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April 2009

April 8, 2009

EDITORIAL - Plan Afghanistan?

EDITORIAL - Plan Afghanistan?

The Obama administration has made the decision to win in Afghanistan, using the U.S.' successful model: Plan Colombia. But can this really work with Democrats undercutting Colombia on trade at its edge of victory?
Plan Colombia, initiated by President Clinton in 1999, and ushered through Congress with the critical support of then-Senator Joe Biden, can rightly be called a Democrat victory. With Colombia now transformed, the lessons from the $6 billion program have become the blueprint for victory in two wars that must be won: Mexico, and the big one in Afghanistan.
It makes sense, because Colombia is no longer the narco-trafficking hellhole it once was, but a bright Latin American success story. Plan Colombia not only went after traffickers, but also root causes of conflict, professionalizing the military and offering the population alternatives to trafficking.
Against high odds, the Democrat-led program actually worked.
Read Editorial

April 6, 2009

IBD - From Medellin, Hopeful Signs For A Colombia Free-Trade Pact

IBD - From Medellin, Hopeful Signs For A Colombia Free-Trade Pact

 
by Monica Showalter - Colombia asserted itself on the international stage last week, with the 50th annual governors' meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Medellin. Some 6,000 bankers and businesspeople came. All spruced up for the meeting, Medellin did its best to reclaim its identity as a great industrial center in the Americas, erasing the terrible image it once had as center of the global drug trade. Looking at the graceful, Hong Kong-like skyline amid flowers and greenery, it's hard to believe Medellin ever had such a past.

 

 

 
Corporate titans from Brazil, Spain, Japan, China and Germany were present along with the bankers, having invested $8.5 billion in Colombia in 2008. A few U.S. executives were present too, but the Americans seemed overshadowed by the others. It isn't surprising, because Colombia is rapidly moving to diversify its trading partners, signing deals with China, Japan, Korea, the European Union, Canada and Central America, following Chile's model of signing free-trade deals with all comers.
Read Article

 

 

April 7, 2009

Abril 9 y 10 la Embajada y los Consulados estarán cerrados al pblico

Abril 9 y 10 la Embajada y los Consulados estarán cerrados al pblico

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Por motivo de las celebraciones de Semana Santa, la Embajada y los Consulados de Colombia en Estados Unidos estarán cerrados al pblico los dias jueves 9 y viernes 10 de abril de 2009.

April 12, 2009

Newsletter - COLOMBIA IN FOCUS

Newsletter - COLOMBIA IN FOCUS

 

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April 14, 2009

AP - Casa Blanca: Obama quiere avanzar lazos con Colombia

AP - Casa Blanca: Obama quiere avanzar lazos con Colombia

Nestor Ikeda - El presidente Barack Obama desea avanzar las relaciones de Estados Unidos con Colombia, dijo el lunes su asesor más importante para asuntos interamericanos.
Obama "espera ver al presidente (Alvaro) Uribe y sus demás colegas en la Cumbre de las Amricas", dijo Dan Restrepo, asesor especial del presidente estadounidense y miembro del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional para el Hemisferio Occidental.

Restrepo formuló el comentario en la Casa Blanca durante un diálogo de ste y el portavoz Robert Gibbs con periodistas para anunciar detalles de las medidas de Obama encaminadas a eliminar restricciones de viajes, remesas y telecomunicaciones con Cuba.

 
 
Leer Artículo
 
 
 
 
 

 

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April 14, 2009

Newsletter - COLOMBIA IN FOCUS

Newsletter - COLOMBIA IN FOCUS

 

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April 15, 2009

Colombia Wins First Prize in the Prestigious Jessup Competition

Colombia Wins First Prize in the Prestigious Jessup Competition

In a historical victory, the Universidad de los Andes from Colombia won the 2009 World Championship of the 50th Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.  Students Ricardo Alarcón, Giselle Herrera, Sebastián Machado, and Guillermo Otálora under the direction of coach Liliana Obregón, defeated University College London (UCL) in the final round of the Jessup Competition (http://www.ilsa.org/jessup).  Along with Venezuela (1997) and Mexico (1998), Colombia is the third Latin-American country to win the competition, and the fourth non-English speaking country to do so (France being the first one in 1992). 
For the past three years the Jessup teams have been coached by Liliana Obregón, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the International Law Program at Los Andes. Professor Obregón holds a Doctoral degree (SJD) from Harvard Law School and a Masters Degree  from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University.  Though never a Jessup before, Obregón carefully studied why other teams have been successful at this competition and concluded that students must put in as much hard work into their written memorials as they do into practicing for their oral arguments.

This is why it was such an honor for the Uniandes team to bring home the Jessup Cup and  the Alona Evans Award for the best written memorials in the international rounds. In addition, the new Stephen M. Schwebel Award was given to Sebastián Machado for his performance as the best oralist of the final round. The Schwebel award is named in honor of the former judge and president of the International Court of Justice in commemoration of his 80th birthday. The award was presented to Machado by judge Schwebel himself who was also author of the first Jessup problem in 1959.  Machado was also awarded a scholarship from the International Law Institute of Georgetown University.  
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April 16, 2009

The Embassy of Colombia presents, The Making of Paraiso Travel: Immigration and the American Dream’

The Embassy of Colombia presents, The Making of Paraiso Travel: Immigration and the American Dream’

The Embassy of Colombia and the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University  present:

The Making of Paraiso Travel:  Immigration and the American Dream’
 
A conversation with Margarita Rosa de Francisco (actress), Juan Rendon (screenwriter) and Santiago Diaz (producer) moderated by Roberto Brodsky
 
Following the screening of the movie, Margarita Rosa de Francisco (actress), Juan Rendon (screenwriter) and Santiago Diaz (producer)  will have an open discussion about the making of Paraiso Travel and the process of creating a movie based on a written novel. It will end with an open session of Q&A.
 
 
April 21, 2009
6:30 PM
McNeir Auditorium, Georgetown University
3700 O Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
RSVP:  http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/rsvp/clas
  

April 16, 2009

Newsletter - COLOMBIA IN FOCUS

Newsletter - COLOMBIA IN FOCUS

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Newsletter #1 - March  30, 2009

 
Newsletter #2 - April  6, 2009

 
Newsletter #3 - April  13, 2009

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2009

EL TIEMPO - Entrevista Embajadora Carolina Barco

EL TIEMPO - Entrevista Embajadora Carolina Barco

En entrevista con Yamid Amat, la embajadora en Washington dice que alberga "la esperanza de que podamos avanzar" en la aprobación del tratado, y con ese ánimo trabajamos".

YAMID AMAT: Cuál cree usted que es el balance de la visita que acaba de realizar el congresista Sander Levin a nuestro país?

 
CAROLINA BARCO: l no conocía a Colombia y vino en plan de recibir información de todos los sectores sobre la situación del sindicalismo y de derechos humanos en nuestro país. Escuchó con atención al presidente Uribe sobre las conquistas que ha logrado la política de seguridad democrática.
Pero las centrales obreras le informaron lo contrario, es decir, que en Colombia siguen los asesinatos de líderes sindicales y continan las amenazas...

El Ministro del Interior tuvo ocasión de explicarle que el Gobierno creó un comit para la protección de personas amenazadas y demostró cómo el presidente Uribe se rene periódicamente con los sindicatos para escuchar sus quejas y solucionar sus problemas. Obviamente, todos quisiramos un país en paz.
Lea la entrevista

 

April 20, 2009

WSJ - U.S. to Review Colombia, Panama Trade Pacts

WSJ - U.S. to Review Colombia, Panama Trade Pacts

 
By Tom Barkley - U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced plans Monday to immediately start reviewing the Colombia and Panama free-trade agreements to resolve the outstanding issues before the deals can be submitted for a vote in Congress. Mr. Kirk, speaking to reporters on a call to discuss the Summit of the Americas conference over the weekend, also said he believes the North American Free Trade Agreement could be improved without a full reopening of the trade pact.

"The president has said we will look at all of our options, but I think they can be addressed without reopening the agreement," Mr. Kirk said.
Strengthening the labor and environmental provisions of Nafta was a major plank in President Barack Obama's campaign last fall, but he has since taken a more pragmatic stance on the issue.
Read Article
 

April 21, 2009

CQ - Free Trade Returns to the Table

CQ - Free Trade Returns to the Table

by Joseph J. Schatz - The Obama administration and trade advocates in Congress are trying to put a series of long-delayed trade pacts back on the front burner, despite widespread skepticism on Capitol Hill about the benefits of expanded international commerce.
On the heels of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Monday that a delegation from Panama will visit Washington this week to try to resolve disputes over the U.S.-Panama trade deal. Kirk added that President Obama hopes to clear remaining obstacles to a separate pact with Colombia.
Ultimately, Obama who met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe during the summit believes that a resolution of the Colombia trade agreement would be a good thing for both economies, Kirk said.
Read Article
 

April 21, 2009

TIME - The Return of Bogotá

TIME - The Return of Bogotá

by David Kaufman - With civil conflict easing, and the cultural, culinary and nightlife scenes sexed up, Bogotá is emerging as an attractive destination for the first time in decades. Located nearly two miles high in the verdant Andes, the Colombian capital may be shrouded by balmy mountain mists, but it's shaking off a long period of isolation to reveal a sophisticated tableau of art, architecture and action. Cartagena the UNESCO-lauded seafront town an hour's flight north of Bogotá used to be the only place visited by many of Colombia's 2 million annual tourists. But Bogotá's beefed-up security means that visitors are no longer bypassing the capital in a hurry to get to the beach. Travel warnings still urge caution, but for visitors taking proper safeguards, a trip to Bogotá is finally on the cards.

Read Article
 

April 21, 2009

The Embassy of Colombia and Georgetown University present the Colombia Week, April 20 24, 2009

The Embassy of Colombia and Georgetown University  present the Colombia Week,  April 20  24, 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Schedule of Events
 

Photo Exhibition: Barranquilla Carnival
April 20 - 21

ICC Galleria
All day

 
Come explore the photographic display by renowned Colombian photographer, Samuel Tcherassi.  The pictures come from his most recent book La Cumbia and celebrate Carnival in Barranquilla, one of the most important Latin American festivals next to that of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

 
Film Screening: Paraiso Travel
April 21
McNeir Auditorium
6:30 PM

RSVP: http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/rsvp/clas

 
Adapted from Jorge Franco’s acclaimed novel of the same title, PARAISO TRAVEL (which has broken box-office records in Colombia)is the story of Marlon Cruz (Aldemar Correa), a young Colombian man who, motivated by his girlfriend Reina (Anglica Blandón) leaves his comfortable life in Medellín and flees with her through Guatemala and Mexico, across the borders illegally into the United States.
Following the screening of the movie, Juan Rendón(screenwriter), Jorge Franco (author), and Margarita Rosa De Francisco(actress) will have an open discussion about the making of Paraiso Travel and the process of creating a movie based on a written novel, the moderator will be Chilean writer Roberto Brodsky.

 
 Photo Exhibition: Shared Responsibility
April 22 - 23

ICC Galleria
All day

 
Come to the ICC Galleria and explore photographic display on the environmental damage caused by drug production in Colombia.

 
Colombia Justice and Peace Law: Challenges and Results
April 22

ICC 301 McGhee Library
1:00 PM

RSVP: http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/rsvp/clas

 
Eduardo Andres Gonzalez Mora, former advisor to the High Commissioner for Peace of Colombia will discuss the peace policies that have been implemented in Colombia during the current presidency.  The lecture will include results from the demobilization of 31,000 former members of self-defense groups and the surrender of more than 18,000 weapons at the end of the peace process among the Colombian government and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia.

 
Shared Responsibility
The Honorable Francisco SantosCalder
ón
April 23

Copley Formal Lounge
1:00 PM

RSVP: http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/rsvp/clas

 
Please join the Honorable Francisco Santos Calderón, Vice President of Colombia, in a discussion on the issue of shared responsibility in relation to narco-traffic. Who is really responsible and for what?

 
 Carlos El Pibe Valderrama
April 23

Harbin Field
7:30 PM

 
Come to Harbin Field to meet and compete with Major League Soccers’ 1996 Most Valuable Player.  El Pibe is the most capped player in Colombia and is considered to be one of the finest soccer players in the country’s history.  Be sure to ask for more information at the Colombian Information Table at Red Square  to learn more on how you can participate in the game with El Pibe.

 

 
For More information:

 
Colombia Information Table
Red Square
April 21 24
All day
Stop by all week at the information table in Red Square to enjoy a cup of free 100% Colombian coffee and learn more about one of South America’s most renowned countries

 
 

April 24, 2009

Fonseca Scores One for the Home Team

Fonseca Scores One for the Home Team

Seven musicians backed Fonseca on Wednesday night at the Black Cat, but the Colombian singer's style was defined primarily by two instruments: accordion and electric bass. The room-rattling bass drove Fonseca's forays into the globalized sounds of trip-hop and electro-funk, also represented by the pulsating LEDs behind the stage. The accordion, which took by far the most solos, rooted the music in such traditional Colombian forms as vallenato. 
Read Article

April 28, 2009

TIME- Postcard from Medellín

TIME- Postcard from Medellín

 
In a hillside classroom in Medellín, a group of teenage boys take crayons to long sheets of unfurled paper. One draws the detonation pin of a hand grenade. Another sketches blood splattered across a body. Scrawled words say what the pictures can't: Hunger. Kidnappings. Revenge. Displacement. Distress.
These boys, ages 14 to 19, are drawing the stories of their lives. They used to be members of Colombian guerrilla groups. Now, after putting down their arms, they are trying to rejoin civilian life.
"The biggest challenge is making them emotionally whole again," says Philippe Houdard, founder of the Miami-based Developing Minds Foundation, "to get them from being killing machines to normal human beings." The rehabilitation program, started in 2003 and supported by Developing Minds and Colombia's Family Welfare Institute, offers housing, recreation, counseling, schooling and vocational training to former child soldiers. The 31 boys here are among the nearly 3,000 minors who have given up guerrilla life under a 2003 government amnesty program. The guerrilla groups, formed out of the leftist peasant militias of the 1960s, continue to fight Colombia's government and rightist paramilitary forces but have been greatly weakened in recent years, defeated in battle and diminished by desertion. (See pictures of child soldiers around the world.)
Read Article
 

April 6, 2009

WASHINGTON POST - Which Way in Afghanistan? Ask Colombia For Directions

WASHINGTON POST - Which Way in Afghanistan? Ask Colombia For Directions

By Scott Wilson - Can the United States take the lessons of Iraq to the faltering war in Afghanistan?
The question loomed over the Obama administration's review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which concluded with the president's recent decision to dispatch thousands of additional troops, eliminate insurgent sanctuaries and internationalize a conflict that is increasingly viewed as America's problem.

But there is a more apt -- and more successful -- model than Iraq. And you'll find it much closer to home. If you want to roll back a homegrown insurgency inflamed by a pesky neighbor, millions in drug profits and a weak central government, Colombia offers a far better classroom for learning how to beat the Taliban.

I lived and worked in Colombia as a correspondent for The Post from 2000 to 2004. At the time, only the capital, Bogota, was spared the horrors of a war marked by massacres with machetes, machine guns and even stones that made it one of the most gruesome conflicts I've witnessed. Today, assisted by billions of dollars in U.S. military and development aid, the Colombian government has pushed a Marxist insurgency deep into the jungles where it was born four decades ago. Isn't that what Obama wants to accomplish in Afghanistan?
Read Op-Ed
 

April 3, 2009

FOREIGN POLICY - Colombia at the tipping point?

FOREIGN POLICY - Colombia at the tipping point?

 
Tom Mahnken - At a time when Afghanistan's difficulties and Iraq's fragility grab the headlines, it is worth highlighting the remarkable progress that Colombia has made in combating its long-running narco-terrorist insurgency, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Colombia's success was brought home to me and to a group of leading counterinsurgency experts from across the globe this week at a conference held under the sponsorship of the Colombian Ministry of Defense and U.S. Southern Command in Bogota.
It was not long ago that the FARC controlled large swathes of Colombian territory. Within these safe havens, the narco-terrorists established parallel political and economic institutions and forced the local population to grow coca that the FARC used to fund its activities. From these safe havens, the FARC launched waves of kidnapping, murder, and terror, which grew to threaten Bogota itself.
In recent years, through the competent application of counterinsurgency best practices, the Colombian government -- indeed, the Colombian people -- have been able to turn the tide against the FARC. The Colombian experience deserves treatment at greater length than I can offer here, but its main features include:
Read Article

April 2, 2009

Colombia recorded largest FDI figure in 2008, reaching 10,564 million dollars (16.7 % increase)

Colombia recorded  largest FDI figure in 2008,  reaching 10,564 million dollars (16.7 % increase)

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

This is the highest amount of FDI (foreign  direct investment) in the economic history of the country, surpassing the 10,252 million dollars margin of 2005,  when SABMiller merged with Bavaria, said Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata, who emphasized that this figure  is equivalent to 4.4% of GDP. In 2006 and 2007, FDI was 6,900  and 9,028million dollars, respectively.

"This is a very important result considering the global environment crisis that is causing the reduction of such resources," Minister Plata said, while recalling that the situation had worsened since mid September with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Since then, Plata said, analysts forecasted a general decline in foreign investment flows to developing economies for the remainder of the year, hence the importance of growth.  According to Plata, the 4.7% growth of foreign investment flows during the fourth quarter accounted for almost 2.513 million dollars.
Besides trust, the Minister attributed the growth of FDI to improved conditions in areas such as security, negotiation of new FTAs, the adoption of more free-zones, new international investment agreements, contracts and legal stability.  "These achievements are a clear evidence of the confidence that investors continue to deposit in Colombia said the Minister.

For the referenced period, foreign investment in the oil sector where 3,571 million dollars, increasing 7.1%. Also important was the change in mining and quarrying(including coal) , 2.116 million dollars, a growth of 92.3% over the previousy ear. The trade, restaurants and hotels industries reached 1,029 million dollars, an increase of 28.2%, followed by transport, storage and communications, with 746million dollars, with an overall increase of 80%
 

April 7, 2009

 

 

Tuesday afternoon in Cartagena, President lvaro Uribe described as constructive the meeting he held with a group of 11 members of  the House of Representatives of the United States, which included lawmakers from both the Democratic and the Republican  Party.

In a brief dialogue with the media, President Uribe accompanied by House of Representative Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and representative Roy Blunt (Republican Minority Leader) said:

"We had a very constructive meeting, discussing important issues of the bilateral agenda which included fight against drugs and terrorism, Plan Colombia, social and human rights policy, and the Free Trade Agreement, essential at this time of economic crisis to stimulate investment,"

President Uribe thanked the Congress delegation for their interest in Colombia, as well as Ambassador William Brownfield and Ambassador to the United States, Carolina Barco, for their work on behalf of Colombia.

Read More

Spanish Version

El Presidente lvaro Uribe calificó de constructiva la reunión que tuvo este martes en Cartagena con un grupo de 11 representantes a la Cámara de Estados Unidos, entre los que se encontraban legisladores tanto del partido demócrata, como del republicano.

La declaración fue hecha por el Mandatario en un breve diálogo con los medios de comunicación, en el que Uribe estuvo acompaado por el líder de la mayoría en la Cámara de los Estados Unidos, el representante demócrata Steny Hoyer, y por el representante Roy Letterman (líder de la minoría republicana).

Hemos tenido una reunión muy constructiva, analizando temas muy importantes de nuestra relación bilateral: el tema de la lucha frontal contra el terrorismo, contra las drogas, el Plan Colombia, la política social, la política de derechos humanos, y ese paso tan importante que Colombia necesita, que es el Tratado de Libre Comercio, fundamental en este momento de crisis de la economía para estimular la inversión, sealó el Jefe de Estado.

El Presidente Uribe agradeció a la delegación del Congreso Norteamericano por su inters en Colombia, al igual que al Embajador William Brownfield y a la Embajadora en Estados Unidos, Carolina Barco, por su labor en beneficio de nuestro país.
 

{gallery}codelapril09{/gallery}

April 14, 2009

 

 

Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister, Jaime Bermudez Merizalde confirmed that Colombia will host next year's World Economic Forum.

"Next year the WEF will be in Colombia thanks to the combined efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs", said Minister Bermdez. "It is a practical and concrete scenario for Colombia to attract more business," he added.
 

The Minister also referred to the upcoming meeting between Presidents Uribe and Chavez, on Wednesday, in Caracas. "A meeting was agreed upon since January, when presidents Chavez and Uribe met in Cartagena and established the creation of a binational fund of US$200 million for small and medium enterprises. The initiative has moved forward after a follow up meeting by the foreign ministers, and tomorrow the heads of state will continue discussing those items, " he explained. "The Binational Fund is already quite advanced. Both countries have already established the credit lines for this purpose and it should start operating very soon. The fact that we are discussing a binational fund, mechanisms to regulate the exports of both countries, speak in workshops on issues of energy and  biofuel projects are concrete actions of a positive bilateral agenda. "

Read More

On the other hand, Minister Bermudez announced that President Uribe will visit Brazil on Thursday. His agenda in that country includes, among others, a meeting with Brasil’s President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, the attendance to the World Economic Forum,and several encounters with members of the business community. "We believe from the previous visit (Sao Paulo and Brasilia) that Brazilian businessmen are watching Colombia very carefully, and investors are interested in allocating resources in the country," said Chancellor.

The tour of President Uribe and Minister Bermudez ends with the Summit of the Americas, which will be held Friday in Trinidad and Tobago. "At the Summit we will have a dialogue with the entire region. Thereare great expectations of what can be achieved by working with the United States and with the region. The Summit offers an ideal scenario for political dialogue and exchange. We will hold bilateral meetings with several heads of state. We are convinced that it is mandatory to have sufficient and affordable credit for the region, in order to continue with social policies, infrastructure investment and support for small and medium enterprises. The step taken in theIDB General Assembly was very important. Then the G- 20 in London moved in thesame direction. We think it is essential that the Summit of the Americas continues through the same path", he concluded. 

April 20, 2009

After the closure of the fifth edition of the Americas Summit, the President of the United States talked to the press and told them it was easier to work with Colombia and Mexico, because they are solid partners of his country.

In his statement, the American leader highlighted that is easier to work with countries as Colombian and Mexico, due to the relation that his government already has with them.

In this hemisphere, as consequence of Summits like this one, it is easier for our friends like Colombia and Mxico, which are  also solid partners and allies, for example against drug trafficking, it is easier for us to work with them" said President Obama.

In addition, the President of the United States repeated in his statement the respect his government has for democracy and press freedom in Latin American countries.  

See Gallery

April 21, 2009

 

 

Minister Plata will meet  on the last week of april with United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk in Washington

Within the framework of the Summit of the Americas governments of both countries agreed to define a new agenda and give a new impulse to bilateral trade relations between United States and Colombia.  The announcement was made by Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata, who met United States Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, for the first time and agreed to a follow up meeting next week in Washington.

By explicit order of the President of United States, Ambassador Kirk will resume pending trade issues with Colombia and for this purpose the technical teams of both countries will gather to discuss further issues. The most important point of the work ahead is the Free Trade Agreement which is expected to be approved this year, as expressed by the U.S. Government to the Colombian counterpart.Read More

Minister Plata said he senses better disposition to seek  ratification of the FTA,  as demonstrated during the meetings held in Port of Spain with some members of Congress, among which were Charles Rangel and Sander Levin.

According to the statement made by the Colombian Minister, in addition to the meetings next week in the United States, a visit of President lvaro Uribe to the United States is also being scheduled.  On the other hand President Obama expressed his interest in visiting Colombia in his next official tour in the region. The Minister recalled that among the topics to be discussed will be the reduction of impunity, important  not only because of the FTA, but because the country is deeply  committed to reducing violence. In this issue Colombia has achieved significant progress in the past years..

April 21, 2009

 

 

"There's no other country that has taken the steps Colombia hasto improve respect for human rights, particularly in response to the so-calledissue of  extrajudicial killings," said Foreign AffairsMinister Jaime Bermdez Merizalde.  "We can think of no other countryin the world, where the President has demanded that his Defense Minister andother senior officers address complaints of violation of human rights on livepublic television."

"I don’t know of any other country that has adopted such atransparent position on human rights," he said. "We have toimprove and continue our progress, and further achievements will come evenmore readily as our economy improves and we put the right tools in place. Trade and investment will help us achieve our goals and provide us withthe tools we seek to continue improving human rights. "

Minister Merizalde recalled that Colombia, along with Switzerland,voluntarily submitted to the Universal Periodic Review on human rights by the UnitedNations.

He also pointed out that President Uribe, used administrative proceduresto retire 38 members of the security forces, including two generals and threecolonels based on preliminary information  on cases involving allegedhuman rights abuse.

 "The Colombian Government was the first to address the so-calledfalse positives cases, he continued

Quoting the Minister of Defense, he said there have been no furthercases since October 2008.

Minister Bermdez concluded by saying, "Colombia has takenall the necessary actions to promote respect for human rights and will continueon this worthy path. We are determined to move forward with our nation’sDemocratic Security Policy and fully comply with human rights protection."

 

April 22, 2009

 

 

On Thursday April 23,  Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos will deliver a speech at Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies to discuss the Shared Responsibility Program, as part of Georgetown’s 2009 Colombia Week.
 

For the weeklong schedule of events, click here.

Read More

About the Shared Responsibility Program 

 

 

Colombia is an ecological treasure and protection of its natural resources is not only important to the country, but also to the world. One of the most hazardous threats to Colombia’s pristine ecosystems is the international drug trade. Drug traffickers’ use of harmful chemicals, their clearing of forests through slash-and-burn techniques, and other damaging practices are destroying Colombia’s flora and fauna,contaminating its water supplies, and depleting the nation’s environmental wealth. Over the past 20 years, Colombia has lost about 5.4 million acres of tropical rainforest to coca cultivation. For every gram of cocaine consumed, four square meters of rainforest are lost forever.

To address this growing problem, Colombia has launched the Shared Responsibility Program, which raises awareness of both the social and environmental impacts of drug production fueled by high consumption levels abroad.

For more information,  please visit http://www.sharedresponsibility.gov.co/en/

See Gallery

 

 

 

April 23, 2009

 

 

El Ministro deRelaciones Exteriores, Jaime Bermdez Merizalde;, y la Directora de Colombia es Pasión, María Claudia Lacouture, presentaron el mircoles 22 de abril el concurso Huella colombiana en el exterior.
Esta es una iniciativa impulsada por Colombia es Pasión y el Proyecto RedEsColombia, del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM). Busca exaltar a aquellos colombianos que han dejado una buena imagen de Colombia en el exterior y que han trabajado por el bienestar de la comunidad.

Si usted está interesado en participar o cree que algn conocido suyo puedehacerlo, tenga en cuenta los requisitos para postularse, algunos de los cuales son: estar registrado en www.redescolombia.org,ser colombiano residente en Estados Unidos de Amrica, tener reconocimiento en su comunidad, ser mayor de 18 aos, ser fiel representante de las buenas prácticas y el sentido de pertenencia por Colombia, y poseer reconocimiento en el ámbito deportivo, artístico, político, acadmico, empresarial o filantrópico.Read More

Una vez se cierre la fase de postulación, un comit integrado por las entidades organizadoras realizará una evaluación de todos y cada uno de los colombianos que se presentaron, con el fin de seleccionar los 10 nominados que serán sometidos al escrutinio de los votantes, quienes elegirán a los tres ganadores. Las votaciones se realizarán a travs del portal RedEsColombia, desde donde cualquier colombiano, dentro o fuera del país, podrá apoyar a su nominado favorito e invitar a otros colombianos a votar por l.

Los electores contarán con toda la información de cada nominado, dentro de la que se incluye una foto, la descripción del porqu es merecedor del reconocimiento, la hoja de vida, y el porcentaje de votos que haya recibido hasta el momento, entre otros datos.

El cronograma del concurso es el siguiente:

  • Aperturade la primera fase de postulaciones: 22 de abril de 2009.
  • Cierrede la fase de postulaciones: 15 de mayo.
  • ReuniónComit de Evaluación: entre el 18 de mayo y el 1 de junio.
  • Iniciode la fase de votaciones: 5 de junio.
  • Cierrede las votaciones: 15 de julio.
  • Eventode reconocimiento y finalización del concurso: 20 de julio.

El reconocimiento se llevará a cabo en la ciudad de Washington D.C., en el marco de la celebración del 20 de julio. En ceremonia informal serán entregadas las estatuillas de reconocimiento a los tres ganadores del Concurso. Para másinformación sobre las bases del concurso, usted puede consultar  www.redescolombia.org/concurso

 

 

April 28, 2009
 

 

The Embassy of Colombia today announced that Minister of Trade,Industry and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata will visit Washington, DC this week,from April 29 to May 1.

On Friday, May 1, Minister Platawill meet with U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk, following up on thedialogue held during the Summit of the Americas, as well as the recentstatements made both by President Obama and Ambassador Kirk regarding Colombiaand the relevance of the FTA. The purpose of the meeting is to establish apath forward to continue working together on the FTA and other issues ofinterest to both countries.

This is Minister Plata’s first visitto Washington since President Obama took office. Therefore, the Minister’sagenda also includes meetings with other Administration officials, beginningwith Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce. The agenda also includes appointmentswith Dan Restrepo, Director for the Western Hemisphere of the National SecurityCouncil, and Nancy Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphereof the Department of Treasury. Minister Plata will also hold meetings with policymakers on Capitol Hill,including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and theChairman and Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade Reps.Sander Levin (D-MI), who recently visited Colombia, and Kevin Brady (R-TX).

On Thursday, Minister Plata will have meetings with U.S. business communityleaders, beginning with the International Economic Alliance, to explore theopportunities Colombia offers regarding foreign direct investment. He willaddress the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Latin America Trade Coalition onFriday.

His visit marks another step in Colombia’sefforts to work with the U.S. Government to advance the U.S.-Colombia FreeTrade Agreement (FTA) and continue to strengthen relations between the twocountries.

 

April 29, 2009

From Madrid, the Head of State asked the international community to redefine the way to face drug trafficking, after pointing that drug is legalized in the way that use is allowed. He reiterated that the decision of penalizing the use of drugs is compatible with prevention and rehabilitation public policies.

President lvaro Uribe confirmed this Wednesday his call to all the countries of the world, to make an efficient contribution to fight drug trafficking. During the ceremony where the President received the Freedom Award Cortes de Cádiz, from the Cadiz mayoralty, for his effort defending freedom and his progress fighting terrorism, the Head of State pointed that the world must redefine the way to face drug trafficking. We need more help from the entire world, especially from Europe, to be able to fight drug trafficking, which is finally the enemy of freedom, stressed the Leader.

In addition, he asked for reflection around drug trafficking, because in his concept there has been an erroneous debate. Many say that drug must be legalized, in order to eliminate crime from the business. I think that drug is legalized in the way that its use is allowed, Uribe explained.

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And he added, that is not coherent that while production and trafficking of drugs are been fight, at the same time the laws of some countries allows its use.  How do you understand that we make a huge effort to end with crops, with chemical precursors, to confiscate possessions acquired with drug money, to extradite drug traffickers and, at the same time,  have to deal with drug use, because our legislation as well as others, are permissive and don’t declare the use as illegal, he said.

About it, Uribe said that Colombia has had some problems fighting illegal drugs while use is still allowed. What can a Judge do, if he can not take a dealer to jail, because the only thing that he can find is his legal personal dose?, the Leader asked. As he highlighted the approval by legislative, in first debate, of the law project that penalizes drug use, Uribe assured that this initiative is totally compatible with the rehab and prevention policies that the government must enforce.

 Yesterday the Congress of Colombia, in the first of eight debates, approved to declare the use of drugs also illegal. We must make a warning: the fact that use could be illegal does not mean that rehabilitation and prevention policies are going to be abandoned. The decision of make use illegal is compatible with prevention and rehabilitation policies the Head of State finished. 

April 29, 2009

 

 

Last year, over 2,000 visitors attended an open house at the Residence of the Embassy of Colombia during Washington’s Passport DC.  This Saturday, May 2nd, Colombia will participate again in Passport DC and from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. our doors will be open to share with all visitors the beauty, the art, the music, the cuisine, the images and the biodiversity of our country.

Come and join us, and as you walk through the Residence, enjoy a sweet treat and learn more about Colombia’s rich culture by taking a moment to view the videos playing in the ballroom. We are proud to share the sights, sounds and flavors of Colombia, a country full of surprises in our beautiful Residence in the United States,built by the renowned architect Jules Henri de Sibour, a descendant of Louis XVI, in 1906. The house is the perfect setting to showcase the diversity and richness of Colombian culture.

Time:            10 am  3 pm
Location:      1520 20th Street, NW
Metro:            Dupont Circle (Red line)
Admission:  Free

A Message from Ambassador Carolina Barco

Welcome to the Residence of the Embassy of Colombia. We open our doors so you can get to know and enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors of Colombia, a country full of surprises. We are proud to be the oldest democracy in Latin America and a significant player in the region, as we have the third largest population and the fifth largest GDP.

Our Residence in the United States was built by the renowned architect Jules Henri de Sibour, a descendant of Louis XVI, in 1906.

The house is the perfect setting to showcase the diversity and richness of Colombian culture.

Sights, Sounds and Flavors of Colombia brochure.

See Gallery One
 

 

April 30, 2009

 

 

Foreign Affairs Mminister, Jaime Bermudez Merizalde,  called his counterpart Nicolas Maduro, to ask for the support of Venezuelan authorities  to capture the terrorists members of the Farc that killed eight soldiers in the mountain of  Perijá and escaped to take refuge in Venezuelan territory.

"I spoke with Chancellor Maduro at 2 a.m. Italian time. He was in Cuba, and expressed he had talked with President Chavez and received the Colombia request with great attention, " said Minister Bermdez.

The attack occurred at 4:20 a.m. at the site known as Cerro Templao, jurisdiction of the Perijá Mountains in the department of La Guajira. In this location, a group of soldiers working on deactivating a minefield planted by Farc terrorists, were attacked.

During the attack, soldiers Luis Mercado Rojas, Carlos Eduardo Gonzalez Ortiz, Deyvis Jimnez Redondo, Jefferson Redondo Movilla, Deim Saavedra Gámez, NelsonRojas Hurtado, Nelson Peláez Erayu and Jos Ren Vega López were killed.  Soldier Jaidar Hernández Marriaga was wounded.

 
April 1, 2009

From Miami to Colombia

From Miami to Colombia

LATIN BUSINESS CHRONICLE - Brian Andrews, former news anchor in Miami, tells Latin Business Chronicle why he moved to Colombia.
In Colombia, it's not about adding years to your life, but life to your years. So goes a saying quoted by Brian Andrews, a former TV news anchor from Miami who moved to Bogota sixteen months ago to pursue a dream and live a life with a different pace. "People take their time, they stop to smell the flowers, chew their food, think long and hard before they make an important decision," he says.  "It's just the way things are here."

Andrews still anchors news - only this time for RCN, one of Colombia's leading TV stations. His daily broadcast is seen in TV as well as the Internet, as far away as China.
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April 1, 2009

Canada Minister defends Colombia free-trade deal

Canada Minister defends Colombia free-trade deal

 
OTTAWA Parliamentary hearings will allow criticism of Canada's proposed free trade agreement with Colombia, says the Harper government's minister responsible for Latin America.

But Peter Kent, the minister of state for foreign affairs, also made clear that he expects the deal to be ratified by Parliament by June, as he accused left-leaning critics of the deal of living in the past, and not giving Colombia credit for progress it has made after years of drug-fuelled carnage. "We want this to be discussed openly," Kent said Monday from Medellin, Colombia. "Through the hearing process as well as submissions from beyond, we want to hear from folks, positive and negative, and to address concerns."

Last week, a coalition of non-governmental organizations under the Canadian Council for International Co-operation accused the government of trying to force the Colombian pact through Parliament without a proper debate on human rights considerations.
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April 1, 2009

NEW Colombian Newsletter - Subscribe Now!

NEW Colombian Newsletter - Subscribe Now!

To continue improving communication efforts with friends, colleagues, staffers, colombian citizens and everybody interested in learning more from Colombia, the Embassy is  proud to present the new weekly newsletter .  This publication will provide updated ,interesting and relevant information about the Colombian Mission in the U.S.   including upcoming cultural events,  press stories, profiles and fast facts that will help better understand Colombia.
 
To subscribe to the newsletter please click here and press send.
If you are already receiving the Newsletter and wish to unsubscribe please click here.
 

April 1, 2009

Colombian Rock Band, Los Aterciopelados will be touring the U.S.

Colombian Rock Band, Los Aterciopelados will be touring the U.S.

 
Multi Grammy Award nominee, and Colombia's top rock en espaol group, Aterciopelados (whose name translates as "the Velvety Ones") will be touring the U.S. presenting their most recent work, RIO.  Los Atercipleados presents a "syncopated kaleidoscope of genres, experiences and sounds."

A recent music review described them as: "... an alternately ethereal and electric power that pulses through their traditional rhythms while they deftly dip into some of today's most exciting genres. Slyly seductive vocals, cumbia, salsa, and vallenato intermingle with alt-rock riffs, electronica flourishes, and bossa nova rhythms to produce an intoxicating mix that's impossible to classify - and impossible to resist."

 
Their tour includes performances in cities such as Chicago, New York , Los Angeles and Califronia. They will be performing in Virgnia next Thursday April 4 at the State Theatre.

 
To learn more visit their website or click here to purchase tickets.
Read the article published in Express Magazine.
 

April 29, 2009

REUTERS - Colombia seeks path for U.S. trade deal this week

REUTERS - Colombia seeks path for U.S. trade deal this week

Doug Palmer - Colombia's trade minister will press the Obama administration and lawmakers this week to lay out a path toward congressional approval of a trade deal signed more than two years ago, a Colombian aide said on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama, who strongly opposed the agreement during last year's presidential campaign, recently asked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to work with Colombia and Congress to resolve violence and human rights concerns that have blocked approval of the free-trade pact.  Colombian Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata on Friday will meet with Kirk, who faces a tough challenge in persuading Democrats -- particularly in the House of Representative -- to support a trade deal negotiated by former President George W. Bush and opposed by U.S. labor groups.

"We basically are open to listening to Mr. Kirk and how he envisions this process," said Sandra Ocampo, press secretary at Colombia's embassy in Washington. "What we expect is a ... path forward to continue working."

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