Biography of Victorino de la Plaza (1841-1919)

Lawyer and Argentine politician, born in Salta in 1840 and died in Buenos Aires in October 1919, who was President of the Republic Argentina between 1914 and 1916.


He was born in a humble family. He moved to Buenos Aires after finishing his primary studies in 1862 to study law at the University of Buenos Aires. He enlisted in the army to fight in the war of the Triple Alliance, but was forced to abandon the race of weapons because of his delicate health. He obtained the doctorate in law in 1868, the same year in which he became Secretary of Dalmacio Vélez Sársfield, with whom he collaborated in the drafting of the new Penal Code. He briefly held the post of Minister of the Interior during the Government of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento.

He obtained the Chair of philosophy at the National College in 1870. In 1871 he was commissioned to correct errors of the edition of the new Criminal Code, since it had been printed in the United States. Once this task was required by the Government so prepare along with Florentino González Bill of the jury and the Criminal Procedure, work completed successfully. It subsequently passed to play Thistle of Procurator of the national treasure.

He was appointed Minister of finance in 1876 by President Nicolás Avellaneda, since from that developed a plan to reform the financial system in Argentina; the disastrous situation of the national treasure, he negotiated a loan with the National Bank. Two years later he moved to the province of Corrientes, where he served as federal administrator.

In 1880, he obtained a seat in Parliament for Salta, his home province. In the first Government of the general Julio Roca held the portfolio of Foreign Affairs in 1882, and the of the Treasury between 1883 and 1885. President Carlos Pellegrini sent him in 1890 for the Special Mission to London in order to negotiate the foreign debt of Argentina with a Commission of major European bankers led by Lord Rothschild. President José Figueroa Alcorta returned in 1908 at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The National Union appointed him as Vice President of the candidacy to the Presidency of Roque Sáenz Peña, who was elected in 1910. The latter disease forced Victorino de la Plaza to assume the chairmanship of interim form repeatedly in 1913 and 1914. In one of these periods occurred an insurrection in the province of San Luis, in which the rebels had seized some localities, among which were La Loma. Square arranged the shipment of the national army, which put an end to the uprising. In August 1914, upon the death of the President, as it is reflected in the Constitution, he became officially the Presidency. Resigned the Cabinet in full so that square of was forced to appoint new Ministers. His Cabinet was formed by Miguel S. Ortiz indoors; José Luis Miratune in Foreign Affairs; Enrique Carbi in finance; Thomas R. Cullen in justice and public instruction; Horacio Calderon in agriculture; Manuel Moreno in public works, Ángel Allaria in war; and Juan Pablo Sáez brave in Marina. In 1915 they resigned Carbi and Cullen, and they were replaced by Francisco Olives and Carlos Saavedra.

Although he was conservative inclinations, he tried to continue with the liberal policy of Sáenz Peña, which ended with the illusions of the opposition members, who thought that it would put an end to the reforms initiated by the late President. Their main efforts were aimed at achieving the implementation of the reform marked by the new Electoral law passed in 1912, in which for the first time, universal male suffrage was established in Argentina. Voting was compulsory and secret, and were taken as electoral census lists of recruits. Thanks to this decision the radical party decided to stand for the presidential elections, in which it had not participated in recent years. Another serious concern during his term of office was to try to minimize the effects of the first world war in Argentina, a country which, by Decree of 5 August 1914, stated neutral shortly after assuming the Presidency.

The situation in which Europe was Plaza began to replace the Argentine loans in United States. He founded the National Postal savings fund, and in 1915 published a book that analyzed the situation of unemployment in the country. He opposed radically the intervention of United States in Mexico, which resulted in an open war. As a result of a mandate from the National Congress had to intervene in the province of Cajamarca, where he lived a hard confrontation between the Governor and the regional Parliament, the appointment of the representative of the region in the National Senate. The President managed to resign the Governor and the provincial Parliament is convene new elections.

He tried to create an alliance between Argentina, Brazil and Chile, Covenant which was known as the ABC block. So he signed an agreement on May 25, 1915, which provided that, in the event of disputes over boundary lines or any other matter, will come to international arbitration to reach a solution. But the project never came into force since it was not approved by the national Parliament. He called the elections of 1916, the first that were going to be held under the Electoral Act of 1912, which he won overwhelmingly the Radical Party. After the ceremony of transfer of power, he retired from political life. He died in Buenos Aires in October 1919 because of pneumonia.


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