Velasco Ibarra, José María [key], 1893–1979, president of Ecuador (1934–35, 1944–47, 1952–56, 1960–61, 1968–72). A noted orator, he was twice elected president and deposed before succeeding Galo Plaza Lasso as president in 1952. Although he censored the press, he spurred the construction of new schools and roads; the country prospered, and he managed to complete his term. Elected again in 1960, he announced a program of economic reform but soon became unpopular as a result of austerity measures. He was forced (Nov., 1961) by an army junta to resign. Reelected in 1968, he faced a hostile congress, overwhelming economic problems, and increasing political chaos. After rioting by thousands of university students, he disbanded congress and, with the backing of the army, established a dictatorship (June, 1970). In Feb., 1972, after Velasco Ibarra insisted upon holding elections in which populist leader Assad Bucaram seemed certain to win, military leaders overthrew Velasco Ibarra and replaced him with a junta headed by Gen. Guillermo Rodriguez Lara.
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