César Gaviria

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César Gaviria
Cesar Gaviria, secretary of OAS (2001).jpg
Gaviria in 2001.
7th Secretary General of the Organization of American States
In office
15 September 1994 (1994-09-15) – 15 September 2004 (2004-09-15)
Preceded by João Clemente Baena Soares
Succeeded by Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría
28th President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1990 (1990-08-07) – 7 August 1994 (1994-08-07)
Preceded by Virgilio Barco Vargas
Succeeded by Ernesto Samper Pizano
Minister of Government of Colombia
In office
May 1987 – February 1989
President Virgilio Barco Vargas
Preceded by Fernando Cepeda Ulloa
Succeeded by Raúl Orejuela Bueno
Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia
In office
7 August 1986 (1986-08-07) – May 1987
President Virgilio Barco Vargas
Preceded by Hugo Palacios Mejía
Succeeded by Luis Fernando Alarcón Mantilla
Member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia
In office
20 July 1974 (1974-07-20) – 20 July 1986 (1986-07-20)
Constituency Risaralda Department
President of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia
In office
20 July 1984 (1984-07-20) – 20 July 1985 (1985-07-20)
Preceded by Hernando Gómez Otálora
Succeeded by Daniel Mazuera Gómez
Personal details
Born César Augusto Gaviria Trujillo
(1947-03-31) 31 March 1947 (age 67)
Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia
Nationality Colombian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Ana Milena Muñoz Gómez (1978–present)
Alma mater University of the Andes (BEcon, 1969)
Occupation Economist
Religion Roman Catholic

César Augusto Gaviria Trujillo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsesaɾ ɣaˈβirja]; born 31 March 1947) was the 28th President of Colombia from 1990 to 1994, and the 7th Secretary General of the Organization of American States from 1994 until 2004.


Early life[edit]

Born in Pereira, Gaviria family been an important figure in Colombian politics and economy for over 30 years. Cesar Gaviria is the distant cousin of José Narces Gaviria who was the CEO of Bancolombia from 1988–1997. José N. Gaviria encouraged Cesar Gaviria to run for Congress of Colombia in early childhood. He was first elected to Congress in 1974. He served in Virgilio Barco's government, first as minister of finance and later as minister of the interior.

As a student, Gaviria spent a year as an exchange student in the United States with AFS Intercultural Programs.

Before entering politics, he studied at Universidad de los Andes in the 1960s. He established AIESEC there, and then in 1968 he was elected President of AIESEC in Colombia. This began his public service career.

At 23 he was elected councilman of his hometown in Pereira. Four years later he became the city's mayor. In 1974 he was elected into the Chamber of Representatives, of which he was president in the 1984-985 period. Three years later he became co-chair of the Colombian Liberal Party.

He was the debate chief of Luis Carlos Galán during Galan's 1989 presidential campaign, which was cut short by Galan's assassination. After this tragedy, Gaviria was then proclaimed as Galan's political successor, and the presidential campaign continued gaining great popularity. This campaign was the target of attacks by Pablo Escobar; Gaviria was to take Avianca Flight 203, bound for Cali, but for security reasons canceled the flight. The plane with 107 people aboard exploded killing all passengers and flight crew.


In 1990 he was elected President of Colombia for the Liberal Party. During his government a new constitution was adopted in 1991. As president, Gaviria also led the fight against the Cali drugs cartel and various guerrilla factions.

Under his presidency, the prison La Catedral was built under Pablo Escobar's specifications and Pablo Escobar was imprisoned there, where Escobar continued to control his drug empire, judging and killing inside the prison several crime partners. On 20 July 1992, Pablo Escobar fled the prison after learning that he was going to be moved to a different prison. On 2 December 1993, the notorious drug lord was gunned down by Colombian police, a triumph for the Gaviria administration.

Secretary General of the OAS[edit]

Cesar Gaviria heading the OAS session (left) and then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

In 1994, Gaviria was elected Secretary General of the OAS (his period beginning after the end of his presidential term in August 1994). Reelected in 1999, he worked extensively on behalf of Latin America. Between October 2002 and May 2003, he served personally as international facilitator of the OAS mesa process aimed at finding a solution to the internal Venezuelan political crisis between President Hugo Chávez and the Coordinadora Democrática opposition, moving to Caracas for six months to do so.[1]

Adviser and scholar[edit]

After leaving the OAS Gaviria worked briefly in New York as an advisor and scholar at Columbia University, but swiftly returned to Colombia where he founded an art gallery named Nueveochenta and has remained in the country ever since.


Returning to Colombia in early 2005 after several visits in late 2004, Gaviria once again became active in politics, and was proclaimed as the sole chief of the Colombian Liberal Party in June 2005.

On 27 April 2006, his sister Liliana Gaviria was killed by unknown gunmen. Apparently Liliana was coming home in her car when several people in a red Mazda 626 intercepted her and her bodyguard. It is believed that the gunmen tried to kidnap her and in an exchange of fire with the bodyguard she received a shot to her heart (through the abdomen). Her body, which also presented a head bruise, was recovered 3 kilometers away from her house alongside a car. Former President Álvaro Uribe has offered 1,000,000,000 pesos (around 350,000 euros, or 500,000 USD) for any information regarding the location of the persons responsible for her death.[citation needed]

Colombia's four failed peace talks[1]
Year President Ended because
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

Gaviria is a member of the Club of Madrid,[2] an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.

In addition President Gaviria has been involved in activities related to the seas and was featured recently on Vanity Fair Magazine as a member of the NGO Oceana. In Colombia, Gaviria is well known as an art collector, and some years ago, opened his gallery Nueveochenta in Bogotá.

Popular culture[edit]

Gaviria is portrayed by the Colombian actor Fabian Mendoza in TV Series Escobar, el patrón del mal. In TV series Los Tres Caínes is portrayed as the character of Germán Giraldo by Mario Ruiz.


  1. ^ "Why did the Colombia Peace Process Fail?" (PDF). The Tabula Rasa Institute. Retrieved 26 February 2006.  [PDF file]


  1. ^ Andrew F. Cooper, and Thomas Legler (2005), "A Tale of Two Mesas: The OAS Defense of Democracy in Peru and Venezuela," Global Governance 11(4)
  2. ^ 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 the members is most valuable.