Success in Colombia

Good news coming out of Latin America is rare these days.

The politics of the continent seems to be going through another one of its populist – and ultimately destructive – phases.

We have unfortunately seen it before.

One of the few exceptions might well be Colombia. I’m noting it because there is presidential elections there today.

Alvaro Uribe seems likely to win. And he deserves to win.

I remember years ago when Bogota was seen as so crime-infested and dangereous that one could hardly enter the terminal in the airport from flights transferring through there.

That’s all gone. Today, charming Bogota is one of the safest and cleanest cities of Latin America.

There is little doubt that President Uribe has done more than any other leader to reduce Colombia’s once-spiraling violence and the dangerous spread of its biggest rebel group, the leftists and drug-smuggling Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Murders have also dropped to just above 18 000 last year from nearly 29 000 in 2002, when Uribe was elected, and kidnappings fell to 800 from nearly 3 000 earlier.

This is all associated with the efforts done to combat the drug trade that previously risked totally destroying the country. A program of spraying cocoa plantations from the air that was once rather controversial has evidently started to be succesful.

Of note is also that Colombia’s economy grew 4 percent or better the last three years. Foreign investments has tripled after President Uribe took office.

We’ll see what happens, but to me it’s obvious that he deserves to be re-elected.

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