Readers of Foreign Policy’s Spanish edition chose the outspoken Colombian activist ahead of former Chilean President and women’s rights advocate Michelle Bachelet.
Local humanitarian organization “Colombians for Peace” (CCP) welcomed the news saying, “we interpret this as an endorsement by national and international opinion for her work as a campaigner for peace and human rights.”
Cordoba has recently made headlines for her vocal criticism of the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas. While supportive of the peace process, she insisted in September that President Juan Manuel Santos revise his strategy and implement a ceasefire.
Moreover, Cordoba has appeared supportive of suggestions that Colombia’s second largest insurgency, the National Liberation Army (ELN), also be included in the peace process.
Having spent nearly 30 years in the public eye, Cordoba is arguably one of Colombia’s least popular politicians because of her friendly relations with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and ongoing accusations of ties to guerrilla group FARC.
In July 2010, Colombia’s Inspector General banned Cordoba from holding public office for 18 years due to “aiding and promoting illegal armed groups”.
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Esteemed writers Eduardo Galeano, Mario Vargas LLosa and Fernando Vallejo were also ranked in the top four with Bachelet rated the fifth most influential intellectual in Latin America.
Poet, novelist and essayist William Ospina joined fellow countrymen Cordoba and Fernando Vallejo as the third Colombian to make the top ten.