April 2, 2019- News Clips - Weekly summary March 29

Ambassador Santos began the week by holding a video conference with Colombia's 12 consulates throughout the United States. This meeting took place from the conference room of the Colombian Embassy in Washington DC, and seeks to give an account of the progress being made on consular issues in this country.
Another important event that took place in these days was the meeting that the ambassador had with the Minister of Culture Carmen Vasquez and the executives of the Smithsonian, which began a project that seeks to build a museum that pays tribute to Afro culture in Cali.
In Addition, the Ambassador had a meeting with Congressman Adriano Espaillat, U.S. Democrat Representative for New York's 13th congressional district and the first formerly illegal immigrant to ever serve in Congress, which sought to continue increasing bipartisan support to Colombia.
On the same day, there was also talk of continuing the search for the U.S. Congress to focus on support for the region, with Democrat Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Who is Ecuadorian-born American politician who is a member of the United States House of Representatives and won an election to represent Florida's congressional district.
The ambassador closes the week in Cúcuta, with U.S. congressmen Eliot Engel, Jerry Nadler, Michael McCaul, Adriano Espaillat, Zoe Lofgren, Pramila Jayapal and John Curtis, in order to help end the dictatorship of neighboring Venezuela.
For his part, the embassy closed its week with two events; the first, a talk with Andres Patiño, finance specialist, who gave some tips on how to file taxes in the United States. And the second, a new consular section called "Historias de vida" that had as its star guest the famous vallenato musician Juancho de la Espriella, who told his beginnings in musical life and delighted the audience with Colombian folkloric melodies.
 

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With Minister for Culture  Carmen Vásquez we seek to build a museum that pays tribute to the history of Afro culture in Colombia. We already started this project, today we were reunited with the Smithsonian. Let's go ahead with our Colombia Agenda": Embassador Francisco Santos

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Bogotá, March 26, 2019

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, made this Tuesday a recognition to the mayors of the country by the way they have taken care of the challenges of the migratory crisis coming from Venezuela.

"We want to recognize the mayors of Colombia for the way they have been dealing with the challenges posed to us, at the local, regional and international levels, by the migratory crisis coming from Venezuela," said the Minister.

He added that the mayors "have responded to the demands of Venezuelan migrants by turning to their own budgets, to their own administrative organization. They have responded to these demands by appealing to the sensitivity of the inhabitants of the different cities of Colombia, which is why I want, on the name of President Duque, to give them the recognition they deserve," he said.

He stated that "the right way to face the demands of this migratory crisis is to work together in a coordinated way".

"We have made reflections on the short-term perspectives, since we must be prepared to continue attending with the same humanitarian criteria, solidarity and historical gratitude, that migratory flow that has been done so far," said the head of Colombian diplomacy.

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Brussels, Belgium, March 20, 2019.

The North Atlantic Council approved the admission of the International Demining Center of Colombia (Cides) to the Community of Alliances Training and Education Centres of NATO (Ptec).

With this recognition, Cides of Colombia becomes the 33rd center in the world to belong to this select group, which since 1999 has played an essential role in supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by offering multiple courses and training to allies and partners.

As part of the Ptec community, Cides will contribute to the education and training of NATO nations' personnel and partners in the crucial area of humanitarian and military demining.

In 2018, the Ptec trained nearly 50,000 people and conducted about 1,300 courses. In addition, the community organized about 200 mobile training teams.

Recognition process

In October 2018, a team of multifunctional experts from NATO visited the International Demining Centre in Tolemaida, Colombia to assess their suitability for inclusion in the Alliance's Community of Training and Education Centers.

The team concluded that recognition of Cides would contribute positively to the education and training of allied personnel and NATO partners in humanitarian and military demining.

NATO dictated that Colombia can contribute this capacity in favor of peace and global security.

Finally, on March 6, 2019, it was agreed to send the Colombian proposal to the Council for final approval.

Colombia in NATO

Colombia has been a 'global partner' of NATO since 2017 and the only one of that organization in Latin America.

On October 23, President Ivan Duque met in Brussels with the Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and one of the issues discussed was demining.

On that occasion, President Duque said that Colombia has made significant progress in this area and thanked NATO "for the support it has given us so that we can have our demining facilities certified".

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President Ivan Duque said today that foreign investors want to come to Colombia because this country "respects private initiative and because there is a government that believes in the rule of law, in entrepreneurship to generate equity.
This affirmation was made by the President when he intervened in the closing of the General Assembly of the American Business Council (CEA), which includes U.S. firms that have been operating in Colombia for 100, 70 and 60 years.
Duque emphasized that his administration "believes in the private sector and believes with motivation. It is not like in other times, when the sense of defense of the private sector was with a shameful spirit.
"I believe in private initiative, I believe in free competition, I believe in the development of capital markets," he stressed.
He also expressed his desire to see "more Colombian companies going public. I want to see more public companies going abroad. I want to have more and more consolidated spaces and markets.
In that order of ideas, the President indicated that "we ask the Government of the United States all the support so that our products have more accessibility in that market, in shorter times", in such a way "that they allow us to consolidate more exports".
He pointed out that with the administration of President Donald Trump "not only do we share democratic values in Latin America, to denounce the outrages of the dictatorship in Venezuela, but we understand that the fight against drugs is a shared, co-responsible fight.
In this line, he indicated that the two governments must simultaneously continue "deepening a bilateral agenda, in which trade, investment, science, technology, energy, play a preponderant role.
He said that the relationship between Colombia and the United States "shows that it is structured with companies that have established their bases in Colombian territory and that already have, some, 100 years; others 75; others 50.
He noted that such companies have strengthened from that "relationship that we have historic and that is bipartisan, in the United States, and has been multi-party, in Colombia. Because we share values, the value of democracy; because we share the value of a market economy; because we understand that it is through freedoms and an economy with healthy competition that the future is built.
Finally, President Duque emphasized his intention to bring to the country companies that contribute to the generation of quality jobs.
"I will not tire of telling everyone who wants to invest in our country, with the best standards, that it has a government to facilitate and help their investment translate into more formal and decent jobs in Colombia," he said.
 
 

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The President of the Republic, Iván Duque, presented the National Pavilion this Wednesday to the one hundred musicians of the Filarmónica Joven who travel to Europe in a tour of presentations.

"If we bring music to the children of our country, and we get more children to have a violin and not a rifle, we are really able to consolidate a country with peace and harmony," said the President when he received the young performers at the Casa de Nariño.

He pointed out that for Colombians "to see the Filarmónica Joven of our country arrive in Europe, in this very important circuit, is a reason for pride and admiration".

And he said to the young musicians: "Each one of you, when you have your instrument, I want you to receive today's message: we are 48 million Colombians applauding you and telling you; thank you for doing the best for this country, thank you for holding Colombia's name high.

He said he believes deeply in culture and added that this area is his obsession every day, for which the government has to be characterized by promoting creative industries.

He reiterated that "culture does not have a political color, culture is neither left nor right, nor does it have a partisan color. Culture is something that must unite us, and we must all do what we can to make it great," he said.

In presenting the Pavilion and a badge to each musician, President Duque said he felt as proud as when in the same hall he has dismissed the Olympic delegations or awarded the great Colombian sportsmen.

"You represent the best of our country. And when I say 'the best', I mean talent, I mean desire, I mean capacity, I mean charisma, emotion, the ability to transmit beyond the sonority of an instrument," he said.

The representatives of La Joven, as the orchestra is known, will perform in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, conducted by the outstanding Colombian maestro Andrés Orozco Estrada.

The musicians, aged between 16 and 24 and coming from all regions of Colombia, will offer a series of concerts from March 21 to 31.

The President of the Republic, Iván Duque, presented the National Pavilion this Wednesday to the one hundred musicians of the Filarmónica Joven who travel to Europe in a tour of presentations.

"If we bring music to the children of our country, and we get more children to have a violin and not a rifle, we are really able to consolidate a country with peace and harmony," said the President when he received the young performers at the Casa de Nariño.

He pointed out that for Colombians "to see the Filarmónica Joven of our country arrive in Europe, in this very important circuit, is a reason for pride and admiration".

And he said to the young musicians: "Each one of you, when you have your instrument, I want you to receive today's message: we are 48 million Colombians applauding you and telling you; thank you for doing the best for this country, thank you for holding Colombia's name high.

He said he believes deeply in culture and added that this area is his obsession every day, for which the government has to be characterized by promoting creative industries.

He reiterated that "culture does not have a political color, culture is neither left nor right, nor does it have a partisan color. Culture is something that must unite us, and we must all do what we can to make it great," he said.

In presenting the Pavilion and a badge to each musician, President Duque said he felt as proud as when in the same hall he has dismissed the Olympic delegations or awarded the great Colombian sportsmen.

"You represent the best of our country. And when I say 'the best', I mean talent, I mean desire, I mean capacity, I mean charisma, emotion, the ability to transmit beyond the sonority of an instrument," he said.

The representatives of La Joven, as the orchestra is known, will perform in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, conducted by the outstanding Colombian maestro Andrés Orozco Estrada.

The musicians, aged between 16 and 24 and coming from all regions of Colombia, will offer a series of concerts from March 21 to 31.

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March 13, 2019- News Clips - Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Holmes Trujillo presented to the UN Secretary General the objections made by the National Government to six of the 159 articles of the draft Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).  

New York, March 12, 2019.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Holmes Trujillo met this Tuesday in New York with António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), to explain in detail the decision taken recently by President Ivan Duque to object to six of the 159 articles of the draft Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).
"I explained in great detail our institutional structure, in the sense that it is a faculty of the President of the Republic (...). Its purpose is for Congress to debate the articles that were objected to so that they can finally take the corresponding decisions," said the Minister.
He emphasized that "it is not, in any way, a train crash; it is about strengthening the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to guarantee the victims' rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.
The head of the Foreign Relations portfolio reported that Secretary Guterres listened to his explanation with particular attention and great interest: "It is a unique opportunity to build a great institutional consensus around transitional justice. I invited him in his capacity as Secretary-General to contribute to the building of that consensus.
In statements to the media, he added that tomorrow, Wednesday, he will dialogue with the members of the UN Security Council on the same issue.
"I will explain in detail the President's decision and I will also invite you to continue supporting the implementation effort that President Duque is making," he said.
 

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March 13, 2019- News Clips - Press release from Government of Colombia

Given the information that is circulating through some international media in which it is suggested that the National Government manipulated a video in which it is observed how a truck is burned with humanitarian aid on the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge, last February 23, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Migración  Colombia are allowed to clarify that:

 

The video shows only a few minutes of the more than 8 hours of recording of the incidents that occurred on the Francisco de Paula Santander and Simón Bolívar International Bridges, as a consequence of the refusal of the usurper Nicolás Maduro to let the trucks move freely with humanitarian aid. 

 

The video clearly shows that the events occurred once the trucks had entered Venezuelan territory, after the attacks by the Bolivarian National Guard against the civilian population participating in this process.

 

We would like to reiterate that the process of collecting humanitarian aid that Colombia carried out was transparent. For this reason, and guaranteeing the right to inform and be informed, we allowed the access of all the media, who so desired, to the passage of humanitarian aid through the International Bridges, during the whole day of Saturday, February 23, with which they were able to evidence, themselves, the reality of what happened.

 

The National Government does not need to manipulate videos or any information so that the world knows the injustices committed by the usurper Maduro against his own people, since more than 4 million Venezuelans who have had to leave their country can give an account of them.

 

Bogotá, March 12, 2019

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In what would be the 92nd birthday of the Nobel laureate in literature, Gabriel García Márquez, Netflix has announced that the book One Hundred Years of Solitude will become a series.
One Hundred Years of Solitude reaches the screens through the streaming Company Netflix, which has obtained the rights to this masterpiece of universal literature. The project has the authorization and participation of the sons of the Nobel, Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo Garcia, who will act as executive producers.
Finally it will be possible to give a face to the iconic Buendía family, who has come to all parts of the world to fill the minds of their readers with magical realism.
The project fulfills the two indispensable requests of the Nobel family; to be recorded in Colombia and in Spanish. Well, according to Gabo, this was the only way in which one could really transmit what the piece means.
It is hoped that this will be the way to make other facets of the country known, and that culture and roots will take center stage worldwide.

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March 4, 2019- News Clips - Boyacá, home of the Colombia 2020 Tour.

The announcement of the race was made by Ernesto Lucena, director of Coldeportes, during his intervention in the Workshop Building Country, headed by the president of Colombia, Ivan Duque. 

"The good news is that, with the excellent development of Tour Colombia 2.1 in Antioquia this year, we have collaborated with the Colombian Cycling Federation so that in 2020, honoring all cycling in Boyacá, we have this competition here in Boyacá in February 2020," said the director of Coldeportes, Ernesto Lucena, and pointed out that the goal of the entity is "to take it all over the country," in reference to the Tour.

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During a ceremony held this Tuesday at the Casa de Nariño, the Executive President of the Colombian Chamber of Books, Enrique González Villa, announced that the Bogota International Book Fair (FILBo) will pay a special tribute to our country this year, on the occasion of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Republic of Colombia.

 

"We wanted Colombia to be the guest of honor for this 32nd version of the Bogotá International Book Fair. Our goal is that the Fair be the ideal space to celebrate this event as a great public forum on values and principles," said the director of the Colombian Chamber of Books.

 

He explained that this initiative will be based on four principles: sovereignty, citizenship, independence and equality, which seek to "offer Colombians the opportunity to rewrite, rethink, reinterpret our history and envision other ways of conceiving and building the country, assuming the celebration of the Bicentennial as the celebration of the Republic.

 

"Because if we know better what our process has been, we are going to value Colombia much more, we are going to have a sense of self-esteem and self-esteem that this country needs a lot. And what better way than to do it precisely in this Book Fair, Colombia being the guest country," he said.

 

You are the guest country'.

 

'Read it. The guest country is you' is the thematic core that will frame the activities of the Fair in 2019, which this year will have the participation of more than 500 national and international guests in more than 1,700 events of literary, cultural and academic programming.

 

Commemoration of the Bicentennial from MinCultura

 

The homage paid by FILBo 2019 to the 200 years of Independence is added to the activities programmed by the Ministry of Culture around this celebration and the promotion of reading among Colombians.

 

"The FILBo is an opportunity to promote access to reading and to meet again around our common history. With the National Development Plan we proposed to create more spaces that ensure early access to culture and reading in the territories," said Culture Minister Carmen Inés Vásquez.

 

About FILBo

 

The FILBo is an event that socially and economically revitalizes the country through culture. Its importance lies in the direct influence on the production, circulation and consumption of different contents: science, literature, history, music, art, gastronomy, cinema, music, among others.

 

This event is organized by the Colombian Chamber of Books and Corferias. The main ally is the Mayor's Office of Bogotá, within the framework of the District Plan for Reading and Writing 'Leer es Volar', and has the support of the Ministry of Culture, through the National Cultural Concertation Program. 

 

The Pavilion is possible thanks to the initiative of the National Government, through the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Mayor's Office of Bogota, entities that, together with the Colombian Chamber of Books and Corferias, have managed to materialize this project that seeks to generate in the visitors to the FILBo an experience of citizenship, going through the historical transfer of the Republic.

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In dialogue with the media, the President denied that the efforts of Colombia and countries seeking a way out of the situation in Venezuela, pursue a military intervention, and noted that the message sent yesterday by the foreign ministers of the nations that make up the Lima Group, was to seek alternatives to solve the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

 

In fact, he recalled that there is an international awareness of the migration crisis generated by the situation in Venezuela, which he described as "unparalleled in the recent history of Latin America".

 

He stated that many nations of the world are aware of the effort that Colombia and other countries have made "to attend to those migrants who are leaving their country, product of the dictatorship; with hunger and diseases".

 

 Duque commented that "there is still a great international emotion to continue seeking channels for the delivery of humanitarian aid," and Colombia continues to be willing to facilitate the logistics so that such aid reaches the Venezuelan people and that, "to the extent of our capabilities, we will continue to receive and store it.

 

He expressed the hope that the international community, with the participation of Colombia, will find a mechanism that will allow humanitarian aid to reach its destination and that "those dark events of the weekend will not be seen again.

 

He recalled that "barbarism and violence sought to prevent - at all costs - Venezuelans themselves from crossing into their country and bringing food and medicine to their loved ones.

 

 

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The Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, members of the Lima Group, committed to contribute to the democratic transition process and the institutional, economic and social reconstruction of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela:

1. Condemn the deliberate actions of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro that, without taking into account the suffering of the population or the insistent demands of the international community, have impeded, on February 23, the entry of basic necessities and international assistance, through acts of violent repression that caused multiple injuries and deaths on the Colombian and Brazilian border, all of which has aggravated the risk to the lives, dignity and integrity of Venezuelans.

2. Express their solidarity with the Venezuelan people and recognize their valor and courage in their struggle to restore democracy, and reiterate the commitment of the Lima Group to continue to actively support it in this effort.

3. Condemn the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro before the international community for intentionally subjecting Venezuelans and, in particular, the most vulnerable population, to a systematic deprivation of food and medicines, and access to basic services, in order to perpetuate themselves in power.

4. Express their gratitude for the humanitarian assistance placed at Venezuela’s disposal, and condemn the indiscriminate violence used by the security forces and armed groups at the service of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to obstruct its distribution and to impede the full exercise of the

rights and freedoms of Venezuelans. Consequently, they will collaborate to bring those responsible for such acts to justice .

5. Request the International Criminal Court to take into consideration the serious humanitarian situation in Venezuela, the criminal violence of the Nicolás Maduro regime against the civilian population, and the denial of access to international assistance, that constitute a crime against humanity, in the proceedings it is conducting by virtue of the request submitted by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru on September 27, 2018, and subsequently endorsed by Costa Rica and France, and welcomed by Germany.

6. Decide to promote the designation by the United Nations Human Rights Council of an independent expert or an investigation commission on the situation in Venezuela, in response to the deep concern over "serious human rights violations in a context of a political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis" in that country, as stated in Resolution A/HRC/RES/39/1 "Promotion and protection of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" of 26 September 2018. And they reiterate their call to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to respond promptly to the situation in that country, prior to the presentation of her comprehensive report at the 41th session of the Human Rights Council.

7. Declare the irreversible character of their commitment to the democratic transition and the institutional, economic and social reconstruction in Venezuela, stressing that the permanence of Nicolás Maduro and his illegitimate regime in power represents an unprecedented threat to security, peace, freedom and prosperity throughout the region, wherefore they are promoting a discussion of the current situation in that country in the United Nations Security Council, and will continue to address it in the Organization of American States. Likewise, these governments will advance direct negotiations with the Secretary-General of the United Nations so that, in accordance with their capabilities, promotes the activation of the United Nations System in relation to what is happening in Venezuela.

8. Express their satisfaction at the growing number of States that have recognized the constitutional authority of the National Assembly and the Interim President, Juan Guaidó, and call on those States and the international community as a whole to join the Lima Group in its commitment to democratic transition and the immediate provision of humanitarian assistance by adhering to the Ottawa Declaration for Venezuela.

In this regard, they decide to intensify the efforts of the Lima Group at an international level by establishing all the necessary contacts and coordination, including special missions, to publicize the efforts and actions that the Group has undertaken to help restore democracy and constitutional order in Venezuela.

9. Resolve to maintain permanent coordination with the representatives of the government of Interim President, Juan Guaidó, both in their bilateral relations as well as in the international organizations to which they belong and the multilateral fora in which they participate, with a view to the return of democracy, economic reconstruction and immediate attention to the humanitarian crisis. Therefore, they will promote their recognition as legitimate representatives of Venezuela in international organizations and multilateral coordination mechanisms.

10. Decide to proceed with the recognition of the representatives of the Interim President, Juan Guaidó, in accordance with their internal procedures.

11. Reiterate their call to all members of the National Armed Force to recognize the Interim President, Juan Guaidó, as their Commander in Chief, and exhort them to, in remaining faithful to their constitutional mandate of being at the exclusive service of the Nation and not of a person, cease to serve as instruments of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro for the oppression of the Venezuelan people and the systematic violation of their human rights.

12. Exhort the members of the Judicial Branch and the Venezuelan Justice System, including those who have been irregularly designated as such, to recognize the legitimate authority of the National Assembly and of the Interim President, Juan Guaidó, and to respect the full exercise of their constitutional powers, in order to facilitate the democratic transition and the reestablishment of the rule of law in Venezuela.

13. Call on those nations that still maintain cooperation ties with the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro to facilitate the search for solutions that pave the way to the process of democratic transition and the convening of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

14. Offer their firm support to the Agreement for the Promotion of the Rescue Plan for the Country, adopted by the National Assembly on January 29. In this regard, they express their willingness to convene an international conference, and will request the Inter-American Development Bank to lead in lending assistance to the legitimate Venezuelan authorities in the implementation of the institutional and economic reforms they deem necessary to reactivate the economy and offer opportunities for social progress for all Venezuelans.

15. Reaffirm the right of all Venezuelans to live in democracy and freedom, and therefore reiterate their support for holding of free and fair elections, open to the participation of all political forces, with international accompaniment and observers, organized by a neutral and legitimately constituted electoral authority. In order for these new democratic elections to be held, they demand the immediate exit of Nicolas Maduro and the cessation of the usurpation, respecting the constitutional authority of the National Assembly and the Interim President, Juan Guaidó.

16. Reiterate their belief that the transition to democracy must be conducted by Venezuelans themselves peacefully and within the framework of the Constitution and international law, supported by political and diplomatic means, without the use of force.

17. Agree to reaffirm and follow up on measures previously adopted by the Lima Group; offer their full support to the design and implementation of the electoral calendar to be established by the National Assembly and the Interim President, Juan Guaidó; and to stress to the international community the urgency of allowing the entry of humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people.

18. Welcome the offer of the Government of the Republic of Chile to host the next meeting of the Lima Group on a date to be determined.

Bogotá, February 25, 2019

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In his intervention before the group of chancellors, presidents and vice-presidents who attended the meeting of the 14 member countries of the Lima Group, President Duque asked to strengthen the diplomatic siege against the regime and provide greater legitimacy to the interim President, Guaidó, and the National Assembly.

"What we expect from this meeting is Not only that the diplomatic encirclement continues to be strengthened, which we have to do, but also that we take actions and decisions sanctioning the dictator and give greater legitimacy and power to the National Assembly and to the President in charge (of Venezuela)," the President said.

He also asked the OAS to adopt measures against the dictatorship, following the events presented over the weekend.

"Today we must call on the Organization of American States to also adopt the relevant resolutions, sanctions and accusations for what happened this weekend," in the border area of Colombia and Venezuela, in Norte de Santander, where there were serious abuses of regime forces to prevent volunteers from bringing humanitarian aid to their country.

During the same speech, the Colombian President asked this multilateral body to call on the Venezuelan Armed Forces to give allegiance to the National Assembly and to the President in charge, Guaidó.

"Lima Group calls for the activation of the domino effect on the part of the Armed Forces, giving them their loyalty to the National Assembly," reiterated President Duque.

Finally, he urged the Lima Group "that this meeting must serve to make the encirclement more powerful, more effective and allow for the rapid construction of the transition that the people of Venezuela are looking for".

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February 22, 2019- News Clips - Colombian Defense Chief Visits SOUTHCOM

U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, hosted Colombian Army Maj. Gen. Luis Navarro Jiménez, Commanding General of the Colombian Military Forces, at SOUTHCOM headquarters today.
The two leaders met at SOUTHCOM to discuss U.S.-Colombia defense cooperation.  Jiménez and Faller also participated in a roundtable with other SOUTHCOM leaders focused on the command’s mission and its cooperation with Colombia and other partners in the region.
The enduring military partnership between the United States and Colombia dates back decades. Colombian and U.S. troops served under the United Nations Command during the Korean conflict. For many decades, U.S. and Colombian troops have worked alongside each other during exercises, humanitarian assistance missions, professional exchanges, and security operations to counter transnational threats.
Today, the two countries also partner to help other countries build capacity and address security challenges. 
Recent examples of U.S.-Colombia defense cooperation include support for the hospital ship USNS Comfort’s medical assistance mission in 2018 and the ongoing, civilian-led delivery of humanitarian aid for vulnerable populations in Venezuela and host-countries in the region.

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February 21, 2019- News Clips - Vice President Mike Pence to travel to Colombia

At the invitation of the President of Colombia Ivan Duque, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Bogota, Colombia on behalf of President Donald Trump on Monday, February 25th to voice the United States’ unwavering support for interim President Juan Guaido and highlight the Venezuelan people’s fight for democracy over dictatorship.

 

In Colombia, the Vice President will deliver remarks at a meeting of the Lima Group focused on addressing the tragic humanitarian and security crises unfolding in Venezuela and ongoing U.S. efforts to deliver aid to the country. While there, he will meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque, a proven leader on this issue, and other officials from the Western Hemisphere to define concrete steps that support the Venezuelan people and a transition to democracy. The Vice President will state plainly that the time has come for Nicolas Maduro to step aside. He will also meet with Venezuelan families who have fled Maduro’s regime.

 

“The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, and freedom has the momentum. Juan Guaido is the only legitimate leader of Venezuela, and it’s time for Nicolas Maduro to go. The United States is proud to join the Lima Group and other global partners to marshal our resources, provide much needed humanitarian relief, and stand together with the people of Venezuela until democracy and freedom are fully restored.” –Alyssa Farah, Press Secretary for Vice President Pence.

 

This trip will be Vice President Pence’s fifth trip to Latin America as Vice President. In his previous trips, Vice President Pence has met with Venezuelans who have fled their country to escape the Maduro regime to hear their personal stories firsthand.

 

Additional details about the Vice President’s trip are forthcoming.

 

Additional Information: 

 

On January 23rd the United States was the first country to recognize Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela, and the National Assembly as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people.

 

On January 24th , Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged $20 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuela- the aid was the first step in helping Interim President Guaido in providing benefits to the Venezuelan people 

 

On January 28th, President Trump designated the Venezuelan state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) under Executive Order 13850, essentially blocking all exports, imports and financial dealings with the Venezuelan oil sector, except those explicitly permitted by the Department of Treasury licenses. (VP Tweet)

 

On January 29, Vice President Pence met with Carlos Vecchio, Ambassador of Venezuela to the United States, Julio Borges, Ambassador of Venezuela to the Lima Group, and other Venezuelan officials to express the strong support of the United States for the Venezuelan National Assembly and the government of President Juan Guaido (Readout).

 

On February 1st, the Vice President traveled to Miami FL, where he participated in a roundtable discussion with Venezuelan exiles and community leaders including families, political prisoners and former elected officials who were forced to flee Venezuela due to political persecution. The Vice President and the Second Lady listened to their stories and their continuing efforts working to restore freedom and democracy in Venezuela (Remarks).

 

On February 13, the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque met with President Trump at the White House (Statements).  

 

On February 18th, the Trump administration announced new sanctions targeting five high-profile figures in the Maduro regime and security service (Press Release) (VP Tweet)

 

Last week, the Interim President Juan Guaido called upon volunteers to cross the border from Cucuta to Venezuela on February 23rd with humanitarian aid sent by the United State to help the people of Venezuela. This comes a month after the Venezuelan people marched in fight for freedom across the country and recognized Juan Guaido as their Interim President.

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February 19, 2019- News Clips - Official Presidential Page

 

The head of state held a meeting with Colombians living in the United States on Saturday in the 'Enrique Iglesias' auditorium of the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

 

Before these, the President explained what has been the position of his Government before the situation that is happening in the brother country.

 

"I want to tell you that our reaction to Venezuela is, first, to welcome the brothers who have fled that tragedy. Colombia has shown the world that there is fraternity, that despite fiscal difficulties we want to serve them," he said.

 

He added that the Government of Colombia has been clear that it is necessary to denounce the dictatorship of Venezuela, and that it has done so through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

In the same way, the President referred to the unprecedented diplomatic encirclement promoted by Colombia as a tool for democracy to return to this country.

 

"We know that it is necessary to advance in the diplomatic encirclement, and steps have been achieved that have never been seen before in this territory. Latin America had never seen a diplomatic encirclement like the one that has taken place," he said. 

 

In addition, President Duque considered that resolving this tragedy is beneficial for the Venezuelan people who are seeking an economic recovery, with social meaning, for both countries.

 

"Being in Washington these days has also allowed me to be very clear that our duty, without warmongering speeches and appealing to diplomacy and the strength of arguments, is that we must all unite in fighting for the freedom of the Venezuelan people, and we are not going to stop doing anything that is required on that front," concluded President Duque.

 

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President Ivan Duque began his agenda this Saturday in Washington at 9:00 a.m. with a visit to the Korean War Veterans Memorial where he deposited a floral offering to pay tribute to the heroes of the Colombia Battalion who participated in that confrontation.

 

"I cannot stop recognizing this event we have just attended: to come to the Korean War Monument, where 'Batallon Colombia' was, with great soldiers and great heroes, to pay tribute to them, to leave them a floral offering and to remember Colombian heroism in one of the greatest confrontational difficulties of the twentieth century," said the President at the end of the emotional ceremony.

 

The head of state said that his official working visit to the United States has been very important, among other reasons because "trade relations have been strengthened".

 

In this sense, the president referred to the main events he has led since last Wednesday in Washington, such as his meeting with more than 200 businessmen in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and his "productive meeting" with President Donald Trump. "We had a very productive meeting with President Donald Trump, who has shown our country his affection, his commitment, not only to help us in the fight against terrorism, against drugs, but also has a great interest in developing trade and investment between the two countries," he said.

 

Likewise, President Duque highlighted his meeting with the President of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and with the members of the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, "maintaining that bipartisan approach that has always supported Colombia.

 

He also stressed the importance of his participation in events with the IDB, the World Bank, the Organization of American States (OAS), Georgetown University and the main think tanks in the United States.

 

He also highlighted the recognition given to the Colombian economy and to our country in general during his visit yesterday Friday to the New York Stock Exchange, where he rang the bell with which the stock market operations of the day were closed.

 

"Then I think it is a very complete visit, and yesterday, in addition, I must point out that Colombia was exalted in the great stock market of the world, in The New York Stock Exchange. You saw the Colombian flag everywhere. A very good market close. A very good day for Colombian stocks," he said.

 

Finally, the President referred to the ratification of the commitment of the United States and Colombia for the freedom of Venezuela.

 

"I want to emphasize that this visit has served to reaffirm the commitment of the United States and Colombia for the liberation of Venezuela, for the end of that dictatorship and for the resumption of institutional reconstruction," said the President of the Republic.

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President Ivan Duque mentioned today that it is "our moral duty that Colombia be free of drugs and drug trafficking," after stressing the commitment of his government in the fight against this problem. This affirmation was made during the meeting he held this Wednesday with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington.

 

The Colombian President, who last Wednesday began his official working visit to that country, said about the eradication of illicit crops that "we have a goal and we are committed to that goal.

 

During the meeting between the presidents and the journalists, the Colombian head of state stated that "in the first four months of our administration, we eradicated 60,000 hectares, more than what was eradicated in the previous eight months.

 

For his part, President Trump affirmed that "we are working together so that Colombia can eradicate what is being cultivated in Colombia, and at this moment we can say that they are eradicating according to their schedule.

 

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 A fleet of three U.S. Air Force planes arrived in the city of Cúcuta with tons of food, hygiene kits and food supplements, which are part of the deliveries made by the U.S. government to meet the needs of the people of Venezuela at the request of Interim President Juan Guaidó.

In order to receive this aid, the Colombian Government, through the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management, activated the protocol for the collection of this assistance, guaranteeing the security and all the necessary logistics for the safekeeping and conservation of the products in the Unity Bridge, while they are delivered to the Interim Government of Venezuela.

 

The protocolary act of reception of the aids was carried out in the landing strip of the International Airport Camilo Daza de Cúcuta in the presence of the local, national and international media.

 

"Eight days ago we announced the arrival of the first humanitarian aid for the Venezuelan people; today we have the pleasant news of informing that there are already more than 200 tons of this assistance that we guard and guard at the Puente de la Unidad. We emphasize that part of the aid has been purchased from Colombian suppliers, products such as oil, flour, lentils and rice, as well as hygiene kits, thereby contributing to the local economy and strengthening the national industry," said the representative of the Government of Colombia, Eduardo Jose Gonzalez Angulo, director of Ungrd.

 

"This humanitarian aid comes at a very opportune time as many children are hungry in Venezuela and almost all hospitals are currently experiencing a severe shortage of supplies and medicines. Six months ago I was here and now I keep hearing more and more stories of Venezuelans who continue to walk towards this area in search of food, help, medicines," said Mark Green, Director of Usaid on behalf of the U.S. Government.

 

At this moment, the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela is advancing in the planning and details for the next stage, which will be to move these aids, which Colombia now receives and guards, and then move them to Venezuelan territory, the only place where they will be distributed to the population that needs them.

 

For his part, Lester Toledo, representative of the Interim President of Venezuela, expressed his gratitude to the Government of the United States and stressed that aid would not be possible without the support of "so many people" committed to helping the people of Venezuela. "You are doing a job that is unquantifiable to us that is saving lives. We are saving lives with the arrival of these three planes and we are going to save lives starting next Saturday," which would be the date estimated by the Interim Government of Venezuela to deliver humanitarian aid in the neighboring country.

 

In total, more than 260 tons are guarded and protected by the Government of Colombia.

 

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, held a meeting with the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo. During the meeting they discussed the most important issues of the bilateral relationship.
Minister Trujillo announced the scope of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and the challenge faced by Colombia in this matter, as well as what happened during the last meeting of the Lima Group in Ottawa and the measures taken by the member countries. Secretary Pompeo expressed his support in the task of finding a way out so that in that country there will be a transition to democracy as soon as possible.
The meeting was good, it was broad, it was constructive, there was an evaluation of the results of the Lima Group encounter and there are many additional actions that are going to be taken in order that things change in Venezuela and the Venezuelan people can live again. , in democracy and freedom ", said the Minister in his report.
In addition, he explained the coordination that is being developed so that humanitarian aid reaches Venezuela: "In what has to do with Colombia, there is a very careful work, they are advancing the necessary tasks so that the aid reaches the Venezuelan people. . Here the fundamental is the following; that those doors were closed during the dictatorship, and were opened by the new Government of President Guaidó. Colombia is cooperating so that this humanitarian aid reaches the Venezuelan people".
 

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During his speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at the beginning of Thursday's agenda for his second day of official working visit to the United States, the President explained that the rule of law "makes us strong against crime, strengthens us against drug trafficking" and facilitates the generation of "a culture throughout the country where people value the law.
In his speech to more than 200 U.S. businessmen from the most varied sectors, the head of state stressed that the rule of law will lead to "people valuing ethics and people valuing the right way to act and to deal with different circumstances.
He also told leaders in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, manufacturing, agribusiness, food, finance and services, among others, that Legality is also equivalent to preserving the rules of the game.
"It is about having legal stability, juridical stability, that we are not going to change the regulation from one day to the next, simply because someone wants to favor another. No, we want stable regulation."
In his speech, the President stated that to speak of the principle of legality "is also to do it of legalization of the different sectors".
In this context, he pointed out that "we have shared with the world" the idea that for those who have committed to "reincorporate themselves into society and leave violence behind, we want to offer them productive opportunities so that these people can find a way to sustain themselves". "That's legality," he added.
He stressed that Legality is also "ensuring that people who want to put themselves above the law will always have to know that they will be brought to justice.
"That's the only way to build a lasting peace in Colombia," Duque said.
 

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January 29, 2019- News Clips - Statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Regarding to the controversy that was taking place yesterday, following the press conference of Mr. John Bolton, National Security Adviser of the United States, and in which an image of a notebook appeared in which there is a mention of Colombia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Holmes Trujillo expressed the following on behalf of the National Government:

1. Colombia has established its position jointly with the member countries of the Lima Group regarding the situation in Venezuela, which is widely known.

2. Colombia will continue to act politically and diplomatically, to create the conditions that will lead to an electoral process that will restore the democratic and institutional order in that country.

3. The Lima Group has recognized President Juan Guaidó to lead the process of restoring the institutional and democratic order in Venezuela.

4. Regarding to the mention of Colombia in the notebook that Mr. John Bolton had in his hands, the scope and the reason for the annotation is unknown.

5. Colombia will continue to dialogue permanently with the United States on all matters of common interest and cooperating with this friendly Nation, on bilateral, hemispheric and global issues.

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Elkin Robinson is one of the most representative contemporary artists of the music of the Colombian archipelago. The lyrics of his songs demonstrate the deep relationship of the raizales with fishing, the sea, its customs and gastronomy.

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Yesterday, Tuesday, December 11, Ambassador Francisco Santos awarded the Order of San Carlos to the House Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Cuban-born congresswoman also received a commemoration for her hard work in Congress for 29 years and as a sign of gratitude for her great influence in the decisions concerning helping Latin American countries facing critical situations like Colombia.

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We sent a note, audio and video of the intervention of Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo at the Intergovernmental Conference for the Adoption of the Global Compact for a Secure, Ordered and Regular Migration of the UN

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Washington (Nov. 28/18). During his speech before the Permanent Council of the OAS, Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo thanked "the particular interest that the organization has placed in the situation derived from the migration crisis from Venezuela."
"That is why we have been grateful, Mr. Secretary General, not only for holding the meeting of the Permanent Council to specifically analyze the issue of the migration crisis, but also for the determination that was later made to integrate a working group whose outcome will be, without a doubt, a contribution to deal with the crisis more effectively and efficiently, "said the Chancellor.
 

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El Consulado de Colombia en Chicago informa que el sábado 3 de noviembre de 8:00 a.m. a 12:00 m (medio día), habrá jornada de sábado consular y encuentro con la comunidad en las instalaciones del Consulado en Chicago.

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October 18, 2018- Press Releases - Keith Mines, director of Andean Affairs of the US Department of State, visited the Transitional Migrant Attention Center of the Red Cross in Cúcuta to verify the situation of Venezuelan migrants. "Keith Mines, in the company of the director of Borders, Victor Bautista, visited the Migrant Transitional Attention Center operated by the Red Cross. This place has hosted more than 5,000 people since its opening, "said the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Holmes Trujillo. During the visit of Mines to the Center of Attention, the official talked with the Venezuelans who are in the place. The US director also went to the community dining Divina Providencia, where they offer daily lunches to Venezuelan migrants. The former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Venezuela border last August and announced $9 million in humanitarian aid.  
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