A few days ago, on March 31, 2020, many Colombians celebrated the life and accomplishments of Carlos Gaviria Diaz on the 5th anniversary of his death. I first met Carlos at the Pyle Center of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he and Daniel Garcia Peña were attending a seminar. Garcia Peña later became Gaviria’s campaign manager.
Carlos was a law professor at the Universidad de Antioquia for many years, where one of his students, Alvaro Uribe Velez, seems not to have internalized the strong ethic of honesty and pulchritude which always characterized Carlos Gaviria. In 1993 Carlos was elected to the Constitutional Court, where he effectively applied his wisdom and great knowledge of the law.
He turned to politics and was elected to the Colombian Senate in 2002. In 2006 he ran for President on the Polo Democratico Alternativo ticket opposing President Alvaro Uribe Velez, who sought reelection. Gaviria received many more votes than candidates of the left had previously received, more than 2.6 million votes, although Uribe won as expected with some 7.3 million votes.
After the election Carlos continued his efforts to bring honesty and good government for all Colombians, not just the closed elite which had governed the country for decades. He was always available to meet with us and discuss what the Colombia Support Network was doing. Never pretentious and always available for advice, he left us with the sensation that Colombia had in Gaviria the best possible person to open up the closed elite and lead Colombia to peace with social justice. It’s tragic that he wasn’t given that opportunity.
Program Director and Co-Founder
Colombia Support Network
Madison, Wisconsin U.S. A.