January 26, 2009- News Clips - LA TIMES - More Colombia Rebels Quit Ranks

By Chris Kraul - Life was good for "Ernesto" when he joined Colombia's largest rebel group at age 14. He loved the leftist fighters' swagger, the perfumed groupies and the stolen sport utility vehicles he and his buddies drove unchallenged on the roads of this cattle- and coffee-growing zone.But eight years later, his life as a foot soldier in the 25th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, changed. Gone was the status and the free-spending ways, a lifestyle financed by kidnappings and extortions in the west-central state of Tolima.
In their place was constant harassment from the Colombian army, which deployed 1,200 additional soldiers in May, 10 times the existing garrison. Hunger became a constant, and the peasants who once were supporters began to ignore him and collaborate with the army. "Wherever you slept, you'd better be gone early the next day because soldiers would be there soon," said Ernesto, 22, who gave an alias for security concerns. "We were really suffering."
 
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January 26, 2009- News Clips - Colombia Assumes Regional Coordination of GRULAC

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

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January 26, 2009- News Clips - Colombia Assumes Regional Coordination of GRULAC

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

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January 23, 2009- News Clips - Colombian Artist Juanes to perform at the NBA All-Star game

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

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January 22, 2009- Press Releases -     Given the wrong versions of the press, the Government of Colombia declares: 1. The Government of Colombia never received an official proposal from those leading the pending hostage release by FARC, on the possible participation of U.S. Congressman James McGovern in this process. 2. The public opinion knows the government’s position regarding the established guarantees for the release of the kidnapees.  
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January 21, 2009- News Clips - Colombia will continue to be a valued partner of the US: Steny Hoyer

SEMANA - Congressman Steny Hoyer, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives, explained to SEMANA why the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia is hindered in the US Congress and what both countries might expect with the new government.
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January 21, 2009- Editorials - CHICAGO TRIBUNE - Ghosts from the past

Trade protectionism was on the rise in the world even before recession hit last year. Now economic hardship is raising the stakes. The parallels to events in the early years of the Great Depression are downright scary.
Then as now, a period of tremendous speculative boom had just ended badly and the economy was shrinking. Credit dried up. Banks failed. The ranks of the jobless were growing as companies slashed payrolls and closed factories. Against that backdrop 79 years ago, Sen. Reed Smoot and Rep. Willis Hawley tried to protect American farm jobs from "unfair" foreign competition.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 raised tariffs on much more than agriculture, sparking a furious round of tit-for-tat protectionist retaliation among our trading partners. The result: world trade dropped by halfand stayed down for the rest of the decade.
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January 21, 2009- News Clips - EU To Start Trade Talks With Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

NASDAQ - The European Council on Monday authorized the Commission to start trade talks with Andean countries "who are willing to so and share our general objectives."
So far, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru said they are interested to start those negotiations, and the European Commission said Bolivia, the remaining member of the Andean Community, can join the negotiations and the resulting agreement. The European Commission had started to negotiate a trade agreement to lower tariffs with the Andean Community as a bloc in June 2007, but the talks eventually derailed after Andean countries failed to reach a common position.
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January 21, 2009- News Clips - Bogota featured in the NYT Style section

NEW YORK TIMES - Thanks to creative urban planning and the government’s strides in domestic security, the Colombian capital has lately transformed itself into one of the most culturally active (and now, safe) cities in South America. Whether you’re interested in checking out its thriving arts scene, touring the bicycles-only streets on Sundays or discovering the superb restaurants and white-hot night life, go now before the whole world catches on.  
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January 15, 2009- News Clips - President Uribe receives Medal of Freedom

Departing U.S. president George W. Bush awarded Colombian President lvaro Uribe with the Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award, White House spokesman James Brady said Monday.
Uribe, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard received the award for "their work to improve the lives of their citizens and for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad," Brady said during a press conference.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award imposed by a U.S. President. This great honor is reserved for those whom the U.S. President considers have done specially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, culture and other relevant initiatives, both public and private.
 
In the thirty years since the award was created by President Kennedy (22 February 1963),  approximately three hundred recipients have received the medal including diverse characters such as John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Eugene Black, Audrey Hepburn, Jacques - Ives Cousteau, Colin Powell, Pablo Casals, Georgia O'Keeffe, Martin Luther King Jr, William Fullbright, Henry Kissinger, Robert MacNamara and Frank Sinatra, among others.  
 
 
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January 15, 2009- News Clips - Obama to work to pass Bush trade deals: Democrats

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Doug Palmer.   President-elect Barack Obama wants to win approval of stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, but more work is needed on two of the pacts, Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday.
"The president-elect wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to get those trade agreements moving," House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said during an meeting to outline the panel's priorities for the year.
Earlier this week, outgoing President George W. Bush said failure to win approval of the three agreements was one of the biggest disappointments of his second term.
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January 14, 2009- News Clips - President Uribe bestows Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, with the San Carlos Order

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

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

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January 14, 2009- News Clips - President Uribe bestows US Government Officials with the San Carlos Order

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

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

 

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January 9, 2009- News Clips - President Uribe met with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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

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

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

 

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January 14, 2009- News Clips - President Uribe met with Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS

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

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January 9, 2009- News Clips - Nicholas Negroponte: Bringing One Laptop per Child to Colombia: TED in the Field

TED follows Nicholas Negroponte to Colombia as he delivers laptops inside territory once controlled by guerrillas. His partner? Colombia's Defense Department, who see One Laptop per Child as an investment in the region. (And you too can get involved.)  
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January 9, 2009- News Clips - Q & A with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos

LA TIMES - Santos will meet with Barack Obama soon after inauguration to try to persuade him to continue Plan Colombia, the $556-million-a-year U.S. aid plan. He discusses the case he will make.  
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January 9, 2009- News Clips - Q & A with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos

LA TIMES - Santos will meet with Barack Obama soon after inauguration to try to persuade him to continue Plan Colombia, the $556-million-a-year U.S. aid plan. He discusses the case he will make.  
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January 7, 2009- News Clips - Colombia's Foreign Policy in 2009

 
SEMANA - Minister of Foreign Relations Jaime Bermdez tells how he plans to redirect the management and scope of Colombia’s foreign policy in 2009.
 
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December 17, 2008- Press Releases - En las operaciones, que se cumplieron en 15 departamentos del país, fueron capturadas 52 personas, informó la Policía Antinarcóticos. Mediante la erradicación de cultivos de coca por fumigación area, la Policía Antinarcóticos ha destruido este ao 129 mil 155 hectáreas en 15 departamentos del país. Al entregar su balance anual de operaciones, la institución destacó las acciones adelantadas en Antioquia, Putumayo, Guaviare, Nario, Meta, Vichada y Bolívar. Dentro de los resultados del 2008 se destaca el procedimiento de erradicación por vía de interdicción, mecanismo por el cual los hombres de antidrogas lograron detectar y destruir 270 laboratorios para el procesamiento de la hoja de coca. En los operativos las autoridades capturaron a 52 personas en Antioquia, Putumayo, Córdoba y Vichada. 
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November 21, 2008- Press Releases - In the city of Lima, on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders Summit, the President of Colombia,  lvaro Uribe Velez will meet  on Friday  November 21st with Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, to sign the Colombia - Canada FTA. Other important agreements that will be formalized include one to avoid double taxation, a Labor Agreement and an Environmental Agreement. These treaties will provide a permanent preferential market for Colombian goods and services exports, and determines a framework of transparency and certainty for the protection of Canadian investments.      
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November 21, 2008- Op-eds - EDITORIAL - Pass the Colombia free trade pact

 
DALLAS MORNING NEWS -- Nov. 20. Time is running out on a fast-tracked Colombia free trade agreement, largely because of pre-election stalling tactics by congressional opponents. The best argument they have mustered is that Colombia still needs to improve its human rights record, particularly regarding attacks on trade unionists. That's a fair argument in a free-trade debate, since the oppression of organized labor unfairly helps corporations keep production costs low and undercut their U.S. competitors. But in the case of Colombia, it's an argument whose time has passed.
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