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Juan Manuel Santos
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World Leader
    (August 10, 1951- )
    Born in Bogota, Colombia
    Former economist and journalist
    Founding member of the Social Party of National Unity (2005)
    Minister of Foreign Trade (1991-94)
    Minister of Finance and Public Credit (2000-02)
    Minister of National Defense (2006-09)
    President of Colombia (Inaugurated August 7, 2010)
    Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (2016)
    Before going into politics, he worked for ‘El Tiempo,’ a newspaper that his family happened to be majority shareholders of.
    While he was Defense Minister, the military carried out thousands of ‘extrajudicial executions’ of civilians in order to inflate the body count in its war against the guerilla group FARC.
    His predecessor as president, Alvaro Uribe, accused him of seeking ‘peace at any cost’ during government negotiations with FARC.
    He won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an agreement to end the war with FARC even though the deal was rejected by Colombian voters in a referendum and thus did not get enacted.
    He oversaw Operation Checkmate, which rescued fifteen FARC hostages, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt (July 2, 2008).
    The official reasoning for awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize: ‘It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s firm belief that President Santos, despite the ‘No’ majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a resolution.’
    Giving the Nobel Prize for peace efforts that didn’t quite pan out is still a step up from giving it for peace efforts that were non-existent.

Credit: C. Fishel

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