Doctor Manuel Enrique Araujo (12 October 1865 – 9 February 1913) was a Salvadoran politician and physician who served as president of El Salvador from 1 March 1911 until his death on 9 February 1913 to his injuries sustained in an assassination attempt five days prior. Araujo is the only Salvadoran president to have been assassinated while in office.

Manuel Enrique Araujo
21st President of El Salvador
In office
1 March 1911 – 9 February 1913
Vice PresidentOnofre Durán Santillana
Preceded byFernando Figueroa
Succeeded byCarlos Meléndez (provisional)
16th Vice President of El Salvador
In office
1 March 1907 – 1 March 1911
PresidentFernando Figueroa
Preceded byCalixto Velado Eduardo
Succeeded byOnofre Durán Santillana
Mayor of San Salvador
In office
Personal details
Born12 October 1865
Estanzuelas, El Salvador
Died9 February 1913(1913-02-09) (aged 47)
San Salvador, El Salvador
Manner of deathAssassination (stab wounds)
Political partyIndependent
Hortensia Peralta Lagos
(m. 1887)
Alma materUniversity of El Salvador
OccupationPolitician, physician

Araujo studied medicine at the University of El Salvador and in Europe. He practiced medicine during the 1890s and 1900s, specializing in surgery. From 1880 to 1889, Araujo served as the mayor of San Salvador. In 1907, he was elected as Fernando Figueroa's vice president, serving from 1907 to 1911.

In 1911, Araujo was elected president in an election rigged in his favor. He was the first civilian president since Rafael Zaldívar was deposed by the military in 1885. During his presidency, Araujo established the National Guard, began the construction of the National Theater, implemented labor and tax reforms, and planned to implement further reforms.

On 4 February 1913, Araujo was attacked in San Salvador with machetes and a revolver. He survived the initial attack but died to his injuries five days later on 9 February 1913. The motives for his assassination were never determined. Araujo was succeeded by Carlos Meléndez who assumed the presidency in a provisional capacity. Meléndez and his family eventually formed a political dynasty which ruled El Salvador until 1927.

Early life edit

Manuel Enrique Araujo was born on 12 October 1865[1] in Hacienda Condadillo, Estanzuelas in the department of Usulután, El Salvador.[2] His parents were Manuel Enrique Araujo and Juana Rodríguez de Araujo;[1] his father was Basque and his mother was Portuguese.[3] Araujo was baptized on 22 September 1865 in the church of Tecapa (modern day Alegría), and his godfather was Carlos Gutiérrez.[1] Araujo was the youngest of eight siblings; his siblings were: Ramón, Miguel, Rosendo, Fernando, Jesús, Mercedes, and Fidelia.[4]

Araujo studied medicine at the University of El Salvador, where he obtained a doctorate in pharmacy. After graduating, Araujo continued his studies in Paris and Vienna.[4] Araujo specialized in surgery[1] and actively practiced medicine during the 1890s and 1900s, performing surgeries on prostate glands and eye tumors.[3]

Early political career edit

Araujo served as the mayor of San Salvador from 1880 to 1889.[4]

In January 1907, Araujo was elected as vice president of El Salvador, winning 146,298 votes (95.47 percent) and served under President Fernando Figueroa.[5] He assumed office on 1 March 1907.[6]

Araujo ran for president in the 1911 election.[6] Araujo did not want to select his brother Rosendo as his running mate as the Legislative Assembly wanted, stating that he did not want to portray himself as establishing a political dynasty. Instead, Araujo selected Onofre Durán Santillana as his running mate. Figueroa supported Araujo's campaign,[7] but was concerned that Guatemalan President Manuel Estrada Cabrera would plot to overthrow Araujo if he did not appoint Prudencio Alfaro, a Salvadoran exile who served as vice president from 1895 to 1898, as his minister of war.[6] While Araujo lacked the support of the military, he did have the support of the Salvadoran people.[7] Araujo's opponents were Doctor Esteban Castro[8] and General Luis Alonso Barahona,[7] who had previously run for president in 1907.[5] Araujo won the 1911 election with 182,964 votes; the number votes received by Castro and Barahona is unknown.[9] The election was heavily rigged in favor of Araujo, and according to White, "opponents were allowed to participate but not allowed to win".[6]

Presidency edit

A bust of Araujo located in Usulután.

On 1 March 1911, Araujo and Durán assumed office as president and vice president, respectively.[10] Araujo was the first civilian to assume the presidency since Rafael Zaldívar was deposed by the military on 14 May 1885.[11] Araujo's cabinet consisted of Doctor Teodosio Carranza as the minister of government, Rafael Guirola as the minister of external relations, and General José María Peralta Lagos (Araujo's brother-in-law) as the minister of war.[12]

Araujo sought to implement reforms during his presidency. He passed the Work Accidents Law which mandated that the state and employers would share responsibility in compensating workers who were disabled in work accidents, or their families if the worker was killed, however, the law did not apply to rural laborers. Araujo restructured the country's tax system to be able to directly tax capital or property. Araujo also planned to implement an agrarian reform, establish free medical centers in rural areas, and establish mounts of piety to lend money at low interest rates. These three reforms were discussed by Araujo in an interview with Alberto Masferrer of the Diario del Salvador newspaper titled "The New Ideas in the Government" ("Las Nuevas Ideas en el Gobierno"), however, these reforms were never implemented.[10]

In 1911, Araujo began construction of the National Theater in San Salvador. In commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the 1811 Independence Movement, Araujo inaugurated the Monument to the Heroes of 1811 in the Libertad Plaza.[4] The current national flag and coat of arms were adopted in 1912.[13] Araujo permitted Alfaro to return to the country after being in exile since his defeat in the War of 1907.[14] In June 1912, Araujo formed the National Guard and the Rural Patrols to serve as rural police forces. Both were funded by rural landowners and were used to collect military intelligence and repress laborers who criticized the government or the economic system.[15] The National Guard was modeled off the Spanish Civil Guard, and Spanish military officers were hired to train the National Guard.[6]

The United States was critical of Araujo's government for not adhering to the United States' "idealized dream" of democracy.[6] Araujo was critical of the United States' occupation of Nicaragua; U.S. President William Howard Taft sent a letter to Araujo criticizing his position on the occupation, to which Araujo responded by saying that El Salvador could determine its own foreign policy, adding "I do not obey anyone's orders" ("no obedezco órdenes de nadie").[4]

Assassination edit

A commemorative plaque installed in 2013 at the location Araujo was attacked in 1913.

On 4 February 1913, Araujo attended a concert at the Bolívar Park (today the Gerardo Barrios Plaza) in San Salvador. Araujo attended the concert alone, without a security escort as was typical for him.[7] At 8:30 p.m.,[3] while Araujo was sitting on a park bench with a nephew and two friends, three men attacked Araujo with machetes and a revolver. Araujo was shot once in the left shoulder and stabbed five times, one of which struck his brain. Araujo's friends rushed him to a pharmacy where he lost consciousness due to massive blood loss. Although seriously injured, Araujo regained consciousness and was able walk and speak. On 9 February 1913, eleven doctors operated on Araujo to remove bone splinters from his face, but his injuries had become infected. Araujo fell into a coma and died at 4 p.m., but not before receiving an anointing from Antonio Adolfo Pérez y Aguilar, the bishop of San Salvador.[4] Before his death, Araujo reportedly forgave the men who attacked him.[7]

Three indigenous farmers—Mulatillo Virgilio, Fabián Graciano, and Fermín Pérez—were arrested for their involvement in Araujo's assassination. Although their motive was never determined, the three men identified Major Fernando Carmona as the mastermind of the assassination.[16] Carmona was arrested, but before he could testify, he committed suicide in prison by shooting himself with a gun. On 19 February 1913, Virgilio, Graciano, and Pérez were executed by firing squad.[4] Alfaro, who was also accused of being involved in the assassination, fled the country and would not return until 1915.[14] Rumors also claimed that the American, Guatemalan, and Honduran governments were responsible for the assassination, but no proof substantiated the rumors.[4][6][16]

Legacy edit

A portrait of Araujo in the National Palace.

On 9 February 1913, the Legislative Assembly declared 30 days of mourning. Araujo lay in state in the National Palace and the San Salvador Cathedral from 10 to 12 February 1913.[3] Araujo's funeral was held the on 12 February 1913, and a reported 15,000 people attended.[16] He is buried in the Cemetery of Distinguished Citizens.[4] The Monument to the Divine Savior of the World, located in San Salvador, was built on top of a pedestal that was originally used to decorate Araujo's tomb. The statue of Jesus on top of the monument was donated by Araujo's family and the monument was unveiled on 26 November 1942.[17] A street, Alameda Manuel Enrique Araujo, is named after him in San Salvador.[18]

Prior to Araujo's assassination, Durán resigned from the vice presidency. As a result, Araujo was succeeded by Carlos Meléndez, who Araujo named as the first designate.[6] Meléndez assumed the presidency in a provisional capacity.[19] Araujo's death led to the formation of a political dynasty which would rule El Salvador until 1927.[20] Araujo is the only Salvadoran president to have been assassinated while in office.[16]

Personal life edit

Araujo married María Hortensia Peralta Lagos in 1887.[1] Peralta was a daughter of José María Peralta, who served as the acting president of El Salvador in 1859. The couple had one daughter, Conchita Araujo Peralta.[4]

Electoral history edit

Year Office Type Party Main opponent Party Votes for Araujo Result Swing
Total % P. ±%
1907 Vice President of El Salvador General Ind. José Miguel Batres Mil. 146,298 95.47 1st N/A Won Gain
1911 President of El Salvador General Ind. Luis Alfonso Barahona Mil. 182,964 ? 1st N/A Won Gain

See also edit

References edit

Citations edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Presidentes de El Salvador – Doctor Manuel Enrique Araujo" [Presidents of El Salvador – Doctor Manuel Enrique Araujo]. Government of El Salvador (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Estanzuelas". Fondo de Inversión Social para el Desarollo Local (in Spanish). 26 September 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Grant, Stephen H. (24 May 2022). "Assassinated on a Park Bench in 1913, Sitting President of El Salvador, Dr. Manuel Araujo". Stephen H. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kuny Mena, Enrique (11 May 2003). "A 90 Años del Magnicidio de Doctor Manuel Enrique Araujo" [90 Years After the Assassination of Doctor Manuel Enrique Araujo]. El Diario de Hoy (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Cuadro Demonstrativo de los Votos Emitidos para Presidente y Vice Presidente de la República en el Período de 1907 a 1911" [Demonstrative Table of the Votes Cast for President and Vice President of the Republic for the Period of 1907 to 1911] (PDF). Diario Oficial (in Spanish). Vol. 62, no. 48. 26 February 1907. p. 354. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Elections and Events 1900–1934". University of California, San Diego. San Diego, California. Archived from the original on 23 March 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e Trabanino, J. Guillermo. "El Presidente Mártir" [The Martyr President]. El Diario de Hoy (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  8. ^ Vidal 1969, p. 357.
  9. ^ "Elecciones de Autoridades Supremas" [Elections of the Supreme Authorities] (PDF). Diario Oficial (in Spanish). Vol. 70, no. 10. 12 January 1911. p. 105. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  10. ^ a b Bernal Ramírez & Quijano de Batres 2009, p. 54.
  11. ^ Bernal Ramírez & Quijano de Batres 2009, p. 36.
  12. ^ Vidal 1969, p. 358.
  13. ^ Bernal Ramírez & Quijano de Batres 2009, p. 87.
  14. ^ a b Zepeda Peña 2006, p. 142.
  15. ^ Ladutke 2015, pp. 19–20.
  16. ^ a b c d "Manuel Enrique Araujo, el Único Presidente Asesinado en la Historia de El Salvador" [Manuel Enrique Araujo, the Only Assassinated President in the History of El Salvador]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 4 February 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  17. ^ "Historia "Ciudad de San Salvador"" ["History "City of San Salvador"]. Municipal Government of San Salvador (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  18. ^ "Alameda Manuel Enrique Araujo, San Salvador, El Salvador". Find Latitude and Longitude. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  19. ^ "Presidentes de El Salvador – Don Carlos Melendez" [Presidents of El Salvador – Don Carlos Melendez]. Government of El Salvador (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  20. ^ Bernal Ramírez & Quijano de Batres 2009, p. 55.

Bibliography edit

External links edit

Political offices
Preceded by Vice President of El Salvador
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of El Salvador
Succeeded by
Carlos Meléndez