Betancur Cuartas, Belisario

Betancur Cuartas, Belisario, 1923–2018, Colombian politician. A member of the Conservative party from a working-class provincial family, he served as a legislator in Antioquia dept. before he was elected to the chamber of deputies in 1962 and to the senate in 1970. A lawyer, journalist, and poet, he also served as minister of labor (1962–63) and as ambassador to Spain (1975–77). After three unsuccessful campaigns (1962, 1970, 1978), Betancur was elected president and served (1982–86) during a period of extreme social upheaval and guerrilla warfare in the country. Although he negotiated successfully with several rebel groups, the peace process broke down and then ended after M-19 guerrillas seized the Palace of Justice and some 300 hostages in Nov., 1985; when the military stormed the building, more than 100 died, including most of Colombia's supreme court justices.

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