Andres and Nohra met in 1980, in Cartagena. “Nohra was good friends with my brother, the youngest one,” recalls Pastrana, “and I was a very good friend of the famous bullfighter Pablo Molinarez, so we all went to one of his bullfights…We had our first date in a bullfighting stadium.” The couple, who will celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary this month, have three children, Santiago, 23, a law student in Madrid, Laura, 21, a student at Babson College outside of Boston, and Valentina, 9, who attends the Sidwell Friends School in Washington.
On the morning of January 19, 1988, Andres Pastrana, then the leading candidate for mayor of Bogota, was kidnapped at gunpoint by the cartel and held for eight days before being released. He won the election by a landslide. When asked how he finds the inner strength, years later, to continue to struggle against the cartels, Pastrana says, “In Colombia we have to fight the cartels, because if we don’t fight them they’re going to be the ones who run our country. This has been my commitment, after all the threats, after the kidnapping: it is to show Colombians and the rest of the world that we are committed in this war against the cartels.”