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January 2009

January 21, 2009

CHICAGO TRIBUNE - Ghosts from the past

CHICAGO TRIBUNE - Ghosts from the past

Trade protectionism was on the rise in the world even before recession hit last year. Now economic hardship is raising the stakes. The parallels to events in the early years of the Great Depression are downright scary.
Then as now, a period of tremendous speculative boom had just ended badly and the economy was shrinking. Credit dried up. Banks failed. The ranks of the jobless were growing as companies slashed payrolls and closed factories. Against that backdrop 79 years ago, Sen. Reed Smoot and Rep. Willis Hawley tried to protect American farm jobs from "unfair" foreign competition.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 raised tariffs on much more than agriculture, sparking a furious round of tit-for-tat protectionist retaliation among our trading partners. The result: world trade dropped by halfand stayed down for the rest of the decade.
Read Editorial

 

January 21, 2009

Colombia will continue to be a valued partner of the US: Steny Hoyer

Colombia will continue to be a valued partner of the US: Steny Hoyer

SEMANA - Congressman Steny Hoyer, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives, explained to SEMANA why the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia is hindered in the US Congress and what both countries might expect with the new government.
Read interview

January 23, 2009

Colombian Artist Juanes to perform at the NBA All-Star game

Colombian Artist Juanes to perform at the NBA All-Star game

Juanes will join John Legend at the Feb. 15 All-Star event in Phoenix. They will sing "If You're Out There," an anthem about leadership.
The National Basketball Association says Legend and Juanes were chosen because of their dedication to community service, a theme that will be highlighted during their performance as they spotlight the NBA Cares program.
 

January 26, 2009

AP - Colombia, Venezuela form $200m fund to boost trade

AP - Colombia, Venezuela form $200m fund to boost trade

The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela pledged Saturday to invest $100 million each in a special fund in hopes of boosting cross-border trade as the world economic crisis slashes global demand for their exports. The cash will help create small businesses and should finance infrastructure projects along the border, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said after four hours of talks in the Caribbean port of Cartagena with his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe.
 
Read Article
 

January 26, 2009

LA TIMES - More Colombia Rebels Quit Ranks

LA TIMES - More Colombia Rebels Quit Ranks

By Chris Kraul - Life was good for "Ernesto" when he joined Colombia's largest rebel group at age 14. He loved the leftist fighters' swagger, the perfumed groupies and the stolen sport utility vehicles he and his buddies drove unchallenged on the roads of this cattle- and coffee-growing zone.But eight years later, his life as a foot soldier in the 25th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, changed. Gone was the status and the free-spending ways, a lifestyle financed by kidnappings and extortions in the west-central state of Tolima.
In their place was constant harassment from the Colombian army, which deployed 1,200 additional soldiers in May, 10 times the existing garrison. Hunger became a constant, and the peasants who once were supporters began to ignore him and collaborate with the army. "Wherever you slept, you'd better be gone early the next day because soldiers would be there soon," said Ernesto, 22, who gave an alias for security concerns. "We were really suffering."
 
Read Article
 

January 26, 2009

Colombia Assumes Regional Coordination of GRULAC

Colombia Assumes Regional Coordination of GRULAC

With the main objective to continue the process of strengthening the relationship between the Netherlands, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Colombian ambassador to the Netherlands, Francisco Jose Lloreda Mera, took over the coordination of the Regional Group of Latin American and Caribbean, GRULAC.
At the first meeting of this group in 2009, Ambassador Lloreda presented the working guidelines for the first half of this year, including strengthening the relationship with the media, businessmen and authorities of the Netherlands and organizing a food and tourism festival in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Among his priorities , Ambassador Lloreda will continue the process to establish a common position between all members at international organizations present in The Hague, particularly the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the International Criminal Court and the Common Fund for Commodities, among others.
Ambassador Lloreda  thanked and congratulated the management of  Brazilian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Jos Artur Denot Medeiros, and the Ambassador of Uruguay, Carlos Mora, coordinator and outgoing treasurer respectively. The new treasurer is the ambassador of Venezuela, Agustín Prez Celis.  

January 26, 2009

Colombia Assumes Regional Coordination of GRULAC

Colombia Assumes Regional Coordination of GRULAC

With the main objective to continue the process of strengthening the relationship between the Netherlands, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Colombian ambassador to the Netherlands, Francisco Jose Lloreda Mera, took over the coordination of the Regional Group of Latin American and Caribbean, GRULAC.
At the first meeting of this group in 2009, Ambassador Lloreda presented the working guidelines for the first half of this year, including strengthening the relationship with the media, businessmen and authorities of the Netherlands and organizing a food and tourism festival in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Among his priorities , Ambassador Lloreda will continue the process to establish a common position between all members at international organizations present in The Hague, particularly the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the International Criminal Court and the Common Fund for Commodities, among others.
Ambassador Lloreda  thanked and congratulated the management of  Brazilian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Jos Artur Denot Medeiros, and the Ambassador of Uruguay, Carlos Mora, coordinator and outgoing treasurer respectively. The new treasurer is the ambassador of Venezuela, Agustín Prez Celis.  

January 27, 2009

The Minister for Foreign Affairs had a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State

The Minister for Foreign Affairs had a  telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jaime Bermudez Merizalde, had a telephone conversation this morning with U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Bermdez and Clinton had an enriching dialogue and discussed issues on the bilateral agenda.

January 27, 2009

U.S. and Colombia lead project aimed at Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Communitites

U.S. and Colombia lead project aimed at Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Communitites

Today in Cali, the governments of Colombia and the United States submitted  the draft proyect of Territoros Etnicos Productivos (TEP) which will benefit African-Colombian and Indigenous communities of Cauca, Nario and Buenaventura. This initiative,  amounting to COP$30,000 million pesos, is the first joint effort between both governments aimed to develop  income generation initiatives, food security and institutional strengthening.

The initiative was presented by Vice President Francisco Santos, U.S. Ambassador William R. Brownfield, and the Director of International Cooperation of the Presidential Agency for Social Action and International Cooperation (Acción Social), Sandra Alzate.
This joint project of the Colombian government and the U.S. government, through its Agency for International Development (USAID), seeks to provide economic alternatives to people affected or at risk of being affected by illicit crops. It will benefit 13 thousand families and generate 12 thousand jobs.
Terriotrios Etnicos Productivos comprises 32 projects concentrated in 12 municipalities of Buenaventura, 18 municipalities of Cauca and 13 municipalities of Nario. All the projects were succesfully agreed with 99 community councils and 29 indigenous reserves identified in 2008. The production industries that will be developed include: forestry, cocoa, palm, quinua, coconut, sugar cane, construction, food and services, pineapple, coffee, bananas, chontaduro and traditional agriculture amongst others.   
 

January 28, 2009

Constructive dialogue between Presidents Uribe and Obama

Constructive dialogue between Presidents Uribe and Obama

"Barack Obama, President of the United States, called President lvaro Uribe Vlez. They talked by phone yesterday afternoon for approximately ten minutes.  "said Press Secretary of the Presidency, Cesar Mauricio Velasquez.

During their conversation, President Uribe and President Obama discussed issues of common interest to both the United States and Colombia.

It was a cordial and constructive conversation between the President of the United States and the President of Colombia.  
 

January 28, 2009

The Government will issue a report to the international community on the protection of union members

The Government will issue a report to the international community on the protection of union members

The announcement was made by President lvaro Uribe Vlez in Medellín during the inauguration of Colombiatex of the Americas 2009. He argued that thanks to the Democratic Security Policy of the Government, the murder of union members has been  significantly declining in the country.  The report will be issued in coordination with Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, and the Director of the National Police General Oscar Naranjo.

"General Naranjo (Director of the National Police), the Minister of Defense (Juan Manuel Santos) and myself, will be giving a  bi-weekly or monthly  report to the international community on this issue. We already have 140 people in jail responsible for killing workers. One would want zero murders, "said the president.
President Uribe highlighted the significant reduction in the number of murders of union leaders during 2008.
"In Colombia there was a time were union leaders killed reached 256. Last year, in a country where there were 16,060 murders, only 36 were union members or teachers. We are protecting  2,000 union members and teachers in a scheme of protection that accounts for US$ 40 million. So far in this year, no union members have been killed."he said.

The Head of State said that thanks to the Democratic Security Policy the murder of union members has been significantly declining in the country.
"Some interesting things we see as a result of this security policy is, according to reports from the Attorney General Office, murder attempts against union members are no longer because of their affiliation to these organizations. "
 

January 29, 2009

Cartagena will host the World Economic Forum for Latin America 2010

Cartagena will host the World Economic Forum for Latin America 2010

The announcement was made by President lvaro Uribe Vlez and Professor
Klaus Schwab, Founder and CEO of the World Economic Forum, who met
Thursday in Davos, Switzerland.

Cartagena was chosen to host the
World Economic Forum for Latin America, which will take place between
March and April 2010.
This designation highlights the
accomplishments made by Colombia in keay areas lilke  investor
confidence and security.  This forum is of great importance because it
brings together heads of state,major investors and global leaders to
region.

The meeting, also attended by Foreign
Affairs Minister Jaime
Bermudez and Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata,  included discussions
on the global economic situation. President Uribe also took this
opportunity to explain the three pillars of his
government:  Democratic Security, investor confidence and social
cohesion.

On his behalf, Mr. Schwab thanked President Uribe for his participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

 

January 21, 2009

EU To Start Trade Talks With Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

EU To Start Trade Talks With Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

NASDAQ - The European Council on Monday authorized the Commission to start trade talks with Andean countries "who are willing to so and share our general objectives."
So far, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru said they are interested to start those negotiations, and the European Commission said Bolivia, the remaining member of the Andean Community, can join the negotiations and the resulting agreement. The European Commission had started to negotiate a trade agreement to lower tariffs with the Andean Community as a bloc in June 2007, but the talks eventually derailed after Andean countries failed to reach a common position.
Read Article
 

January 21, 2009

Bogota featured in the NYT Style section

Bogota featured in the NYT Style section

NEW YORK TIMES - Thanks to creative urban planning and the government’s strides in domestic security, the Colombian capital has lately transformed itself into one of the most culturally active (and now, safe) cities in South America. Whether you’re interested in checking out its thriving arts scene, touring the bicycles-only streets on Sundays or discovering the superb restaurants and white-hot night life, go now before the whole world catches on.  
Read Article

January 15, 2009

President Uribe receives Medal of Freedom

President Uribe receives Medal of Freedom

Departing U.S. president George W. Bush awarded Colombian President lvaro Uribe with the Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award, White House spokesman James Brady said Monday.
Uribe, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard received the award for "their work to improve the lives of their citizens and for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad," Brady said during a press conference.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award imposed by a U.S. President. This great honor is reserved for those whom the U.S. President considers have done specially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, culture and other relevant initiatives, both public and private.
 
In the thirty years since the award was created by President Kennedy (22 February 1963),  approximately three hundred recipients have received the medal including diverse characters such as John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Eugene Black, Audrey Hepburn, Jacques - Ives Cousteau, Colin Powell, Pablo Casals, Georgia O'Keeffe, Martin Luther King Jr, William Fullbright, Henry Kissinger, Robert MacNamara and Frank Sinatra, among others.  
 
 
Read Press Release - White House
See Gallery of President Uribe's visit to Washington

January 27, 2009

IBD Editorial - Preventable Job Cuts

IBD Editorial - Preventable Job Cuts

 

Economy: No one has pleaded as earnestly for Congress to pass a Colombia free-trade pact as Caterpillar. Now, with earnings down and 20,000 American jobs to be lost, it's obvious why. Trade would have cushioned this blow.
Caterpillar dragged the entire stock market down on Monday after it reported a painful drop in fourth-quarter earnings. Twelve thousand American workers and 8,000 American contractors are set to lose their jobs as a result. What's terrible is some of these job losses shouldn't have happened. No company, of course, can evade all the ill effects of a global recession, and Caterpillar is just one of many being hit.
But a protectionist climate in Congress is poison to company earnings. Without that protectionism, the impact of the downturn would be far less.
Read Editorial
 

January 22, 2009

 

 

Given the wrong versions of the press, the Government of Colombia declares:

1. The Government of Colombia never received an official proposal from those leading the pending hostage release by FARC, on the possible participation of U.S. Congressman James McGovern in this process.

2. The public opinion knows the government’s position regarding the established guarantees for the release of the kidnapees.

 

January 7, 2009

Colombia's Foreign Policy in 2009

Colombia's Foreign Policy in 2009

 
SEMANA - Minister of Foreign Relations Jaime Bermdez tells how he plans to redirect the management and scope of Colombia’s foreign policy in 2009.
 
Read Interview
 

 
 

January 9, 2009

Q & A with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos

Q & A with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos

LA TIMES - Santos will meet with Barack Obama soon after inauguration to try to persuade him to continue Plan Colombia, the $556-million-a-year U.S. aid plan. He discusses the case he will make.  
Read Article

January 9, 2009

Q & A with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos

Q & A with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos

LA TIMES - Santos will meet with Barack Obama soon after inauguration to try to persuade him to continue Plan Colombia, the $556-million-a-year U.S. aid plan. He discusses the case he will make.  
Read Article

January 9, 2009

Nicholas Negroponte: Nicholas Negroponte: Bringing One Laptop per Child to Colombia: TED in the Field

Nicholas Negroponte: Bringing One Laptop per Child to Colombia: TED in the Field

TED follows Nicholas Negroponte to Colombia as he delivers laptops inside territory once controlled by guerrillas. His partner? Colombia's Defense Department, who see One Laptop per Child as an investment in the region. (And you too can get involved.)  
See Video

January 9, 2009

President Uribe met with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

President Uribe met with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

During his visit to Washington, President lvaro Uribe met with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss various aspects of international politics, including aspects such as the Middle East situation, developments in Colombia and the world challenges ahead, among other issues.

For an hour both Heads of State, together with Foreign Affairs Minister Jaime Bermudez, Ambassador Carolina Barco and Ambassador Claudia Blum, had a very prolific and cordial dialogue. Prime Minister Blair congratulated President Uribe and said "Colombia is one of the few bright spots in the world today".

The meeting concluded with the thanks of President Uribe for the support given by Britain to Colombia during Blair's administration, and an  invitation to visit Colombia.  Mr Blair expressed a great interest in accepting the invitation and will visit the country when possible.  

 

January 14, 2009

President Uribe met with Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS

President Uribe met with Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS

 
President lvaro Uribe met with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to discuss issues of relevance to the region. The meeting included issues such as the global economic crisis and President Uribe emphasized the strong interest of Colombia in continue developing and strengthening cooperation with countries in the hemisphere.
 

January 14, 2009

President Uribe bestows US Government Officials with the San Carlos Order

President Uribe bestows US Government Officials with the San Carlos Order

President lvaro Uribe decorated
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Commerce Carlos
Gutierrez and Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab with the
Order of San Carlos as a recognition for their dedication and commitment
to Colombia. The President highlighted their knowledge of the multiple topics concerning the country, the time spent in
Colombia on various visits, and the great commitment to move forward
with projects of common interest for both countries.For her part, Secretary of State mentioned: "When I was in
Colombia, I described the country as a story of inspiration for all" and said that she receives this award "with gratitude and humbleness,
but with great expectation for the future, as although I will no longer
be Secretary of State, I will always be a friend of Colombia and will return
many times. "

Secretary Carlos Gutierrez also received the award with gratitude and reaffirmed the
great friendship that links Colombia to the United States. He insisted there are still pending projects that need to move forward. He said, "What you
have done in Colombia is exceptional. I hope that many others have the opportunity of visiting Colombia and learn to love your country as you showed us to.It is impossible not to love
Colombia and its people once you know them."
Ambassador Schwab concluded saying, "President, you are a leader of change. Colombia today is a different country,  where people can go visit. I
remember your perseverance and tenacity during the negotiations, and
vast knowledge of everything from copyright law to agriculture or meat tariffs.
You are a motivation and inspiration to your people. "
The ceremony closed with a small reception attended by the families and closest friends of the honorees.

 

January 14, 2009

President Uribe bestows Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, with the San Carlos Order

President Uribe bestows Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, with the San Carlos Order

President Uribe met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to discuss topics of interest for both countries.  President Uribe described the meeting as a very productive dialogue in which the progress of the democratic security policy was reviewed and the  the need to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation was established.
 
"Truth is, we've encountered very positive disposition in the United States, in both the outgoing and incoming administrations, to continue helping Colombia. They both recognize that Colombia has achieved great progress and recognize there are still areas to be improved" said the President.

During the meeting, President Uribe decorated Secretary Gates with the Order of San Carlos for his support and commitment to Colombia. Secretary Gates thanked the recognition and expressed his readiness to continue working together with Colombia.  

January 15, 2009

Obama to work to pass Bush trade deals: Democrats

Obama to work to pass Bush trade deals: Democrats

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Doug Palmer.   President-elect Barack Obama wants to win approval of stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, but more work is needed on two of the pacts, Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday.
"The president-elect wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to get those trade agreements moving," House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said during an meeting to outline the panel's priorities for the year.
Earlier this week, outgoing President George W. Bush said failure to win approval of the three agreements was one of the biggest disappointments of his second term.
Read Article

January 30, 2009

Colombian Entrepreneur won second place at the world BiD Challenge

Colombian Entrepreneur won second place at the world BiD Challenge

Diana Sofía Seplveda,a young
Colombian who was chosen last november as the best colombian entrepreneur in
the 2008 National Entrepreneur Contest sponsored by the Ministry of
Commerce,Industry and Tourism, won second place at the world BiD
Challenge in Amsterdam, Holland.

The BiD Challenge is a
prestigious international competition aimed at new or established SME's
that display innovation and have a significant social component.Diana
s project, chosen between  more than 1,000 business plans of ten
countries around world, is the manager of Cafetanol, a company which
produces bio-ethanol fuel from the waste of coffee pulp. Her energy
project was continuously supported by the Ministry of Commerce,
the Dutch foundation BiD Network, the Junior Chamber, SENA and the
Administration faculty at Universidad de los Andes.
Having
won second place at the competition will allow her to have  access and
contact with potential investors, entrepreneurs and international
mentors. In addition, Diana Sofia was awarded a cash prize of 10,000
euros.
The Minister for Commerce, Industry and Tourism Luis
Guillermo Plata, welcomed the news and congratulated the winner, who
said, "it's a worthy example for young entrepreneurs in the country, and
motivates us to continue supporting all those entrepreneurs engaged in
projects and businesses that have a clear potential for development. "
The
Minister also stressed that this silver triumph would not have been
possible without the support of public organizations, academic and
private institutions and all those who were linked to these initiatives
as sponsors, judges and mentors.