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 News from Colombia

Our Monthly Newsletter

Colombia is way ahead of the game with this one. I read the news that Kroger grocery stores in the U.S.A. are phasing out plastic bags. Stores in this South American country stopped using plastic a long time ago. Instead they sell to customers reusable bags. And in true advertising fashion put the name of their company on it. However, interesting is that if you forget to bring your reusable and do not want to shuck the bucks for another one, they will sell you a plastic bag (same one they use to give for free). Now that they are saving money on bags and packers I have not seen a decrease in any prices. Seems that prices have gone up as the stores advertise how environmental friendly they are being. 

A couple months back we wrote about Colombian culture through the eyes of Colombians. I have lived in Colombia so long now that my mind forgets some of my American culture traits that I had to push  back in order to survive in this Latin American country. Americans have many very good and positive cultural traits. However as pointed out in a blog titled, "Raped, Robbed and Screwed Over in Colombia," Erin over at the Open Minded Traveler blog lists a few things were the friendly American cultural can be taken advantage of by the Colombian culture.

U.S. taxpayers are helping Venezuelans fleeing their country. Venezuelans are showing up everywhere in Colombia. According to news reports over 440,000 registered for temporary visas. One agency puts the total number in the country at over 660,000 but others say it is considerably more than a million. Overall the United Nations states that 2.3 million Venezuelans (7% of the population) have left their country. Here in Bogota one finds them begging on the streets and or playing for money on mass transportation. A research group which interviewed 2,700 sex trade workers in Bogota found that over 35% of them are from Venezuela.  A fact sheet from the USAID government agency states that U.S. taxpayers have already shucked out over $28 million dollars to Colombia to help with the problem and just recently committed an additional $9 million. European countries are reported to have contributed over $30 million to help. But it is the average Colombia who suffers. Every day there seems to be more beggars on the street. Public transportation is filled with those blasting music or selling things for money. It is to the point now that the Venezuelans seem to be having a party among themselves while the rest just try to get to work and make enough money to live. And now one of our friends reported that five Venezuelans (known by their accent) came into her store and robbed her at knife point. In a very sad commentary, heard way too often,  she did not bother reporting the theft to the police because experience from other store owners shows that they do nothing. When mentioning to Colombian citizens the $67 million the government received to help Venezuelans their comment is usually that the money just ended up in the pockets of politicians.

Don't you just hate it when the numbers do not match? I like to work with numbers and original reports instead of someone's interpretation of the numbers. Another problem is when two things are linked in association, numbers come from different sources, and they are not even close to matching. In my experience this happens frequently in Colombia. A media outlet has made a chart of the amount of coca the government says they eradicated and what the United Nations says is grown in the country.  One of the comments in the writing caught my eye, "Billions of US tax payers’ dollars have gone down the drain because of the Colombian state’s chronic failures and corruption, and the violent resistance from illegal armed groups and organized crime."

Thank you for reading. We wish you a very good day.
Copyright © 2018 Michael and Graciela's Colombia, All rights reserved.

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