Consuelo Araújo

Consuelo Araújo Noguera, also known as "La Cacica", (August 1, 1940 in Valledupar – September 30, 2001) was a Colombian politician, writer and self-taught journalist,.[1] Her nickname was given by a fellow journalist colleague for her tenacity and determination to achieve goals and leadership.[1]

Consuelo Araújo Noguera
4th Colombian Minister of Culture
In office
18 July 2000 – 11 March 2001
PresidentAndrés Pastrana Arango
Preceded byJuan Luis Mejía Arango
Succeeded byAraceli Morales López
Personal details
Born(1940-08-01)1 August 1940
Valledupar, Cesar, Colombia
Died30 September 2001(2001-09-30) (aged 61)
Valledupar, Cesar, Colombia
Spouse(s)Hernando Molina Céspedes
Edgardo Maya Villazón
RelationsÁlvaro Araújo Castro (nephew)
María Consuelo Araújo (niece)
Hernando César Molina Araújo
María Mercedes Molina Araújo
Rodolfo Augusto Molina Araújo
Ricardo Mario Molina Araújo
Andrés Alfredo Molina Araújo
Edgardo José Maya Araújo
OccupationJournalist, politician
Nickname(s)La Cacica

Her most notable achievement was the creation of one of the most important cultural and musical events of Colombia, the Vallenato Legend Festival, which promoted her beloved Vallenato music.

She was kidnapped by the FARC September 24, 2001 in the outskirts of Valledupar and was killed six days later by this guerrilla to prevent her from being rescued by the Colombian Army on September 30, 2001 during a heavy military operation[2]

Early yearsEdit

She was the youngest of nine siblings. Her father, Santander Araújo, was a respected politician, militant and regional leader of the Liberal Party around Valledupar, whose firm character largely influenced his daughter.

She went to in a government public nursery school and subsequently attended Escuela Tercera para Niñas. She then transferred to the Colegio Nariño Middle School and later to the Nuestra Señora del Carmen. She attended high school at the Colegio de la Sagrada Familia.

At the age of fifteen, she dropped out of high school and started to work as a bankteller to help pay for the schooling of three of her older brothers.[1] During this period she also spent her spare time reading and self-educating.

Journalist, writer and politicianEdit

Largely self-educated, she was committed to become a freelance journalist and writer. She started as a writer for a national newspaper El Espectador, also writing a column called "La Carta Vallenata" (The Vallenata letter), published for 22 years in the same newspaper. She also collaborated with RCN Radio and RCN TV networks, and El Heraldo, a Barranquilla newspaper between 1988 and 1989. Between 1984 and 1985 she worked as a reporter in Valledupar for the Noticiero del Medio Día, a national news show. She also and predominantly worked as a radiohost for her own show La Cacica Contesta on Radio Guatapuri, a radio station in Valledupar owned by her family.

Always a defender of the unprotected and poor, she was a harsh critic of local governments' and politician's abuses of power and advocated for women empowerment, but most of all she was devoted to the local customs and culture of Valledupar. This devotion for people pushed her to run for the governorship of the Department of Cesar but lost; she later became Minister of Culture for the Colombian government during Conservative president Andrés Pastrana's term.

The Vallenato Legend FestivalEdit

In 1968, with the help of former Liberal president of Colombia and then acting first governor of the Cesar Department; Alfonso López Michelsen and Vallenato composer Rafael Escalona, she founded the Vallenato Legend Festival, a festival whose primary purpose was to celebrate a religious legend about a miracle by Virgin Mary during the colonial times over a fight between Spanish settlers and Indians; but the people focused more on the music, which ended up overshadowing the other events. Thus the main purpose of the festival changed, becoming a vehicle for showing and exalting local customs and culture, including the dances, music, arts and crafts, and the whole diversity of people from the region.


She was kidnapped by the FARC on the outskirts of Valledupar and was later killed. Her body was found with two shots in the head and with gunpowder burns, indicating that the shots were probably fired at close distance by her kidnappers. Her family, the Colombian government, and the OAS condemned the FARC as the party responsible for the murder. The FARC blamed the Army for provoking the situation that led to her death.[3][4][5]


Consuelo Araújo was first married to Hernando Molina Céspedes and had five children, Hernando César, María Mercedes, Rodolfo Augusto, Ricardo Mario and Andrés Alfredo. She later divorced and married Edgardo Maya, Colombia's Inspector General of Colombia as for 2007, with whom she had the last of her children, named Edgardo José, born in 1980. She was the aunt of politicians Álvaro Araújo, former Senator of Colombia, and María Consuelo Araújo, former Minister of Culture (2002–2006) and former Foreign Relations Minister (2006–2007).[6]

Relevant WorksEdit


  • Vallenatologia, origenes y fundamentos de la musica Vallenata, Bogota, Ediciones Tercer Mundo (1973).
  • Escalona, El hombre y el mito, Bogota, Planeta Editorial (1998).
  • Lixicon del Valle de Upar, voces, modismos, giros, interjecciones, locuciones, dichos, refranes y coplas del habla popular vallenata, Bogota, Instituto Caro y Cuervo (1994).
  • Trilogia Vallenata, Homenaje a Consuelo Araujonoguera, Bogota, Editorial Bailonia (2002). (Compilation of Consuelo Araujonoguera's three books) ISBN 958-33-3360-3[7]

Short StoriesEdit

  • "Yo sabía" (1976), short story - Winner, "Cote Lemus" Story Contest, in Cúcuta.


  1. ^ a b c "Consuelo Araujonoguera: La Cacica". Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2006-10-02. (in Spanish) Accessed October 2, 2006.
  2. ^ "ElColombiano: Medellin Newspaper". (in Spanish) Accessed October 2, 2006.
  3. ^ "FARC-EP: Guerrilla group accused of assassinating her". Archived from the original on 2006-02-03. Retrieved 2006-04-03. (in Spanish) Accessed October 2, 2006.
  4. ^ "Cesar Salgado: Compilation of reports on her death by many important newspapers". (in Spanish and Portuguese) Accessed October 2, 2006.
  5. ^ "OAS: Organization of American States condemns her assassination". (in Spanish) Accessed October 2, 2006.
  6. ^ "Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata". 2013-08-22. Archived from the original on 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2 October 2006.
  7. ^ Araujonoguera, Consuelo. Trilogia Vallenata, Homenaje a Consuelo Araujonoguera. Bogota, Colombia: Editorial Babilonia. ISBN 958-33-3360-3.

External linksEdit