Colombia profile - Leaders
- 19 January 2015
- From the section Latin America & Caribbean
President: Juan Manuel Santos
Juan Manuel Santos won re-election in June 2014, gaining what he presented as an endorsement of his efforts to end the continent's longest-running insurgency.
He had staked his reputation on securing a peace deal with the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and said after his re-election: "This is the end of more than 50 years of violence and the start of a new Colombia.''
He served as defence minister under hawkish president Alvaro Uribe, overseeing a no-holds-barred military campaign against the Farc.
But he switched tack after his 2010 election, launching peace talks with the Farc two years after taking office.
The negotiations led to a bitter break between Mr Santos and Mr Uribe, his former mentor, who accused him of betraying the nation.
The civil war has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced five million more since 1964.
Progress has been slow, but Farc agreed to begin talks in 2012, and by early 2015 the government said it was ready to agree terms for a formal ceasefire.
Mr Santos 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. He played a key role in implementing the then president Uribe's tough policies against the 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.