Francisco Santos Calderón (1961) was elected Vice President of Colombia on the same national ballot as Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez in May 2002. They both were re-elected for a second period in May 2006. As Vice President, Mr. Santos is the head of the Presidential Programs for Human Rights, Transparency and Fight of Corruption, Action Against Landmines and Youth.
He also leads the Shared Responsibility Initiative, an international campaign to create awareness about the social an environmental damages caused by the cultivation of coca and production of cocaine in Colombia. In 1990, Mr. Santos was kidnapped by Pablo Escobar, the leader of the Medellín drug cartel. Along with ten other journalists, he was held for nearly eight months in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to extort a promise from then President César Gaviria that the Colombian Government would not extradite drug traffickers to the United States. Once released, the Vice President spent a year at Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow. In 1992, he returned to Bogotá and founded País Libre (Free Nation), an organization to assist the victims of kidnapping and their families.