Juan Manuel Santos

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Juan Manuel Santos
Juan Manue Santos and Lula.jpg
32nd President of Colombia
Assumed office
7 August 2010
Vice President Angelino Garzón
Preceded by Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Minister of National Defence
In office
19 July 2006 – 18 May 2009
President Álvaro Uribe
Preceded by Camilo Ospina Bernal
Succeeded by Freddy Padilla de León (Acting)
Minister of Finance and Public Credit
In office
7 August 2000 – 7 August 2002
President Andrés Pastrana Arango
Preceded by Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar
Succeeded by Roberto Junguito Bonnet
Minister of Foreign Trade
In office
18 November 1991 – 7 August 1994
President César Gaviria
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Daniel Mazuera Gómez
Personal details
Born Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
(1951-08-10) 10 August 1951 (age 62)
Bogotá, Colombia
Political party Social Party of National Unity
Spouse(s) Silvia Amaya Londoño (Divorced)
María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera (1987–present)
Children Martín
María Antonia
Residence Palace of Nariño (Official)
Alma mater University of Kansas, Lawrence
London School of Economics
Harvard University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Juan Manuel Santos Calderón (Spanish pronunciation: [xwan maˈnwel ˈsantos kaldeˈɾon]; born 10 August 1951) is the 32nd and current President of the Republic of Colombia. An economist by profession and a journalist by trade, Santos is a member of the wealthy and influential Santos family, who from 1913 to 2007 were the majority shareholders of the Editorial House El Tiempo until its sale in 2007 to Editorial Planeta. Shortly after graduating from the University of Kansas, he joined the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia as an Economic Advisor and delegate to the International Coffee Organization in London, where he also attended the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 1981, he was appointed Deputy Director of El Tiempo, becoming its Director two years later.

In 1991, he was appointed by President César Gaviria Trujillo, as Colombia's first Minister of Foreign Trade. Santos worked in expanding international trade with Colombia, and worked in creating various agencies for this purpose including: Proexport, Bancoldex, and Fiducoldex. In 2000, he was appointed by President Andrés Pastrana Arango, as Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia.

Santos rose to prominence during the Administration of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. In 2005, he co-founded and led the Social Party of National Unity (Party of the U), a liberal-conservative party coalition that backed the policies of President Uribe, successfully supporting his attempt to seek a Constitutional reform to be able to run for a second term. In 2006, after Uribe was successfully re-elected, and the Party of the U, won a majority of seats in both chambers of Congress, Santos was appointed Minister of National Defence, and continued defending the security policies of President Uribe, taking a strong and forceful stance against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) and the other guerilla groups operating in Colombia. He oversaw rescue operations of hostages, including Operation Jaque that led to the rescue of former presidential candidate Íngrid Betancourt Pulecio, three American citizens, and 11 other members of the Colombian Army that had been held for several years. Though widely viewed as a heroic endeavour that cemented Santos' popularity, the rescue was criticized for misappropriating emblems of the International Red Cross, a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Early life[edit]

Santos attended the Colegio San Carlos,[1] a private secondary school in Bogotá, where he spend most of his school years until 1967, when he enlisted in the Colombian Navy and transferred to the Admiral Padilla Naval Cadet School in Cartagena, graduating from it in 1969, and continuing in the Navy until 1971, finishing with the rank of Naval Cadet NA-42 139.[2] After leaving the Navy, Santos moved to the United States where he attended the University of Kansas. A member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity,[3] he graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor in Economics and Business Administration.[4] He later attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, graduating with a Master of Science in Economic Development in 1975,[5] and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, graduating with a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration in 1981.[6] A Fulbright visiting fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1981,[7] and a Nieman visiting fellow at the Harvard Business School at Harvard University in 1988,[8] Santos also holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.


Juan Manuel Santos has been Chief Executive of the Colombian Coffee Delegation to the International Coffee Organization[9] in London and Deputy Director of his family owned newspaper El Tiempo. He was Minister of Foreign Trade during the administration of president César Gaviria in 1991[citation needed], Minister of economy during the administration of president Andres Pastrana2000. In 1992 he was appointed President of the VII United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for a period of four years.[citation needed]

In 1994 Juan Manuel Santos founded the Good Government Foundation, whose stated objective is helping and improving the governability and efficiency of the Colombian Government.[10][11][12] This organization presented a proposal for a demilitarized zone and peace talks with the FARC guerrilla group.[13]

Minister of Defense[edit]

Minister Santos with his counterpart, U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, during a visit to the Pentagon in 2008.

Santos also founded the Social National Unity Party (Party of the U) to support the presidency of Álvaro Uribe.[citation needed] He was named Minister of Defense on 19 July 2006. During his tenure as Defense Minister, the administration dealt a series of blows against the FARC guerrilla group, including the rescue of Fernando Araújo Perdomo, the death of FARC Secretariat member Raul Reyes in a 2 March 2008 air strike against a guerrilla camp located within Ecuador's borders, and the non-violent rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt held captive since 2002, along with fourteen other hostages, including three Americans.[14]

During his time as Defense Minister, notable controversial events included a military raid inside Ecuador's territory that killed FARC leader Raúl Reyes on 1 March 2008.[15] There was a misuse of an International Committee of the Red Cross symbol during Operation Jaque used to safely rescue hostages from FARC.[16]

In 2008 the 'false positives' scandal was uncovered, referring to revelations concerning extrajudicial executions carried out by members of the military in order to artificially increase the number of guerrillas killed by the Army and claim rewards from the government.[17] On 4 November 2008, Santos admitted that the military had carried out extrajudicial executions and he pledged to resolve the issue.[18] Twenty-seven military officers, including three generals and eleven colonels, were sacked after an internal army investigation concluded that they were responsible for administrative failures and irregularities in reporting enemy casualties and operational results.[19] The Commander of the Colombian National Army, General Mario Montoya, resigned.[20] By May 2009, 67 soldiers had been found guilty and over 400 were arrested pending trial.[21]

There are different estimates for the number of civilians who may have been killed in this manner. As of May 2009, prosecutors were investigating more than 900 cases involving over 1.500 victims and 1.177 members of the Colombian security forces.[21][22] According to the Coordinación Colombia-Europa-Estados Unidos NGO coalition and the Fundación para la Educación y el Desarrollo, an estimated 3.756 extrajudicial executions occurred between 1994 and 2009, of which 3.084 cases would have taken place after 2002.[23][24]

Families of the victims and non-governmental organizations have held the Uribe administration and Santos, as Defense Minister, responsible for the extrajudicial killings because they consider that the government's reward policies motivated the crimes.[23][24] Directive 029 of 2005 issued under Defense Minister Camilo Ospina Bernal and presidential decree 1400 of May 2006 have been questioned for offering incentives and benefits in exchange for capturing or killing members of illegal armed groups.[22][24]

In June 2009, United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston declared that extrajudicial executions had been carried out in a "more or less systematic manner" by numerous Colombian military personnel and found the number of trials for those implicated to be lacking, but stated that he had found no evidence of the executions being an official government policy and acknowledged a decrease in the number of reported cases.[25]

In March 2010, Santos publicly stated these executions had stopped since October 2008 and that this had been confirmed by the CINEP, one of Colombia's foremost human rights defense institutions. Semana, a well-respected news weekly, reported that a few days later the CINEP responded to Santos's declarations by issuing a press release which stated that, while the number of reported cases had been significantly reduced after the Defense Ministry's measures were announced, the period between November 2008 and December 2009 still saw 7 such executions and 2 arbitrary detentions.[26]

Juan Manuel Santos announced his resignation from the Defense Ministry on 18 May 2009. Santos said that his resignation did not necessarily imply tossing his hat into the 2010 presidential race and that his participation in the electoral race depended on whether Uribe would pursue a third term, which he was willing to support. His resignation took effect on 23 May 2009. When the Constitutional Court ruled out the possibility of Uribe's participation in the upcoming elections, Santos officially launched his campaign for the presidency of the Republic of Colombia.

President of Colombia[edit]

Santos and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 9 June 2010.

On 20 June 2010, after two rounds of voting in the Presidential election, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón was officially elected as President of Colombia and was inaugurated on 7 August 2010 in the midst of a diplomatic crisis with Venezuela, which was quickly resolved.[27]

Santos announced on 27 August 2012 that the Colombian government has engaged in exploratory talks with FARC in order to seek an end to the conflict.[28][29] He also said that he would learn from the mistakes of previous leaders, who failed to secure a lasting ceasefire with FARC, though the military would still continue operations throughout Colombia while talks continued.[28] According to an unnamed Colombian intelligence source, Santos would have offered FARC assurances that no one would be extradited to stand trial in another country.[30] The move has been viewed as a cornerstone of Santos' presidency. Former President Uribe has criticized Santos for seeking peace "at any costs" in contrast to his predecessor's rejection of talks.[31]

In October 2012, Santos received the Shalom Prize "for his commitment to seeking peace in his country and worldwide." Upon accepting the award from the Latin American chapter of the World Jewish Congress, Santos stated that “Both the people here and the people in Israel have been seeking peace for decades,” adding that Colombia is in favour of a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[32][33]

Family and personal life[edit]

Juan Manuel was born on 10 August 1951 in Bogotá to Enrique Santos Castillo and his wife Clemencia Calderón Nieto,[34] the third of four children, his brothers are: Enrique, Luis Fernando, and Felipe.[35] The Santos family has been a well established and influential family since colonial times; his great-great-grandaunt was María Antonia Santos Plata, a martyr of the Independence of Colombia, and his great-granduncle was Eduardo Santos Montejo,[36] President of Colombia between 1938 and 1942, who acquired the national newspaper El Tiempo. From there, his family has been connected to the newspaper and influenced the political life of the country; Eduardo's brother, Enrique, grandfather of Juan Manuel, and editor in chief of El Tiempo, was known as "Calibán" to his readers, and his three sons, Enrique (Juan Manuel's father) and Hernando Santos Castillo, and Enrique Santos Molano were chief editor, director, and columnist respectively. Through his father's brother, Hernando, and his mother's sister, Elena, Juan Manuel is also first cousin on both sides to Francisco Santos Calderón, former Vice President of Colombia during the previous administration from 2002 to 2010.[36][37]

Santos first married Silvia Amaya Londoño, a film director and television presenter, but divorced three years later having no children together.[37][38] He then married María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera, or "Tutina" as she is known to those close to her, an industrial designer he had met while she worked as a private secretary at the Ministry of Communications and he was Deputy Director of El Tiempo.[38] Together they had three children, Martín (b. 1989), María Antonia (b. 1991), and Esteban (b. 1993).[39][40]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ "El Colegio San Carlos ha sido un gran formador de líderes, destacó el Presidente Santos" (in Spanish). Bogotá: Colombia, Office of the President. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Colombia tiene un nuevo Presidente. Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Cadete NA 42" [Colombia has a new President. Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Cadet NA 42] (in Spanish). Escuela Naval de Cadetes. 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  3. ^ Esau, John (November 2012). "Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Visits Delta Upsilon Chapter at the University of Kansas". Delta Upsilon Quarterly (Indianapolis, IN: Delta Upsilon Fraternity) 130 (4): 38–39. OCLC 6644516. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Colombian president to visit KU Sept. 24". Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "LSE Leaders". London School of Economics. 
  6. ^ Gavel, Doug (24 June 2010). "Kennedy School Alumnus Elected President of Colombia". Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Laurels". Tufts Magazine (Medford, MA). 2010. ISSN 1535-5063. OCLC 45710313. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Class of 1988". Cambridge, MA: Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  9. ^ International Coffee Organization
  10. ^ Fundacion Buen Gobierno. "Portal de Fundacion Buen Gobierno". Buengobierno.com. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Juan Manuel Santos - Biografia Y Fotos". ColombiaLink.com. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Fundación Buengobierno". Archived from the original on 2 February 1999. 
  13. ^ "Propuesta de Paz". Archived from the original on 9 February 1999. 
  14. ^ ":: Presidencia de la República de Colombia ::". Presidencia.gov.co. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "CNN news". CNN. 6 March 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  16. ^ By Karl Penhaul CNN (6 August 2008). "CNN News". CNN. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  17. ^ (Spanish) "Las cuentas de los falsos positivos". Semana (Colombia). 27 January 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  18. ^ (Spanish) "El Mindefensa reconoce ejecuciones extrajudiciales". El Espectador. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  19. ^ (Spanish) "El ‘dossier’ secreto de los falsos positivos". Semana (Colombia). 25 January 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "Colombian army commander resigns". BBC News. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Toxic fallout of Colombian scandal". BBC News. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  22. ^ a b (Spanish) "Traspié en política de seguridad colombiana". BBC Mundo. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  23. ^ a b (Spanish) "Denuncian más de 3 mil ejecuciones extrajudiciales entre 2002 y 2009". El Espectador. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  24. ^ a b c (Spanish) "Soacha: La punta del iceberg. Falsos positivos e impunidad". Fundación para la Educación y el Desarrollo. 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  25. ^ (Spanish) "ONU confirma desalentador panorama en Derechos Humanos". El Espectador. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  26. ^ "Cinep a Santos: "falsos positivos no han dejado de ser un problema"". Semana.com. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  27. ^ "Venezuela Resumes Relations It Severed with Colombia". Latin American International Tribune. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Murphy, Helen; Acosta, Luis James (27 August 2012). "Colombian government seeking peace with FARC rebels". Reuters. Yahoo News. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  29. ^ "Colombia agrees to hold peace talks with Farc rebels". BBC. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  30. ^ "Government, FARC rebels agree to peace talks". Reuters. France 24. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  31. ^ "Colombia seeking peace with FARC rebels - Americas". Al Jazeera English. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  32. ^ Colombia’s president awarded Shalom Prize, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), 23 October 2012.
  33. ^ Colombian leader says world must recognize Israel as state of Jewish people, World Jewish Congress, 17 October 2012.
  34. ^ "Pefil: ¿Quién es Juan Manuel Santos?" [Profile, Who is Juan Manuel Santos?]. El Tiempo. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  35. ^ "Colombia: murió el ex editor de El Tiempo, Enrique Santos" [Colombia:Dies the Former Editor of El Tiempo]. La Nación (in Spanish). 23 November 2001. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  36. ^ a b "Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, Vástago de una familia de propietarios periodísticos" [Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, Scion of a family of newspaper owners] (in Spanish). Center for International Relations and Development Studies. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  37. ^ a b García Vásquez, Julio Cesar (2009-08-14). "Francisco Y Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Familiares Y Parentela" [Francisco and Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Family and Kin]. Genealogía Colombiana, Volumen IV (in Spanish) (Interconexion Colombia). Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  38. ^ a b "Familia Santos" [Santos Family]. Telemundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  39. ^ "Los nuevos inquilinos de la Casa de Nariño" [The New Occupants of the Nariño House]. El País (in Spanish). 4 August 2010. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  40. ^ "Mi papá, Juan Manuel Santos" [My Dad, Juan Manuel Santos]. Semana (in Spanish). 18 May 2010. ISSN 0124-5473. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Álvaro Uribe
President of Colombia