FILE - In this July 23, 2004 file photo, Colombia's former President Belisario Betancur speaks during a conference about democracy in Latin America in Panama City. Betancur died Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at a clinic in Bogota. He was 95. (AP Photo/Kathryn Cook, File)

Ex-Colombian President Belisario Betancur dies at 95

December 07, 2018 - 5:09 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities in Colombia say former President Belisario Betancur, whose bold efforts to reach a peace deal with leftist rebels in the 1980s were undone by drug-fueled bloodletting and an explosion of violence backed by state security forces, has died at age 95.

Betancur's death was confirmed by President Ivan Duque, who tweeted that Betancur's legacy in Colombian politics and history would be "an example for future generations." The ex-president, who governed from 1982-1986, died in a Bogota clinic.

Uniquely in Colombia's elite-dominated political landscape, Betancur wasn't the son of patriarchs but instead rose to the pinnacle of power from a spartan start as the son of a poor farmer in Antioquia state. With with the aid of scholarships he earned a law degree and became a journalist, economist and poet.

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