César Gaviria

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Gaviria and the second or maternal family name is Trujillo.
César Gaviria
César Gaviria, World Economic Forum on Latin America 2009 (cropped).jpg
César Gaviria in the World Economic Forum, 2009.
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
57th Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia
In office
7 August 1986 (1986-08-07) – 17 June 1987 (1987-06-17)
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 auˈɣusto ɣaˈβiɾja tɾuˈxiʝo]; born 31 March 1947) was the 28th President of Colombia (1990–1994), and the 7th Secretary General of the Organization of American States (1994–2004).


Early life[edit]

Born in Pereira, the Gaviria family had 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 the 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 the Minister of the Interior.[1]

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 the University of the Andes in the 1960s. He established AIESEC there, and then in 1968 was elected President of AIESEC in Colombia. This began his public service career.

At 23, he was elected councilman in his hometown of Pereira, and four years later he became the city's mayor. In 1974 he was elected to the Chamber of Representatives, which he was president of in 1984–85. 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 proclaimed as Galan's political successor. This campaign was the target of attacks by Pablo Escobar; Gaviria was to take Avianca Flight 203, bound for Cali, but for security reasons he did not board the flight. The plane, with 107 people aboard, exploded, killing everyone on board.


In 1990 he was elected President of Colombia, running as a Liberal Party candidate. 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, but to the specifications of Pablo Escobar. When Escobar was imprisoned there, he continued to control his drug empire, as well as murdering several of his rivals inside the prison. On 20 July 1992, Escobar escaped from 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 term 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 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.[2]

Adviser and scholar[edit]

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


Gaviria was proclaimed the sole chief of the Colombian Liberal Party in June 2005. On 27 April 2006, his sister Liliana Gaviria was killed by unknown gunmen.

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,[3] an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 former presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.

Popular culture[edit]

Gaviria is portrayed by the Colombian actor Fabian Mendoza in the TV series Escobar, el patrón del mal.[citation needed]


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


  1. ^ "Moviendo Las Fichas". Semana (in Spanish). 22 June 1987. ISSN 0124-5473. OCLC 7475329. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ 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.