Smoldering Colombia

August 4, 1965

Report Outline
Strains on Colombia's Coalition System
Colombian Politics Since Independence
I.S. Support of Development Programs

Strains on Colombia's Coalition System

A unique experiment in coalition government, devised in 1957 in Colombia as a substitute for military dictatorship, faces a new and perhaps critical testing period. Various political leaders and factions are already jockeying for position in congressional elections scheduled to take place next March and presidential balloting due in May. In the meantime, the government of President Guillermo Leon Valencia appears unable to administer effectively the national affairs of the land that is called the gateway to South America. Valencia is confronted by a large budget deficit and lagging economic growth, by difficulties within his cabinet, and by outbreaks of violence in both urban and rural areas of the country.

Plan For Party Sharing of Government Power

President Valencia, a member of the Conservative Party of Colombia, was chosen to lead the nation three years ago largely because his party and the opposition Liberal Party believed he would do little to alter the status quo. Under the coalition agreement entered into in 1957, the two parties share governmental power. Both the Senate and the National Assembly are divided equally between the parties, as are cabinet portfolios; the presidency alternates between a Liberal and a Conservative.

Alberto Lleras Camargo, a Liberal leader and one of South America's most prominent statesmen, was the first President to take ofiice under this arrangement, governing from 1958 to 1962. At the end of Lleras Camargo's term, Liberal leaders supported Valencia because they believed him to be the only Conservative who would agree to return the presidency to the Liberals in 1966. The coalition agreement provides for joint rule until the elections of 1974.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Jul. 19, 1967  Guerrilla Movements in Latin America
Dec. 28, 1966  Militarism in Latin America
Oct. 20, 1965  Common Market for Latin America
Aug. 04, 1965  Smoldering Colombia
Jun. 23, 1965  Inter-American Peacekeeping
Dec. 11, 1963  Progress of the Alianza
Oct. 05, 1962  Arms Aid to Latin America
Dec. 13, 1961  Land and Tax Reform in Latin America
Jul. 26, 1961  Commodity Agreements for Latin America
Jan. 11, 1961  Revolution in the Western Hemisphere
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Jan. 13, 1960  Expropriation in Latin America
Jul. 02, 1958  Economic Relations with Latin America
Mar. 02, 1954  Communism in Latin America
Jun. 20, 1952  Political Unrest in Latin America
Sep. 18, 1950  War Aid from Latin America
Oct. 31, 1947  Arming the Americas
Jul. 24, 1946  Inter-American Security
Jan. 02, 1942  Latin America and the War
Jul. 10, 1941  Export Surpluses and Import Needs of South America
Jun. 04, 1941  Economic Defense of Latin America
Jun. 25, 1940  Politics in Mexico
Nov. 01, 1939  Pan American Political Relations
Oct. 10, 1939  United States Trade with Latin America
Apr. 07, 1938  Protection of American Interests in Mexico
Mar. 04, 1936  Peace Machinery in the Americas
Sep. 27, 1933  Trade Relations with Latin America
Oct. 16, 1928  Pan American Arbitration Conference
Jan. 12, 1928  The Sixth Pan American Conference
Jan. 10, 1927  American Policy in Nicaragua
Dec. 27, 1926  Relations Between Mexico and the United States
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean