Despite the difficulties he faced during his presidency, Andrés Pastrana (August 17, 1954) is considered one of Colombia’s best-prepared politicians. Throughout his career, Pastrana has fought against Colombian guerrillas as well as dictatorial political models, such as those of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Andrés Pastrana’s biography will show the profile of a man with a born political spirit, despite the failure of his anti-guerrilla plans.

Summary of Andrés Pastrana’s biography

The index

  • A father’s love for his son

  • Pastrana’s journey

  • Anti-guerrilla plans

A father’s love for his son

Andrés Pastrana Arango was born in Bogota, Colombia, on August 17, 1954. Pastrana owes his political future entirely to his father, Misael Pastrana Borrero, who served as Colombia’s president between 1970 and 1974. His father’s close connection to Colombian politics influenced Pastrana, who, from a very young age, yearned to follow in his footsteps.

As a member of a high social class family, Andrés Pastrana had access to a life full of privileges and comforts, as well as contacts that helped him in his political journey. In the city of Bogotá, he graduated from the prestigious Colegio San Carlos. Later, he would become a lawyer and graduate with honors from the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Seora del Rosario.

In 1973, Andrés Pastrana enrolled at Harvard University to study law and international studies for a master’s degree. Pastrana also made many friends during this time that would serve him well in his first and only presidential term.

Andrés Pastrana’s journey

Pastrana became a well-known man in Colombia through television despite having an academic background in political science. One of his first jobs was as a presenter for TV Hoy, a news program his family had created a few years earlier. During this time, Andrés Pastrana demonstrated not only impeccable stage presence, but also a precise understanding of political language.

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His incisive journalistic work earned Andrés Pastrana several awards during his time as a television anchor. The EFE news agency has awarded the King of Spain International Journalism Award since 1983, and the National Award of the Circle of Journalists of Bogotá.

In 1984, Andrés Pastrana became a Bogotá city councilor after a successful career in journalism. Pastrana was kidnapped by Pablo Escobar’s group Los Extraditables after serving for several years as a councilor.

As a result of seven days of kidnapping, this fact accelerated his political career and helped him become mayor of Bogotá in 1988. In 1990, Pastrana founded Nueva Fuerza Democrática, a political party with a strong conservative influence, with which he ran for president in 1994.

Planned measures against guerrillas

Andrés Pastrana kept his political fervor even though he did not win the 1994 election. After gaining credibility as a senator, Pastrana tried again as a presidential candidate in 1998, where he faced Juan Camilo Restrepo. The Colombian government’s plan at this point consisted of a complete purge of guerrillas and drugs.

Because of the uncertainty in social and military issues in Colombia, Pastrana won the elections with 51% of the vote. With the backing of the United States government, Andrés Pastrana created Plan Colombia, a plan that aimed at dismantling Colombia’s armed conflict as well as the flow of drug trafficking. As the president of Colombia, he fought face-to-face with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the FARC).

As president, Andrés Pastrana had to deal with hundreds of internal problems. The Colombian Plan, along with other internal policies, did not take effect. In spite of this, Pastrana is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious foreign policy figures. As a result, in the years following his political career, he has dedicated himself to counseling countries in crisis, such as Venezuela and Cuba.

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