Received his education in Panama.
Chiari’s first brief time in office occurred when Colonel José Antonio Remón, chief of the National Police, was consolidating power. Remón ousted Chiari when he refused to follow orders. The assassination of Remón in 1955 reversed Chiari’s fortunes.
The Liberal Party had declined with the rise of Remón and of the Panameñista movement of Amulfo Arias Madrid. However, in an unprecedented achievement for an opposition candidate, Roberto Chiari won the 1960 election. Although Chiari represented a throwback to the old oligarchy, he felt it was necessary to promote economic and social change in order to avoid violent revolution.