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May 2009

May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON TIMES - Free Trade as a Stimulus Strategy

WASHINGTON TIMES - Free Trade as a Stimulus Strategy

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By Kim R. Holmes - Most people agree that, when it comes to economic recovery, more economic activity is better than less. When companies buy and sell more goods and services, we get more jobs and growth.
Yet, for some reason, this obvious fact eludes those who want to constrain America's access to overseas markets. At a time when government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars it doesn't have on doubtful "stimulus" initiatives, you've got to wonder why some politicians continue to argue against free trade agreements. After all, these pacts have a proven track record. Trade has created millions of jobs and is responsible for almost a third of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
Three free trade agreements (FTA) are currently in play in Washington. Two of them - pacts with Colombia and South Korea - are in trouble due to union opposition. Despite claiming to be in favor of free trade, the Obama administration has not been willing to buck big labor and push for these deals. The third pending agreement, with Panama, has brighter prospects. President Obama seems willing to push Congress on this one because it has the least opposition from Democrats and unions, and also because it is an economic "no-brainer."
Read OP-ED

May 29, 2009

 

 

The announcement was done by Carlos Costa Posada, Minister of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, at the end of a meeting with U.S. Ambassador in Colombia, William Brownfield. "The U.S.Government has expressed a keen  interest and support for the Colombian environmental issues," said the Minister.  "Colombia will actively collaborate with the proposed environmental programs for the region made by the President of the United States, Barack Obama,".

The minister explained  U.S.  interest in  supporting sustainable development projects, environmental initiatives and  the protection of forest reserves programs. "President Obama announced his interest to establish a regional cooperation program to address energy issues  and climate change. It is a program currently being designed by the United States and they have invited us to provide  ideas and recommendations," said Costa Posada .

According to the Minister of Environment, Colombia is one of the regional leaders in controlling greenhouse gas emissions. "Undoubtedly, the U.S. government has expressed great interest and support for the environmental issue in Colombia. We welcome their interest and will continue to keep working together," the official concluded.

 
May 4, 2009

WASHINGTON TRADE DAILY - A "Colombia" Process

WASHINGTON TRADE DAILY - A "Colombia" Process

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
The Obama Administration and Colombian officials have agreed to establish a process to resolve the issues standing in the way of approval of the free trade agreement between the two countries - but the White House is offering no timetable for action, Colombian Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata said Friday  (WTD, 5/1/09).
The White House and Congressional leaders have yet to provide any specifics on what Colombia must do to win approval of the FTA. Instead, the two governments have agreed to set up teams that will sit down in the next few weeks to start hashing out an agenda and timeline for moving forward, Mr. Plata told reporters.
The Obama Administration has said it wants a clear set of"benchmarks" for progress on issues like violence against labor leaders - that must be resolved before it could send the trade pact to Capitol Hill for a vote.  Mr. Plata acknowledged that Colombia still has a ways to go on the violence and impunity problem, although significant progress has been made by the Uribe government.
The Colombian official said he came to Washington with no expectations of getting any specifics on the outstanding issues.  He said it is too early in the process of working with the new Administration to be talking details. The minister spoke to reporters at an event hosted by the National Foreign Trade Council.
 
 

Will Find a Way Out
But Mr. Plata said he sensed a willingness from the Administration and key Congressional lawmakers to find a way to work out the problems and get the FTA passed.  We can see that there’s a will to sit down and set up an agenda, define some topics and try to resolve the situation, he commented.
Mr. Plata, who met Friday with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, said the Administration did not suggest renegotiation of the pact.  Bogota does not believe reopening the trade pact - negotiated by the Bush Administration - is necessary to resolve the outstanding issues.
The minister also met with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman CharlesRangel (D-NY) and trade subcommittee chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich).
Colombia is hoping for approval of the FTA this year, Mr. Plata said.
The Obama Administration has signaled it expects to move first on the US-Panama FTA (WTD, 5/1/09).  US and Panamanian officials met last week to settle some outstanding issues related to Panama’s labor and tax laws.
Separately, the White House on Friday announced establishment of a inter-agencycommittee on trade in timber products under the US-Peru FTA (WTD, 1/19/09). The committee will oversee implementation of provisions contained in thetrade pact aimed at combating illegal logging.
 
 

May 7, 2009

THE WEEKLY STANDARD - A Welcome Shift

THE WEEKLY STANDARD - A Welcome Shift

Obama appears to be moving in the right direction on free trade with Latin America.



By Jaime Daremblum - In recent weeks, the Obama administration has quietly done an about-face on free trade with Latin America. On April 20, U.S. trade czar Ron Kirk told reporters that President Obama did not think it would be necessary to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This marked a reversal from Obama's campaign pledge to "make sure that we renegotiate" NAFTA. Speaking at the Georgetown University Law Center three days later, Kirk said "there is strong bipartisan support for the pending free trade agreement (FTA) with Panama," which he is working to complete. Kirk indicated that he is also reviewing the pending free trade agreement with Colombia, in hope of finding "a way forward." Obama had opposed both of these trade deals during the campaign.
Critics may attack the president for flip-flopping on trade, but this is a most welcome flip-flop. Seeking a renegotiation of NAFTA would have poisoned U.S. relations with Canada and Mexico. (Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper applauded Obama's switcheroo on NAFTA, pronouncing himself "delighted" at the decision.) And rejecting the trade pacts with Panama and Colombia would have been a diplomatic disaster for Obama; indeed, it would have given all Latin countries ample reason to doubt his commitment to the region.


Read Article
 

May 11, 2009

REUTERS - U.S. to push aggressive Latam trade agenda

REUTERS - U.S. to push aggressive Latam trade agenda

Doug Palmer - The United States wants to expand trade ties with Latin America and is looking to Brazil to help bring long-running world trade talks to a close by offering deeper cuts in its manufacturing tariffs, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on Friday.
"We're looking forward to really developing an aggressive trade agenda, opening markets not just (in) the United States, but also two-way trade, because that's going to be key to the economic prosperity of the entire hemisphere," Locke told the Reuters Latin American Investment Summit. Locke said the global economy may be turning the corner on the financial crisis that caused trade flows to plummet in the Western Hemisphere and around the world.

"I think clearly we're going to continue to feel the effects of the financial crisis on trade," Locke said, but added "we are starting to see things bottoming out." The United States is a top destination for exports from many countries in Latin America.
Read Article
 

May 14, 2009

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, praises Colombia's young people

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, praises Colombia's young people

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

At the NYU commencement speech at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday May 13th, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton ,praised the demonstration lead by colombian young people against terrorism. Here is the excerpt:

The biggest challenges we face today will be solved by the 60 percent of the world's population under the age of 30. And already, young people, like all of you, are using their talents and ingenuity to help fashion their own brand of service and diplomacy.
A few examples: In the nation of Colombia, two young college graduates, fed up with the violence in their country, used Facebook to organize 14 million people into the largest antiterrorism demonstrations in the history of the world.(Applause.) In a few short weeks, their peaceful efforts did as much damage to the terrorist networks as years of military action.

To read all the speech, click here
 

May 18, 2009

Colombia's film business moves forward

Colombia's film business moves forward

Generous state support and soaring private investment are spurring further growth in Colombia's film industry.
In fact, the impact of a 2003 film law that established tax breaks for film financiers and the creation of a $3 million annual Film Development Fund,. . continues to reverberate, playing a pivotal role in getting Cannes' Un Certain Regard entry "Los viajes del viento" (The Wind Journeys) off the ground. Similarly affected was Camilo Matis' 40-minute short "1989," starring Vincent Gallo, which closes the fest's Critics' Week.
"By having 'Los viajes del viento' and '1989' accepted by official sections in Cannes this year, we are reaping the benefits of years of government stimulus and promotion of national cinema," says Claudia Triana, head of nonprofit Proimagenes en Movimiento, which manages the Film Development Fund among its myriad functions. She says the last Colombian film accepted in an official Cannes section was Victor Gaviria's "The Rose Seller" in 1998.
Read Article
 

May 20, 2009

Colombia launches new website to promote Foreign Direct Investment

Colombia launches new website to promote Foreign Direct Investment

 
The Government of Colombia has launched the official website  to promote foreign direct investment in the country, www.investincolombia.com.co.  This  new service provides audiences with information about opportunities and incentives offered by the Government . It ncludes a detailed step by step guide on how to invest.
The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata said: "Investors have for the moment, information on 19 potential sectors. The website also includes information on the country, macroeconomic indicators, cases of success, and all the information about incentives,". He added:  Today, Colombia enjoys more positive international attention and it’s one of the reasons why  we are doubling the  efforts for promotion of FDI".

Minister Plata also highlighted the attractions the country offers to foreign investors, such as free zones, free trade agreements and legal stability, among others.

"Colombia today is a destination for investment, and it's  the right time to make a strong promotion of the country. With the launch of this website we are telling the world: Colombiais here! "said Minister Plata. 

May 26, 2009

President Uribe received a recognition from the University of Pennsylvania

President Uribe received a recognition from the University of Pennsylvania

President of Colombia, lvaro Uribe Vlez received on May 21st the Dean’s Medal given by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most prestigious business schools of the world. The President received the award from Thomas Robertson, Dean of the Finances Faculty of the business school at the Ministry of Foreign Relations Office.
Robertson praised the personal qualities of President Uribe and his work for the benefit of all Colombians. Under his ethical and strong leadership, Colombia has not only stabilized, but also has flourished, and its achievements show progress in security and also the strengthening of democracy and institutions as well as an economic expansion, the Dean said.

He also highlighted the increase of foreign investment and investors trust, and the commitment with social cohesion and social responsibility, which allows access to education and attention to the country’s priorities. When he was receiving the award in the name of all Colombians, President Uribe said that the Wharton School has been a leadership trainer and a sleepless worker for private investment and supporter of an integration of the world’s economy.

It has been a great school for management, for leadership, and for what holds one and other, the law, commitment with others, and all that is around fundamental ethical concepts, the President remarked.
 

May 28, 2009

 

 

The Embassy of Colombia thas announced that on Friday, May 29, Cartagena will be the scene for the presentation of results of an evaluation conducted by the Commission for the Advancement of the Afro Colombian, Palanque and Raizal Population. We need to develop a racially inclusive approach in Colombia. The Commission’s recommendations aim to improve education, income generation and political representation, all conditions that will allow the complete and equal development of the Afro Colombian, Palenque and Raizal Community, said Vice President Francisco Santos.Read More

For over a year, the members of the Commission have been working to study the conditions of this population in Colombia, with the permanent participation of recognized members of the Afro Colombian, Palenque and Raizal community.Similarly, the Commission has received guidance from the United States Congressional Black Caucus, which has been open to share its expertise and knowledge with Colombia.
 
U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) has been particularly involved in theCommission’s work and has been fully supportive of the need to keep movingforward on this track. Mr. Meeks, together with Badi Foster, Phelp Stokes Fund; Julian Roberts, Assistant to Mr. Foster; Ambassador Larry Palmer, Inter-American Foundation; Joe Beasley, Southern regional director for the Rainbow/ PUSH Coalition; Austin R. Cooper, Jr., Goodworks Institute; and Stephanie Jones, Urban League, will join Vice President Santos; Paula Moreno Zapata, Minister of Culture; Pastor Murillo, Director of Afro-Colombian Community Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Judith Pineda, Mayor of Cartagena, for the presentation that will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29, after a series of meetings,which began today.
 
ABOUT THE COMMISSION
The Commission was established in October 2007, and started its work in May2008. It is led by Vice President Santos. The main purpose of the Commission was to evaluate the living conditions of the Afro Colombian, Palenque and Raizal population, and submit recommendations to the Government aimed at overcoming the existing barriers that have stifled the progress of this population, particularly in the economic and social fields, as well as regarding the protection and fulfillment of their civil rights.  

The Commission’s members include Government officials, Afro Colombian membersof Congress, the academic and private sectors. Likewise, there has beenpermanent participation of representatives of the Afro Colombian population,through its leaders and organizations, as well as international leaders including representatives of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus.
 

May 28, 2009

 

 

In 2007, Colombia was ranked number 50 and now lies in position 38 according to the International Congress and Convention Association, with a special recognition to Bogota and Cartagena. The country outperformed destinations such as Uruguay, Russia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Panama and Puerto Rico, among others. 

Nubia Stella Martinez, Vice President of Tourism Proexport noted that this result is good news, since the consolidation exercise of events promotion is a very  recent institutional effort. The official explained that tourism is a crucial aspect for development since  it regulates the seasonality of tourism demand, creates jobs and promotes the exchange of professional knowledge. Moreover, it constitutes a factor of promotional efforts of the national tourism.  Colombia's rise in the ranking of ICCA, which involved 90 countries, is a good the evidence of a coordinated effort with various public and private agencies in the country.  She highlighted  the progress of Cartagena and Bogota in the ranking. The first moved  from position 89 to 69, with a total of 22events last year, while the capital moved from position 114 to 108, with 15international meetings.

The International Congress & Convention Association is the global networkof industry conferences and conventions, which was founded in 1963 by a groupof travel agents. Currently, ICCA is comprised of 850 member companies andtourism organizations from 85 countries in the corporate world. Its mission isto ensure that its members always maintain competitive advantages in the fieldof congresses and conventions.

To learn more about the report, click here.

 

May 6, 2009

IBD - Free Trade Makes a Comeback

IBD - Free Trade Makes a Comeback

Commerce: Like crocuses blooming after a harsh winter, polls suddenly show a dramatic rise in support for free trade. This bodes well for an acceleration in the direction the Obama administration is headed.
 
Last July, the outlook was absolutely bleak for free trade. As a recession hit in 2008 and imports posted the steepest drop since 1942, the American public looked as if it were hibernating from world engagement. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll then showed 51% of Americans saw foreign trade as an economic "threat." Radical activists and big labor unions, both foes of free trade, couldn't stop crowing. Things have changed. A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted April 14-21 found that free-trade deals between the U.S. and other countries are now seen as "a good thing," by a margin of 44-35.

 
Read Editorial

 

May 11, 2009

THE MIAMI HERALD - Encouraging Signs on Achieving Free Trade

THE MIAMI HERALD - Encouraging Signs on Achieving Free Trade

OUR OPINION: President Obama must use political capital to win approval for pacts.
Sometime in the last few weeks, the Washington logjam over negotiating a free trade agreement with Colombia and other countries appears to have broken, at long last. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has signaled that the Obama administration is ready to move forward on these long-stalled pacts. He then warned against ''setting the bar too high'' in working out pending issues between the United States on the one hand, and Panama, Colombia and South Korea -- all of whom have pending trade deals in Congress.

Although it is too early to declare victory in the effort to overcome the protectionist sentiment that has kept these agreements bottled up in Congress, these are the most encouraging signs thus far that the administration is committed to promoting free trade. Many Democrats in Congress and their allies in the labor movement remain skeptical about the usefulness of free-trade agreements. Still, President Obama, who talked tough against special trade pacts during the campaign, appears to have decided as president that their virtues far outweigh their liabilities.

Trade with Colombia is a particular concern because it is a proven ally of the United States in the volatile Andes region of Latin America. Under President Alvaro Uribe, Colombia has made significant strides in stabilizing the country's political, economic and security situation.

 

 
Read Editorial
 

May 1, 2009

 

 

Ambassador Barco, Minister Plata & Charles RangelAfter the first day of his visit to Washington, Minister of Commerce and Tourism, Luis Guillermo  Plata said  "We have held very positive meetings with Congress Members , Administration officials and private sector representatives. The agenda of this first trip is very valuable insetting an path forward to continue working on the adoption and implementation of the FTA, which benefits both countries."

Minister Plata  met with several businessmen and investors, as well as BusinessWeek magazine - which  two years ago chose Colombia as the number one emerging market in the world. He also spoke with Dan Restrepo , Director for the Western Hemisphere in the National Security Council, to continue discussing the agenda of both countries.
Minister Plata also had the chance of talking to Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)and Connie Mack (R-FL),  who reiterated their willingness to continue supporting Colombia and the approval of the pending FTA.
Finally, he held a positive meeting with Charles Rangel (D-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, who mentioned Ambassador Kirk’s posting at USTR as a very positive signal to continue discussing the FTA  and expressed he was expecting  to have news about the conversations developed between both Governments.

On Thursday night, Minister Plata will lead a discussion organized by the Embassy of Colombia, the International Economic Alliance (IEA) and Proexport, in order to present the country's transformation, focusing on the investment opportunities Colombia has to offer.  This presentation aims to continue strengthening the productive dialogue with entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Read More

On Friday, Minister Plata  will hold meetings mainly with Administration Officials. It will start with a meeting with Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke,followed by a reunion with the United States Trade Representative, Ron Kirk,appointed by President Obama to make progress on the FTA with Colombia. Later he will hold a meeting with the National Foreign Trade Council, and a conference at the United States Chamber of Commerce.  In the afternoon, Minister  Plata will meet with Nancy Lee, Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere from the Treasury Department.

"It is important to hold meetings with various people in the Administration, Congress and the business community to continue building and strengthen relationships and to persist  on the efforts for the benefit of both countries," concluded Minister Plata.

DETAILED AGENDA

9:30 a.m.
Meeting with Gary Locke, Secretary of Trade and Frank Sanchez, Assistant Secretary for International Trade

10:30 a.m.
Meeting with Ambassador Ronald Kirk, USTR

12:30 p.m.
Meeting with National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC)

2:00 p.m.
Meeting with U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Latin America Trade Coalition (JohnMurphy)

3:00 p.m.
Press Availability

3:45 p.m.
Meeting with Nancy Lee, Deputy Asst. Secretary, Western Hemisphere, U.S. Department of  Treasury

See Gallery 

May 7, 2009

 

 

The British Government has not suspended the military aid to Colombia, Minister Santos .

Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, said on Wednesday that the British Government has not suspended military aid to Colombia, but that these resources have been redirected.

"The United Kingdom announced that it will redirect some resources which were destined, among others, to fund a center against landmines and to support other activities. But the total amount hasn’t decreased," he said.

The official recalled that several weeks ago the British  Government approached  the House of Commons to express concern about the issue of extrajudicial killings. The Colombian Government sent a letter through the Ambassador in London, Noemi Sanin, explaining the actions taken in the security forces to continue strengthening  the policies concerning the respect for human rights.

Additionally, Santos added that there are political groups and organizations interested in discrediting the security forces of Colombia and the government of President  lvaro Uribe Vlez.

"These are pressure  and political groups that will be against the Colombian security forces of Colombia and President Uribe's government no matter what" said Minister of Defense.

  

Read More

Statement - Embassy of Colombia in the United Kingdom

The Embassy of Colombia in the United Kingdom reports:

1. On March 30, the British State Secretary, David Miliband, reported to the Parliament how the cooperation budget for Colombia would be assigned.

2. The report expressed satisfaction with the outcomes and impact the U.K.cooperation has had in Colombia.

3. It stressed the determination of the Colombian government to combat terrorist groups within the framework of international law and condemned those organizations that continue to violate human rights.

4. When referring to the budget, it reported a 500 % increase on the resourcesto fund cooperation, primarily assigned to support:

  • The fight against drugs which will be continued while recognizing that significant progress has been achieved.
  • Environmental Issues and Climate Change, which have, for the first time, been included.
  • The programs against Land Mines.
  • The fight against impunity and strengthening of the Justice system.
  • Programs in defense of human rights through multilateral agencies, the promotion of civil society and the support of human rights advocates.

5. While concluding the plan in support of the human rights programsat the Ministry of Defense, those resources were reoriented and expanded to be invested through UN programs.

6. The Minister of Interior to Fight Organized Crime, Alan Campbell, will travel to Colombia between May 4 and 7, to express support for the successful  performance of Colombia in the fight against drug trafficking.

7. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Gillian Merron, will visit Colombia between May 20 and 23, to reaffirm the excellent relations between Colombia and the United Kingdom and to convey  a message of support for the Colombian government and the programs above mentioned.

Related Article - British aid to Colombia will not be suspended but redirected (from EL TIEMPO Newspaper)

 

 

The announcement was made vice minister of the interior of the United Kingdom,Alan Campbell, after a meeting with Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos.  At a press conference, the official assured that the conclusion of a program aimed to support the Colombian military has nothing to do with the investigations of human rights that are being developed.According to Campbell, this program was scheduled to end. Nonetheless, British cooperation with Colombia will continue and embrace new programs in other areas.
 
He explained that while the issue of human rights in Colombia is very important for the British Government, they remain respectful of the Colombian autonomy to further investigate the cases that have been reported. One of the new areas of cooperation between the two countries, is the fight against impunity Our approach aims to redefine the policies related with the fight against impunity, the official announced at the press conference. According to this statement, the United Kingdom will invest a quarter of a million pounds to the fight against impunity in Colombia.
 
Regarding the British cooperation with the Administrative Security Department, DAS, eyed recently due to illegal wire tappings, Campbell confirmed his countryis carrying out a close analysis, always respectful of the ongoing investigation in Colombia.
 
Campbell also highlighted the reduction of illicit drug shipments from Colombia to the United Kingdom, mainly due to successful seizures.
On the other hand, Vice President Santos restated the zero tolerance policy regarding the extrajudicial killings.   "Any official of the security forces who breaks the law and violates human rights will be prosecuted relentlessly," said Santos.

 

 

May 12, 2009

 

 

Vicepresident Santos will be in the United States on May 13 to participate in the 39th Washington Conference on the Americas, Renewing the Promise of Prosperity.

His conference will start at 9:15 a.m. at the US Department ofState (2201 C Street, NW, Washington DC).
He will have a 30 minutes press availability with those media interested at 11:45 a.m., room 1207.
Some of the speakers are U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Mexican Secretary of Finance andPublic Credit Agustín Carstens, Canadian Minister of Environment Jim Prentice,and other high-level government representatives from the Western Hemisphere.

The Annual Washington Conference on the Americas is the premiere forum on regional policy.
The 39th Washington Conference will focus onstimulating regional growth and development in the context of the current economic downturn.

Attached are the media advisory of the Conference and the FinalAgenda (Luncheon Speaker is OFF the record, no press will be allowed)

Date and address:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009.
U.S. Department of State. 2201C Street, NW, Washington DC
For more information, pleasecontact Michelle Morton at the Washington Office at mmorton@as-coa.org or(202) 659-8989.

 

May 20, 2009

 

 

Carolina Barco, Ambassador of Colombia to the  United States, will receive the Meritorious Service Award, given by the American Planning Association (APA) for her achievements and contributions as an urban planning professional.

Every year, APA recognizes professional planners that have made significant achievements in planning, progress and advocacy. This year the President of the American Planning Association will be responsible for delivering the prize to the Colombian Ambassador to the United States.

Carolina Barco will be the keynote speaker during the APA's annual meeting with a conference about Bogotá, where she collects the succesful experience of urban renewal in the Colombian capital and how it allowed a social and cultural transformation of the city.   The award ceremony will be held on May 21 at the Symposium 1909 - 2109:Sustaining the Lasting Value of American Planning.

The event is organized by the APA and will be at the National Building Museum, which commemorated the centenary of the first meeting held in May 1909, when 43 planners met in Washington in the First National Conference on Planning, regarded as the birth of the planning movement in the United States. 

See Gallery 1
See Gallery 2

May 22, 2009

 

 

Today in Bogota the first of thirteen meetings that will be held all over the country took place in accordance to the agreements reached April 30th during the inauguration of the National Meeting to Guarantee the Rights of Social and Community organizations and Human Rights Groups.

Interior Viceminister Viviana Manrique Zuluaga launched the first Regional Meeting together with Samuel Moreno Rojas, Mayor of Bogota, Clara Rojas, member of the Mayor’s Cabinet, Wolmar Perez, Ombudsman, Carlos Franco, Director Human Rights Presidential Program, Rafael Bustamante, Director Human Rights Program Ministry of Interior and Justice and Gloria Florez, Minga Director and representative to this regional meeting.

Mrs.Manrique thanked the Mayor’s Office enthusiastic response to this first meeting and requested continued cooperation to ensure improved conditions so that human rights advocates, community and social leaders and vulnerable segments of the population can carry out their legitimate tasks in Bogota.   

The Viceminister was pleased with the massive attendance of civil, military and police authorities and reiterated how today’s activity will not solve every problem, but it certainly is the beginning of a process which will allow us to establish a permanent dialogue.

For more information click here

 
May 27, 2009

It is impossible to find another person with the merit that you have to receive the San Carlos medal. Thank you, Speaker Hastert. You are a great friend of Colombia  the Head of State said after thanking Speaker Hastert for his support. We will never forget that time when you came to Colombia to approve Plan Colombia in the year 2000. Plan Colombia has been an excellent decision, a step forward. It's the first practical aid that we have received from the entire world,  and you were one of the main supporters of Plan Colombia , the Colombian Leader pointed. Those unilateral trade preferences had your support voice. The negotiations for our bilateral Free Trade Agreement found in you a great sponsor. Now the Colombian people are hopeful that, with friends like you, we can have the ratification of our FTA, he added.

As for the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, he thanked the honor and assured that he has worked together with President Uribe, because he believes in the goodness of the Colombian people and in its democracy. Thank you so much from the bottom of my hearth. This democracy which is the oldest democracy in South America, has worked hard to overcome many problems. We are, indeed, friends on a national basis. We do understand, between the United States and Colombia, the need to work together. But the need to work together begins in personal friendship, and I pledge mine. Thank you Hastert said.   

May 29, 2009

Villegas Editores wins 19 prizes at the International Latino Book Awards

Villegas Editores wins 19 prizes at the International Latino Book Awards

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

At the annual ceremony of the Latino Book Awards in New York, nineteen books fromt he Colombian publishing house, Villegas Editores, won 19 awards. The second most important fair of the world, BookExpo America 2009,   provided the framework for this ceremony which brings together the best publishers around the world. The ILBA (International Latino Book Awards) awards are given to publishers of any nationality for books that have a Latin theme and are distributed in the United States. The selection criteria include traits such as quality, originality and innovation in content and design.

Each award is assessed by a group of five experts jurors located in different parts of the United States, which account for a total number of two hundred thirty juries the competition. After a rigorous analysis, the juries issue their verdicts from their cities of residence, so that the winners can be widely recognized throughout the territory. The authors, photographers, illustrators and designers associated with the various books of Villegas Editores, as well as the cultural and natural wealth of our country, find in this competition a unique opportunity to be valued and recognized internationally. 
Villegas Editores won awards in the following categories:

  • Best Educational Children’s Book - Spanish or Bilingual
  • Best Arts Book - Spanish or Bilingual - Tie
  • Best Cookbook - Spanish or Bilingual
  • Best History/Political Book - Spanish or Bilingual
  • Best Cover Design Hard Cover - Tie
  • Best Interior
  • Best First Book - Spanish

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