He studied Law at the Universidad Javeriana, and did a Master’s in Latin American Studies and a doctorate in Modern History at Oxford University. Some of his essays have been published in Revista de Occidente, Hispanic American Historical Review, Claves de la Razón Práctica, Journal of Latin American Studies, Caravelle, Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico and The Historical Journal. He has edited and written several books, including El Caribe colombiano: una historia regional (1998), El desafío de las ideas. Ensayos de historia intelectual y política en Colombia (2003) and La nación soñada (2006).
He is the editorial director of the five-volume series on Colombia in the contemporary Latin American history collection promoted by the Fundación Mapfre, whose last volume was published in 2017. He edited the Diario del Caribe in Barranquilla and since 1992 has been an El Tiempo columnist. In 1995 he received the Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize for “outstanding cultural work in the press”. His latest book, a collection of his essays entitled La novela como historia. García Márquez, Barranquilla y Carnaval, will be published by Penguin Random House Colombia in 2018.
He is currently Professor of the History and Politics of Latin America at Oxford University.