Betancur Cuartas, Belisario (1923–)

views updated

Betancur Cuartas, Belisario (1923–)

Belisario Betancur Cuartas (b. 4 February 1923), president of Colombia (1982–1986). The second of twenty-two children of a poor family from Amagá, Antioquia, Betancur received a law degree in Medellín in 1947 and worked in Conservative journalism there. In the 1960s he served in the congress and as minister of labor. In 1979 he was appointed ambassador to Spain. After two unsuccessful runs for the presidency, Betancur finally won in 1982. He inherited a banking crisis and a developing recession, which he handled with relative success. His major domestic initiative was an opening to Colombia's guerrilla groups, culminating in truce agreements with three of the four largest in May-August 1984. But by late 1985 these truces collapsed, as dramatically illustrated by M-19's seizure of the Palace of Justice in Bogotá in 1985. Increased pressure against cocaine traffickers, after years of official nonfeasance, led to the assassination of Betancur's minister of justice in April 1984. On the international front, Betancur's advocacy for developing countries at the United Nations in October 1983 won wide applause, as did his role in the Contadora peace process for Central America. After the end of his political career, he became involved in many international organizations and associations, including the Commission for Truth in the El Salvadorian Peace Process.

See alsoColombia: Since Independence; Colombia, Revolutionary Movements: M-19.


Ignacio Arizmendi Posada, Presidentes de Colombia, 1810–1990 (1990), pp. 295-300.

Olga Behar, Las guerras de la paz (1985).

Ana Carrigan, The Palace of Justice (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Betancur Cuartas, Belisario. "Perspectivas económicas y políticas de America Latina." In Democracía y desar-rollo en América Latina, edited by Fernando Cepeda Ulloa. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editor Latinoamericano, 1985.

Ramírez, Socorro and Luis Alberto Restrepo. Actores en conflicto por la paz: El proceso de paz durante el gobierno de Belisario Betancur (1982–1986.) Mexico: Siglo Ventiuno, 1988.

Restrepo, Laura. Historia de una traición. Bogotá: Plaza & Janés, 1986.

Vázquez Carrizosa, Alfredo. Betancur y la crisis nacional. Bogotá: Ediciones Aurora, 1986.

                                   Richard J. Stoller

About this article

Betancur Cuartas, Belisario (1923–)

Updated About content Print Article