José Eloy Alfaro (1842-1912) was an Ecuadorian revolutionary leader and president. He is the great hero of Ecuadorian radicals.
José Eloy Alfaro was born on June 25, 1842,in Montecristi in the coastal province of Manabi. His father, Manuel Alfaro, was a Spaniard who came to the town as a buyer of straw hats and settled down to live with Natividad Delgado, a girl withmixed white, Indian, and African ancestry. They had eight children, and their common-law marriage was legalized through a church wedding in 1863.
Eloy Alfaro was 22 years old when he started hisrevolutionary career by taking prisoner the governor of the province. From then till 1889, he was constantly engaged in efforts to subvert the successive governments of Ecuador, either as an independentguerrilla leader, as an officer in a bigger revolutionary movement, or as the backer of other revolutionaries. His originally successful business ventures in Panama and his marriage there to Doña AnaParedes y Arosemena gave him the financial means to pursue these activities. Even though he invariably failed, his constant activity led to his recognition by liberals as a general, and his prestigefurther increased as a result of contacts with outstanding liberal revolutionaries from other countries.
In 1895 the coalition of moderates and extreme conservatives in power in Ecuador split, with theconservatives revolting. The liberals seized the opportunity and rose in the coastal city of Guayaquil. Lacking a military leader with sufficient prestige, they remembered Alfaro and called him back.The Old Fighter, as he was known, marched with his army on Quito and soon had his authority established over the country.
Alfaro occupied the presidency from September 1895 until January 1901. Hissuccessor, Gen. Leónidas Plaza, had been his first choice for the post, but at the last moment he pressed for Plaza's withdrawal. Alfaro was unsuccessful, and relations between the two men remained...