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|Belisario Betancur Cuartas|
|Betancur in 2009.|
|26th President of Colombia|
7 August 1982 – 7 August 1986
|Preceded by||Julio César Turbay Ayala|
|Succeeded by||Virgilio Barco Vargas|
|Colombia Ambassador to Spain|
16 December 1975 – January 1977
|President||Alfonso López Michelsen|
|Preceded by||Álvaro Lloreda Caicedo|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Hoyos Arango|
|Minister of Labour of Colombia|
7 August 1962 – 23 April 1963
|President||Guillermo León Valencia|
|Preceded by||Juan Benavides Patron|
|Succeeded by||Castor Jaramillo Arrubla|
4 February 1923 |
Amagá, Antioquia, Colombia
|Alma mater||Pontifical Bolivarian University (JD, 1955)|
Betancur was born in the vicinity of "el Morro de la Paila", of the town of Amagá, Antioquia. His father, Rosendo Betancur, was a blue-collar worker at the textile company Coltejer, a job that he obtained after having spent most of his life transporting goods by mule through the mountains of Antioquia. His mother, Ana Otilia Cuartas, had a small shop in Amagá. She died in 1950.
Betancur started his education in the public school of Amagá. He later transferred to the seminary "Misiones de Yarumal, where he studied for the priesthood. He was dismissed from the seminary for disciplinary matters. Betancur then traveled to the city of Medellín, where he enrolled in the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. There, he excelled in his studies and obtained exceptional grades. Upon completing his high-school education, the Headmaster of the school, Monsignor Manuel José Sierra, granted him a scholarship to complete his higher education. In 1955, Betancur graduated in jurisprudence and obtained a Law and Economics degree.
He began his political career as a Deputy to the Assembly of the Colombian province of Antioquia, where he served from 1945 to 1947. He also served as a Representative to the National Chamber for the departments of Cundinamarca and Antioquia, and was a member of the National Constituent Assembly from 1953 to 1957.
Betancur was the Minister of Labor in 1963 and Ambassador of Colombia to Spain from 1975 to 1977.
He ran as for president as an independent Conservative candidate in the election of 1970, coming in third. He again ran as the official Conservative candidate in the election of 1978, but was defeated by Julio César Turbay Ayala.
He was finally elected President in 1982 and served until 1986. As President, he began the Grupo de Contadora por la Paz en Centroamérica, began democratic reforms by incorporating the principal armed movements into civil life, promoted low-cost housing and open universities, began a literacy campaign and endorsed tax amnesty.
During his term, the government approved the mayoral election law, municipal and departmental reforms, judicial and congressional reforms, the television statute, the federal holiday law, and the new Código Contencioso Administrativo. His administration began the exploration and export of coal in the Cerrejón North region and the broadcast of the regional television channels Teleantioquia and Telecaribe.
|Colombia's four failed peace talks|
|1982-1985||Belisario Betancur||Most Supreme Court Justices were killed when M-19 commandos and the Army fought for control of the building|
|1986-1990||Virgilio Barco Vargas||FARC ambush killed 26 soldiers in Caquetá|
|1990-1992||César Gaviria Trujillo||FARC attack on the Senate President. FARC kidnapping and killing of an ex-cabinet member.|
|1998-2002||Andrés Pastrana Arango||FARC kidnapping of Senator|
Betancur is also noted for his attempts to bring peace to his country. During his administration he initiated peace talks with several Colombian guerilla groups. The controversial Palace of Justice siege occurred in late 1985, less than a year before the end of his presidential term.
Betancur is currently the Vice-president of the Club of Rome for Latin America, President of the Commission for Truth in the Salvadoran peace process, President of the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, and President of the Santillana for Latin America Foundation in Bogotá. He is also a founding member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Betancur is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Universities of Colorado and Georgetown, and the Prince of Asturias Peace Award (Spain). He is the author of numerous books and a member of the Colombian Academies of History, Jurisprudence and Language.
Betancur is portrayed by the actor Jaime Barbini as the character of Silvio De la Cruz in TV Series Escobar, el patrón del mal. Betancur is mentioned in a song by the Spanish pop band "Un Pinguino en mi Ascensor" titled "El Sendero Luminoso (me persigue sin reposo)", in the verse "el procónsul honorario / está reunido con Belisario" (the honorary proconsul / is in a meeting with Belisario).
- Arismendi Posada, Ignacio; Gobernantes Colombianos; trans. Colombian Presidents; Interprint Editors Ltd., Italgraf, Segunda Edición; Page 255; Bogotá, Colombia; 1983
- The Club of Madrid is an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries. It constitutes the world´s largest forum of former Heads of State and Government, who have come together to respond to a growing demand for support among leaders in democratic leadership, governance, crisis and post-crisis situations. All lines of work share the common goal of building functional and inclusive societies, where the leadership experience of our Members is most valuable.
- La penitencia del poder, El Navegante, Bogotá, 1991
- El Homo sapiens se extravió en América Latina, Tercer Mundo, Bogotá, 1990
- Desde otro punto de vista, Tercer Mundo, Bogotá, 1976
- El Cristo del desarrollo, Bogotá, 1968
- El rostro anhelante, Bogotá, 1977
- Desde el alma del abedul, Bogotá, 1980
- Colombia cara a cara, Bogotá, 1981
- Declaración de amor, Tercer Mundo, Bogotá, 1997
- La pasión de gobernar, Tercer Mundo, 1999