President Eloy Alfaro (1842-1912)

“Men indifferent to the misfortune of the nation, although they are privately laborious, are unaware auxiliaries of the corruption and misfortune of the people.”

José Eloy Alfaro Delgado was an Ecuadorian politician who served as the President of Ecuador from 1895 to 1901 and again from 1906 to 1911. Alfaro become of one of the strong political opponents of pro-Catholic conservative President Gabriel Garcia Moreno, and gained the nickname Vejo Luchador (Old Warrior) for playing a central role in the Liberal Revolution of 1995.

Alfaro's major political legacies are considered to be strengthened national unity, securing the integrity of Ecuador's borders, the increased secularization of the country. Alfaro led the modernization of Ecuadorian society through the introduction of new ideas, education, and systems of public transport and communication, including the engineering feat of the Transandino railway linking Guayaquil with Quito. Alfaro's effigy appeared on the Ecuadorian 50-cent coin from the 2000 issue, and the Ecuadorian Army's military college bears his name, as does the Presidente Eloy Alfaro, the flagship of the Ecuadorian Navy.

On January 28, 1912, a group of pro-Catholic soldiers whose motto was "Muerte al indio Alfaro" (death to the Indian Alfaro), supported by a mob, broke into the prison where Alfaro and his colleagues were detained and dragged them along the cobbled streets of the city center. They were all dead when the horde arrived at the esplanade of city gardens, El Ejido, in the northern outskirts of town. The crowd finally burnt the corpses in the area where the present day park of El Ejido is located. Days later, Alfaro's remains were buried in Quito, in secret. They were transported to Guayaquil and deposited in a mausoleum there at some time in the 1940s. On the initiative of President Rafael Correa (in office from 2007 – 2017), some of the ashes of Eloy Alfaro were exhumed and re-interred with honors in the city of Montecristi, seat of the 2008 National Constitutional Convention.