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Monthly Snippets About Colombia

by Michael

I always get nailed for two days each year in the "I love you" demonstration department. While much of the world has Valentine's Day, Colombia does not. Instead they celebrate DÍA DE AMOR Y AMISTAD in September (This year it is September 15). But because I am American my wife gets something special on both days.  One possible reason Colombia does not celebrate like the rest of the world is because all the roses are sent to the USA. There is a 75% chance that the roses you gave or received this Valentine's day came from Colombia. Oh, and just so you know, during the rest of the year I can purchase two dozen roses for between $5 USD and $8 USD.

Colombian police help man propose - This video is just too good for you not to watch. I give the guy credit for ingenuity. In the Colombian city of Cartagena it appears that a man is being arrested by the police. The man's girlfriend, a lawyer, is frantic trying to understand what is happening. The police make the man kneel, a mariachi band starts up and out comes the engagement ring to a very surprised girlfriend.

Should the world know Colombian Senator Claudia López? - America's Quarterly wrote about the reporter turned politician in their article, Political Innovator: Claudia López. Covering her history it looks into her anti-corruption stance. With the Global Competitive index rating corruption as Colombia's greatest problem for doing business  and the Colombian congress rated as the most corrupt institution in the country perhaps she is what is needed. The article is interesting with many quotes from the justice fighter.

NY times lists Colombia as place to go in 2018 - Grabbing attention at #2  of their 52 Places to go in 2018 is Colombia. Ok, they are a little behind the time as it seems each month someone is listing the country as the new spot to visit. But hey, with everyone touting it as the place to be, then perhaps it is time for people to check into the country a little more.

Unemployment in Colombia worst in Latin America after Venezuela - In our November 2017 newsletter we mentioned how Colombia dropped significantly in the global competitiveness index because of corruption, taxes and inefficient government. That is hurting the average citizen. According to Colombia Report unemployment in the country is one of the worst in this region of the world. Without major changes (that aren't expected to happen because of the aforementioned problems) Colombia's unemployment outlook appears to continue through at least the year 2022 according to

Dollar failing against Colombian peso - For many months the U.S. buck returned over 3,000 Colombian pesos. Now oil prices are going up and the dollar is failing. A 5% drop happening quickly taking it to just over 2,800 pesos to the dollar. Analysts are predicting the fall to have the American currency bring only 2,600 pesos before year end. 

One way to change crime stats is to threaten to kill the statistician - Guess it makes sense to criminals, If you want to continue with crime but not have the people know it then threaten the person who keeps the numbers.  After 20 years on the job  who would have thought that a desk job compiling numbers would be so dangerous.

Russia trying to influence Colombian elections? - Yes, on May 27 Colombians take to the polls to elect a new president. The Colombian far right political party has already admitted to using fake news to influence a previous vote.  Now an American told a Colombian newspaper that Russia will use disinformation for the upcoming election. So it makes one think, because the American went to a newspaper to spread the news, is he the one spreading false information?  Any way, according to an article at Tenacitas International the president of the country is already taking steps to combat the potential problem. Hmm, or will the new unit actually eliminate real news that some do not want others to know? The question is who is really spreading true and fake news. 
  Of course the Russian ambassador to Colombia, Sergey Koshkin, denies involvment in such a scheme. 

Taking a step towards protecting the pink dolphins - The Tarapoto  Lakes in Colombia received the designation of Wetland Protected Area. This area in the Southern Amazon part of the country is the first to receive such a designation under the Ramsar Convention. What makes it unique is the lakes are home to over 900 species of fauna and flora including the pink dolphin, black caiman and gigantic pirarucu fish. Read more about that in this WWF Global writing.

Ouch, street crime up in Bogota - Colombia Reports has maps showing the increase in crime in the country's capital city. While thieves operate everywhere around the world. I must say that the only time my home was broken into was in Bogota. More recently, even with a guard on the street, thieves took tires right off a neighbor's  car. A lady I met at the park yesterday told me of two bullets still lodged in her front door from a robbery attempt. At the website of they report that the level of crime in Bogota is high especially for worries of being robbed, worries things stolen from car, problems people using drugs, property vandalism and theft and violent crime. But very high in Bogota is problem with corruption and bribery.  How does Bogota compare with my home area of Detroit, Michigan?  Take a look at this comparison by
Wonder what the U.S. Department of State says about crime in Colombia? In their report they wrote in all capital letters, THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED BOGOTÁ AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS." You can read then entire writing HERE. But don't get too concerned about what the government writes. My wife and I travel around the city constantly without fear. One just has to be street smart and not give crime an opportunity.
   President Santos is responding by ordering 500 more police officers on the streets of the capital. But is that only part of the solution? Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez stated that in 2016 Colombia's impunity rate was 99%. Rather meaning the police may catch them, but the courts let them go.
  Bogotá Mayor, Enrique Peñalosa, decided to help thwart crime by not allowing male pillion riders. While crime in the city went up by 60% street robberies committed by motorcyclists rose almost 70%. Of course motorcyclists took to the streets to protest and disrupt traffic They ended up in confrontation with the police. 
   But motorcycles are dangerous in more than one manner. A research paper in the Archives of Medicine shows that while road traffic injuries (RTI) decreased overall since 2000, RTI by motorcycles increased significantly and are now the main cause of traffic fatalities in the country.

Thank you for reading. We wish you a great day.

You can check out previous newsletters HERE.

Copyright © 2018 Michael and Graciela's Colombia, All rights reserved.

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