Galán, Luis Carlos (1943–1989)

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Galán, Luis Carlos (1943–1989)

Luis Carlos Galán (b. 29 September 1943; d. 18 August 1989), Colombian politician. Born into a middle-class family in Bucaramanga, Galán was educated in Bogotá. In 1971, at the age of twenty-seven, he was named minister of education in the bipartisan administration of Misael Pastrana Borrero. As editor of the magazine Nueva Frontera and later as a senator, Galán inherited from former president Carlos Lleras Restrepo the banner of reformist opposition to the "officialist" Liberal regimes of the 1974–1982 period. His attacks on human-rights abuses and the vices of clientelist politics won him much admiration but limited electoral success. His New Liberalism movement peaked at 11 percent in the 1982 presidential election; in late 1986 he returned to the official Liberal fold. In the late 1980s Galán spoke out against the growing power of Colombia's drug cartels; he was considered the likely successor to Virgilio Barco Vargas in the presidency. His assassination in August 1989, presumably the work of the Medellín cartel, was the most dramatic moment of the Colombian crisis of 1989–1990.

See alsoBarco Vargas, Virgilio; Colombia, Political Parties: Liberal Party; Lleras Restrepo, Carlos.


Luis Carlos Galán, Ni un pusa atraí, siempre adelante (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Richani, Nazih. Systems of Violence: The Political Economy of War and Peace in Colombia. Bogotá: Editorial Planeta Colombiana, 2003.

Salazar, Alonso. Profeta en el desierto: Vida y muerte de Luis Carlos Galán. Bogotá: Editorial Planeta Colombiana, 2003.

                                  Richard J. Stoller