Biography of Leonidas Plaza Gutiérrez (1865-1832)

Military and Ecuadorian politician, born in Chaparoto (Manabi) on April 18, 1865, and died on November 17, 1932 in Huigra (Chimborazo). Somehow, marked from the political point of view the period 1912-1925, known in Ecuador as the period of the liberal plutocratic civilismo or placista. He/She held the Presidency of the Republic during the periods 1901-1905 and 1912-1916. Son of Colombian parents emigrated from barbecues to the Ecuadorian coast, small earned his life selling chicha. At age 18 he/she embraced the liberal cause and participated in the battle of Guayaquil. After the defeat of Jaramijó, he/she fled to Panama, where the life as a day laborer, earned and then played in the armies of El Salvador and Costa Rica. We find it again in his country fighting beside the Liberals in the battle of Gatazo, in the wake of which Alfaro confirmed him in the grade of general, had achieved in Costa Rica. He/She served as Governor of Loja and Azuay during the first presidency of Eloy Alfaro; He/She was also Deputy for Tungurahua (1900-1901). The estrangement between the two liberal leaders, Plaza and Alfaro, caused the division of the liberal party against the election of 1900. Elected President for the period (1901-1905), Plaza Gutiérrez dispensed with intimate partners of the previous administration of Eloy Alfaro, and rather is surrounded of the most influential of the coast and the Sierra landowners (not in vain married Avelina Lasso Ascásubi, belonging to one of the most bountiful families of the Sierra).

Managed effectively, and stood out for his educational work, thanks to his instruction Minister general Julio Andrade: established schools in Guayaquil Vicente Rocafuerte and Vicente Maldonado in Riobamba; the normal Manuela Canizares and Juan Montalvo in Quito, and the military school in the same city; He/She returned to open the school of fine arts, which had been founded by García Moreno and closed by successive Governments; applied and consolidated the large liberal reforms advocated by the alfarismo: the separation of Church and State, laws of Civil marriage, divorce and cults, confiscation of church property and the Secularization of education. The national phone company was formed and is began the Association of societies of employees workers with the society of the Working Alliance in Cuenca and Guayaquil. It said open towards rapprochement and reconciliation with conservative sectors, and led to a wide freedom of expression and the press.

During his second presidential period (1912-1916), Plaza Gutiérrez had to confront the uprising guerrilla of Colonel Carlos Concha in Esmeraldas, who sought to claim the name of Eloy Alfaro, dramatically lynched in Quito on January 28, 1912. While it is true that place responsibility in the death of the general could not be verified (precisely that day was in Manabí), yes it's true that he/she turned out to be the most benefited. Another difficulty that had to deal with was the great economic crisis, caused by the collapse of the cocoa market and the effects of the first world war. Square, in this second period, broke into the arms of the bourgeois commercial and banking sector. In fact, State, that had been freed of the Church, became dependent on the banking. If square was the axis politician that called plutocratic period (1912-1925), Guayaquil banker Francisco Urvina Jado became the financial axis. The war against the "Conchista revolution" absorbed nearly the attention of the ruler during the four years and badly harmed the economy and politics of the country. During this second tenure he/she also insisted on education, however, now supported the Minister Luis Napoleón Dillon and the German educational mission; He/She promoted the education of women with the founding of the Rita Lecumberri Normal School in Guayaquil, and the Liceo Fernández Madrid in Quito; even improved economic benefits to teachers.

International politics defined the limits with Brazil by the Treaty Tobar-Rio Branco (1904), and by the Muñoz Vernaza-Suárez Treaty with Colombia (1915). To succeed the revolution of 1925 Juliana, Plaza had to seek asylum in the Embassy of argentina, then out to a volunteer in the United States exile, until in 1929 the Government of Isidro Ayora authorized their return to the country. Three years later he/she died in a bank from the railway station of Huigra, victim perhaps of a heart attack, as he/she traveled to Guayaquil in search of relief for his broken health.