Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Fernando Botero Zea

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President  Ernesto Samper Pizano
Name  Fernando Zea
Preceded by  Rafael Pardo Rueda
Role  Colombian Politician

Nationality  Colombo-Mexican
Parents  Fernando Botero
Political party  Liberal
Siblings  Lina Botero
Fernando Botero Zea En la cantina con Fernando Botero Zea

Succeeded by  Juan Carlos Esguerra Portocarrero
Born  23 August 1956 (age 59)Mexico City, Mexico, Mexico (1956-08-23)
Relations  Fernando Botero Angulo (father)
Education  University of Los Andes, Harvard University
Grandparents  Flora Angulo, David Botero
Uncles  Rodrigo Botero, Juan David Botero
Similar People  Fernando Botero, Gloria Zea, Ernesto Samper, Sophia Vari, Horacio Serpa

Fernando Botero Zea (born 23 August 1956) is a Colombian politician who served in several public positions, including as Defense Minister under President Ernesto Samper, for whom he was campaign manager for Samper's presidential run. Botero was elected as a member of the Colombian Congress for the Colombian Liberal Party. His father is the internationally recognized painter and sculptor Fernando Botero.


Fernando Botero Zea El hombre que construy la imagen de Ernesto Samper

Botero Zea was convicted of financial issues associated with the Samper campaign's having accepted money from the Cali Cartel and served nearly three years in prison. He lost an appeal in 2007 on a second charge and is staying in Mexico, where his citizenship prevents him from being extradited.

Early life and education

Born in Mexico City, Fernando Botero Zea is the first son of the renowned artist Fernando Botero and Gloria Zea, who later became the Colombian Minister of Culture.His parents divorced in 1960, and each remarried. He has a sister Lina and brother Juan Carlos.

Botero graduated from the University of the Andes, Colombia with a degree in Political Science. In the 1980s, he attended Harvard University's Business School and Kennedy School of Government, where he obtained joint master's degrees in Business and Public Administration.


Botero was elected to Bogota's City Council. Later he was elected as a Liberal Party member of the Colombian Congress.

In 1993–1994, he worked as a campaign manager in Ernesto Samper's run for president. After Samper was elected, he appointed Botero as Minister of Defense. While in that role, Botero was charged with financial improprieties due to poor handling of a contract to import a large shipment of assault rifles from Israel.

Campaign scandal

Shortly after Samper's presidential victory, Andrés Pastrana, Samper's opponent and future successor, accused Samper of having received campaign donations from the Cali Cartel, in the amount of $6 million US dollars. The Attorney General of Colombia, Alfonso Valdivieso Sarmiento, personally led the investigation. Valdivieso is a cousin of the late Luis Carlos Galán, a charismatic presidential candidate assassinated in 1989 by the Medellín Cartel for his political views. Galán favoured the extradition of drug dealers to the United States for prosecution.

Valdivieso's investigation revealed connections between the Cali drug cartel and top figures of Colombian society, including politicians, journalists, athletes, army and police officers, and artists, among others. As a result, numerous politicians and top members of the government were indicted. Botero was arrested in connection with the investigation and was charged with conspiracy to gain wealth illicitly. On October 3, 1996, Botero was convicted and sentenced to 5 years and 3 months in jail for illicit wealth gain in favour of third parties. He served 30 months and was released on February 12, 1998.

In 2002, Botero was charged with the theft of more than 800 million pesos from Samper's presidential campaign. He invested the money in a farm property in Tabio, a town 20 km north of Bogotá. The national prosecutor sentenced Botero to 36 months in jail, but Botero won an appeal before a Bogota judge.

In 2003, the High Tribunal of Bogotá confirmed the charges, and Botero appealed the decision. In January 2007, the Supreme Court of Justice confirmed the Tribunal verdict.


Botero is currently living in Mexico. He became a Mexican citizen, and the country does not extradite its nationals. In 2009, he affirmed that he would stay in Mexico and not return to Colombia.

Personal life

Botero is married and has two children.


Fernando Botero Zea Wikipedia