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Political Information
President: Alvaro Uribe

Alvaro Uribe came to power in May 2002, and was Colombia's first presidential candidate to win a first-round election victory.

Alvaro Uribe
President Uribe has taken a tough stance against left-wing rebels
Described as a hard-line and right-leaning politician, Mr Uribe has pursued a tough line against left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries alike. Although this has won him high approval ratings, guerrilla attacks on civilians have continued.

The challenges facing Mr Uribe were starkly illustrated moments before his swearing-in, when deadly explosions rocked the area around the parliament.

Mr Uribe has boosted spending on the military and police and has set about arming peasants in vulnerable areas of the country. Major offensives have been launched against the guerrillas. Anti-terrorism laws have expanded the military's power to make arrests and detain suspects.

In June 2003 Mr Uribe unveiled a long-awaited security plan, intended to end the war and the drugs trade which fuels it. The plan aimed to establish a police presence in all parts of the country, and to eradicate all drugs crops.

Keen to disarm the paramilitaries, Mr Uribe's government has engaged in formal peace talks with far-right warlords.

Mr Uribe is keen on seeking international mediation to end the violence and has courted US military and financial assistance.

Born in Medellin in July 1952, Alvaro Uribe is a Harvard and Oxford University-educated lawyer. He is described as a workaholic and a disciplined scholar. He was elected mayor of Medellin in 1982 and was Antioquia governor between 1995 and 1997.

Mr Uribe is a staunch Roman Catholic and is interested in horses and yoga. He is married with two children.

His father, a wealthy landowner, was killed when Farc rebels tried to kidnap him. But Mr Uribe - who has survived a handful of assassination attempts - says his anger does not influence his policies.

Additional Information
Background | Political | History



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