César Gaviria

Virgilio Barco Vargas Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera Colombian Liberal Party

César Gaviria
César Gaviria 2011.jpg
7th Secretary General of the Organization of American States
In office
15 September 1994 (1994-09-15) – 15 September 2004 (2004-09-15)
Preceded byJoão Clemente Baena Soares
Succeeded byMiguel Ángel Rodríguez
28th President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1990 (1990-08-07) – 7 August 1994 (1994-08-07)
Preceded byVirgilio Barco Vargas
Succeeded byErnesto Samper Pizano
Minister of Interior and Justice
In office
May 1987 – February 1989
PresidentVirgilio Barco Vargas
Preceded byFernando Cepeda Ulloa
Succeeded byRaúl Orejuela Bueno
57th Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia
In office
7 August 1986 (1986-08-07) – 17 June 1987 (1987-06-17)
PresidentVirgilio Barco Vargas
Preceded byHugo Palacios Mejía
Succeeded byLuis Fernando Alarcón Mantilla
Member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia
In office
20 July 1974 (1974-07-20) – 20 July 1986 (1986-07-20)
ConstituencyRisaralda Department
President of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia
In office
20 July 1984 (1984-07-20) – 20 July 1985 (1985-07-20)
Preceded byHernando Gómez Otálora
Succeeded byDaniel Mazuera Gómez
Personal details
César Augusto Gaviria Trujillo

(1947-03-31) 31 March 1947 (age 73)
Pereira, Colombia
Political partyLiberal
Alma materUniversity of the Andes (BEcon, 1969)

César Augusto Gaviria Trujillo (Spanish: [ˈsesaɾ awˈɣusto ɣaˈβiɾja tɾuˈxiʝo] ; born 31 March 1947) is a Colombian economist and politician who served as the President of Colombia from 1990 to 1994, Secretary General of the Organization 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, 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. This 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.

He 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. 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 drug cartel, and various guerrilla factions.

Under his presidency, the prison La Catedral was built, but to Pablo Escobar's specifications. When Escobar was imprisoned there, he continued to control his drug empire; he also murdered several of his rivals inside the prison. On 20 July 1992, Escobar escaped after learning that he was going to be moved to a different prison. On 2 December 1993, the notorious drug lord was shot dead, a triumph for the Gaviria administration.

Despite stable economic growth and foreign investment, 45 per cent of Colombians lived below the poverty line (particularly in rural areas) and slums were growing around major cities. Created by drug traffickers and supported by the army (President Gaviria said he saw them as a "possible solution"), paramilitary groups (autodefensas were often engaged in fighting the country's various guerrilla factions.) In cities, these groups carried out social cleaning missions. Tramps, marginalized people, street children and homosexuals were murdered by these groups. Many judges, several senators, priests, and even the head of the national police have been convicted of links with traffickers.[4]

Secretary General of the OAS

César Gaviria heading the OAS session (left) and then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

In 1994, Gaviria was elected Secretary General of the 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.[5]

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.[6]

Colombia's four failed peace talks[1]
Year President Ended because
1982–1985 Belisario Betancur Most Supreme Court Justices were killed when M-19 commandos and the Army fought for control of the building
1986–1990 Virgilio Barco Vargas FARC ambush killed 26 soldiers in Caquetá
1990–1992 César Gaviria Trujillo FARC attack on the Senate President. FARC kidnapping and killing of an ex-cabinet member.
1998–2002 Andrés Pastrana Arango FARC kidnapping of Senator

Gaviria is a member of the Club of Madrid,[7][8] an independent non-profit organization 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.[9]

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


  1. ^ "Why did the Colombia Peace Process Fail?" (PDF). The Tabula Rasa Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2006. [PDF file]


  1. ^ "Moviendo Las Fichas". Semana (in Spanish). 22 June 1987. ISSN 0124-5473. OCLC 7475329. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Hace 25 años fue atentado contra avión de Avianca, ordenado por Pablo Escobar" (in Spanish). Caracol. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Perfil César Gaviria Trujillo" (in Spanish). Quién es Quién. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  4. ^ https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1993/01/PROLONGEAU/44929
  5. ^ Andrew F. Cooper, and Thomas Legler (2005), "A Tale of Two Mesas: The OAS Defense of Democracy in Peru and Venezuela," Global Governance 11(4)
  6. ^ "Asesinada Liliana Gaviria, hermana del ex presidente César Gaviria Trujillo" (in Spanish). Caracol. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Gaviria, César President of Colombia (1990-1994)". Club of Madrid. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  8. ^ Club de Madrid is an independent non-profit organization created to promote "Democracy that Delivers". It is composed of more than 100 Members, all democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world.
  9. ^ "Fabián Mendoza será 'César Gaviria' en Escobar, El Patrón del Mal". El Espectador (in Spanish). 30 July 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2015.