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Consuelo Araujo

Consuelo Araujo Noguera, also known as "La Cacica", was a Colombian politician, writer and self-taught journalist, born August 1, 1940 in the city of Valledupar

. Her nickname was given by a fellow journalist colleague for her tenacity and determination to achieve goals and leadership..

Her most notorious 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 later killed in a crossfire when the Colombian Army attempted a rescue in September 29, 2001, she was found dead the next day .

Early years

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

Her first letters were learned in a government public nursery school and for Middle School she attended the Escuela Tercera para Ninas, she was then transferred to the Colegio Narino Middle School and later to the Nuestra Senora del Carmen. She attended High School at the Colegio de la Sagrada Familia.

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

Journalist, writer and politician

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 Dia, a national news show. She also and predominantly worked as a radiohost for her own show La Cacica Contesta in Radio Guatapuri, a radio station in Valledupar owned by her family.

Always defending 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 ran for the governorship of the Department of Cesar but lost; she later became Minister of Culture for the Colombian government during Conservative president Andres Pastrana's term.

The Vallenato Legend Festival

In 1968, with the help of former Liberal president of Colombia and then acting first governor of the Cesar Department; Alfonso Lopez 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 and ended up taking over the other events. Based on this the main purpose of the festival changed to show and exalt the local customs and culture; including dances, music, arts and crafts, and the whole diversity of people from the region.


She was kidnapped by the FARC in the outskirts of Valledupar and was later killed by a FARC member. Her body was found with two shots in the head and with gunpowder burns, which indicated that the shots were probably fired at a very short distance. 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.


Consuelo Araujo was first married to Hernando Molina Cespedes and had five children, Hernando Cesar, Maria Mercedes, Rodolfo Augusto, Ricardo Mario and Andres 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 Jose, born in 1980. She is aunt to politicians Alvaro Araujo, former Senator of Colombia, and Maria Consuelo Araujo, former Minister of Culture (2002-2006) and former Foreign Relations Minister (2006-2007). [*]

Relevant Works


"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

Short Stories

"Yo sabia" (1976), short story - Winner, "Cote Lemus" Story Contest, in Cucuta.

External links

nuestracolombia.org article

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