Colombia: The New Colombian Government Presents Its Team

Last Updated: 10 September 1998

Prepared by Maria Eugenia Lloreda

The new ministers are highly recognized as academics and in the areas in which they were appointed. The following are the Ministers likely to wield the most influence in Colombia´s finances, international commercial relations and its foreign investment program.

Minister of Treasury : Juan Camilo Restrepo.
A lawyer and economist with a Masters degree in Administrative Law from the Sorbone University of Paris. He is considered one of the best economists in Colombia. He has served as Banking Superintendent, President of the National Securities Commission, and President of one of the largest companies in the steel industry in Colombia. He was also advisor of the last Monetary Board and Minister of Mines and Energy in Gaviria´s administration (1990-1994). In 1994 he was elected senator, and as such was the most radical critic of the economic measures adopted by Ernesto Samper´s administration. His most important challenges are to improve the fiscal balance and the GNP.

Minister of International Commerce : Martha Lucía Ramírez.
She is a lawyer who was president of the National Association of Financial Institutions (ANIF). She was the first vice-minister of International Commerce in Gaviria´s administration (1990-1994). In the past presidential elections she was the campaign manager of Noemí Sanín. Her most important tasks are said to be the search for an equilibrium of the trade balance, the opening of new international markets, and the attainment of a membership in NAFTA for Colombia.

Minister of Mines and Energy : Luis Carlos Valenzuela.
He is an Economist with an M.P.A. from Harvard University. He was Chief of the Public Investment Office of the National Planning Department and vice-minister of Development during Barco's administration (1986-1990). In the last years he worked in the private sector. He left the presidency of the "Corporación Financiera del Valle" to become minister.
He is said to encourage the presence of multinationals in the oil and energetic sectors in Colombia. Among his challenges as new minister, are mentioned the finding of solutions to the scarcity of hydrocarbons and the modernization of the electric sector, as well as promoting the capitalization of the hydroelectric companies.

Director of the National Planning Administrative Department : Jaime Ruiz.
An Engineer from Kansas University, with a Masters degree in Social Studies from the HAGUE. He was director of the Urban Development Institute when Pastrana was Mayor of Bogotá, and manager of the Colombian Housing Company. His most important challenges are to obtain the funding for financing the peace process, and also to put into effect all the economic and social programs proposed by Pastrana in his presidential campaign.

Minister of Foreign Affairs : Guillermo Fernández de Soto.
He is a lawyer and economist. He holds a Masters degree in Foreign Affairs from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. He was vice-minister of Foreign Affairs in Betancur's administration (1982-1986), Secretary of the Río Group, and worked for five years in the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights in Washington. He was also president of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá and of the Inter-American Association of Chambers.
He is an expert in international treaties. He faces three principal challenges: to improve Colombia's relations with the United States, to attain international collaboration for the peace process, and to improve Colombia's image in the international scene.

Minister of Transport: Mauricio Cárdenas Santamaría.
An Economist with a PHD in Economics from Berkeley University, he is considered one of the best economic analysts in Colombia. Before assuming as minister he was director of the Economics Investigation Center (FEDESARROLLO).He served as Minister of Economic Development during Cesar Gaviria´s administration (1990-1994) and he is said to be an advocate for privatization processes. His major challenge will be to develop the infrastructure plans as an essential factor to improve the international competitiveness of Colombia.

Minister of Communications : Claudia de Francisco.
An Industrial Engineer who studied at Harvard University. She was Secretary of Treasury for Bogotá and head of the Telecommunications Company of Bogotá. She was also marketing vice-president of "Banco de Colombia" and administrative vice-president of Proexpo. Before becoming a minister, she was the president of the Colombian Union of Advertising Companies.Her most important tasks are to determine whether or not to privatize public postal services, to grant licenses for PCS (Personal Communications System), and to prepare TELECOM for an open market.

Minister of Development : Fernando Araujo.
A Civil Engineer and major shareholder of the newspaper "El Universal" from Cartagena. He ran for mayor of Cartagena in 1998. His principal challenges will be to counterbalance the fiscal adjustment announced by the Minister of Treasury, and to promote the Plan of Social Interest Housing promised by the President in his campaign.

Minister of Defense : Rodrigo Lloreda
A Lawyer and economist. He was Governor of the Department of "Valle del Cauca", and afterwards he was Minister of Education during Turbay´s administration (1978-1982), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of Colombia during Betancur´s administration (1982-1986). He was also Ambassador in Washington D.C. in 1984 ; Presidential Candidate in 1990 ; member of the Constituent Assembly in 1991, and Senator in various occasions. His mayor challenge is to guide the armed forces trough the peace process, subject in which he has experience, since he participated in the Creation of the "Contadora" Group, which eased the conditions for the peace processes in Central America. The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide but specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide but specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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