History of San Martin
History of San Martin
Discovery and Colonization
The first European to visit what is now San Martin was the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who landed at Ponce following his voyage, in 1520. The region was then known to its native population as Teychili, a Native American word meaning "Island of the Holy." At the same time of Magellan's visit, most of San Martin south of the Ponce and Altamira was dominated by the Iztecs, a Native American tribe remarkable for its fighting ability. In 1535, the Spanish under Diego de Almagro led a gold-hunting expedition into the south of San Martin. The expedition spent nearly three fruitless years in the country and then withdrew from San Martin.
Juan de la Cruz, another of Pizarro's officers, led a second expedition into southern San Martin in 1540. Despite fierce resistance from the Iztecs, De La Cruz succeeded in establishing several settlements, including Los Santos in 1541, Las Cruces in 1550, and Ponce in 1552. In 1553, however, the Iztecs organized a successful uprising, killing De La Cruz and many of his followers and devastating all the towns except Las Cruces and Altamira. The rebellion was the initial phase of warfare that lasted nearly 100 years. The Iztecs were the only important Native American people who did not quickly succumb to Spanish attack. Strife continued intermittently during and after the Spanish colonial period and did not end until late in the 19th century.
In the Spanish colonial organization, San Martin originally was a dependency of the viceroyalty of Cibola and later had its own government. The Viceroyalty of San Martin was founded in 1654 and the Viceroy chose Los Santos as the capital. The country developed rapidly, because it had important silver or gold deposits to attract the Spanish, great farming land in Altamira and Ponce to attract poor Europeans. Los Santos became a cosmopolitan city and a major port for trade. By 1801, Los Santos had a population of 70,000. In 1804, the Spanish Crown allowed for San Martin to have self-rule through the Charter of Los Santos. This established an early tradition of democracy that escaped so many other Spanish colonies.
Independence and the First Empire
In the early 1800’s, Spanish colonies began in breaking political ties with Spain. San Martin, however, delayed on doing so. By 1810, most of the Spanish Empire was disintegrating into civil war, but San Martin remained loyal to the Spanish. On December 1 of 1815, celebrated thereafter as the San Martino Independence Day, in response to recent decrees repudiating democracy made by the Viceroy to keep San Martin loyal to Spain, the Las Cruces City Council deposed the Viceroy and declared independence from Spain. Although this act marked the formal establishment of Martino independence from Spain, intermittent warfare against Spanish troops continued for more than 15 years. A royalist army was decisively defeated at Canto del Fuego by the brave forces of Manuel Collazo on August 19th, 1819 ending Spanish control of northern San Martin. Manuel Collazo, one of the revolutionary leaders, proclaimed the absolute independence of San Martin in 1820. Nevertheless, royalist forces controlled nearly all of southern San Martin, including Los Santos, until 1825, and were not completely expelled from the country until 1826.
Manuel Jose Arreaga, who had been named director general of San Martin in 1818, ruled the country with dictatorial powers until 1823, when popular hostility to his regime nurtured a coup that his resignation. He was replaced with a monarchy (the United Empire of San Martin) under Pedro I, but political strife among numerous organizations contending for power kept San Martin in turmoil until 1830. A constitution, vesting immense powers in the Emperor was adopted in 1833. Abortive armed attempts to remove the Emperor from power were made by liberal groups in 1835, 1837 and 1840. However, the tide of revolutions reached San Martin in 1848. In that year, pro-democracy elements headed by General Juan Joaquín Prieto, organized a successful rebellion and seized control of the government. In 1849, Prieto became Prime Minister of the United Empire. A new constitution, creating a constitutional monarchy in San Martin, was adopted in 1850. This new regime was short-lived. Emperor Carlos I urged the Imperial Army to restore the power of the Emperor and in 1851, they marched on Los Santos and murdered Prime Minister Prieto. However, this new rule was again short lived, when the Emperor died three months after he was restored to full power. San Martin fell into chaos and anarchy, for the Emperor had failed to name his heir. General Gustavo Martín, Minister of Defense, overthrew the government and established a liberal dictatorship.
The First Republic and Civil War
Under the rule of General Martín, San Martin became highly polarized politically. Politics had come down to the liberals (anti-church, centralism) and the conservatives (pro-church, federalism) who fought for control of the government under the permanent direction of General Martín. Despite its authoritarian character, the rule of General Martín fostered domestic policies that contributed substantially to the commercial and agricultural development of San Martin. Steps were taken to exploit mineral resources, railroads were constructed, and immigration was encouraged. A school system and cultural institutions were established. The chief development in foreign relations during this period of liberal dominance was a series of conflicts with neighboring countries—first with Cartagena in 1866, and then with Baracao, beginning in 1868. San Martino armies returned victorious from both wars, but the latter with Baracao was a financial disaster.
Under pressure due to the financial disaster of the war with Baracao and with the slow decline of the San Martino economy, General Martín died of a heart attack at the age of 59 in 1875. At the time of his death, General Martín had decided to restore full democracy. However, his wishes were not fulfilled and his advisors launched a bloody civil war to attempt to take control of the government. The war later turned into a bloody, horrible battle between liberals and conservatives. It is estimated that at least 34,900 San Martinos died in the five-year Civil War (1875 – 1880). The Liberal Coalition fought the Imperial Army (government forces were still called Imperial Army) for control of the nation. In 1880, the leaders of both movements met in a week-long conference in the town of Maraca in Altamira, and agreed to end the conflict. Liberals and democratic conservatives then formed the National Front for Democracy and were allowed by a popular vote in a consequent plebiscite to form a new national government.
Restoring the Monarchy - The Second Empire
The National Front for Democracy became a national constitutional convention of sorts. In 1881, they barred the monarchist faction and other smaller factions from participating in the convention. This outraged many in San Martin, who yearned for the return of the monarchy and a return of the times of prosperity and power. The Monarchist Coalition of San Martin called upon all San Martinos to rise against the “new dictatorship”. Having the support of the former Imperial Army, they marched upon Los Santos, fought for three days against the forces protecting the convention and installed Carlos de Aramea y Aragon, a descendant of the last Emperor of San Martin, as Carlos II, Emperor of United San Martin. The Second Empire was founded.
The new government was provided with a constitution in 1883, setting up a sham democracy, with the Emperor having authoritarian powers. The years from 1880 to 1929 brought San Martin intensified economic prosperity, mainly by way of trade and manufacture. The economy was increasingly oriented toward export of raw materials and manufactured products. During this period, Las Cruces, mainly an underdeveloped, poor province, acquired its economic powerhouse status in San Martinian history. San Martino interests subsequently began the exploitation of the immensely valuable mineral deposits in the Cibolan continent. Rejecting local claims to the region, the San Martino government in February 1898 ordered its military forces into the Cibolan continent. In January 1900, after a short but bloody subjugation of the natives in Cibola, the colonies of Siesta and El Dorado were established. This greatly bolstered the San Martino economy, providing new markets for products and services. Two months later the Iztecs, leading a coalition of locals, declared war on the San Martinos. As a result of its victory in this conflict, terminated in 1905, San Martin acquired considerable territory and strengthened its hold over North Cibola.
The Second Empire soon saw itself under pressure. New political movements, such as communism, fascism, among others, began to clamor for more democracy. Ricardo II succeeded his father Carlos II in 1901 in the midst of a Communist electoral victory in Altamira’s local elections. Ricardo II, aiming to appease the crowds, began plan to transform San Martin into a constitutional monarchy. He launched massive democratic reforms and through the Parliament he amended the Constitution of 1883 to permit the election of a Prime Minister as head of government. Parliament, however, could not house majorities since the country was so fractionalized among the conservatives, communists, fascists and liberals. Parliament went through 18 different governments from 1905 to 1911. The Empire slid into a state of near-total chaos. Violence was rampant, with fights breaking out even between rival leftist groups at funerals for leaders assassinated by right-wing adversaries.
Rebellion broke out when, on October 29, the Communist Party and the Altamiran Socialist Party called upon the workers of the nation to “unite and overthrow the chaotic monarchy that rules this nation with anarchy and hate.” The crews of two ships in Los Santos harbor mutinied. When the military arrested about 1,000 seamen and had them transported to Ponce, the local revolt turned into a general rebellion that quickly swept over most of San Martin. Other seamen, soldiers, and then also workers solidarized with the arrested, began electing worker and soldier councils modeled after the soviets of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and took over military and civil powers in many cities. On November 7, the revolution had reached Los Santos, causing Emperor Ricardo III to abdicate and flee with his family and close friends to Treisenberg, where his sister Alexandra, was married to their Emperor.
The Second Republic
In November 12, amidst the chaos and anarchy that began to exist, the Imperial Army installs a civilian government composed of former members of the Imperial Cabinet. The Imperial Army, under the command of General Jose Maria Salazar, crushed the Communist rebellions in Altamira. Wanting to ensure that this fledgling government was able to maintain control over the country, the new civilian government of San Martin, led by Ramon Muñoz Marín, pacted with the Communists and Socialists.
The new civilian government called for a national constitutional convention to meet in Las Cruces. The National Constitutional Convention elections took place December 30, 1911. In this time, the left-wing parties were barely able to get themselves organized, leading to a solid majority of seats for the moderate forces. In 1912, the Second Republic was proclaimed and the Constitution was ratified by a popular vote of 56%. The new Constitution created a republic under a semi-presidential system with the National Congress elected by proportional representation. It was in this era that the modern political parties of San Martin began to sprout up. It was in 1912 when conservatives met in Las Cruces and founded the Partido Demócrata Cristiano (PDC). The leftists united under one banner to create the Izquierda Unida (IU). Communists created the Unión Comunista Martíño (UCM). Fascist and Monarchist elements united under several smaller parties, one of them being the Falange San Martin Tradicionalista (FSMT), led by Augusto Salazar, youngest son of General Jose Maria Salazar.
The Presidency of Alvaro Gonzalez
The first presidential elections of the Second Republic led to a bittersweet victory for the Christian Democratic Party. Alvaro Gonzalez, leader and founder of the PDC, was elected President. However, the National Congress was divided sharply amongst the parties. The PDC entered into a national coalition with the FSMT, establishing the “Grand Coalition of the Right”. The Presidency of Gonzalez led San Martin through a period of great economic recovery. Foreign investment in the nation’s infrastructure more than doubled, a new highway system was being built and a range of new firms began to rise. The following years were marked by increasing participation of the San Martino people in politics and by mounting political turbulence. In August 1916, a disastrous earthquake shook and extensively damaged Siesta, killing more than 3,000 people and leaving about 100,000 homeless.
The Presidency of Enrique Arroyo
The second elections of the Republic greatly tested the democratic system of the new Republic. Alvaro Gonzalez was assassinated while making a campaign stop in Altamira three weeks before the elections. With that, the PDC was effectively put out of the presidential race. The FSMT tried to rally PDC supporters to throw their support behind Augusto Salazar, but many feared his fascist rhetoric and radical right-wing policies. The National Front for Democracy rebounded when PDC and IU members, attempting to restore unity to the country, joined it and put forth Enrique Arroyo, Governor of Los Santos, as their Presidential candidate. Arroyo won the elections in a landslide, with 55.8% of the vote. The reality in Congress was much more different. The IU now had the power to create a coalition with the UCM and have a socialist government. The UCM, however, refused to join the IU in a coalition and this allowed the PDC to create a new coalition with smaller parties like the Monarchist Party of San Martin, the Conservative Party and some elements in the FSMT.
From the beginning of the second administration, the Republic was under great pressure from both left-wing and right-wing extremists. Essentially, the left wing accused those who joined the National Front for Democracy of betraying the ideals of the workers' movement by pacting with the powers of the old state instead of staging a socialist revolution; the right-wing was opposed to a democratic system because it would have preferred to bring back the monarchy.
Last years of the Second Republic
The last years of the Second Republic were stamped by even more political instability than in the previous years. On March 29, 1917, the finance expert Manuel Gonzaga had been appointed the successor of Prime Minister Ignacio Loyola Juaredo by President Arroyo. The new government was expected to lead a political shift towards conservatism, based on the emergency powers granted to the President by the Constitution, since it had no majority support in the National Congress.
After an unpopular bill to sanify the Republic’s finances had not found the support of the National Congress, Arroyo established the bill as an emergency decree. On July 18, 1918, the bill was again invalidated by a slim majority with the support of the IU, UCM and the Immediately afterwards, PM Gonzaga submitted the president's decree that would dissolve the National Congress.
The Elections of 1919
The following general elections on September 14, 1919 resulted in an enormous political shift: 18.3% of the vote went to the FSMT, five times the percentage compared to 1916. 10% went to the UCM. This had devastating consequences for the Republic: there was no longer a majority in Congress even for a Grand Coalition of moderate parties, and it encouraged the supporters of the FSMT and UCM to bring out their claim to power with increasing violence and terror. After 1919, the Republic slid more and more into a state of civil war. It was in the midst of this chaos that the last surviving heir of the San Martino throne arrived at Las Cruces. His name was Alejandro de Aramea y Aragon.
The Kingdom of San Martin
In December 1919, a group of military figures accomplished a coup d'état, ostensibly for the purpose of forcing reforms, driving a defeated Arroyo from office and establishing a military dictatorship. The PDC, the FSMT and the IU supported this new coup, fearing Communist gains in the polls. A new constitution was written that established a liberal constitutional monarchy and placed Alejandro as King of San Martin. The constitutional monarchy was more stable than that the last Republic, now that there was a unifying figure to pacify national politics. Alejandro I exercised many powers through his Prime Ministers. Through them, he led massive economic reforms and led massive movements for industrialization and social welfare. It was through Prime Ministers Prime Minister Augusto Arroyo (CDP) and Prime Minister Jose Aruarte (NFD) that this was possible. However, many felt that the social welfare reforms did not go far enough to handle the growing problem of poverty in San Martin.
The Aragon Administration and the Great Depression
Following the untimely death of PM Aruarte in 1924, a new movement composed of members of the IU and UCM called “Rally for the Republic” was formed. That year, they swamped the elections, pledging to restore the Republic. Their leader, Humberto Aragon, became Prime Minister. Under the Aragon administration, the left became increasingly fragmentized. The IU has suffered severe setbacks when several factions broke off, creating the Socialist Party of San Martin.
Under the Socialist administration of Aragon, the San Martino economy was becoming excessively dependent on a few basic industries, notably construction, automobiles and radio; in the late 1920s, those industries began to decline. Between 1926 and 1929, expenditures on construction fell from $11 billion to under $9 billion. Automobile sales began to decline somewhat later, but in the first nine months of 1929 they declined by more than one third. Once these two crucial industries began to weaken, there was not enough strength in the other sectors of the economy to take up the slack. Even while the automotive industry was thriving in the 1920s, some industries, agriculture in particular, were declining steadily. While the Automobiles Martinos was reporting record assets, farm prices plummeted, and the price of food fell precipitously.
The Aragon administration failed to help the farmers of Altamira and Ponce with this. Farmers, already deeply in debt, saw farm prices plummet in the late 1920s, their implicit real interest rates on loans skyrocket; their land was already mortgaged, and crop prices were too low to allow them to pay off what they owed. Small banks, especially those tied to the agricultural economy, were in constant crisis in the 1920s as their customers defaulted on loans due to the sudden rise in real interest rates; there was a steady stream of failures among these smaller banks throughout the decade. Although most San Martino bankers in this era were staunchly conservative, some of the nation's largest banks were failing to maintain adequate reserves and were investing recklessly in the stock market or making unwise loans. In other words, the banking system was not well prepared to absorb the shock of a major recession.
Protectionist impulses would drive nations to protect domestic production against competition from foreign imports by erecting high tariff walls. The Aragon Tarriffs Act of June 1929 raised tariffs to unprecedented levels and ignited a worldwide tariff war with other countries adopting retaliatory trade restrictions of their own. This act practically closed San Martin’s borders and, with retaliatory tariffs from trading partners, caused the immediate collapse of the most important export industry, San Martino agriculture. Over 1000 economists and many PDC and FSMT members signed a petition begging Prime Minister Aragon and the Socialist government not to sign the law. Sadly, in 1927, King Alejandro I had suffered a major stroke. He had become a puppet of those in government, helping the Socialist government receive royal assent to practically all the laws they proposed.
On September 18, 1929, share prices on the San Martino stock market collapsed catastrophically, setting off a chain of bankruptcies and defaults. This triggered a major economic depression in San Martin. Banks began slowly going out of business, along with major corporations. Farms went down along with massive corporations in bankruptcies.
Following the stock market crash, Prime Minister Aragon attempted to sanify the devastated state without a majority, since many in his coalition had defected to either the PDC or the FSMT, governing with the help of King Alejandro I’s emergency decrees. In line with liberal economic theory that less public spending would spur economic growth, Aragon drastically cut state expenditures, including in the social sector. He expected and accepted that the economic crisis would, for a while, deteriorate before things would improve. Among others, the government completely halted all public grants to the obligatory unemployment insurance (which had been introduced only in 1926), which resulted in higher contributions by the workers and less benefits for the unemployed -- not exactly a popular measure to adopt.
The Kingdom of San Martin and its Socialist government had lost all credibility with the majority of San Martinos. Throughout San Martin, angry conservatives joined the FSMT along with frustrated farmers who still saw no help coming from the government they elected to power.
The elections of 1930
On December 1st, 1930, Aragon stepped down after no longer having the support of the nation or of the National Congress. King Alejandro I ordered that the National Congress be dissolved to allow for the first parliamentary elections in 5 years. The general elections on January 5, 1931 yielded 49.2% of the vote for the FSMT, making it by far the largest party. Augusto Salazar now demanded to be appointed Prime Minister, which was rejected by the Regency Council established to help King Alejandro I to rule after his stroke. With increasing political polarization and pressure from all sides, coupled with growing and unchecked political violence, King Alejandro I accepted Salazar’s demand and named him Prime Minister in February 24, 1931. Many mark this day as the beginning of the fascist dictatorship of Augusto Salazar and the FSMT.
The Dictatorship of Augusto Salazar (Third Republic)
The new government installed dictatorship in a series of measures in quick succession. On April 1, 1931 two terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the FSMT, one being a fire in the Palace of St. Catherine while King Alejandro I was there and the other being a fake assassination attempt on Salazar. This was followed immediately with a royal decree, which rescinded Habeas corpus, and other protective laws. The next elections on March 5, 1932, yielded 51.9% of the vote for the FSMT giving them a clear majority. The National Congress drove the final nails in the monarchy’s coffin by passing the National Emergency Act on June 23, 1932, which formally gave Salazar and his advisors the power to govern by decree and in effect disbanded the remainders of the Constitution of 1919 altogether. By the time Salazar had effectively taken over the government, King Alejandro I had died of unspecified causes. It is widely believed that Salazar's agents had poisoned him.
The institution of the Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional, police to act outside of any civil authority, highlighted Salazar’s intention to hold powerful means of directly controlling San Martino society. Soon, mirroring Stalin's terror in the Soviet Union, an estimated army of about 300,000 spies and infiltrants operated throughout San Martin, reporting to Salazar the activities of any critics or dissenters. Most ordinary San Martinos, happy with the improving economy and better standard of living remained obedient and quiet, but many political opponents, especially communists and socialists, were reported by omnipresent eavesdropping spies, and put in prison camps where they were severely mistreated, and many tortured and killed. Estimates of political victims range in dozens of thousands dead and disappeared in the first few years of Salazar’s rule.
Following his ascension to power, Salazar formally banned the leftist parties that had constituted the Rally for the Republic coalition. He also expressed contempt for the PDC’s call for a quick return to civilian democracy. However, he did not ban the party.
Salazar's rule was characterized by systematic suppression of all leftist opposition. The worst violence occurred in the first days of the coup's aftermath, with the number of suspected leftists killed or "disappeared" soon reaching into the thousands.
The San Martino economy was still faltering in the months after Salazar took control. Because Salazar himself was not particularly skilled in remedying the persistent economic difficulties, he appointed a group of economists to assist him in that. Given financial and ideological support from Salazar, San Martin, and international financial institutions, they advocated laissez-faire, free-market, neoliberal, and fiscally conservative policies, in stark contrast to the extensive nationalization and centrally-planned economic programs supported by Aragon. Under their guidance, a new economic policy to elevate the nation was drafted, limiting imports of consumer goods and focusing on producing exports. Massive loans and credits were issued by the National Bank to industries and the individuals. Another part of the new San Martino economy was massive rearmament with the goal being to expand the 100,000-strong San Martino Army into a larger force, mostly to keep the rebellious colonies down, which were showing outright opposition to the FSMT’s rule. Salazar’s policies led to substantial GDP growth, in contrast to the negative growth seen in the final years of the Aragon administration. GDP growth remained steady, and San Martin began a process of integration into the international economy.
The Fourth Republic of San Martin
Following the end of World War II, the US began implementing economic sanctions against San Martin to encourage Salazar’s resignation, his overthrow, or his defeat in the upcoming elections. In July of 1946, Salazar suffered a minor stroke. He wasn’t very affected by it, but the stroke was overhyped by the press. Believing that Salazar was now incapable of ruling the country, a PDC-led coup overthrew Salazar in a matter of days with no major bloodshed. This coup was financially and diplomatically supported by the US, Britain and France, and supported by almost the entire population of San Martin, who wished a return to democracy. The PDC installed an Interim Government led by Rafael Hernandez Allende as President and Manuel Veracruz as Vice-President.
The Interim Government called for a massive Constitutional Convention to meet in Las Cruces while the Palace of St. Catherine and other government buildings were being remodeled. They met until October of 1948, when a final constitution was approved by the entire Convention. This new constitution, ratified in a national referendum with 58.7% of the vote, setup a U.S-style Presidential republic.
On October 30, 1950, San Martinos went to the polls to choose a president; vice president; and national, provincial, and local officials in elections found by international observers to be fair and honest. These elections were fiercely contested between the PDC, the new IU and the new Partido Nacional Progresista (PNP), which was founded by Salazar’s reform-minded allies. Despite public hate for Salazar, the public generally liked the economic prosperity enjoyed during Salazar, and through the PNP leader, Eugenio Maria de Hostos, they saw a return to economic prosperity.
The First De Hostos Administration
The country returned to constitutional rule after Eugenio Maria de Hostos received 52% of the popular vote for president. He began a 4-year term of office on December 10, 1950. Like most Conservative presidents, De Hostos believed that a free enterprise economy should run itself, and he took little interest in domestic policy. Although his 1950 landslide gave the PNP control of both houses of the National Congress, the moderate PDC regained control in the 1952 Senate and House elections, limiting his freedom of action on domestic policy. He forged a good relationship with Congressional leaders, particularly House Speaker Eva Josefina Mangozela. De Hostos appointed a Cabinet full of businessmen and gave them wide latitude in handling domestic affairs. Eisenhower endorsed the National Highway Act, in 1951. It was the largest public works program in San Martino history, providing a 41,000-mile highway system. Another achievement was a 20% increase in family income during his presidency, of which he was very proud. He added a tenth cabinet position, creating the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and achieved a balanced budget in three of the years that he was President. De Hostos’ Presidency was marked by the rise of several guerrillas in the provinces of Altamira and Ponce. In Altamira, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de San Martin were created by a former UCM member called Raúl Alberto Lastiri, known as “Cabeza Roja”. During the late 1940's and early 1950’s in rural areas of the country, isolated proto-guerrilla bands, backed by the more radical members of the IU and UCM, which were the precursors for modern-day Marxist guerrillas, formed in order to violently defend land that conservative land owners were trying to reclaim. In 1949, when prominent Altamiran Governor Jorge Gaitán was murdered, they went on a rampage, burning churches which, in this devoutly religious country, created deep and long-lasting wounds and laid the groundwork for more violence and terrorism. When these attacks were crushed by the new Army of the Republic, the guerrillas dispersed, only to later reorganize under the banner of the FARSM banner. In Ponce, the fallen FSMT, standing firmly against the new Republic, created a military wing called Fuerzas Armadas Falangistas de San Martin. Also, they believed that they had a holy mission to fight the Communist guerrillas, protect San Martin’s economic interests and combat insurgents locally. Both organizations would employ bombings, killings, landmines, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against San Martino political, military, and economic targets, and attacks on those it considers a threat to its movement.
The elections of 1954
In 1954, Eugenio Maria de Hostos stepped down from politics and announced that he would not seek re-election. This greatly dashed hopes of the NPP to win the Presidency. Instead of putting forth a new candidate for that election, they instead endorsed Antonio de la Rioja, the PDC’s Presidential candidate. De La Rioja won by a narrow majority against Ismael Miranda y Lopez of the IU.
The De La Rioja Administration
De La Rioja was eager for San Martin to lead the way in economic and technological advancement, particularly in space exploration. De La Rioja was a conservative, anti-communist, in favor of tax cuts and smaller government. He was very supportive of business and was known for his toughness on crime and guerrilla movements. His presidency is remembered first for his negotiations with the left-wing guerrilla groups and second for his breaking off said negotiations. It is also remembered for a growing degree of unpopularity in polls as his term progressed and accusations of corruption. Some critics accused him of accepting bribes from leading FSMT members, but no concrete and specific evidence of that was presented during his presidency.
The elections of 1958
De La Rioja announced that he would seek a second term, but he died of a heart attack a month before the elections. This greatly destroyed chances for the PDC or the PNP to win the Presidency. It was then when Eugenio Maria de Hostos decided to seek re-election to his old job under the NPP. The PDC, lacking a candidate and returning a political favor, endorsed De Hostos for President. De Hostos was re-elected with an overwhleming majority over Altamiran Senator Alfonso Castillo of the IU.
The Second De Hostos Administration
It was in De Hostos’s second term (1958 – 1961) that several bombings throughout Altamira and Ponce occurred. Several government installations were bombed by FARSM guerrillas, and FSMT guerrillas would respond by periodic incursions into FARSM territory and killing hundreds of farmers, FARSM supporters and members. This became an all-out war between both guerrillas with the national government constantly caught in between. Under Defense Minister Gonzalez, the army of the Republic was made into a strong, well-equipped and trained fighting force of 599,000 men. Gonzalez's declared priority has been to contain or defeat main armed groups in San Martin, and military operations launched against all groups increased in intensity, especially against FARSM. Military intelligence intercepted a message from FARSM leaders calling for all its guerrilla units to try to assassinate De Hostos or Gonzalez.
The elections of 1961
The 1961 elections became a staunchly fought election. The PDC-PNP alliance had broken after De Hostos struck down many PDC bills that would establish requirements for balanced budgets and would reform the nation’s tax code. De Hostos had to campaign hard, especially for Ponce and Las Cruces. In October 1, while in a major campaign stop in Ponce, De Hostos was assasinated by a FARSM member. He shot De Hostos five times, he died instantly. Investigation concluded that the FARSM was being supported by the USSR and East Germanian elements, and that much of the financial support sent by them went into planning the assasination.
The election of 1961 was greatly influenced by these events, this greatly helped the PNP and its replacement candidate, Fernando Pratz Ortiz. Ortiz won the election with the largest mandate given to any San Martino President (60% of the vote).
The Ortiz Administration
Ortiz continued the policies of strength over the rebellious guerrillas. In order to try to regain power and financial gains, the FARSM began to have ties to drug manufacturers and traffickers, principally through the provision of armed protection. Soon, the FSMT followed.
The elections of 1966
The elections of 1966 were a major turning point in San Martino politics. The political debate was turning more towards social issues such as welfare, abortion, environmentalism and poverty rather than security and foreign affairs. The IU renamed itself as the Partido Socialista Democratico (PSD) and placed a left-of-center candidate for President. Orlando Velez de Aragon became the first leftist to hold the top job in San Martin since 1924.
The Velez de Aragon Administration
Velez de Aragon, following up on a campaign promise, pursued a balanced budget and made attempts to keep inflation in check. During his tenure, San Martin enjoyed continuous economic expansion, reductions in unemployment, and growing wealth through a massive rise in the stock market. Velez de Aragon’s government achieved a reputation for some progressive policies for example, the funding of renewable energies, and the legalizing of abortion. This greatly outraged the right and the centrists. The Catholic Church of San Martin condemned the Velez de Aragon’s government strongly and many priests urged their congregations to vote for candidates that would “uphold the law of Christ as well as our own.” Under his government, Velez de Aragon pursued import substitution industrialization, a model of development that greatly relied on the state to intervene. Business leaders began to worry, believeing that the San Martino economy would become increasingly statist. Towards the last two years of his term, a major issue for him was inflation, especially the rising price of imported oil which was the major source of energy for many industries. The inflation caused interest rates to rise to unprecedented levels (above 12 percent per year). Legislation gave greater powers to labor unions that began to slow the economy down. All of these factors contributed to a major electoral shift in the mid-term Congressional elections. The CDP won a clear majority in both the House and the Senate, effectively destroying the “Reform for San Martin” agenda.
The First Carrión Administration
The elections of 1970 put Manuel Rivera Carrión (CDP) into the Presidency and greatly expanded the PDC majority in both Houses of Congress. Part of President Reagan's first term in office focused on reviving an inherited economy exhibiting stagflation, a high rate of inflation combined with an economic recession. Partially based on supply-side economics, Carrión's policies sought to stimulate the economy with large across-the-board tax cuts. The tax cuts were to be coupled with commensurate reductions in social welfare spending, earning the scorn of many. After less than two years in office, Carrión rolled back a large portion of his corporate income tax cuts. Not only did he retreat from proposed cuts in the Social Security budget, but he resolved the solvency crisis through reforms including increases in the payroll tax. Although Carrión achieved a marginal reduction in the rate of expansion of government spending, his overall fiscal policy was expansionary.
President Carrión's tenure marked a time of economic prosperity in San Martin. GDP growth recovered strongly after the 1969 recession. Unemployment peaked at over 11 percent in 1970 then dropped steadily, and inflation dropped even more significantly. This economic growth generated greater tax revenue, although the new revenue did not cover an increased national budget that included the military buildup and expansions of social programs. The result was greater deficit spending and a dramatic increase in the national debt, which doubled Carrión's presidency.
On July 7, 1971, Carrión fired 11,359 striking mailmen who had ignored his order to return to work. Ironically, the Union de Trabajadores de Correo (UTC), the mailmen union, had been one of the few unions that had supported Carrión over the PDC’s Humberto Noriega in the 1970 election. Carrión’s handling of the strike proved to be a political coup for him when public opinion turned against the controllers and the union, who were perceived as being concerned more with money than with public safety. The breaking of the strike also had a significant impact on labor-management relations in the private sector. Although private employers nominally had the right to permanently replace striking workers under the National Labor Relations Act, that option was rarely used prior to that moment, but much more frequently thereafter. Somehave credited Carrión's action restoring flexibility to the business environment that had prevented San Martino companies from hiring and held back the economy.
The elections of 1974
The elections of 1974 was less contested than that of 1970. It was guaranteed that Carrión, who still ran an intense campaign, would get re-elected in the race against Alejandro Fernandez Tovar of the Socialists and Alberto Manuel Lopategui of the FSMT. Congress became even more PDC-dominated through the capture of eight more seats in the House of Representatives and two more in the Senate.
The Second Carrión Administration
In his second term, Carrión became committed to reducing the power of the trade unions. Several unions decided to launch strikes which were wholly or partly aimed at damaging him politically. The most significant of these was carried out by the Union de Mineros Martinos (UMM). Carrión had made preparations for the UMM strike by building up coal and mineral stocks. As a result, there were no cuts in electric power or trade. Picket line violence, coupled with the fact that the UMM had not held a ballot to approve strike action, contrived to swing public opinion on his side. The Miners' Strike lasted a full year before the miners were forced to give in and go back to work without a deal. After this strike, trade union resistance to reform was much reduced and a succession of changes were made. During the middle of the strike, on the early morning of November 16, 1975, Carrión escaped injury from a bomb planted by the FARSM in Las Cruces' El Condado Hotel during the PDC Convention. Five people died in the attack. A prominent member of the Cabinet, Manuel Acoza, was injured, along with his wife, Josefina, who was left paralyzed. Carrión insisted that the Convention open on time the next day and made his speech as planned.
President Carrión also committed himself to reducing state ownership of companies. Since gaining power, he had experimented in selling off a small nationalized industry, the National Freight company, to the public, with a surprisingly large response. After the 1974 election, Carrión became bolder and sold off most of the large utilities which had been in public ownership since the late 1940s. Many in the public took advantage of share offers, although many sold their shares immediately for a quick profit.
The elections of 1978
When the elections of 1978 came around, Carrión was being besieged by a new Socialist majority in the House of Representatives. Many leftists, mainly in Altamira and Los Santos believed that during his second term, Carrión had alienated them with his harsh dealing of trade unions and the economy. The 1978 elections were bitterly contested. The left had become fragmentized when the PSD brought Alejandro Manuel Velez as a candidate. Many thought he would be too much of a “softy” with Carrión and the PDC Conservatives. The UCM finally put forth its first candidate in a Presidential election (Joaquin Velez de Tordesillas) and a new Partido Laboral de San Martin (PLSM) put forth the leader of the strikes of 1975, Jesus Ernesto Cuello. De Tordesillas was the most successful of the third party candidates, drawing 9.74% of the popular vote. His campaign was marked by a traveling tour of "super-rallies"; large rallies held in sports arenas, with prominent San Martino celebrities as his masters of ceremonies. After initially ignoring De Tordesillas, the PSD campaign made a big publicity pitch to (potential) De Tordesillas supporters in the final weeks of the campaign, downplaying Velez's differences with De Tordesilla’s on the issues and claiming that Velez's ideas were more similar to De Tordesilla's than Carrión's were, noting that Velez had a better chance of winning than De Tordesillas. On the other side, the Christian Leadership Council ran pro-Tordesillas ads in a few states in a likely effort to split the "left" vote. In the aftermath of the campaign, many Velez supporters blamed Tordesillas for drawing enough would-be Velez votes to push Carrión over Velez, labeling Tordesillas a "spoiler" candidate.
By winning the 1978 general election, Carrión became the first person to win three consecutive general elections in San Martin’s history. In his new term, Carrión began to be concerned by environmental policy, which he had previously dismissed. In 1979 he made a major speech accepting the problems of global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain and in 1980 he opened the Maunabo National Center for climate prediction and research that he had caused to be founded.
The Third Carrión Administration
An orthopaedic surgeon confirmed in 1979 that Carrión was suffering from Parkinson's disease, as many had suspected for some time. Despite difficulty speaking more than a few sentences at a time, trouble hearing and severe arthritis, he continued to work as President, although rarely walking in public. Those who met him late in his life said that although physically he was in poor shape, mentally he remained fully alert. His third temr was basically uneventful. Carrión had lost his youthful vigor and his health was not steadily fading away with age. Vice-President Augusto Sanchez Vilella became acting President in October 1980 when a severe stroke permanently incapacitated Carrión.
The elections of 1982
When the 1982 elections came around, Vilella announced that he would seek the PDC’s nomination for President. Vilella was known to be a more moderate politician, and many within the PDC disliked him because of his socially liberal views. Those who had become “Carrión Conservatives” decided to put forth President Carrión’s son, the then governor of Las Cruces, Jose Ricardo Carrión. Both candidates fought for their party’s nomination. The primaries were bitterly contested, but Carrión won them.
Carrión went up against Velez, like his father had done in 1978. Carrión Jr. was young (he was 35) and charismatic and he constantly got in the habit of making “town hall” style meetings with people all over San Martin. Velez on the other hand was elderly (in his early 60’s) and wasn’t charismatic or outgoing. Carrión won the election with a great majority against Velez of the PSD.
The First Carrión Administration
In his first term, Carrión and his administration used a budget shortfall to implement a series of massive cuts to education, health and social services. This violated or appeared to violate many of the pre-election pledges he had made. When the press accused him of having lied, he stated that some of these had been "core" promises. "Non-core" promises would not necessarily be honoured immediately (or at all). In following years, when the budget surplus re-appeared, the money was applied to education and science and not to social welfare and health.
The elections of 1984
The elections of 1984 were an easy win for Carrión. The PSD broke into three factions when attempting to select a suitable left-of-center Presidential candidate. They decided on a little known Altamiran Senator called Alvaro Gonzalez Villamil. Even though he was young and charismatic like Carrión, he was not able to be appealing to voters because of his tendency to change his positions to appeal to all. Carrión ran an intense, negative campaign against Villamil based on this and won with 57% of the vote.
The Second Carrión Administration
While in his second term, Carrión concentrated on trying to attract international investment in San Martin and launched a anti-crime campaign known as Mano Dura Contra el Crimen (Heavy handed towards crime) in which the military was used to assist local police. His administration was characterized by involvement in big construction and other government projects, including a light-rail train system and a massive aqueduct which linked two major water reservoirs. His policies also included a push toward privatization of public entities. Carrión brought well-received economic resolutions to San Martin during his terms in office, emphasizing its tourism potential.
The elections of 1986
The elections of 1986 were exteremely contested and controversial. Towards the end of Carrión’s term, two Siestan Independence activists died by police gunfire at the Maravilla Hill (Cerro Maravilla). Police knew, through an undercover police informant accompanying them, that the two would be attempting sabotage of communication facilities. During a public ceremony, Carrión lauded the police action as heroic. It was later uncovered that the two young men were apprehended after a brief shootout, and summarily executed on site. Some accused Carrión of complicity in the affair; others believe he obstructed justice and did not pursue the guilty parties. Congressmen and Senators affiliated with the IU, UCM, FSMT and some within the PDC itself began to push for legislative investigations and hearings on the matter. This adversely affected his image in front of many voters. Despite the Maravilla Hill scandal, Carrión remained as President by a controversial 0.2% margin, but lost the Senate and House of Representatives to the IU-UCM coalition. The 1986 presidential elections was among the closest in San Martino history, and the results controversial because they required intervention of the Supreme Court to rule whether improperly cast ballots should be counted.
The Third Carrión Administration
Carrión’s third term was one of gridlock and economic recession. The Senate blocked or delayed much of the his legislation, including the partial privatisation of the state-owned telephone companyS SanMarTelCo, increases in university fees and large funding cuts in the 1986 and 1987 budgets. On October 1986 a stock collapse of unprecedented size lopped twenty-five percent off the San Martin Industrial Average. The collapse, larger than that of 1929, was handled well by the economy and the stock market began to quickly recover. However the lumbering savings and loans were beginning to collapse a number of them having to declare bankruptcy, putting the savings and pensions of millions of San Martinos in jeopardy. Like all recessions the one of the late eighties and early nineties had a deep impact on society. Rates of alcoholism and drug use increased, as did rates of depression and suicide.
The first burst of the recession was short-lived, as fervent activity by the government leading up to mid-term congressional elections created what many economists at the time saw as an economic miracle a growing consumer confidence and increased consumer spending almost single handedly lifted the San Martino economy out of recession. It soon turned out that the quick recovery was illusory, and by 1989 economic malaise had returned. For the next several years high unemployment, massive government deficits, and slow GDP growth affected San Martin until 1993. While San Martin enjoyed a brief recovery in 1994 the recession is believed to have lasted longer there due to the gross fiscal mismanagement of the suceeding Socialist governments and the stress placed on the economy by the spectre of Siestan separatism.
The elections of 1990
While the presidency of Carrión was saved by the brief recovery of 1988, he could not hold on to power though the last part of the recession, being swept out of power by Alejandro Manuel Velez of the PSD running on pledges to restore the economy to health. Velez won the 1990 elections against Carrión in a landslide, becoming the first Socialist President and the first non-Carrión President in 21 years.
The Velez Administration
One of Velez's main focuses in office was preventing the separation of the colony of Siesta, which was ruled by the separatist Congreso Nacional Independiente (CNI) for nearly his entire term. After the 1991 referendum showed a very narrow decision against Siestan sovereignty, Velez's government passed what became known as the Provincial Status Act, which said that the San Martino government would acknowledge an independent Siestan nation unless a "clear majority" supported sovereignty in a referendum based on a clear question. The size of a "clear majority" was left unspecified, but Velez made it clear that such a majority would not be "50% plus one vote."
Velez's government also introduced a far-reaching Youth Criminal Justice Act, and changed the way youths were prosecuted for crimes in San Martin. Shortly after taking office, Velez fulfilled a campaign promise by signing the Family and Medical Leave Act, which required large employers to allow their employees to take unpaid leave because of a family or medical emergency. While this action was popular, Velez's initial reluctance to fulfill another campaign promise relating to the acceptance of openly gay members of the military garnered criticism from both the left (for being too tentative in promoting gay rights) and the right (for being too insensitive to military life). After much debate, Velez agreed to a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, which officially remains in effect. Faced with a huge government deficit, Velez raised taxes to increase spending on education and health in 1992. This was hugely unpopular amongst San Martinos, the economy was in the middle of a prolongued recession. Velez, always a staunch advocate of balanced budgets, had to resort to deficit spending to attempt to motivate the economy. The government spent great amounts of money in the health care sciences, education and defense. By 1993, the economy had begun to show signs of growth, despite high tax rates.
The elections of 1993
Velez announced that he planned to run for a second term, despite his age. In May of 1993, he was left partially paralyzed (on his right side) by a stroke and his role in government declined, left up mostly to his Vice-President Alvaro Gonzalez Villamil. After the second stroke in December of the same year, he resigned from active politics and announced that he endorsed Villamil as the PDC candidate. Three weeks later, he suffered the third stroke and was left bedridden and no longer able to speak. Villamil ran an intense campaign against Carrión, who had made a comeback into politics by winning the nomination of the PDC. This election however, proved to be another controversial and close election. Villamil won the by approximately 2,800 votes over former-President Carrión. However, since the margin of victory was so small, a full recount of the elections took place. During the period, Carrión filed a civil law suit against Villamil himself over a dispute of certain ballots that were cast during the elections. The Supreme Court ruled that the ballots in question were valid. On December 28, 1993 the recount ended and Villamil was certified as the winner of the elections. Carrión maintains that Villamil was not the legitimate President.
The Villamil Administration
Villamil oversaw a rapid transformation and expansion of the San Martino economy. With “dirigismo”— a unique combination of capitalism and state-directed economy — the government intervened heavily in the economy, using indicative five-year plans as its main tool. Great prestige projects, not always financially successful, were launched such as the extension of the Las Cruces and Los Santos harbors, the expansion of the San Martino car industry with state-owned Automobiles Martinos at its center, and the building of the first motorways in the colonies, the San Martino economy recorded huge growth rates.
Villamil’s government, however, was criticized withinSan Martin, particularly for its heavy-handed style. When the written press and elections were free, the state had a monopoly on television and radio broadcasts (though there existed private stations broadcasting) and the executive occasionally told public broadcasters the bias that they desired on news. In many respects, society was traditionalistic and repressive. Many factors contributed to a general weariness of sections of the public, particularly the student youth, which led to the events of June 1996.
The huge demonstrations and strikes in San Martin in June 1996 were a big challenge to Villamil’s presidency. In the course of the June 1996 events he briefly fled to El Dorado and met with several leaders of the military (to discuss army intervention against the protesters, according to popular but unofficial accounts).
In December 12, 1996, it was reported that as Villamil had finished watching the evening news on television and was sitting in his armchair he suddenly said "I feel a pain here", pointing to his neck, just seconds before he fell unconscious due to an aneurysmal rupture. Within minutes he was dead. Villamil’s sudden death propelled his Vice-President, Gerardo Jose Santos, to the Presidency for the remainder of the term.
The elections of 1998
The elections of 1998 were intense for all parties. The PDC’s nomination was being fought over by ten different candidates. The PSD’s nomination was being fought over by factions within the party. The fragmented field of candidates debated issues such as a flat tax and other tax cut proposals, and a return to supply-side economic policies popularized by the first Carrión. More attention was drawn to the race by the budget stalemate in 1997 between the Congress and the President, which caused temporary shutdowns and slowdowns in many areas of government service.
Former Gen. Humberto Aguirre was widely courted as a potential PDC nominee. However, on November 8, 1997, Aguirre announced that he would not seek the nomination. Going into the 1996 primary contest, Senate majority leader and former vice-presidential nominee Emilio Javier Noriega was seen as the most likely winner. However, in the primaries and caucuses, social conservative and Las Cruces Governor Jose Agustin Allende received early victories which put Noreiga's leadership in doubt. However, Noreiga won a string of victories, which cemented his lead over his rivals. With the party nomination a lock, Noriega resigned his Senate seat on June 11. The PDC National Convention formally nominated Noriega.
On June 13, after meetings with PSD members, Gerardo Jose Santos accumulated the votes required to clinch the nomination. Santos was then officially acknowledged as the nominee by the PSD.
Throughout the runup to the general election, Noriega maintained comfortable leads in the polls over Santos, Gertari (FSMT) and Gonzaga (UCM). The televised debates featured only Santos and Noreiga, locking out Gertari and Gonzaga from the discussion. Gertari and Gonzaga would eventually take their case to court, seeking damages from not being in the debate, as well as citing unfair coverage from the major media outlets. In the end, Noreiga won with a clear lead over Santos and won with 49.24% of the vote. Santos ended up with 40.71%, Gertari with an unprecedented 8.40% and Gonzaga with a 1.65%.
The Noriega Administration
As President, Noriega is perhaps best known for leading the coalition in the 1999–2000 Cartagenian War. In 1999, led by Generalisimo Francisco Badea, Cartagena invaded its small southern neighbor, Palomino. The broad coalition sought to remove Cartagenian forces from Palomino and ensure that Cartagena did not invade San Martin. In a foreign policy move that would later be questioned, Noriega achieved his stated objectives of liberating Palomino and forcing Cartagenian withdrawal, then ordered a cessation of combat operations - allowing Badea to stay in power. Noriega later explained that he did not give the order to invade Cartagena because it would have "incurred incalculable human and political costs... We would have been forced to occupy and, in effect, rule Cartagena.” His popularity rating in San Martin soared during and immediately after the apparent success of the military operations.
The elections of 2000
Despite his popularity and great chance of reelection, Noriega announced that he would not seek another term and endorsed his former primary contender and famous Governor of Las Cruces, Jose Agustin Allende. This time a new element, a new centrist party called the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), had risen and was widely gaining support between conservatives and liberals alike. Allende and the PDC were able to create a national coaltion with the PRI and nominated their leader Roberto García y Ramírez as Vice-President, creating the first coalition ticket in San Martin’s history. The PSD put forth Emmanuel Hostos Veracruz as their candidate. Allende and García y Ramírez won the elections in a landslide.