadier general (1969).

The son of a teacher, Torrijos graduated from a military school in El Salvador in 1951. In 1952 he began military service in the National Guard of Panama. He headed a group of anti-imperialist, nationalist officers of the National Guard who carried out a coup d’etat in October 1968; in 1969 he became commander of the National Guard.

The Constitution of 1972 declared Torrijos “the supreme leader of the Panamanian revolution.” He was head of the government from 1972 to 1978. His administration restricted the activities of foreign monopolies in the country and carried out a series of socioeconomic reforms. In 1977 the Torrijos government signed a new Panama Canal treaty with the United States that replaced the extremely restrictive, unfavorable treaty of 1903.

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