February 13, 2009- News Clips - REUTERS - Colombia says anxious to work with Obama on trade

 
 
 
 
 
 

By DougPalmer -  Colombia is eager to work with President Barack Obama on steps to win approval of a long-delayed free trade pact and is moving to prosecute more suspected murderers of trade union leaders, Bogota's ambassador to the United States said. "We're here and ready to work together," Ambassador Carolina Barco told Reuters after a hearing Thursday in House, where lawmakers heard testimony about thousands of unsolved murders of trade unionists over the past 23 years. Concern among U.S. Democrats about that bloody history has blocked approval of the bilateral trade deal that former President Bush's administration signed with Colombia in November 2006.
The pact would lock in and expand Colombia's duty-free access to the United States under a long-standing program and eliminate most Colombian duties on U.S. exports. U.S.businesses estimate they have paid more than $1.5 billion in duties since the pact was signed more than two years ago. Last year then-candidate Obama said, "We have to stand for human rights and we have to make sure that violence isn't being perpetrated against workers who are just trying to organize for their rights.
"The history in Colombia right now is that labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis and there have not been prosecutions," he said. Now that Obama is in office, Colombia wants to begin talks with his new administration on a path that would lead to enactment of the trade pact.
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February 11, 2009- News Clips - Progress Report - Protection, Justice and Rights of Union Members in Colombia

In the light of the upcoming hearing, convened by the House Committee on Education and Labor for February 12, Examining Workers’ Rights and Violence Against Labor Union Leaders in Colombia, the Embassy of Colombia has prepared valuable information to highlight both the progress and the challenges faced by this group in Colombia, within a complex context of violence that has affected Colombia, its society and institution; a violence rooted in the profitable illegal drugs business.
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February 11, 2009- News Clips - Colombia's Cupid Campaign to Spread Love and Flower Reminders Before Valentine's Day

Romance will be in the air in New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco as dozens of "cupids" take to the streets with messages of love and flowers. As part of a flower awareness campaign by Asocolflores, the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, cupids will target high-traffic areas in five major U.S. cities on February 10th, 11th and 12th to remind consumers to make flowers the gift of choice this Valentine's Day. The cupids will be outfitted in attire featuring messages such as "Men Love Flowers Too, Don't Forget Him," "Flowers Have Zero Calories" and "Follow Your Hunch, Give Her a Bunch of Flowers." Passersby will also receive blank Valentine cards to further spread messages of love to others and to pass on reminders to purchase flowers.

 

 

 

 
"We wanted to create a simple, yet effective program aimed at reminding consumers that a dozen red roses are still the best way to express your love this Valentine's Day," said Augusto Solano, President of Asocolflores. "Colombia's Cupid Campaign is a fun, exciting way to interact with consumers while also reminding them to plan their Valentine's Day flower purchases for anyone they love."
While consumer spending may be down, Asocolflores believes Americans will still look to flowers as the gift of love this holiday. In fact, according to the just released National Retail Federation's 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, this year the number of flower purchases will be about same as last year. The survey revealed over one-third (35.7 percent) of people will buy flowers compared to last year's 35.9 percent.
To meet the demand for beautiful blooms this Valentine's Day, Colombian growers have shipped hundreds of millions of stems to the U.S. in time for the holiday. Two out of every three cut flowers sold in the U.S. are grown in Colombia and the majority of these blooms are grown on the 163 farms participating in the Florverde(R) program. Florverde(R) is a third-party certification program that ensures flowers grown and harvested in Colombia adhere to stringent international socio-environmental standards.
"Florverde represents a commitment to social and environmental responsibility by Colombian flower growers," said Solano. "When Americans purchase flowers this Valentine's Day, they are not only expressing an act of love and communicating emotions, but also supporting businesses in the United States as well as global environmental progress and social programs that help Colombian flower workers and their families."

 

 
About Asocolflores
Asocolflores was created in 1973 as a non-profit industry association to promote Colombia's flower sector in international markets and seek the comprehensive development of floriculture, especially in terms of scientific research, transportation, environmental sustainability and workers' welfare. Asocolflores participates actively within Colombia and internationally to represent the interests of flower growers. In Colombia, the Association is part of a range of committees and economic councils, in both the public and private sectors.
 

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February 11, 2009- News Clips - BBC - Moral drugs message for students

A campaign highlighting the ethical impact of cocaine abuse is being targeted at university students.
The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) said
cocaine production in Columbia caused social and environmental
devastation. For every two grams of cocaine consumed in Scotland, about eight square meters of Colombian jungle are cut down. Thought-provoking posters and beer mats raising the issue have been distributed to student union bars across Scotland. SCDEA said it hoped the ethical message would help to change attitudes and reduce demand for cocaine in Scotland.
"Cocaine
consumption ignites a vicious international cycle of environmental,
social and individual destruction of which everyone should be aware"
Francisco Santos - Colombian Vice President

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February 10, 2009- News Clips - Press freedom violations on the wane in Colombia, says FLIP

Good news from Colombia: there were fewer press freedom violations in the first half of 2008 in Colombia than over the same period last year - likely because 2008 is not an election year, a new report by the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) has found.
From January to June, FLIP recorded 63 cases of violations - a 27 percent decrease from the first six months of 2007. Death threats remain the most common form of violations (with 38 cases recorded), especially for journalists reporting on the armed conflict, corruption at the local and departmental levels, or recent national political scandals. Continue reading...
 
To read the full report in spanish click here.
 

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February 6, 2009- News Clips - Villegas vaults to PGA Buick Invitational lead

Camilo Villegas of Colombia carded a nine-under par 63 to seize the first-round lead in the 5.3 million-dollar Buick Invitational. Villegas, whose two US victories last year included the Tour Championship, was three shots in front of veteran Davis Love and Australian Aaron Baddeley, who both shot 66. Villegas's round included eight birdies and an eagle, and just one bogey.
"Well, pretty fun day, obviously," he said. "Two chip-ins - that helps.
"One on No. 2 for eagle, and then a nice one there on 17 to finish the round. But even if you take the chip-ins out, I played pretty good.
"I drove it nicely. I hit some great shots and left myself some good opportunities," Villegas said. "It's not easy to have a good short game on that golf course today. The greens are bumpy, and you've just got to be really committed to your line, and that's exactly what I did today."
 
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February 5, 2009- News Clips - Colombia to Export 300 Million Stems of Certified Florverde Flowers This Valentine's Day

Organic Consumers Association (OCA) Editor's Note:  When the OCA first launched its Valentines Campaign
three years ago, the majority of flowers imported into the U.S. came
from Colombian farms where massive amounts of pesticides were used and
farmworkers were treated poorly.  Since then, Florverde Certification
is on the rise. This is not an organic certification (see our
Valentines Alert Buying Guide for organic flowers), but it is a big
step in the right direction for the cut flower industry.

 Looking for that
"feel-good" gift for Valentine's Day? You won't have to look very far.
With 300 million stems of certified Florverde(R) flowers headed to the
United States from Colombia, millions of sweethearts can feel good
about the flowers they will purchase for the holiday of love. The
majority of Colombian flowers shipped to the U.S. are grown on
Florverde(R)-certified farms, which are in compliance with stringent
U.S social and environmental standards.

 "Everyone can feel confident purchasing flowers this Valentine's Day
and everyday," said Augusto Solano, President of the Colombian
Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores). "Buying flowers
supports an international industry that continues to make strides to
improve social, environmental, labor and occupational health and safety
standards."

 
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February 4, 2009- Editorials - EDITORIAL - The FARC's cynical stunt

 

The Colombian rebel group's recent hostage release was just a ploy. If it wants political credibility, it must renounce violence and free all its captives.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which has funded its war against the government with drug trafficking and kidnappings for ransom, has released four hostages: three police officers and a soldier. Two more are to be released in coming days, according to a senior rebel leader, as a gesture of goodwill. But the time for gestures is long past. If the FARC's aim is political credibility, it needs to demonstrate a complete rejection of lawless behavior and release the hundreds of other captives it still holds in the jungle.
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February 2, 2009- Op-eds - Our nation's financial crisis has hit the state of New Jersey particularly hard. Our families are struggling, businesses are working overtime to survive, and job creators have been stifled. We must do what we can to revitalize all aspects of our economy and leverage every opportunity for growth. One strategy for financial recovery is opening new markets for American products.

 
Our nation's financial crisis has hit the state of New Jersey particularly hard. Our families are struggling, businesses are working overtime to survive, and job creators have been stifled. We must do what we can to revitalize all aspects of our economy and leverage every opportunity for growth. One strategy for financial recovery is opening new markets for American products.
International trade agreements are a concrete step we can take to strengthen our economy and promote job opportunities. These agreements take time to negotiate, but Congress can act now by passing the pending Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The agreement has received broad support, and provisions have been included for strong labor, rule-of-law, and environmental protection.
Read OP-ED
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Paul Boudreau is the President of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

 

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February 2, 2009- News Clips - Ten new amphibian species discovered in Colombia

Scientists announced the discovery of 10 amphibians believed to be new to science, including a spiky-skinned, orange-legged rain frog, three poison frogs and three glass frogs, so called because their transparent skin can reveal internal organs. 
The species were discovered during a recent Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expedition in Colombia’s mountainous Tacarcuna area of the Darien, near the border with Panama. The expedition was led by herpetologists from Conservation International (CI) in Colombia and ornithologists from the Ecotrópico Foundation, with the support of the local Emberá community of Eyakera.
Over a period of three-weeks, the scientists identified approximately 60 species of amphibians, 20 reptiles and almost 120 species of birds, many of them apparently found nowhere else.  
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January 30, 2009- News Clips - Colombian Entrepreneur won second place at the world BiD Challenge

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

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

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January 29, 2009- News Clips - Cartagena will host the World Economic Forum for Latin America 2010

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

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

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

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

 

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January 28, 2009- News Clips - Constructive dialogue between Presidents Uribe and Obama

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

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

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

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January 28, 2009- News Clips - The Government will issue a report to the international community on the protection of union members

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

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

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

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January 27, 2009- News Clips - U.S. and Colombia lead project aimed at Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Communitites

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

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

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January 27, 2009- News Clips - The Minister for Foreign Affairs had a  telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State

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

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January 27, 2009- Editorials - IBD Editorial - Preventable Job Cuts

 

Economy: No one has pleaded as earnestly for Congress to pass a Colombia free-trade pact as Caterpillar. Now, with earnings down and 20,000 American jobs to be lost, it's obvious why. Trade would have cushioned this blow.
Caterpillar dragged the entire stock market down on Monday after it reported a painful drop in fourth-quarter earnings. Twelve thousand American workers and 8,000 American contractors are set to lose their jobs as a result. What's terrible is some of these job losses shouldn't have happened. No company, of course, can evade all the ill effects of a global recession, and Caterpillar is just one of many being hit.
But a protectionist climate in Congress is poison to company earnings. Without that protectionism, the impact of the downturn would be far less.
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January 26, 2009- News Clips - AP - Colombia, Venezuela form $200m fund to boost trade

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

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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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