Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos appointed the anthropologist Weildler Guerra Curvelo Thursday as governor in charge of the department of La Guajira, an area plagued by poverty and starvation.
Curvelo is a member of the Wayuu community and one of their most important scholars. He received the National Prize of Culture in Anthropology from 2001 to 2002, and is a member of the History Academy of Colombia.
He was born in Riohacha in 1960 and is a graduate of the University of Los Andes, where he received also a master's and doctoral candidate in anthropology.
He has been manager of the Republican Bank, executive director of the Colombian Caribbean Observatory from 2004 to 2007, secretary of Indigenous Affairs of the Department of La Guajira from 1992 to 1994 and prosecutor of the Wayuu de Carrizal Indigenous Council, in the municipality of Uribia.
The former governor from the northern state of La Guajira was sentenced to 55 years in prison Tuesday for the murder of three people, including a former mayor, during his time in office.
Juan Francisco "Kiko" Gomez was arrested in 2013 for the murder of Barrancas Mayor Yandra Brito in 2012 and of her husband Henry Ustariz and his driver Wilfredo Fonseca in 2008.
The Wayuu Indigenous people have continued an ongoing fight to protect their land and resources, accusing the Colombian government of steamrolling their rights in favor of promoting corporate interests, as a grave crisis of child malnutrition and poverty affects the community.