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Juan Manuel Santos Calderón (born 10 August 1951) is a Colombian politician and former Minister of National Defense.


Early life

Juan Manuel Santos spent most of his childhood in Bogotámarker and attended Middle School and High School at Colegio San Carlosmarker. His last years of high school were spent as a Cadet in the Escuela Naval de Cartagena (Naval Academy of Cartagenamarker), where he was a classmate and superior of the FARC-EP guerrilla leader known as Simón Trinidad. He continued his studies in the University of Kansasmarker obtaining a degree in Economics and Business Administration. He later acquired masters in Economics, Economic Development and Public Administration in the London School of Economicsmarker and Harvard Universitymarker.[443192]

He earned scholarships from the Fulbright Foundation in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts Universitymarker and from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He has been awarded an Honoris Causa doctorate in Law.[443193]


Juan Manuel Santos has been Chief Executive of the Colombian Coffee Delegation to the International Coffee Organization in Londonmarker, Sub-Director of his family owned newespaper El Tiempo and a columnist for 14 different newspapers. He was Minister of Foreign Trade during the administration of president César Gaviria in 1991. In 1992 he was appointed President of the VII United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for a period of four years. In 1999 he was appointed as President of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and got to be Director of the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) for the period 2001–2002.

Santos also founded the Social National Unity Party (aka Party of the U) to support the presidency of Álvaro Uribe. He has been the Minister of Defense since 19 July 2006. During his tenure as Defense Minister the administration has dealt some of the most devastating blows in recent history against the terrorist organization FARC, namely the rescue of the country's current foreign affairs minister, the death of FARC Secretariat #2 Raul Reyes(operation that took place in the Ecuadorean side of the border thus breaching Ecuador sovereignty and killing 25 sleeping guerrilla members by secret air strike) and the rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, held captive since 2003[443194].

Juan Manuel Santos announced his resignation on May 18, 2009 citing the need to serve the public and the cause (National Security) in other areas of public life. He reassured the public and the media that his resignation did not imply that he was tossing his hat into the presidential ring and that it all depended whether Uribe would pursue a second re-election, and if that were the case he would lend his full support to Uribe. His resignation took effect on May 23, 2009.


During his time as Colombian Defense Minister, several controversial events took place.

1. A military raid inside of Ecuador's territory to kill the FARC leader Raul Reyes CNN news

2. Misuse of an International Committee of the Red Cross symbol during Operation Jaquemarker. CNN News

3. The 4th of November 2008, he admitted the forced disappearances caused by Military under his mandate as Ministry of Defense Source El Espectador. More than 1.000 cases are at the Colombian General Attorneys office to be investigated.


In 1994 Juan Manuel Santos founded the Good Government Foundation with the main objective of helping and improving the governability and efficiency of the Colombian Government.[443195][443196]


Santos is part of one of the most traditional families in Colombia. His grandfather's brother Eduardo Santos was President of Colombia from 1938 to 1942 and owner and Director of the newspaper El Tiempo. His father Enrique Santos has been editor of this newspaper for at least 50 years. His cousin Francisco Santos is President Álvaro Uribe's Vice President.


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