Luis Alberto Villamizar Cárdenas

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Luis Alberto Villamizar Cárdenas
Colombia Ambassador to Cuba
In office
July 18, 1997 – 1999
President Ernesto Samper Pizano
Preceded by Miguel Antonio Yepes Parra
Colombia Ambassador to the Netherlands
In office
1992–1994
President César Gaviria Trujillo
Succeeded by Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla
Colombia Ambassador to Indonesia
In office
1987–1989
President Virgilio Barco Vargas
Member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia
In office
1982–1994
Personal details
Born (1944-10-26)October 26, 1944
Cúcuta, Norte de Santander, Colombia
Died July 26, 2007(2007-07-26) (aged 62)
Bogotá, DC, Colombia
Resting place Jardines del Recuerdo Cemetery
4°47′06″N 74°02′32″W / 4.784961°N 74.042273°W / 4.784961; -74.042273
Nationality Colombian
Political party New Liberalism
Spouse(s) Maruja Pachón
Relations Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento (brother-in-law)
Children Andrés Villamizar Pachón
Occupation Politician, Diplomat
Religion Roman Catholic
This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Villamizar and the second or maternal family name is Cárdenas.

Luis Alberto Villamizar Cárdenas (born October 26, 1944 – died July 26, 2007) was a Colombian politician and diplomat. He is best known for his role in fighting the Medellín drug cartel.

Early life[edit]

Villamizar's grandfather was Colombia's Minister for War and his father was a physician to the Presidential Guard. Villamizar studied medicine at the Xavierian University in Bogotá, but failed to complete his degree.[1] He worked in advertising and marketing and was a sales associate for B.F. Goodrich, a job through which he came to gain a very complete knowledge of Bogota, something that would prove very useful in his political career later on.

Political career[edit]

Villamizar entered politics and became an ally of leading politician Luis Carlos Galán in seeking to limit the power of Pablo Escobar of the Medellín cocaine cartel. As leader of the Nuevo Liberalismo[1] in the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia, Villamizar won passage of the National Narcotics Statute in 1986 which was the first general legislation against drug trafficking.[1] He also worked against Escobar's attempts to have sympathetic politicians pass legislation against extradition.

Escobar arranged for an attempt on Villamizar's life in 1986.[1] Following the assassination attempt, Villamizar was appointed as Ambassador to Indonesia. During his term as Ambassador, United States security forces captured a hitman in Singapore sent to kill him.

When Villamizar returned to Colombia, Escobar ordered Villamizar's wife, journalist Maruja Pachón, and his sister Beatriz Villamizar de Guerrero to be kidnapped. Eight more people were soon kidnapped as well. The President of Colombia commissioned Villamizar to negotiate the release of the captives. Escobar was so impressed with Villamizar's negotiating skills that he selected him to negotiate his (Escobar's) own later surrender to Colombian authorities. Gabriel Garcia Marquez based his 1997 book News of a Kidnapping on Villamizar's fight against kidnapping.[1]

In 1996, President Ernesto Samper appointed Villamizar as Colombia's first kidnapping czar. He set up a special police force to tackle kidnappings. In 1997, he was appointed as the Ambassador to Cuba.[1]

Death[edit]

Villamizar died in 2007 of complications of lung surgery in Bogotá, Colombia, aged 62.

Popular Culture[edit]

Villamizar is portrayed by the actor Gustavo Angarita Jr. in TV Series Escobar, el patrón del mal.

References[edit]