Rafael Gusto Villana

Portrait of Rafael Gusto Villana

31st President of Colombia
November 20, 1983 - August 6, 1990

Predecessor Carlos Andrés Pérez
Successor Felipe Ramón Hernández

Secretary of the Chamber of Senators
August 6, 1980 - November 19, 1983

Predecessor Ricardo Cortez
Successor Enrique Montevideo

Assistant Ambassador to Mexico

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Born October 17, 1922
Panamá, Dep. Panamá, Est. C__
Died March 18, 2013 (aged 90)
Spouse Isabella Maria Villana Modelo
Political Party Republican

Raphael Gusto Villana Pedante (October 17, 1922 - March 18, 2013) is a retired Colombian politician, diplomat and academician. As one of the most prominent center-right politicians of an extremely left-wing era in Colombian politics, he engineered the non-confidence vote in 1983 that ousted the powerful Socialists from power and brought his own Republican Party to power for the remainder of the 1980's, and became the first Republican President since José Luis de López y Santa Maria, sixty-one years earlier.

Villana served as President of Colombia between 1983 and 1990 as a reward for his tough stance on the Socialists and for ousting his predecessor Carlos Andrés Pérez in a dissolution of Congress. During his reign, the economy of Colombia fluctuated, but he oversaw the withdrawal of American forces from Colombia, aggressively broke the backs of powerful entrenched Colombian interests impeding the war effort, and launched a surprisingly ambitious counterattack against the sagging Brazilians in 1986 after a few years of tepid fighting. Villana is regarded as a national hero in Colombia for expediting the collapse of the Brazilian military dictatorship, especially as he did it with the Americans gone.

Despite his popularity in the wake of the 1987 victory over Brazil, the economic collapse of 1988, which had vast regional implications, soured public opinion of him and the Republicans barely survived local elections later that year. He announced he would not seek election to a second full term in 1990 in the summer of 1989.