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A glimpse into what is happening in Colombia
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News About Colombia

World Cup predictions, expensive bananas, new ambassador & more

by Michael

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Graciela and I spent most of December 24 in the hospital emergency, but made it out in time to celebrate late with the family. There is much to like about the Colombian medical system over the American. However the emergency rooms are very system challenged and could take lessons from the USA.

My Colombian World Cup predictions - I am sticking my neck out here. The draw for the first round of the 2018 World cup in Russia has the South American team playing Japan, Poland and Senegal. Japan is first up against the yellow jerseys. The country has already announced they are gunning for Jaime Rodriguez and his teammates. My belief is that the land of the rising sun will find defeat at the feet of the veteran Colombians. And if the Colombians are having one their off days a draw at worst. Senegal players are large and fast, but will be no match for the team play that their South American competition will serve up. Poland is where things get a little tricky. This is another team that has put only Colombia in their sights figuring Japan and Senegal will be no match for them. Robert Lewandowski has already used Instagram to poke at Jaime Rodriguez.  Then because of the closeness of the country the stadium will probably  be filled with Poles. Colombians need to be there cheering loud to upset the group's top seed. Plus it will take a smart game plan from Colombian coach Jose Pekerman. But you can bet that my wife and I will be sitting in front of the TV with our yellow jerseys on yelling, "GOOOOOOOOOL," every time Colombia scores.
   Ok, those are my thoughts. I am interested in what you think. Write to me at Michael@MichaelandGraciela.com with your predictions.

Reads like a paid  commercial - Condé Nast Traveler published How Colombia, Once Consumed by Violence, Became Your Next Destination. The writing is a little boring (ok, maybe only to me there was no impetus to read the next sentence or paragraph). But interspersed in the puff writing are some interesting tidbits. 

Travel alone or as a couple? - My wife and I travel almost everywhere together. Her trips to Switzerland were different because they were emergencies and someone had to keep an eye on the contractors we had in the house. Frank, one of our favorite bloggers from the site of The Travels of BBQBoy and Spanky wrote an interesting blog. Titled Why You Should Travel Solo, Even  if in a Relationship, he takes a different look at things and explains why. 
   Interesting is that in the comments I read to the blog , 9 of the 11 were submitted by women agreeing it is good to travel separate from their husbands. 

Free Trade Agreement and Unions - According to Telesurtv.net, unions in the USA and Colombia state that the agreements about trade unions in Colombia are not being upheld according to the Free Trade agreement. The 69 page report stated a 99.8% impunity rate for those committing verbal violence against union members and 87% for murders.  In related news after the pilots union of Avianca voted to return to work after striking the Colombian government decided the company can fire the pilots who struck for better working conditions.

There is debate about what kind of ambassador he will be - President Trump named Joseph Macmanus as the United States Ambassador to Colombia. He succeeds Kevin Whitaker. There is concern about the job this 64 year-old will do. While he showed some gumption against Iran as a representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, his close ties with Hillary Clinton brings doubt, even to many Republicans, about whose interest he will support in Colombia.

Now those are some expensive Colombian bananas - The World Maritime News reported the discovery of six tons of cocaine on board a ship carrying bananas. The value is estimated at over $248 million USD. Spanish authorities discovered the drugs on the French chartered vessel.

Uber in Colombia may be its own worst enemy - Earlier we wrote the blog, Visitor’s Guide to Getting Around Bogotá, Colombia. While I agree that something needs to be done to clean up the taxis in the city of Bogotá, Uber may not be the answer for precipitating the change. Colombia reports has a video of an Uber driver throwing a passenger out of a moving car. 

94 year-old Colombian singer dies in USA - Magín Díaz died in Las Vegas. He had just been nominated for a Grammy award. This one minute Youtube video tells more about his music and death.

Canadian senator dies in Colombia - Sen. Tobias Enverga on a trip to Medellin for political reasons died on November 16. Philippine born he was the country's first Filipino-Canadian to be a senator. None of the news reports I read mentioned the cause of death. HERE is a CBC writing of the man. 

Thank you for reading. Wishing you a very Happy New Year as well as a year of everything going your way.

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