La Silla Vacía

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La Silla Vacía
La Silla Vacía
Type of site
News & blogging
Available inSpanish
HeadquartersBogotá, D. C., Colombia
Founder(s)Juanita León
Key peopleJuanita León, Director
Juan Esteban Lewin, Editor-in-Chief
Alexa rankPositive decrease 25,920 (April 2014)[1]
Launched29 March 2009[2]
Current statusActive

La Silla Vacía (Spanish: "The Empty Chair") is a Colombian news website founded by journalist and writer Juanita León.[3] The site focuses primarily on Colombian politics.

La Silla Vacía describes itself as an "informative and interactive medium for people interested in Colombian political current issues," by focusing on "stories which actually describe the way power is exercised in Colombia: on political figures who pull the strings of power, strategies in order to reach and keep it, on ideas and interests which underlie the big decisions taken in the country," aiming to do "good journalism."[4]


Its name, "The Empty Chair" (or, alternatively, "The Empty Seat"), makes reference to at least two political events in Colombia.[2]

The first one occurred 7 January 1999, when the failed peace process between president Andrés Pastrana administration and FARC started. Manuel Marulanda Vélez (aka Tirofijo / Sureshot), FARC top leader at the time, refused to attend the ceremony held in San Vicente del Caguán, leaving a plastic white chair assigned to him empty.

The second alludes to a proposal prompted by the parapolitics scandal. The idea was to punish lawmakers and ultimately parties involved with illegal armed groups in case they are investigated or arrested, leaving their seats in Congress empty, instead of being replaced with another politician. It was passed by the House of Representatives in May 2009,[5] but it will be enforced only if the lawmaker is sentenced, and it will not apply for current Congresspeople,[6] just as president Álvaro Uribe Vélez wished.[7]


The website is divided in five big sections:

  • Desde la Silla ("From the Chair"): the main stories published on the website. Most of them are journalistic articles or analysis pieces. There are some interviews, including two with presidential pre-candidates for the 2010 elections Sergio Fajardo[8] and Rafael Pardo.[9] These were conducted through a live transmission via internet, with users asking questions using the website, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • La Movida del Día: every weekday a question on a current issue is posted by the staff. The question is answered by political figures, analysts, and intellectuals. Users can "endorse" or "not endorse" these answers.
  • Querido diario ("Dear diary"): briefs focusing on political gossip.
  • El Blogueo ("The Blogging"): blogs by analysts, organizations, and intellectuals, focusing on economy, social responsibility, internet, media, relations with Venezuela, Latin America and the United States, etc.
  • La Butaca ("The Stool"): described as a section where "from diverse narrative formats with no limits the other [Colombia] is shown on La Butaca, with their sometimes ironic, acid, or simply different glances."

User registration is optional for reading the website, but compulsory in order to leave comments.


La Silla Vacía is funded through a series of grants (the grantees include Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, National Endowment for Democracy and the British Embassy in Colombia), crowdfunding, and several commercial projects.


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. ^ a b "La política colombiana tiene una silla en Internet". Semana (in Spanish). 2009-03-29. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  3. ^ "A llenar la silla". Semana (in Spanish). 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009-05-16.[dead link]
  4. ^ Juanita León. "¿Quiénes somos?". La Silla Vacía (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  5. ^ "House approves political reform". Colombia Reports. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  6. ^ "Pasó la reforma política. Se constitucionalizó el 'voltearepismo'". Caracol Radio (in Spanish). 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  7. ^ "Uribe se declaró partidario de la 'silla vacía' pero solo con sentencia ejecutoriada". Caracol Radio (in Spanish). 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  8. ^ "Durante una hora, los usuarios de La Silla Vacía entrevistaron el pasado lunes en vivo (sic) y en directo al candidato presidencial Sergio Fajardo. Estas son sus respuestas en seis temas claves para el país". La Silla Vacía (in Spanish). 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  9. ^ "Las respuestas de Rafael Pardo a los usuarios ocuparon La Silla Vacía. Memorias de la entrevista en vivo (sic)". La Silla Vacía (in Spanish). 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2009-05-16.

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