Gomez was bom and educated in Bogota.
Gifted with a talent for polemical expression, he became a spokesman, as editor of La Unidad (1909-1916), for a group of young Conservative nationalists disenchanted with Colombia’s weakness revealed by the loss of Panama. Through the years of Conservative rule until 1930, he served in various provincial and national positions, including representative, senator, and minister to Argentina.
The victory of the Liberal Party in the presidential election of 1930, together with Conservative disarray, convinced Gómez that his party needed a new direction. While minister to Germany in 1931, he became interested in rightist ideologies which were then growing in influence. Upon his return, he became the leader of the Conservative Party.
Gómez himself was elected president in 1950 in an election from which the Liberal abstained.
For health reasons, Gómez turned over the presidency to Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez in 1951, and when he attempted to resume office in 1953, he was stopped by a military coup.
Gómez worked against dictator Rojas Pinilla from his exile in Spain. Finally, he convinced the Conservatives to join the Liberals in forming the National Front, which was designed to restore constitutional rule after 1958, to bring about an end to violence, and to achieve political peace between the parties.
Growing Liberal electoral majorities and the conviction that Colombia was moving toward socialism caused Gómez to intensify his attacks on Liberalism. By the late 1930s he cast himself in the role of savior of a country experiencing political and moral decay. He championed Spanish falangism, openly sympathized with European fascism, and even advocated extralegal action to reassert Conservative hegemony.
From the pages of his daily El Siglo, as well as in Congress, Gómez steadily attacked and undermined the chaotic second administration of Liberal Alfonso López Pumarejo (1943-1945). As party chief, Gómez whipped the Conservatives into line behind the candidacy of Mariano Ospina Pérez, who won the presidency in 1946.