Wikiepedia Profile on Colombian presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos hours before the Second Round of 2010 Colombian presidential elections

Juan Manuel Santos Calderón (born 10 August 1951) is a Colombian politician and former Minister of National Defense. He is a candidate in the 2010 Colombian presidential election.

Juan Manuel Santos spent most of his childhood in Bogotá and attended middle school and a part of his high school years at Colegio San Carlos. His last years of high school were spent as a Cadet in the Escuela Naval de Cartagena (Naval Academy of Cartagena), from which he graduated. He continued his studies in the University of Kansas obtaining a degree in Economics and Business Administration. While attending the University of Kansas he joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He later acquired a master’s degrees in Economics, Economic Development and Public Administration in the London School of Economics, in business and journalism from Harvard, and in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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

Since September of 1994 he was the head of Good Government Foundation [3] organization which presented the proposal of a demilitarized zone and made it possible to have peace talks with the FARC guerrilla.[4]

Santos also founded the Social National Unity Party (aka Party of the U) to support the presidency of Álvaro Uribe.[citation needed] He was named Minister of Defense on July 19, 2006. During his tenure as Defense Minister the administration dealt a series of blows against the FARC guerrilla group, including the rescue of Fernando Araújo Perdomo, the death of FARC Secretariat member Raul Reyes in a March 2, 2008 air strike against a guerrilla camp located within Ecuador’s borders, and the non-violent rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt held captive since 2002, along with fourteen other hostages, including three Americans.[1]

Juan Manuel Santos announced his resignation from the Defense Ministry on May 18, 2009.[citation needed] Santos said that his resignation did not necessarily imply tossing his hat into the 2010 presidential race and that his participation in the electoral race depended on whether Uribe would pursue a third term, which he was willing to support. His resignation took effect on May 23, 2009.[citation needed]

[edit] Controversies

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 Jaque. CNN News

3. On November 4, 2008, Santos admitted that the Colombian military had carried out extrajudicial executions and pledged to resolve the issue. Source El Espectador

These executions were labeled as ‘false positives’ referring to the fact that members of the military had purposely carried out these executions in order to artificially increase the number of guerrillas killed by the Army and claim rewards from the government.

In March 2010, Santos publicly stated that these executions had stopped since October 2008 and that this had been confirmed by the CINEP, one of Colombia’s foremost human right defense institutions. Semana, a well respected Colombian journal, reported that a few days later the CINEP responded to Santos’s declarations by issuing a press release which stated that, while the number of reported cases had been significantly reduced after the Defense Ministry’s measures were announced, the period between November 2008 and December 2009 still saw 7 such executions and 2 arbitrary detentions.[5]

[edit] 2010 Presidential Elections

As of 18:08(+5 GMT) May 30th 2010, Juan Manuel Santos leads the presidential elections with 46.57% of the votes. He will participate in the second round that will take place the 20th of June. He will run up against his oponent Antanas Mockus who received 21.5% of the votes

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