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Andrés Pastrana Arango is the former President of Colombia (1998-2002) whose tenure was characterized by peace talks with different guerrilla groups and the reactivation of the economy and the financial system.
Andrés Pastrana Arango 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. In the mid 1970s he founded a magazine called Guión and a television news program called Noticiero TV Hoy. As a regular news anchor he became a nationally known figure. In 1982 he formally began his political career, gaining a seat on the local Bogotá Council. During that period he specialized in press articles on the production and trafficking of cocaine, for which he gained many journalistic awards.
Andrés Pastrana Arango was kidnapped on January18, 1988 in Antioquia by the Medellín drug 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 was elected Mayor of Bogotá, a position he held until 1990. He gained notoriety by strengthening security and reducing crime. He then retired to private life – speeches writing etc. until he was elected President in 1998.
In 2005 Colombian President Uribe, who had been a critic of Andrés Pastrana Arango’s peace process with the FARC and had received criticisms from Pastrana regarding his negotiations with Colombian paramilitary groups, surprisingly offered the former President Pastrana the post of Ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C. which he accepted as a mark of his patriotism at a time when Colombia and the U.S. were renegotiating Plan Colombia.
Andrés Pastrana Arango attended the Colegio San Carlos and did a Postgraduate Program in the United States. President Pastrana sits on many international public and private sector Boards and is a well known international speaker. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his many contributions.