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Virgilio Barco Vargas
President Virgilio Barco.png
Barco in 1991
27th President of Colombia
In office
7 August 1986 (1986-08-07) – 7 August 1990 (1990-08-07)
Preceded by Belisario Betancur Cuartas
Succeeded by César Gaviria
20th Colombia Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
9 November 1990 (1990-11-09) – 1992
President César Gaviria
Preceded by Fernando Cepeda Ulloa
Succeeded by Luis Prieto Ocampo
18th Colombia Ambassador to the United States
In office
24 June 1977 (1977-06-24) – 11 December 1980 (1980-12-11)
President Alfonso López Michelsen
Preceded by Julio César Turbay Ayala
Succeeded by Jorge Mario Eastman Robledo
6th Mayor of Bogotá
In office
President Carlos Lleras Restrepo
Preceded by Jorge Gaitán Cortés
Succeeded by Emilio Urrea Delgado
Minister of Agriculture
In office
23 April 1963 (1963-04-23) – 6 October 1963 (1963-10-06)
President Guillermo León Valencia
Preceded by Cornelio Reyes Reyes
Succeeded by Gustavo Balcázar Monzón
Minister of Finance and Public Credit
In office
7 August 1962 (1962-08-07) – 5 September 1962 (1962-09-05)
President Guillermo León Valencia
Preceded by Jorge Mejía Palacio
Succeeded by Carlos Sanz de Santamaría
8th Colombia Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
16 June 1961 (1961-06-16) – 1962
President Alberto Lleras Camargo
Preceded by Alfonso López Pumarejo
Succeeded by Alfredo Araújo Grau
Minister of Public Works
In office
7 August 1958 (1958-08-07) – 9 November 1960 (1960-11-09)
President Alberto Lleras Camargo
Preceded by Roberto Salazar Gómez
Succeeded by Misael Pastrana Borrero
Personal details
Virgilio Barco Vargas

(1921-09-17)17 September 1921
Cúcuta, North Santander, Colombia
Died 20 May 1997(1997-05-20) (aged 75)
Bogotá, Colombia
Resting place Central Cemetery of Bogotá
Nationality Colombian
Political party Liberal
Carolina Isakson Proctor
(m. 1950)
  • María Carolina Barco Isakson
  • Julia Barco Isakson
  • Diana Barco Isakson
  • Virgilio Barco Isakson
Alma mater
Profession Civil engineer
Website Official website:

Virgilio Barco Vargas (17 September 1921 – 20 May 1997) was a Colombian politician and civil engineer who served as the 27th President of Colombia serving from 7 August 1986 to 7 August 1990.

Early life

Barco was born in Cúcuta in the Norte de Santander Department of Colombia to Jorge Enrique Barco Maldonado and Julieta Vargas Durán. He studied Civil Engineering at the National University of Colombia and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from which he graduated in 1943. He entered politics in 1943 when he became a city council member for the Liberal Party in the town of Durania. He was then elected to the lower house of Congress, but went into exile to the US in 1950 because of violence between liberals and conservatives. His daughter, Carolina Barco Isakson (who would later become a Colombian politician herself) was born there. He obtained an M.A. in economics at MIT, where he took classes under Nobel prize winners Robert Solow and Paul Samuelson in 1952. In 1954 he obtained a PhD in economics from Boston University.

Barco is the grandson of Colombian General Virgilio Barco M., who developed one of the country's largest oil concessions in 1905.

Political career

Carlos Galindo Pinilla Con Virgilio Barco, con los poetas y con Alvaro Castaño

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 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 served as ambassador to the United States from 1977 until 1980.



Barco was elected president of Colombia with 58% of the vote in 1986. ..... His restrictive economic policies at first doomed the country. After two years of this, The Economic Openness program was initiated by his administration, which would open Colombian markets to the world and recharge the country's economy. He served one 4-year term.

Post-Presidency and death

When he left the Presidency in 1990, he served as ambassador to Britain again until 1992.

Barco was diagnosed with cancer and he died on May 20, 1997, in Bogotá when he was 75. He is now buried in the Central Cemetery of Bogotá.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Virgilio Barco para niños

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