Lleras Restrepo, Carlos

Lleras Restrepo, Carlos

Lleras Restrepo, Carlos, 1908-94, president of Colombia (1966-70). The son of a well-known bacteriologist, he was a lawyer and economist who served in a number of government posts in the 1930s and 1940s. He served as leader of the Liberal party during the bloody civil war touched off by the assassination (1948) of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. He became party leader again in 1961. As president, Lleras Restrepo won acclaim by sharply reducing the rate of inflation, diversifying the country's ailing one-crop (coffee) economy, restoring the balance of payments, and instituting a land reform program. After completing his term of office he remained politically active as head of the Liberal party. He wrote numerous books on social and economic problems.

Carlos Lleras Restrepo (April 12, 1908 Bogotá - September 27, 1994, Bogotá) was an important Colombian lawyer and political figure. Carlos Lleras was the third son of the prominent physician and researcher, Dr. Federico Lleras. He went to school in La Salle Institute in Bogotá and later studied law at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He was also a member of Phi Iota Alpha. He was a cousin of Alberto Lleras Camargo, another important Colombian politician.

He became involved in politics at an early age. By the time he was 21 years old he was a member in the Directory of the Colombian Liberal Party, then in the opposition to the Conservative Party rule. In 1932, during the so called 'Liberal Republic' he was appointed General Comptroller of the country and in the late 30's he was Minister of Finance (Ministro de Hacienda) during the presidency of Eduardo Santos (1938 - 1942). Lleras served as leader of the Liberal Party many times.

He was the elected president of Colombia between 1966 and 1970. During his administration, the Colombian Institute for Agrarian Reform (INCORA) promoted the redistribution of usable land to the peasants and unemployed workers in the country, issuing more than 60,000 titles in 1968 and 1969 alone. Later he founded and produced the magazine 'Nueva Frontera'.

Married to Mrs. Cecilia de la Fuente, Carlos Lleras was the father of Clemencia (d) - mother of Senator German Vargas Lleras-, Carlos - lawyer, journalist and former Ambassador of Colombia in the USA-, Maria Ines (d) and Fernando - poet, writer and musician.

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