Open main menu

Gustavo Adolfo Bell Lemus (born February 1, 1957) is the current Ambassador of Colombia to Cuba. A lawyer, economist and historian, he served as the seventh Vice President of Colombia between 1998 and 2002 under the administration of Andrés Pastrana Arango, during which time he also served concurrently as High Commissioner for Human Rights of Colombia and as Minister of National Defence between 2001 and 2002. In 1992, as the 53rd Governor of Atlántico, he became the first popularly elected Governor of the Department following the enactment of the 1991 Colombian Constitution.

Gustavo Adolfo Bell Lemus
Gustavo Bell in 2018
Gustavo Bell in 2018
Colombia Ambassador to Cuba
Assumed office
March 7, 2011
PresidentJuan Manuel Santos Calderón
Preceded byJulio Londoño Paredes
7th Vice President of Colombia
In office
August 7, 1998 – August 7, 2002
PresidentAndrés Pastrana Arango
Preceded byCarlos Lemos Simmonds
Succeeded byFrancisco Santos Calderón
Colombian Minister of National Defence
In office
June 11, 2001 – August 7, 2002
PresidentAndrés Pastrana Arango
Preceded byLuis Fernando Ramírez Acuña
Succeeded byMarta Lucía Ramírez
53rd Governor of Atlántico
In office
January 1, 1992 – December 31, 1993
Preceded byArnold Gómez Mendoza
Succeeded byNelson Polo Hernández
Personal details
Born (1957-02-01) February 1, 1957 (age 62)
Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)María Mercedes de la Espriella
ChildrenMaría Alexandra Bell de la Espriella
Alma materPontifical Xavierian University (LLB, MSc)
St Antony's College, Oxford (PhD)
ProfessionLawyer, Economist, Historian




Bell attended the Pontifical Xavierian University where he obtained a double degree in Laws and Socioeconomics. He completed graduate studies at the University of the Andes on a Constitutional Bicentenary scholarship from the Bank of the Republic [Colombia], the Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos at Seville on a research scholarship from Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and St Antony's College, Oxford on a British Council scholarship, where he also obtained a Ph.D in Modern History.[1]

In addition to his academic studies, Bell was one of the founding members and part of the faculty of the University of the North in Barranquilla.


Bell began his work in journalism in El Heraldo, and quickly rose to become one of the most influential journalist in northern Colombia. While working as Executive Editor of El Heraldo, Bell suffered an assassination attempt but escaped unharmed.[1]


In 1991 Bell run for governor of the Atlántico Department as an independent candidate, he became the first elected governor by popular vote of this Department for the period between 1992-1994. (governors in Colombia were appointed by the President before the constitution of 1991)

Vice Presidency (1998-2002)Edit

After spending three years studying in England Bell returned to Colombia in 1997 and joined the presidential campaign of Andrés Pastrana. Pastrana offered him the Vice Presidency of Colombia, They were elected for the 1998-2002 presidential period.

Vice President Bell was in charge of the Colombian Office for Human Rights issues between 1998 and 2001, year in which President Pastrana also appointed him the Ministry of National Defence.


On October 29, 2010, President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón designated Bell to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Colombia to the Republic of Cuba stating "I think better ambassador to Cuba would not be found. We want to maintain a special relationship with Cuba and therefore we will send an ambassador of high carat, as Dr. Bell".[2] On March 7, 2011, Bell was sworn in by President Santos on as Ambassador to Cuba in a ceremony at the Palace of Nariño.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Bell was married to María Mercedes De La Espriella and has one daughter named María Alexandra.[2]


  1. ^ "Perfiles de los nueve integrantes de la Misión de Política Exterior" [Profiles of the nine members of the Foreign Policy Council] (in Spanish). Bogotá: Press Office of the Presidency of Colombia (SP). 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  2. ^ Santos Calderón, Juan Manuel (2010-10-29). "Gustavo Bell Lemus designado Embajador en Cuba" [Gustavo Bell designated Ambassador in Cuba] (in Spanish). Press Office of the Presidency of Colombia (SIG). Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  3. ^ "Presidente Santos posesionó a Gustavo Bell Lemus como nuevo Embajador de Colombia en Cuba" [President Santos sworn in Gustavo Bell Lemus as the new Ambassador of Colombia in Cuba] (in Spanish). Press Office of the Presidency of Colombia (SIG). 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
Political offices
Preceded by
Carlos Lemos Simmonds
Vice President of Colombia
August 7, 1998–August 7, 2002
Succeeded by
Francisco Santos Calderón