Germán Vargas Lleras
The Vice President of the Republic, Germán Vargas Lleras, was born on February 19, 1962, in the home of German Vargas Espinosa and Clemencia Lleras de La Fuente, daughter of Carlos Lleras Restrepo, who served as President of Colombia between 1966 and 1970.
Vargas Lleras finished his university career at the School of Law of the Universidad del Rosario, where he graduated as a lawyer. He also pursued studies in Government and Public Administration at the Instituto Ortega y Gasset of Madrid’s Universidad Complutense in Spain.
In 1981, at age 19, he started his political career as Councilman in the municipality of Bojacá (Cundinamarca), under the banners of the Nuevo Liberalismo, movement founded by Luis Carlos Galán.
In view of his commitment to the fight against criminal organizations and corruption, Galán appointed him as political coordinator for the district of Los Mártires in the capital of the Republic.
The experience he acquired in this capacity led him to run for the City Council of Bogotá in 1988 and again in 1991. In 1994 he resigned from the City Council to run for the Senate. He was elected as Senator by popular vote with a massive number of votes during four consecutive terms.
From his Senate seat, Vargas Lleras promoted and championed some of the most significant laws in the country’s political history. During his four term tenure in the Senate he served as President of the Congress of the Republic during 2003-2004; he also served as Chairman of the First Committee (Constitutional) and as Chairman of the Ethics Committee. On June 25, 2009, he launched his 2010-2014 presidential campaign, finishing in third place with over one and a half million votes.
In July 2010, President elect Juan Manuel Santos offered him the cabinet post as Minister of the Interior and Justice, position for which he took office on August 7. One year later, on August 11, 2011, after the division of the Ministry into the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged his performance as Minister of the Interior and Justice and Vargas Lleras was sworn into office as Minister of the Interior, where he served until May 17, 2012, when he took office as Minister of Housing, City and Territory.
In this latter cabinet post, where he served until May 2013, he developed the country’s most ambitious popular housing policy and designed programs such as the 100 thousand free housing solutions and the Minimum Wage programs (targeted at families earning between one and two minimum monthly salaries); furthermore, he spearheaded the so-called “Water Revolution” of the Santos Administration, which is bringing water and sewage services to millions of Colombians who did not have access to these utilities.
Subsequently, Vargas Lleras served as President of the Fundación Buen Gobierno (NGO created in 1994 as a think tank by the current President of the Republic), where he toured the country working on giving a regional approach to the design of the government plan proposal for the 2014-2018 presidential period.
On February 23, 2014, President Santos publicly announced Germán Vargas Lleras as his vice-presidential running mate, position to which he was elected on June 15 and sworn into office on Thursday, August 7.