Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Virgilio Barco Vargas
|Term of Office:||August 7, 1986-August 7, 1990|
|Predecessor:||Belisario Betancur Cuartas|
|Successor:||César Gaviria Trujillo|
|Date of Birth:||September 17, 1931|
|Place of Birth:||Cúcuta|
|Date of death:||May 20, 1997|
|Place of death:||Bogotá|
|First Lady :||Carolina Isackson Proctor|
Virgilio Barco Vargas (September 17, 1921 - May 20, 1997) was a politician and diplomat from Colombia. He was a member of the Colombian Liberal Party and served as president of Colombia from August 7 1986 until August 7 1990.
Barco was born in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander Department, in north-eastern Colombia. He entered politics in 1943 when he became a liberal party city council member in the town of Durania. He was then elected to the lower house of Congress, but went into exile in the late 1940s because of violence between liberals and conservatives. He lived in the United States, where his daughter, Carolina Barco (who would later become a Colombian politician herself) was born.
Barco returned to Colombia in 1954 to help negotiate the peace process which allowed the formation of the National Front between liberals and conservatives, which lasted for two decades. He became a member of the Senate , the upper house of Congress in 1958, left to become the ambassador to Britain in 1961, and returned to Colombia in 1962. He served another term in the Senate until 1966, when he was elected mayor of Colombia's capital, Bogotá. He served in that position until 1969, when he became a director of the World Bank until 1974. He then briefly served as ambassador to the United States during 1977.
Barco was elected president of Colombia with 58% of the vote in 1986. He supported anti-poverty programs, renewed dialogue with leftist guerillas and fought drug traffickers. Though he was popular within the international community, he became less popular in Colombia because the drug traffickers became more violent after he started to move against them. He served one 4-year term and did not run again. When he left the Presidency in 1990, he served as embassador to Britain again until 1992, when he retired from public life. He died in Bogotá in May 20, 1997.
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