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Eduardo Santos government

For the period 1938-1942 was elected president the liberal Eduardo Santos, who won
unanimously with the abstention of conservatism. Santos belonged to the moderate
sector of liberalism and his government was called "pause" because during these four
years were interrupted some of the reforms that had been taking place during the
government of Lopez Pumarejo. However, it should be noted that under its mandate the
Ministry of Labour was created aimed at regulating relations of workers with employers.
Under the banner of National Coexistence, Santos faced the consequences of World War
II. The suspension of exports to Europe affected coffee producers and banana, while
imports declined, forcing the government to adopt a protectionist policy and to stimulate
industrial development. In international relations, Santos strengthened ties with the
United States, so much so that rather than declare itself neutral in World War II, sided
with the allies and began restricting the political activities of citizens belonging to the Axis,
especially Germans.

Fall of the Liberal Republic

Although the objective of the resignation of Lopez was appeasing some political
opposition, this continued to grow. As if this were not enough, the infighting between
liberalism made the party was presented with two candidates for the presidential elections
of 1946: Gabriel Turbay, representing the government sector of the match, and Jorge
Eliecer Gaitan, representing a fraction of close liberalism on the left. Similar to what
happened in 1930 so, the Conservative Party returned to the presidency following the
division of the Liberal Party. Conservatives ascended to power amid a climate of violence
and almost universal political intransigence.

Jorge Eliecer Gaitan

"I am not a man, I'm a people." This phrase, uttered in 1947 during a speech to several
thousand people in the Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota, is perhaps the best known and
representative of this liberal politician. Gaitan was born in 1898 in Bogot, although some
claim that his real birthplace was the cundinamarquesa population of Manta. He studied
law at the National University of Colombia and later specialized in Rome (Italy). It was
House Representative, alderman, mayor of Bogota, education minister and presidential
candidate for the Liberal Party in 1946.
The leader of the people
Gaitan had among his biggest supporters to members of the working class and the middle
class. His political ideology promoted the improvement of living conditions of the urban
and rural population through education, hygiene and better wages for workers. In 1929,
when he was House Representative, he became famous for denouncing the murder of
several workers of the banana company United Fruit Company, protesting labor abuses
to which they were subjected. In 1933 he left the Liberal Party and founded the National
Union Leftist Revolutionary UNITE, but two years later the same Gaitan dissolved it to
return to the awnings of liberalism. Its closeness to the people, the great charisma and
high popularity professed earned him the rejection of the ruling elites.

Gaitan and populism

One of the ideological axes that characterized the thought of Gaitan was populism. This
current of thought posed oligarchic ideas, nationalist and anti-imperialist court. He
supported his support mainly in the lower classes, the workers and all those sectors
where national elites discriminated and kept away from power. Elites Gaitan opposed
because they believed that their thinking was close to communism and because they
believed that through his speech incited the revolution the popular classes.