August 6, 2010 |
If you seek a monument to the security gains Colombia has made under President Alvaro Uribe's eight-year administration, the newly inaugurated JW Marriott Hotel here is a good place to look. Improved security, the dynamic economy and some tax breaks are attracting the major international hotel chains that for decades shied away from Colombia. Uribe, who leaves office Saturday, officiated at the 264-room Marriott's ribbon-cutting ceremony last week. "I don't have words to express my thanks for the confidence you show in Colombia," Uribe said to executives of Marriott and Grupo Poma, the El Salvador-based firm that owns the new hotel under a franchise agreement.
July 19, 2008 |
President Alvaro Uribe has scrapped his plan to rerun the 2006 election in which he was reelected, the government said, a move that could set the stage for him to seek a third term in 2010. Uribe said last month that he would try to repeat the vote after the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional amendment that allowed him to run for and win a second term was tainted by corruption. He has now dropped that plan. Uribe's popularity shot up to 91% after this month's dramatic rescue of 15 rebel-held hostages, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.
March 14, 2007
Re "In Colombia, Bush visits ally," March 12 The subhead to the story on President Bush's visit to Colombia read, "He shows his support for President Alvaro Uribe on a rare trip by a U.S. leader to the violence-racked capital." I have lived in Bogota for 27 months. While there is undeniable crime, this city is no more "violence-racked" than Los Angeles. Bogota is not a horrible, crime-ridden city. It is a resilient, proud, tough-minded, long-suffering city on the rebound. And Uribe's administration, with U.S. and other international help, deserves a lot of credit for pushing the bad guys back.
March 30, 2008 |
Colombia said that France would be willing to receive former guerrilla fighters as part of a possible deal to free scores of rebel hostages, including ailing French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. The proposal is part of a package of offers President Alvaro Uribe has made to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in an effort to prompt rebels to free kidnapping victims held for as long as 10 years in secret jungle camps. Uribe last week urged FARC fighters to accept offers of cash rewards and reduced jail terms for abandoning rebel ranks and handing over hostages.
June 7, 2010
While politicos and Latin America analysts have been preoccupied with next month's presidential race in Colombia, a truly historic development has gone almost unnoticed. Thanks to the work of the Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic, Colombia has joined the ranks of nations that provide free and compulsory primary school education. Four years of work by the clinic and by the Colombian Coalition for the Right to Education came to fruition last week when the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that charging tuition for public elementary school was a violation of the Colombian Constitution.
July 30, 2005
Re "Colombia grasps at peace," Opinion, July 25 As a Colombian living in exile, whose brother was abducted, tortured and killed by paramilitaries, there's nothing I want more than to see peace in my country. However, I read the column by Francisco Santos Calderon, the nation's vice president, with more skepticism than hope. President Alvaro Uribe claims his legal initiative will disarm both left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries; however, the government and official military's ongoing links to paramilitary terrorism are well-documented.