Horacio Serpa

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Horacio Serpa Uribe
Horacio Serpa at his farewell meeting from the OAS.
Governor of Santander
In office
1 January 2008 – 1 January 2012
Preceded by Hugo Heliodoro Aguilar Naranjo
Succeeded by Richard Alfonso Aguilar Villa
Permanent Representative of Colombia to the Organization of American States
In office
10 March 2003 – 24 September 2004
President Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Preceded by Humberto de la Calle Lombana
Succeeded by Alvaro Tirado Mejía
1st Minister of the Interior
In office
1994–1997
President Ernesto Samper Pizano
Preceded by Fabio Villegas Ramírez
Succeeded by Carlos Holmes Trujillo García
Co-President of the
Constituent Assembly of Colombia
In office
5 February 1991 – 4 July 1991
Serving with Álvaro Gómez Hurtado and Antonio Navarro Wolff
Preceded by * Office created
Succeeded by * Office abolished
Inspector General of Colombia
In office
1988–1989
President Virgilio Barco Vargas
Succeeded by Alfonso Gómez Méndez
Minister of Government
In office
1990–1990
President Virgilio Barco Vargas
Preceded by Carlos A Lemos Simmonds
Succeeded by Julio César Sánchez García
Senator of Colombia
In office
1985–1988
Member of the
Colombian Chamber of Representatives
In office
1974–1985
Preceded by Rogelio Ayala
Constituency Santander
Personal details
Born (1943-01-04) 4 January 1943 (age 71)
Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
Nationality Colombian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Rosa Moncada Ruiz(1974—present)
Children Sandra Serpa Moncada
Rosa Serpa Moncada
Horacio Serpa Moncada
Alma mater University of Atlantico
Profession Lawyer, politician
Religion Roman Catholic
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Serpa and the second or maternal family name is Uribe.

Horacio Serpa Uribe (born 3 January 1943) is a Colombian lawyer and politician. Serpa has run as the Colombian Liberal Party candidate for President of Colombia on three occasions; in 1998, 2002, and 2006. He previously served as congressman for Santander as Senator, Inspector General of Colombia, president of the National Constituent Assembly, Minister of the Interior, and as Ambassador of Colombia to the Organization of American States. He was also involved in the 8000 process scandal in which money from the Cali Cartel entered the presidential campaign of Liberal candidate Ernesto Samper. In 2007 Serpa ran for the governorship of Santander Department and was elected on October, 28 in the Colombian regional elections.

Political career[edit]

Horacio Serpa has worked in three branches of power in Colombia. After graduating as a lawyer from the Universidad del Atlántico in Barranquilla, Serpa went back to his native Santander Department and became a judge for the town of Tona. He later became a Penal Judge in the town of San Vicente de Chucurí and then Civil Municipal Judge for the town of Barrancabermeja. In Barrancabermeja Serpa also served as Criminal Investigator, Circuit Penal Judge and Superior Judge. During this time Serpa became interested in politics and began participating actively in the Liberal Revolutionary Movement (MRL) as member of the youths, this movement had been founded by Alfonso López Michelsen.

Serpa concentrated his political efforts in the Magdalena medio (Middle Magdalena Region), a convulsioned region in which the ELN guerrilla was born. In 1970 Serpa was appointed Mayor of Barrancabermeja by Alfonso Gómez Gómez and later became Secretary of Education for the Santander Department.

In the legislative branch Serpa served as councilman for the town of Barrancabermeja and later as National Chamber of Representatives representing Santander Department as replacement for congressman Rogelio Ayala in 1974. Serpa was reelected for the periods of 1978 and 1982 under a movement founded by him, the Authentic Liberal Leftist Front (Frente de Izquierda Liberal Auténtico, FILA) aligned with the official Liberal party.

In the Chamber of Representatives Serpa became President of the Accusations Commission and President of the Congress of the Republic Plan Commission. In 1985 Serpa ran for the senate and was elected. In 1998 Serpa was appointed Inspector General of Colombia. He also served as Minister of Government, Minister of Interior, Presidential Peace Advisor and Ministry Delegate in Presidential Functions during the Liberal presidencies of Virgilio Barco (1986–1990) and Ernesto Samper (1994–1998).

Serpa was later elected for the National Constituent Assembly in 1991 in which he shared a collegiate presidency with Antonio Navarro Wolff (former member of the M-19 guerrilla) and Álvaro Gómez Hurtado (representative of the Conservative Party) to create the Colombian Constitution of 1991.

After the creation of the new constitution Serpa continued as President of Liberal Directorate in the Santander Department and President of the Central Politics Commission of the Liberal Party. He was then prospect for presidential candidate in 1998, but was shaded by Ernesto Samper. Serpa was then elected National Director of the Liberal party for the period 1998 - 1999. During the government of Álvaro Uribe, Serpa was appointed ambassador of Colombia to the Organization of American States (OAS) with he also disputed the presidential bids of 2002 and 2006.

8000 Process involvement[edit]

Main article: 8000 Process

In 1981 Serpa met Ernesto Samper Pizano who was working as debate chief of Alfonso López Michelsen's second presidential campaign and became good friends. For the presidential campaign of 1990 Samper became a candidate and Serpa collaborated with his efforts in the Santander Department, his region of influence, while being the leader of his movement: the FILA. But Samper failed the elections.

In the 1994 elections Serpa became Debate Chief of Samper's presidential campaign and this time Samper was elected president of Colombia. Pm June 20, 1994 the opposing presidential candidate Andrés Pastrana then made public the "Narcocassettes" a series of telephone recordings in which members of the Cali drug cartel mainly journalist Alberto Giraldo talked with Gilberto and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela regarding the financing of the Samper campaign for the presidency.

The Supreme Court of Colombia then opened an investigation which was dubbed the "Proceso 8000". Serpa defended Samper against these allegations of drug money entering the campaign in which he was also involved. The relations with the United States government a major contributor to the drug effort in Colombia, deteriorated. Samper and most of his collaborators were absolved from any wrongdoing with the exception of Fernando Botero and Santiago Medina. But the scandal involved a dozen representatives of the Colombian congress and numerous politicians and businessman with the Cali cartel. After this incident Serpa's credibility maintained a low margin within Colombians for supporting Samper, as well as responding to criticism with aggravating words.

Peace negotiator[edit]

During his time as congressman, Serpa was always assisting and representing the government in conflicts between worker unions, social conflicts and the government mainly in the Santander Department where he had his political niche. Serpa has always been in favor of a peacefully negotiated solution. During the government of Belisario Betancur, Serpa was invited to be a negotiator between the ELN guerrilla and was part of numerous peace commissions that never reached successful results.

During the government of Virgilio Barco, Serpa was appointed Minister of Government in which he collaborated in setting a demobilization timetable for the EPL, the PRT and the Quintín Lame Movement. In 1992 under the government of César Gaviria Serpa led the failed negotiation attempts with the ELN guerrilla in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

During the government of Samper, Serpa intended to negotiate with the FARC guerrilla. The terrorist group asked for the demilitarization of La Uribe, Meta a region in central Colombia, but were unsuccessful. Serpa opposed to the CONVIVIR groups created by Fernando Botero, a group of self-defense groups intended to improve security in areas were the government couldn't reach. Despite his opposition the plan of the CONVIVIR was approved. He then traveled to Bonn, Germany where the Colombian government and local government of Bonn were again trying to negotiate with the ELN guerrilla, but this peace talks also failed.

Presidential campaign results for Serpa[edit]

1998[edit]

First round

Second round

2002[edit]

This elections were won by Álvaro Uribe by a majority vote of half plus one vote, which according to the Colombian Constitution of 1991 made a secondary election unnecessary. After these negative results for his political career Serpa said that he would never run for the presidency ever again. Few years later he changed his position and after quiting his post as ambassador of Colombia to the Organization of American States (OAS), he decided to run again for the presidency. In 2005 he was appointed vice-president of the Socialist International.

2006[edit]

Horacio Serpa's 2006 presidential campaign poster.

On March 12, 2006 Serpa was selected as candidate for the Colombian Liberal Party for the presidency of Colombia.

Candidate for Governor of Santander[edit]

On October 28, 2007 Serpa was elected Governor of the Department of Santander by popular vote in the Colombian regional elections. He is scheduled to take office on January 1, 2008.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]