Trade Leader of the Year

Nov, 2004

ALVARO URIBE VELEZ, President of Colombia

ACHIEVEMENTS: Responsible for making Colombians and the world believe that the country's problems have a solution.

Cut the number of kidnappings nearly in half, while his advisers say the government could end the FARC guerrilla insurgency in two years.

During 2003, his second year in office, the economy grew 3.95%, the highest since 1995. Inflation is at its lowest in 30 years and government deficits are the lowest since 1999.

Thousands of Colombians abroad are returning home.

BACKGROUND: A lawyer with specialized training at Harvard and Oxford. Former mayor of Medellin, Antioquia governor and two-time senator. Was distinguished as a "Senador Estrella." In 2002, he was elected president after a first round of elections. He is 52 and the father of two children.

STYLE: He is known for his discipline, his impeccable memory and attention to detail. "The government has to maintain its level of progress and be much more conscious of what's lacking."

Convince the Colombian Congress to approve his project that would allow his consecutive reelection without giving into bureaucratic concession and without jeopardizing key issues for him, such as tax and pension reform.

INSIDER INFORMATION: He wakes up before dawn and works every day of the week. He is a big admirer of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and can recite some of his speeches by memory. He spent last Christmas in a poor municipality on Colombia's Pacific Coast. It is not uncommon to hear those around him complaining about not being able to keep up with him.