El cuarto de hora de Colombia

En plena Cumbre de las Américas en Cartagena, con Barack Obama a bordo, la revista estadounidense ‘Time’  dedicó su artículo de portada a los avances de Colombia en los últimos años y al presidente Juan Manuel Santos.
Optimismo.Esta sensación recoge el ambiente vivido la semana pasada en Cartagena de Indias gracias al buen momento por el que está atravesando Colombia.
Que el anfitrión, único país del continente agobiado por un conflicto de más de 40 años y azotado por el narcotráfico, celebre los avances es un desarrollo que nadie habría podido anticipar hace poco tiempo.
Si bien algunas tendencias son compartidas con algunas naciones del continente, las históricas dificultades colombianas hacen del optimismo un activo más difícil de conseguir. Para los miles de ojos que pasaron por La Heroica, y muchos medios de comunicación que cubrieron el encuentro diplomático, el ejemplo de mostrar es Colombia.

Lo curioso de los cambios económicos, sociales y de seguridad que han tenido lugar en la última década es que cuando los extranjeros no los registraban, los propios colombianos no los creían. Se necesitó que la revista estadounidense Time pusiera al presidente Santos en portada para que todo ese acumulado saliera a flote. Y no fue la única. Una nota del diario español El País habla de un ‘milagro colombiano’, mientras que los periódicos The Washington Post y El Universal de México, así como la agencia Reuters, publicaron entrevistas con el presidente.
Que el país esté de moda en estos escenarios globales no es un logro menor ni un resultado artificial, producto de la percepción o el mercadeo. Tampoco es el mérito de una gestión individual, sino de un proceso que arrancó con el gobierno de Álvaro Uribe y continúa con la administración Santos. Son dos los pilares de esta transformación colombiana ante los mandatarios, inversionistas y periodistas del exterior: la seguridad y la economía.
En el primer frente mucha tinta ha corrido para explicar cómo en diez años Colombia pasó de posible Estado fallido a un país capaz de vislumbrar el fin del conflicto armado. El aparato estatal logró en diez años drásticas reducciones en los índices de homicidios, actos terroristas, incursiones guerrilleras y secuestros.

Alfonso Cano

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Colombia says FARC rebel leader killed

(Reuters) – Colombian forces killed top FARC rebel leader Alfonso Cano on Friday in the biggest blow yet to Latin America’s longest insurgency and a triumph for President Juan Manuel Santos, the Defense Ministry said.

While unlikely to bring a swift end to nearly five decades of war in the Andean nation, his death will further damage the rebels’ ability to regroup and coordinate the high profile attacks that have brought it worldwide notoriety.

There were few immediate details of the killing, which occurred during combat, according to a ministry official.

“It’s true he’s dead,” he told Reuters.

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Gaddafi killed as Libya’s revolt takes hometown

By Rania El Gamal and Tim Gaynor

SIRTE, Libya | Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:16am EDT

(Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi is dead, Libya’s new leaders said, killed by fighters who overran his hometown and final bastion on Thursday. His bloodied body was stripped and displayed around the world from cellphone video.

Senior officials in the interim government, which ended his 42-year rule two months ago but had labored to subdue thousands of diehard loyalists, said his death opened the way for a declaration of “liberation” after eight months of war.

His body was expected in the long-standing rebel stronghold of Misrata, officials said as their Western sponsors held off from confirming that Gaddafi, a self-styled king of kings whom they had lately courted after decades of enmity, was dead at 69.

After Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed his demise, the new national flag, resurrected by rebels who forced Gaddafi from his capital Tripoli in August, filled streets and squares as jubilant crowds whooped for joy and fired in the air.

In Sirte, a one-time fishing village and Gaddafi’s hometown that grandiose schemes had styled a new “capital of Africa,” fighters danced, brandishing a golden pistol they said they had taken from Gaddafi.

Accounts were hazy of his final hours, which also appeared to have cost the lives of senior aides. But top officials of the National Transitional Council, including Abdel Majid Mlegta, said he had died of wounds sustained in clashes.

FINAL HOURS

One possible description, pieced together from various sources, suggests that Gaddafi may have tried to break out of his final redoubt at dawn in a convoy of vehicles after weeks of dogged resistance. However, he was stopped by a NATO airstrike and captured, possibly three or four hours later, after gunbattles with NTC fighters who found him hiding in a drainage culvert.

NATO said its warplanes fired on a convoy near Sirte about 8:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. EDT), striking two military vehicles in the group, but could not confirm that Gaddafi had been a passenger.

Accounts from his enemies suggested his capture, and death soon after from wounds, may have taken place around noon.

One of Gaddafi’s sons, heir-apparent Saif al-Islam, was at large, they believed.

NTC official Mlegta told Reuters that Gaddafi had been wounded in both legs early in the morning as he tried to flee in the convoy which NATO warplanes attacked

“He was also hit in his head,” he said. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

There was no shortage of NTC fighters in Sirte claiming to have seen him die, though many accounts were conflicting. Libyan television carried video of two drainage pipes, about a meter across, where it said fighters had cornered a man who long inspired both fear and admiration around the world.

After February’s uprising in the long discontented east of the country around Benghazi — inspired by the Arab Spring movements that overthrew the leaders of neighboring Tunisia and Egypt — the revolt against Gaddafi ground slowly across the country before a dramatic turn saw Tripoli fall in August.

LIBERATION

An announcement of final liberation was expected as the chairman of the NTC prepared to address the nation of six million. They now face the challenge of turning oil wealth once monopolized by Gaddafi and his clan into a democracy that can heal an array of tribal, ethnic and regional divisions he exploited.

The two months since the fall of Tripoli have tested the nerves of the motley alliance of anti-Gaddafi forces and their Western and Arab backers, who had begun to question the ability of the NTC forces to root out diehard Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte and a couple of other towns.

Gaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians, was toppled by rebel forces on August 23, a week short of the 42nd anniversary of the military coup which brought him to power in 1969.

NTC fighters hoisted the red, black and green national flag above a large utilities building in the center of a newly-captured Sirte neighborhood and celebratory gunfire broke out among their ecstatic and relieved comrades.

Hundreds of NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town for weeks in a chaotic struggle that killed and wounded scores of the besieging forces and an unknown number of defenders.

NTC fighters said there were a large number of corpses inside the last redoubts of the Gaddafi troops. It was not immediately possible to verify that information.

(Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by David Stamp)

FACTBOX-Colombia’s winners, losers in U.S. free trade deal

Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:53am GMT
 Oct 12 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress on Wednesday approved a long-delayed trade pact Colombia, along with deals with South Korea and Panama.

Here is an assessment of some possible winners and losers emerging from the U.S.-Colombia accord.

WINNERS

* Macroeconomy

The deal could add 0.5 to 1.0 percentage points to Colombian GDP growth and is expected to help Colombia triple exports to the United States over the next five or six years, from $17 billion a year currently to some $50 billion, Commerce Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados said. Non-mineral exports will generate an additional 300,000 jobs over the same period, the minister said.

* Flowers and other plants

Colombia is the world’s second-largest exporter of cut flowers after the Netherlands and the largest supplier to the U.S. market. Seventy-six percent of the $1.24 billion in flowers Colombia shipped globally last year went to the United States. Colombia had preferential tariff access since the early 1990s under the Andean Trade Preferences Act but that legislation expired in February and Colombian flowers were slapped with duties ranging from 3.2 percent to 7 percent. With the free-trade agreement, those duties will be eliminated.

Textiles and clothing

The Andean nation last year boosted clothing and textile exports to the United States by 17.4 percent versus 2009. Since the expiration of the trade preferences act, Colombian products such as children’s clothes, jeans, underwear and sheets are paying duties averaging between 25 percent and 35 percent. Now they will be tariff-free, saving millions of dollars per year.  

Source: Reuters

Continued…

Colombia losing patience with U.S. on trade

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON | Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:56pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Colombians have “started losing patience” with U.S. delays over trade deals as China steps up its interest and investments in the Andean nation, Bogota’s envoy to Washington said on Tuesday.

“They are ready to throw in the towel,” Ambassador Gabriel Silva told Reuters in an interview. “Keeping people convinced and hopeful about bilateral trade relations in this context is quite difficult.”

The United States is Colombia’s largest trading partner, with two-way shipments of $27.6 billion in 2010, and relies on Bogota as an ally in the fight against drug cartels.

But China has increased its presence dramatically in recent years and is now in talks to build a rail link across Colombia that would rival the Panama Canal.

“I hate to use China as a tool to talk about the U.S.-Colombia trade relationship but I cannot avoid highlighting that today China is the second-largest trade partner for Colombia after the U.S.,” Silva said.

“When we first started talking about a free trade partnership with the U.S., China was our 12th largest.”

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Anillos colombianos serán los oficiales del Mundial Sudáfrica 2010

Anillos colombianos serán los oficiales del Mundial Sudáfrica 2010Los precios de estas joyas son 250.000, 70.000 y 2.500 dólares

Las piezas, realizadas por joyeros de Bucaramanga, cuentan con la aprobación de la FIFA.
Con pulso firme y unas pequeñas pinzas Enrique Vásquez incrusta diminutas esmeraldas en uno de los 2.010 anillos que un grupo de joyeros colombianos elabora para lanzar al mercado como una colección exclusiva con ocasión del Mundial de Sudáfrica. Foto: Reuters

La colección de anillos de platino, oro y una mezcla de plata con oro cuentan con el aval y los derechos de comercialización de la FIFA, por lo que serán un producto oficial.

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