Óscar Iván Zuluaga

Óscar Iván Zuluaga Escobar (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈoskaɾ iˈβan suˈlwaɣa es.ko.ˈβaɾ]; born 3 February 1959) is a Colombian politician and economist who was the Democratic Center's nominee for President of Colombia in the 2014 election.[1] He won the most votes in the first round of the election and but went on to lose to the incumbent Juan Manuel Santos Calderón in the second round.[2]

Óscar Iván Zuluaga Escobar
Oscar Ivan Taller Democratico Bucaramanga 2011.jpg
Zuluaga at a conference in 2011.
67th Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia
In office
5 February 2007 (2007-02-05) – 7 August 2010 (2010-08-07)
PresidentÁlvaro Uribe Vélez
Preceded byAlberto Carrasquilla Barrera
Succeeded byJuan Carlos Echeverry Garzón
Senator of Colombia
In office
20 July 2002 (2002-07-20) – 20 July 2006 (2006-07-20)
Mayor of Pensilvania
In office
1 January 1990 (1990-01-01) – 1 January 1992 (1992-01-01)
Personal details
Born (1959-02-03) 3 February 1959 (age 60)
Pensilvania, Caldas, Colombia
Political partyDemocratic Center (2013—present)
Other political
Spouse(s)Martha Ligia Martínez Giraldo (1987—present)
  • David Zuluaga Martínez
  • Juliana Zuluaga Martínez
  • Esteban Zuluaga Martínez
Alma mater

Political careerEdit

Zuluaga began his career in Acerías de Colombia S.A., a steelmaking company owned by his family. Subsequently he became involved in local politics, serving on the municipal council of Pensilvania, Caldas and as its Mayor. After returning to the family business he became Vice President and President. During this time Zuluaga also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of the Republic, Colombia's central bank, the National Federation of Merchants (Fenalco), the Federation of Metallurgical Industries of Colombia (Fedemetal), and the Colombo-Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce.

In 2001 he became involved in Álvaro Uribe Vélez's presidential campaign. Zuluaga was elected to the Senate of Colombia in March 2002; Uribe was victorious in Presidential elections held two months later. As a Senator he backed the amendment to the Colombian Constitution permitting Presidential re-election. Along with many other supporters of Uribe, Zuluaga joined the Social Party of National Unity in 2005, led by Juan Manuel Santos. Zuluaga did not stand for election to the Senate in 2006 and was subsequently appointed the 68th Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia by Uribe.[3]

Zuluaga is suspected of colluding with certain paramilitary groups in the country.[4][5]

2014 presidential electionEdit

Zuluaga joined the newly formed Democratic Centre in 2013 and ran for its presidential nomination in the 2014 election against incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón. He defeated former Vice President Francisco Santos Calderón and former Interior Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo in the Democratic Center Convention.[6] Zuluaga then chose Holmes as his running mate.

Zuluaga, who was leading the polls a week before the election,[7] became involved in a scandal after a video published by the news magazine Semana,[8] showing Zuluaga getting secret military information from Andrés Fernando Sepulveda Ardila, who had been arrested on 5 May and accused of "managing an illegal office dedicated to intercepting emails from between those close to the peace dialogues in Havana (Cuba)", according to a news release published by the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia.[9] In the video they discussed how to use this information to win the elections.[10]

Zuluaga quickly denied any role in the hacking scandal calling the video a manipulation and a montage, "this video, which was made illegally, which is clearly a montage and a trap; for whoever has listened to it and watched it carefully, there is no conversation or declaration that demonstrates illegal conduct," he told reporters on Monday 19 May.[11] But on 23 May, the Office of the Attorney General announced that the video was authentic and had not been doctored.[12] It had been filmed by a campaign worker who told reporters he had become troubled by what he believed were illegal spying activities in the Zuluaga campaign.

The scandal led Zuluaga's campaign manager, Luis Alfonso Hoyos Aristizábal, to resign from the campaign after Colombian broadcaster RCN said that Hoyos and Sepulveda had offered it confidential information about the peace talks.[13] Zuluaga accused Santos of orchestrating the scandal describing it as a trap set to derail his growing support, but Santos has not commented on the scandal itself. Enrique Peñalosa Londoño the Green Party candidate however, openly called for Zuluaga to resign, "we're talking about the crime of illegal wiretapping, conspiracy to commit a crime, and the crime of using military information and intelligence. We Colombians cannot resign ourselves to this. These are not the leaders we want", Peñalosa said.[14] Former President Uribe came to the defence of Zuluaga stating "[Sepúlveda] is an alleged 'hacker' who has worked with [Venezuelan political strategist] J.J. Rendón, who's close to President Santos. In the video, they show Óscar Iván Zuluaga getting information that has already been in the rumour mill and has no relevance".[14]

Óscar Iván Zuluaga is suspected of involvement in the corruption scandal Odebrecht.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Zuluaga was born on 3 February 1959 in Pensilvania, Caldas to Ovidio Zuluaga and Carina Escobar.[16] He attended the Pontifical Xavierian University where graduated in 1982 as an economist.[17] He later attended University of Exeter in the United Kingdom where he earned an M.A. in Public Finance.

Zuluaga married Martha Ligia Martínez Giraldo on 10 October 1987 in Barranquilla; together they have three children: David, Juliana, and Esteban.[16]


  1. ^ "Cinco candidatos se disputarán la Presidencia de la República de Colombia" (in Spanish). Bogotá: Colombia, National Civil Registry. 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  2. ^ Ellsworth, Brian. "Colombia's Zuluaga pushes Santos to presidential runoff vote". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Se posesionó ayer el nuevo ministro de Hacienda, Óscar Iván Zuluaga". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Bogotá. 8 February 2007. ISSN 0121-9987. OCLC 28894254. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  4. ^ Semana. "El lado oscuro de Óscar Iván Zuluaga, por León Valencia". El lado oscuro de Óscar Iván Zuluaga, por León Valencia. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Exjefe paramilitar de Caldas habla sobre Óscar Iván Zuluaga". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Oscar Ivan Zuluaga to represent Uribe in Colombia's 2014 elections". Colombia Reports. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  7. ^ Bristow, Matthew (14 May 2014). "Santos Loses Colombia Poll Lead as Zuluaga Support Surges". Bogotá. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  8. ^ "El video del 'hacker' y Zuluaga" (in Spanish). Semana. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Asegurado presunto hacker de comunicaciones relacionadas con los diálogos de paz en La Habana" (Press release) (in Spanish). Bogotá: Colombia, Office of the Attorney General of. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Colombia opposition candidate's campaign hurt by video". BBC News. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  11. ^ Murphy, Peter; Symmes Cobb, Julia (19 May 2014). "Colombia presidential candidate says spying scandal a plot against him". Bogotá. Reuters. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Comunicado de prensa 049" (Press release) (in Spanish). Bogotá: Colombia, Office of the Attorney General of. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  13. ^ Murphy, Peter; Acosta, Luis Jaime (18 May 2014). "Colombia election candidate says Zuluaga should quit race over spying". Bogotá. Reuters. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  14. ^ a b Romo, Rafael (19 May 2014). "Alleged hacker video roils last days of Colombian presidential campaign". CNN World. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Noticias de Colombia y el mundo | Señal en vivo BLU Radio" (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Álbum de fotos: Óscar Iván Zuluaga". Jet-Set (in Spanish). Bogotá. ISSN 0123-7918. OCLC 839002298. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Candidato presidencial Javeriano" (in Spanish). Pontifical Xavierian University. 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.

External linksEdit