Andrés Pastrana Arango

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Andrés Pastrana Arango
Pastrana in 2001
30th President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1998 – 7 August 2002
Vice PresidentGustavo Bell Lemus
Preceded byErnesto Samper
Succeeded byÁlvaro Uribe
30th Ambassador of Colombia to the United States
In office
24 October 2005 – 11 July 2006
PresidentÁlvaro Uribe
Preceded byLuis Alberto Moreno
Succeeded byCarolina Barco Isakson
18th Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
In office
7 August 1998 – 2 September 1998
Preceded byErnesto Samper Pizano
Succeeded byNelson Mandela
18th Mayor of Bogotá
In office
1 January 1988 – 1 January 1990
Preceded byJulio César Sánchez
Succeeded byJuan Martín Caycedo Ferrer
Personal details
Born (1954-08-17) 17 August 1954 (age 69)
Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
Political partyConservative
Other political
Great Alliance for Change
(m. 1981)
RelationsMisael Pastrana Borrero (father)
María Cristina Arango Vega (mother)
  • Santiago Pastrana Puyana
  • Laura Pastrana Puyana
  • Valentina Pastrana Puyana
Alma mater

Andrés Pastrana Arango (born 17 August 1954) is a Colombian politician who was the 30th President of Colombia from 1998 to 2002,[1] following in the footsteps of his father, Misael Pastrana Borrero, who was president from 1970 to 1974.

Early years[edit]

Pastrana was born on 17 August 1954 in Bogotá to Misael Pastrana Borrero, who later served as the 23rd President of Colombia, and María Cristina Arango Vega, the former First Lady of Colombia.[2]

During his father's presidency, he was a high school student at Colegio San Carlos where he served as president of the student council and graduated in 1973. He later acquired a degree in law at the Our Lady of the Rosary University in 1977, and attended Harvard University as a 1978 Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Fellow.[2] He founded the magazine Guión and a programadora known as Datos y Mensajes, whose flagship program was the newscast Noticiero TV Hoy. As a regular news anchor he became a nationally known figure.[3]

In 1982, he formally began his political career by gaining a seat on the local Bogotá council. He also specialized in press articles on the production and trafficking of cocaine for which he gained many journalistic awards. In 1991, he was elected Senator.

Kidnapping by Medellín Cartel and elected Mayor of Bogotá[edit]

He was kidnapped on January 18, 1988, in Antioquia by the Medellín Cartel, which was pressuring the Colombian government into preventing the extradition of Pablo Escobar and other drug lords to the United States. He was found by the National Police a week later, and in March, he was elected Mayor of Bogotá, a position that he held until 1990.

First candidacy for President of Colombia[edit]

In 1994, he stood for the presidency against the Liberal candidate, Ernesto Samper, and lost by only 2% in the second round. Pastrana immediately accused Samper of using drug money to finance his campaign and provided audio recordings to the authorities that subsequently attracted much media attention and eventually led to a scandal known as 8.000 Process (Proceso 8.000).

While the accusation underwent a parliamentary investigation, Pastrana retired into his private life. In 1998, Pastrana announced his intention to run for president. This time, he won that year's presidential election.

Former paramilitary Salvatore Mancuso, commander of the AUC, admitted in 2023 that his organisation had supported Andres Pastrana's presidential campaign in 2002.[4]

President of Colombia (1998–2002)[edit]

Bill Clinton, Andrés Pastrana (center) and Chelsea Clinton in Cartagena, Colombia, 30 August 2000.

His presidency is remembered for his negotiations with the two left-wing guerrilla groups FARC and ELN, culminating in the grant of a demilitarized safe haven to the guerrillas the size of Switzerland, and for his breaking off the negotiations. It is also remembered for a growing degree of unpopularity in polls as his term progressed. Some critics accused him of possibly accepting unspecified bribes from leading FARC and ELN members, but no concrete evidence of that was presented during his presidency. He was also heavily criticized for all the seemingly-pleasure trips that he took around the world during his term.

In 1999, he and U.S. President Bill Clinton launched Plan Colombia to fight the communist guerrillas with the payment by the United States of $1.6 billion over three years to the Colombian army. An amendment quickly emphasized the plan's second function: to encourage foreign investment by "insisting that the Colombian government complete the urgent reforms designed to open its economy completely to foreign investment and trade."[5]

Military counterguerrilla operations cause the forced displacement of more than one million people in four years. Cocaine production increased by 47% during that period.[6]'[7]

Ambassador of Colombia to the United States[edit]

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Andrés Pastrana.

In 2005 President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who had been a critic of Pastrana's peace process with the FARC and had received criticisms from Pastrana regarding his negotiations with Colombian paramilitary groups, surprisingly offered the former president the post of Ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC. After consulting his family and his political supporters, Pastrana accepted.

Some political analysts theorized that Uribe considered that Pastrana would be a useful diplomat in Washington because he would help to renegotiate Plan Colombia and in general to maintain U.S. aid to Colombia, which has contributed to the successes of the Uribe administration.


In July 2006, a few days after Uribe had appointed former President Ernesto Samper as Colombian ambassador to France, Pastrana told Uribe that he was "morally impeded" from participating in a government along with ex-President Samper. Pastrana resigned and returned to Colombia, and Samper rejected his own appointment. However, that move was not well received by the Conservative Party, which was committed to Uribe, who had won the presidency as an independent, and left Pastrana alone.

Other activities[edit]

Pastrana is a board member in the International Foundation for Electoral Systems,[8] and the honorary president of the Union of Latin American Parties (UPLA).[8] He is also a member of the Fondation Chirac's honour committee,[9] and of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 80 former leaders of democratic countries, which works to strengthen democratic leadership worldwide.[10] Pastrana also serves on the board of advisors for the Global Panel Foundation,[11] and as a counsellor for the One Young World Dublin summit in 2014, along with four other former presidents from Latin American countries.[12]

He now maintains a distant and hostile relation with his own party, even referring to it as "absolutely corrupt". He has also levied accusations of corruption against two of the most prominent party leaders, Efraín Cepeda and Hernán Andrade.[13]

He campaigns in 2016 against the peace agreements signed between the Colombian government and the guerrilla.[14]

He is a signatory of the Madrid Charter launched in 2020 by the Spanish party Vox to unite the radical right in Spain and Latin America against "narco-communism, the left and organized crime."[15]

In October 2021, his name was mentioned in the Pandora Papers as the owner of a company located in Panama, a country considered a tax haven, through which he makes investments in Colombia.[16]

He supports far-right candidate Javier Milei in 2023 Argentine general election.[17]

Coat of arms of Andrés Pastrana as knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2013, Pastrana was awarded the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award jointly by the Prague Society for International Cooperation and Global Panel Foundation.[18]

Foreign honours[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Andrés Pastrana Arango." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 21 Jan. 2010 [1].
  2. ^ a b Hugo Sabogal. "AL ESTILO DE ANDRÉS". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Andrés Pastrana Arango" (in Spanish). Banrepcultural. Archived from the original on 25 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Mancuso dice que paramilitares apoyaron campañas presidenciales de Uribe y Andrés Pastrana". SWI (in Spanish). 15 May 2023. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  5. ^ "Garantizar la seguridad de los inversores. Fiebre del oro en Colombia" (PDF). 2010.
  6. ^ "Pastrana y Uribe los gobiernos con mas victimas en el conflicto armado". 2014.
  7. ^ "COLOMBIA: Aumento de narcotráfico agrava la guerra civil". 1999.
  8. ^ a b "Board". IFES. 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  9. ^ "Honor Committee". Fondation Chirac. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  10. ^ Club de Madrid. "Former Heads of State and Government". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Global Panel Foundation - Meeting the World in Person". Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  12. ^ "One Young World". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  13. ^ "'El Partido Conservador es absolutamente corrupto': Andrés Pastrana". 23 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Álvaro Uribe y Andrés Pastrana se reunieron con Donald Trump en Florida". 15 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Quiénes son los amigos internacionales de José Antonio Kast". 24 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Pastrana y Gaviria, dos de los cinco expresidentes vivos de Colombia, en los 'Papeles de Pandora'". 3 October 2021.
  17. ^ "El Nobel Vargas Llosa y los expresidentes Rajoy, Duque y Piñera piden el voto para el ultraderechista Milei en Argentina". 12 November 2023.
  18. ^ "The Prague Society - Promoting a global approach to business, politics and academia in Central Europe through transparent networking and off the record dialogue". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Real Decreto 439/1999, de 12 de marzo, por el que se concede el Collar de la Orden de Isabel la Católica a su excelencia señor Andrés Pastrana Arango Presidente de la República de Colombia". Spanish Official Journal.
  20. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 2001" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Order Zasługi RP". (in Polish). Archived from the original on 9 August 2022. Retrieved 12 April 2023.

Web pages[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Julio César Sánchez
Mayor of Bogotá
Succeeded by
Juan Martín Caycedo Ferrer
Preceded by President of Colombia
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Conservative nominee for President of Colombia
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
Succeeded by
Preceded by Colombian Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Order of precedence
Preceded byas former President Order of precedence of Colombia
former President
Succeeded byas former President