Miami, gone with the…recession?


Malena Marchan - Author/Contributor of  Bloggers of The Americas
Malena Marchan – Author/Contributor of Bloggers of The Americas

I remember when I was freelancer for the news Agency France Presse about 7 years ago, I was assigned to write a piece on Miami and how it was turning into the capital of Latin America, the bridge between north and south…. READ THE BLOG HERE.-

Impunity is still the queen of Colombia

Ivan G. Cruz - Author/Contributor of Bloggers of the Americas

Ivan G. Cruz - Author/Contributor of Bloggers of the Americas

It took 20 years and the colombian people still do not know who ordered the killing of the liberal leader Luis Carlos Galan (also candidate for the Presidency of Colombia). The damned impunity still reigns in Colombia. There are thousands crimes that are unsolved in Colombia , like the case of the murder of Galan. It appears that the same archaic, obsolete and corrupt Colombian justice system was the less interested of all powers in condemning the politicians that are responsible of this impunity.

It fell to the current colombian senator Juan Manuel Galan -who is the eldest son of the assassinated liberal politician- to fight together with his brothers in order to avoid that his father´s case were closed. It was only several hours before the legal expiration of the case (20 years).

Luis Carlos Galan, colombian liberal leader murdered in 1999

Luis Carlos Galan, colombian liberal leader murdered in 1989

Without the pressure of the Galvan family to maintain the case open, Colombia would have never known the name of the real murderers of the last of the great liberal leaders of the 20th century.

I go around several questions in my head. Why in 20 years there was never a single political figure to press forward the investigation of this crime. Why did they waited until the last minute to find the last legal resort of the “crime against humanity”, in order to avoid the investigation to prescribe. Why was not resolved in one, two, or three years after the assasination.. Was the justice system of that time bought by drug traffickers. Why the current justice system does not open investigations against those responsible for the justice at that time. What did the prosecution then. Why former President Gaviria provides important information only after 20 years?

It is clear that the investigation was manipulated, diverted and set aside gradually. Without Juan Manuel Galan becoming a colombian senator, and giving the case a fight, the assassination of his father would have gone unpunished. So impunity is the queen of Colombia.

Galán Sarmiento created the New colombian Liberalism. From this new system of ideas, Galan worked to bring about major state and social reforms to Colombia. He was the great enemy of impunity and corruption. His center-left ideas were echoed in most Colombians. The final part of his presidential campaign turned to openly attack the drug traffickers. As president was to approve the extradition of these criminals. That cost him his life.

The importance of the crime of Galan served at the time for the government of Cesar Gaviria, begin a relentless war against Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, responsible of the assassination of Galan and other public figures. Galán´s ideas will always be present.

More impunity

Jaime Garzon was murdered on August 13, 1999.

Jaime Garzon was murdered on August 13, 1999.

Other crimes that changed the course of the history of Colombia were the assesination of the conservative politician, Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, and the killing of the journalist and humorist Jaime Garzón Forero. During the 90´s the two assasinations hitted the conscience of the colombian society. Those crimes were a further sign of intolerance in which Colombians live. Their assasination go still unpunished, although there are several hypotheses about the real perpetrators of these crimes.

Gomez Hurtado had a political career of more than 50 years when he was gunned down by the murderous bullets of an assassin on 2 November 1995, while he left the Sergio Arboleda University, where he teached law.

Even now many speculate with several hypotheses about who ordered the killing and why. His murder was another stab to Colombian democracy. A sample of the senseless dirty war ocurring in Colombia for decades.

Five years after the death of Gomez Hurtado, Colombia lived another forgettable day. It was the day that they killed the laughter in Colombia. The journalist and humorist Jaime Garzón Forero knew he was going to be killed and yet he decided not to hid.

Garzon mocked openly about the corruption of the colombian political class and through his humorous characters taught to 40 million Colombians who were their rulers. He make them to blush and even obtained some public confessions.

A version from a jailed rightist paramilitary commander -Ernesto Báez- explained that Carlos Castano, leader of the paramilitary organization AUC in Colombia, was the real responsible for his crime, based simply by personal hatreds against Garzon. However, this is just one of several hypotheses about his death.

The list of assasinations and unfinished processes, which were filed due to legal expiration, is big in Colombia. That is why impunity is the queen of Colombia. These are just three of the most important unsolved crimes and for which all Colombians expect a satisfactory answer to enable us to know the absolute truth.

This is where is the litmus test for the archaic, obsolete and corrupt Colombian justice system. Someday someone will give the fight in order to fight the white-collar criminals who inhabit the upper echelons of the political and security agencies of the colombian state. Because that is where we can find the real responsibles for these three crimes and many others.

Reflections on my beloved Colombia

Ivan Gerardo Cruz - Author/Contributor of Bloggers of the Americas

Ivan Gerardo Cruz - Author/Contributor of Bloggers of the Americas

Ten years living out of my country , allow me to see Colombia from a different perspective: a dirty war between a group of leftist guerrillas and a state aligned in the opposite side, the extreme right. What get Colombia out of this struggle? Nothing. Neither the one nor the other contributes the least to the good name of the country, and the international community has begun to realize this.

Gradually, the Colombian government was left isolated in South America and with the arrival of Barack Obama to power, the United States have also begun to see Colombia with different eyes and this is worrying because Colombia has always enjoyed the support of the U.S.

However, the fact that we are isolated in South America does not mean that we are the bad guys of the subcontinent. On the contrary, we are the good guys. Therefore the government must act with total transparency now more than ever and punish any offense of the law. This is vital in order to obtain international certifications for the country, signing treaties and conventions such as the FTA with the United States.

President Chavez (Venezuela) meets  President Uribe (Colombia)

President Chavez (Venezuela) meets President Uribe (Colombia)

While the region turns to a moderate left with the exception of the ‘crazy’ ideas of Chavez in Venezuela, Colombia maintains an ultra-right position, not well accepted by many due to Colombia’s involvement in questionable local and international incidents.

The central question here is the lack of transparency of the government. The problem is that for the vast majority of Colombians -and I include myself in this group- this lack of transparency was of little matter to us, and that was understandable.

For over 50 years we lived in war. Had not spent a single day where the guerrillas had not kidnapped, robbed a bank, shattered a small village, attacked a bridge, oil pipeline or a communications tower. As we say in Colombia we were “mamados” (fed up) with this situation.

Colombia came to kneel at the feet of the FARC, thanks to governments like those of Samper and Pastrana. Eight years of concessions and omissions that enabled the FARC to become one of the richest terrorist groups in history, even came to be cited in lists of famous magazines next to Bill Gates and Carlos Slim. Were eight years of pain, death and kidnapping.

The situation was so bad that nobody really cared about how the colombian government could wipe out these bandits. No one. What mattered was that they were exterminated. Today I remain convinced that Colombia must totally defeat the FARC. By doing so, maybe Colombia will be able to start building a new country with security, education, health, more job opportunities, with the recovery of rural areas as sources of agricultural production and economic recovery.

That is the real Colombia we want. However, I am also convinced that the end justifies the means no longer, for more pain and hatred that Colombia may suffer. Today there are many Colombians who do not see with good eyes some irresponsible actions of the colombian government, which in a certain way are connected with this dirty war
The Uribe government can not afford more scandals. The telephone interception by the colombian Administrative Department of Security (DAS) of groups of human rights defenders, trade unionists, trade unionists scratch are not acceptable. The government must confront and solve this situation, show transparency in its acts, and demostrate if necessary that they are wrong. The colombian government must simply accept their responsibilities. A hot topic that promises much to talk about.

Such as the shameful episodes of the ‘false positives’, which was the actions of some macabre corrupt military which ordered to kill innocent young people in order to count them as guerrillas casualties. This kinf od rejectable actions tarnish a noble state institution like the colombian Army. The theme of ‘parapolitics’ is absurd. Examples that overshadow the great achievements of public safety.

President Uribe has the favorable acceptance of millions of Colombians to vote him again for a third presidential term, and I would be one of those. However, Uribe surroundings must be improved.. Uribe have to choose his advisers very carefully and has to launch a campaign of international credibility based on transparency and good conduct of colombian public officials, respect for human rights and -very important- show personal humility and humblesness.

Many thinks Uribe is arrogant. Perhaps he is. Many do not like his style sometimes dictatorial, but it is clear that Colombia needs this kind of leader.. It is sad to say it, but in 45 million colombians, there is no other that is capable of replacing him. The task is not easy. Fighting guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug traffickers, three pests that only live in Colombia, is a task for someone with a strong personality and a lot of guts.

Giving names to replace Uribe is a lost case. Neither liberals nor conservatives, much less any of the other characters that emerge from third parties are able to become President next year. It would be like turning back in time 10 years . I can not imagine, not even by mistake, like it would be a Colombia without Uribe.

If Chavez continues in Venezuela, does what he want and nothing happens, why Uribe in Colombia could not have a new period that allows him to consolidate his government and at least out an end to the guerrilla groups. But I insist, again and again, that this could only been accepted if the government of Uribe is transparent and with all the legitimacy of a democracy of course.

So Colombia must surround the president more than ever and daily demand  that his government must not fail. The government must become an example for the region, but above all acting with dignity and the truth.

Defeating the FARC has been the main point of Uribe’s government and he is about to fulfill that objective. Never before the colombian had such a perception of victory. But it is also clear that he must solve the social problems and above all to severely punish violators of human rights that internationally damage the image of his government.

So four more years could be good for him. Uribe would demonstrate to the international community that Colombia is not a violator of human rights, that there is no impunity, that justice will be done, that the colombian government fully respects the liberty of expression and that we are the good guys in the region.