Colombia profile

President: Juan Manuel Santos

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Mr Santos maintains his predecessor's tough stance against Farc

Juan Manuel Santos, who won an easy victory in the second round of presidential elections in June 2010, is no stranger to high office.

He comes from a powerful Colombian family. His great-uncle, Eduardo Santos, was president from 1938 to 1942 and owned the country's largest newspaper, El Tiempo.

Mr Santos himself held a number of ministerial posts, most prominently defence minister in 2006-2009 under President Alvaro Uribe. He played a key role in implementing the president's tough policies against Colombia's main left-wing rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

He oversaw Operation Checkmate, the successful rescue by the military of 15 high-profile hostages, and was also in charge when the military mounted a controversial air raid into Ecuador that resulted in the death of senior Farc figure Raul Reyes.

The improved security achieved during his term as defence minister earned him considerable credit and helped to pave his way to the presidency.

During his campaign for the presidency, Mr Santos insisted that he would continue the policies of President Uribe, with a strong emphasis on combating the drugs trade and Farc.

Shortly before taking office in August 2010, he rejected a Farc offer of peace talks, saying that the rebels would have to release all their hostages before any talks could take place. When Farc showed signs of doing so in early 2012, the government and Congress put a law in place that allowed talks to begin.

President Santos has also promised to develop the country's infrastructure and to create more jobs, vowing to make Colombians less dependent on the informal economy.

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