Andrés Pastrana

Former President of Colombia (1998-2002)

Andres Pastrana speaker, keynote speech
English · Spanish

Andrés Pastrana is born 17 August 1954 in Bogota. He was the President of Colombia from 1998 to 2002, following in the footsteps of his father, Misael Pastrana who was president from 1970 to 1974.He obtained a degree in law at Our Lady of the Rosary University in 1977. Andrés Pastrana was a student in Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Fellow.

After obtaining a postgraduate at Harvard in the United States, Andrés Pastrana returned to Colombia. In 1982 he formally began his political career 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. Andrés Pastrana 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.

In 1982, Andrés Pastrana formally began his political career, gaining a seat on the local Senator. He was kidnapped on 18 January 1988 in Antioquia by the Mayor of Bogotá, a position he held until 1990. In 1991 he was elected Senator. In 1998, Andrés Pastrana announced his intention to run for President. This time he won in the Presidential elections of 1998.

His presidency is remembered first 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 second for his breaking off said negotiations. Andrés Pastrana is also remembered for a growing degree of unpopularity in polls as his term progressed. His administration proposed and initially oversaw the implementation of the controversial Plan Colombia aid package and anti-drug strategy.

In 2005 President Álvaro Uribe Velez, offered the former president the post of Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC. However, after consulting his family and political supporters, he resigned in July 2006 and returned to Colombia and Samper and rejected the appointment.

Andrés Pastrana is a member of the Fondation Chirac’s honour committee in order to promote world peace. He also is a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 80 former leaders of democratic countries, which works to strengthen democratic leadership worldwide.

Andrés Pastrana is a charismatic man and a good speaker. He has received numerous international awards and journalistic prizes in Spain and Colombia.