Biography of Agustín Morales (1810-1872)

Military and Bolivian politician, born in La Paz on the 11 March 1808 and killed on November 27, 1872, who was President of the Republic since the year 1871 until his death.

Still teenager, joined the army and participated in the last struggles of independence and Bates of the Confederation. He alternated the participation in political life with the commercial activities. He took part in a rebellion against Belzu, which earned him a long exile in Chile, Peru and Argentina. He returned to the country under the rule of Linares and served the Governments of Acha and then the de Melgarejo, who sent him with consular to the Ecuador charge, although the true purpose was to keep it away. In 1871 he directed La Paz revolt that overthrew Melgarejo and proclaimed himself provisional President.

The people hailed Morales as a real liberator, as tired as it was already so much abuse of Melgarejo. Morales immediately convened a constituent Assembly (June 1, 1871), before which presented with all solemnity resigned the Presidency, resignation that he withdrew just twenty days later (21 June), in a speech that was an insult to the Assembly. To the climate of tension that this attitude caused, Morales was a Government that satisfied the Assembly and also reassured the people that acclaimed in the streets. Presidential elections are planned for may, 1872.

Meanwhile, he had returned to the country, Adolfo Ballivián, who met all the conditions to win the referendum. For fear of losing power, Morales hinted to Ballivián that what the country needed was a Government powerful as which it was developing, which would continue by hook or by crook; for this reason, Ballivián was appropriate to accept the mission offered to London and leave the way clear for a moral victory in the elections as well. In November of the same year, Morales was proclaimed dictator, which prepared an atmosphere of rebellion in several sectors. This further angered the mood of itself choleric, Morales, who on 27 November broke out in insults against their hostesses and closest aides. In these circumstances, his own nephew Federico La Faye, also feeling offended, he shot him at point-blank range and ended his life. The next day the Congress appointed as interim President to the then President of the State Council, Tomás Frías.

During his two short years of Government, Morales tried to reorganize the Administration and return to Indian lands that had been lost with Melgarejo, thing is that, in practice, proved impossible; also went under ports Tocopilla and La Chimba (Antofagasta), diplomatic claims were regulated, pleaded the nullity of community assets and state sales made by the previous Government and approved the creation of the Banco Nacional de Bolivia. Other measures were to move the Government to the peace and declare him owner of all inorganic non-metalliferous substances; also, was decreed freedom of education, which was thus to the push-pull of private initiative. Morales also faced with firmness and honesty, to large mining companies which came to be sometimes seen with more power than the State itself. Recognising the Government of Morales righteousness in the management of public finances and the sincere desire to return to the nation the order amid the chaos that Melgarejo left her.