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FACTBOX-Key facts about Colombian President Santos

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 2 Oct 2012 00:30 GMT
Author: Reuters
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Oct 1 (Reuters) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is to be operated on Wednesday for a small cancerous tumor in the prostate. Here are some facts about Santos: * Born into one of Colombia's most powerful families, Santos is the consummate political insider. His great uncle, Eduardo Santos, served as president. A cousin was a vice president. Before moving into politics, Santos was an editor at the country's leading newspaper, El Tiempo, once owned by his family. * Trained as an economist in the United States and Britain, Santos has published several books including: "The Third Way," with assistance from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and a book about the military operations against leftist rebels he helped orchestrate as defense minister. * Santos, 61, held several ministerial positions before taking office in 2010. As defense minister under former President Alvaro Uribe, Santos oversaw the military campaign that largely drove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, into remote regions. Major victories included the 2008 rescue of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. defense contractors held hostage by the rebels. * As president, Santos has steered key initiatives through Congress, among of them the fiscal rule that aims at balancing the budget by 2014. He also changed the way royalties from natural resources such oil and mining are distributed and made it possible for land seized by paramilitaries and rebels to be returned to the rightful owners. * Santos was in charge of overseeing a bombing raid in Ecuadorean territory in 2008 that killed the FARC's No. 2 commander in a huge blow to the rebels. The attack also damaged Colombia's relations with Ecuador and Venezuela. * He also oversaw the killing of the FARC's top leader, Alfonso Cano last year, and its military commander, Mono Jojoy, in 2010. * He was finance minister in the 1990s when the Andean nation faced one of its worst fiscal crises. He was also a representative to the London-based International Coffee Organization. (Reporting by Helen Murphy; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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