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Gabriel París Gordillo
Interim President of Colombia as Chairman of the Colombian Military Junta

In office
May 10, 1957 – August 7, 1958
Preceded by Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Succeeded by Alberto Lleras Camargo
Minister of War

In office
August 7, 1954 – May 10, 1957
President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Preceded by Gustavo Berrío Muñoz
Succeeded by Alfonso Saiz Montoya
Minister of Justice

In office
February 9, 1954 – August 7, 1954
President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Preceded by Antonio Escobar Camargo
Succeeded by Luis Caro Escallón
Personal details
Born (1910-03-08)March 8, 1910
Ibagué, Tolima, Colombia
Died March 21, 2008(2008-03-21) (aged 98)
Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Resting place Central Cemetery of Bogotá
Nationality Colombian
Spouse(s) María Felisa Quevedo París (1911-1994)
Children Gabriel París Quevedo, Jaime París Quevedo, Gloria París Quevedo and Carolina París Quevedo
Residence Ranch El Recreo, Flandes, Tolima, Colombia
Alma mater Escuela Militar de Cadetes 'José María Córdova', Command and General Staff College
Occupation Soldier (General), politician
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Allegiance Colombia
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1928–1958
Rank General
Battles/wars Colombia-Peru War
Awards Order of Boyacá Order of José Acevedo y Gómez

Gabriel París Gordillo (March 8, 1910 – March 21, 2008) was President of Colombia from May 1957 to August 1958 as Chairman of the Colombian Military Junta Government following the 1957 Coup d'état.

Biographic data

General Gabriel París was born in Ibagué, Tolima, on March 8, 1910.[1]

Early years

Gabriel París studied at the Colegio San Simón in Ibagué, Department of Tolima. After graduating París enlisted in the Colombian Army studying at the Gr. José María Córdova Academy in 1928 and becoming a lieutenant for the cavalry later on December 11, 1929 assigned to Grupo No. 1 Páez, unit in which he spent most of his career.

War with Peru

As a lieutenant, París participated in the Colombia-Peru War in 1933 at the línea Baraya-La Tagua war front. For being an excellent officer París was assigned a horse trainer at the ‘Gr. José María Córdova' Academy.

Promotions as officer

Gabriel París was promoted to Major in 1941 at the Colombia Superior School of War. In 1941 was later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was sent to study in Fort Leavenworth, United States. He was later assigned trainer at the Colombian Superior School of War and Chief of the Mounted and Veterinary. In 1949 was assigned commander of the Grupo N° 2 Rondón unit and in 1950, Chief of the Second Brigade, based in Barranquilla. He was later assigned commander of the Fourth Brigade, based in Medellín.

Under Rojas Pinillas rule

During the government of President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, París was appointed to many public office posts.

General of the Army

París was promoted to Brigadier General on February 28, 1953 and assigned commander of the Colombian Army. On June 27 of this same year París was appointed alternative representative of Colombia in the disarmament commission of the UN Security Council acting as ambassador of Colombia to the United Nations.


París was appointed Minister of Justice on February 9, 1954 and later on August 7 appointed as Minister of War. He also managed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs temporarily. París occupied the presidency of Colombia temporarily while General Rojas Pinilla visited Ecuador between July 30 and August 2 in 1955. On February 29, 1956 París was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Military Junta

Civil unrest and, political upheaval and public discontent had turned the country into chaos. Angry and violent street demonstrations and a general strike on May 10, 1957, brought down the government of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. At the age of 47 years, General París was selected by General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla to precede the Military Junta set to replace himself. General París assumed the Presidency on May 10, 1957, along with two other Generals of the Army, Luis E. Ordóñez Castillo and Rafael Navas Pardo, a General from the National Police Deogracias Fonseca Espinosa and rear Admiral of the Colombian National Armada Rubén Piedrahíta Arango. General París was elected as Chairman of the Junta, and as such, became “Presidente de la República”.

The other four members of the Junta received the same title. The first decrees of the Junta were to restore peace and order, freedom of speech and association, freedom of the press, adherence to the Constitution and calling for a presidential election as soon as possible. In order to ease tensions, the Junta also appointed as Ministers of the presidential cabinet highly reputed members of both political parties.Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 228, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983 Besides restoring peace and order, the Junta’s main concern was the economy. The nation had a huge fiscal deficit, the trade deficit was exorbitant and the national debt had surpassed the $500 million dollars.

This situation had caused a very high unemployment and triggered a recession, which was turning into a depression. In order to address this urgent matter, the Junta created an economic and financial task force, preside by Alfonso López Pumarejo and Mariano Ospina Pérez. Both leaders were commissioned and set to the United States of America as a national mission to secure an emergency loan of $103 million dollars to stimulate the economy, pay some foreign debt and invigorate the employment scenario. This mission was also to discuss and negotiate a price agreement for coffee, as the export of this commodity was essential to the trade balance of Colombia. The commission also promoted the advancement of technical educational and created the "Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje" (SENA).

Regarding international trade and commerce, the administration of General París and the Junta, implemented the "Plan Vallejo" which was designed to promote and stimulate exports and to reduce unnecessary imports. The Junta also encouraged foreign private investment and eased monetary operations and exchange rates. General París and the Junta initiated international negotiations with major world producing countries to establish what would be known as the “Pacto Mundial” (world accord). In the political front, in order to honor the agreements of the "Treaty of Sitges”, the Junta would call a general election.

The treaty, signed by former presidents Laureano Gómez and Alberto Lleras Camargo in June, 1957, prescribed for the Junta to hold a general election on December 1, of that same year, as a national plebiscite to legitimize the National Front.

End of Military Junta

On May 4, 1958 popular elections took place to replace the Military Junta and transition once again into a democracy. Alberto Lleras resulted elected as the first president of the National Front. General París retired from active service and inaugurated Lleras as president of Colombia on August 7, 1958. París Gordillo dedicated to his private life affairs.


In 1996 París was decorated by the Municipal Council of Bogotá in the 150th anniversary of the installation of the Simón Bolívar statue at the Plaza Mayor. The statue was donated by París's great grandfather don José Ignacio París Ricaurte. In 2000 was honorary promoted to three suns general by then president of Colombia, Andrés Pastrana. In 2002 París attended the inauguration of Álvaro Uribe as president of Colombia.

Personal life

On 28 September 1936, Gabriel París married María Felisa Quevedo París (his cousin) (11 May 1911 – 17 June 1994), and had four children: Gabriel, Jaime, Gloria and Ligia Carolina París Quevedo. He lived his last days at a ranch named ‘El Recreo' in a vereda named El Topacio in Flandes. At the age of 98 years was the last survivor of the military junta and the eldest former president of Colombia.

External links


  1. Gobernantes Colombianos, Ignacio Arismendi Posada, Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición, Page 227, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983
Government offices
Preceded by
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
President of Colombia
(Colombian Military Junta)

Succeeded by
Alberto Lleras Camargo

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