Arnulfo Arias

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Arnulfo Arias Madrid (born August 15, 1901 in Penonomé , then Colombia , now Panama , † August 10, 1988 in Miami , Florida ) was President of Panama three times .


Arnulfo Arias Madrid was the brother of former President Harmodio Arias Madrid . He began to be politically active from the mid-1920s and also took part in the 1931 revolution. He was the founder of the party that brought his brother to power in 1932. He served as minister for public relations and 1935/1936 as minister of agriculture . In the following years he was Panamanian ambassador to France and Great Britain .

During his first term in office, he introduced compulsory social security and women's suffrage in his country . He also advocated a more liberal penal system and facilitated foreign investment. By issuing Balboa banknotes instead of dollar notes from October 2, 1941, he attempted to reduce his country's financial dependence on the United States and to gain fiscal leeway. As a result, just a week later, on October 9, 1941, he was overthrown by a US-backed military coup.

The Partido Arnulfista , founded in 1980 , was named after him in honor of himself. His widow Mireya Moscoso was elected President of the country for the party in 1999.

In January 2012, 23 years after his death, Arnulfo Arias Madrid received a state funeral and was solemnly buried in his native Penonomé.

Terms of office

  • October 1, 1940 to October 9, 1941
  • November 24, 1949 to May 9, 1951
  • October 1 to October 11, 1968

All three terms were ended by military coups.



  1. Holger M. Meding: Panama. State and Nation in Transition (1903–1941) . Böhlau, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-412-02702-2 , p. 193.

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