César Gaviria Trujillo

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Person.png César Gaviria TrujilloRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
César Gaviria Trujillo.jpg
BornCésar Augusto Gaviria Trujillo
31 March 1947
Pereira, Risaralda Department, Colombia
Alma materUniversity of the Andes (Colombia)
ReligionRoman Catholic
Children • Simón Gaviria Muñoz
• María Paz Gaviria Muñoz
Colombian economist and politician, former president.

Employment.png Secretary General of the Organisation of American States

In office
15 September 1994 - 15 September 2004

Employment.png President of Colombia Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
7 August 1990 - 7 August 1994
Preceded byVirgilio Barco Vargas

Employment.png Minister of the Interior and Justice

In office
May 1987 - February 1989

César Gaviria Trujillo is a Colombian economist and politician. He was President of Colombia from 1990 to 1994, Secretary General of the Organisation of American States from 1994 to 2004 and National Director of the Colombian Liberal Party from 2005 to 2009. During his tenure as president, he summoned the Constituent Assembly of Colombia that enacted the Constitution of 1991.


Early life

Born in Pereira, the Gaviria family had been an important figure in Colombian politics and economy for over 30 years. César Gaviria is the distant cousin of José Narces Gaviria, who was the CEO of Bancolombia from 1988–1997. José N. Gaviria encouraged César 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, which 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, of which he was president of in 1984–85. Three years later he became co-chair of the Colombian Liberal Party.


César Gaviria Trujillo 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.[2]


In 1990 he was elected President of Colombia, running as a Liberal Party candidate. During his government a new constitution was adopted in 1991.[3] 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

In 1994, Gaviria was elected Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (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.[4]

Adviser and scholar

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.[5]

Gaviria is a member of the Club of Madrid,[6][7] an independent non-profit organisation created to promote democracy and change in the international community, composed by more than 100 members: former democratic Heads of State and Government from around the world.

Popular culture

Gaviria is portrayed by the Colombian actor Fabián Mendoza in the TV series Escobar, el Patrón del Mal.[8]

In Narcos, a 2015 Netflix original series, Gaviria is portrayed by Mexican actor Raúl Méndez.


External links

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