The law regulating the compensation of approximately 4 million victims of Colombia's armed conflict took effect Monday. The "Victims Law" allows victims of violence committed by left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and state officials after 1985 to claim a financial compensation between approximately $4,500 and $11,000.
Ecopetrol S.A. has announced that on December 30, 2011, the financial closing for issuance of a contingent guarantee to its subsidiary Refineria de Cartagena S.A. - Reficar S.A. was concluded, which is part of the financing granted by a group of export credit agencies and commercial banks for the expansion and modernization project of the Cartagena Refinery.
1.4 million foreign visitors took a vacation in Colombia between January and November this year; 8.5% more than the same period in 2010, according to data from the National Statistics Agency. During 2011, four new new routes were opened with 39 international flights weekly. Furthermore the new routes connect Medellin with Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, and Bogota with Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and La Paz in Bolivia.
Bogota is Latin America's greenest city, claims the Colombian capital's Tourism Department, based on an environmental study. According to figures released by Bogota's Environmental Secretary, Bogota has seen environmental improvements in air quality, water supplies and urban trees, along with a reduction in wildlife trafficking over the four-year period from 2008-2011.
Cartagena kicks off 2012 with the prestigious Hay Festival of literature and arts, to be held in the city from January 26-29. The seventh edition of the annual festival celebrates culture and the arts across music, poetry, cinema, journalism, dance and various other art forms.
Wall Street Journal
Colombia's state-run power generator Isagen SA ESP (ISAGEN.BO) has received the go-ahead to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange and will start trading Tuesday, a company official said. The Medellin-based firm said in a statement that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved Friday the company's proposal for its shares to be listed as Level 1 American depositary receipts, or ADRs.
Colombia's international tourism promotion agency has been awarded a prize recognizing its work in enhancing Colombia's image in the U.S., according the Colombian presidential website. Proexport, a Colombian government agency responsible for, among other things, tourism promotion abroad, has been awarded the Jim Woodman prize by the Tourism Association of Central and South America (SATA), in recognition of its work in promoting Colombian tourism in the U.S.
Hotels in Colombia's Caribbean city of Santa Marta are filling up during holiday season as its tourism industry continues to grow, according to Colombian newspaper El Informador. The Colombian Hotel Association (COLTEC) has released figures indicating that hotel occupancy in the city -- located in Colombia's northern Magdalena department -- is almost 85%, with all hotels performing well and some consistenty reaching maximum occupancy.
Colombia's exports for 2011 totaled $54 billion, surpassing the target the government had set for 2014, reported financial newspaper Portafolio. According to preliminary figures from Colombia's tax authority DIAN, the value of exports in 2011, $53.538 billion, beat the 2014 target by $2 billion.
Tired of political gridlock in Washington? Of this parade of ludicrous presidential candidates? Want to go to a country where people still believe that they can take on big challenges? Try Colombia.
A global poll has rated Colombia as the most hopeful country in Latin America, and seventh in the world. Colombians are a people defined by their ability to hope for more, despite suffering from an array of socioeconomic problems, according to the 2012 Global Barometer of Hope and Despair, a worldwide study of countrywide levels of happiness and hope.
Miami Herald Blog
House Speaker John Boehner is leading a Congressional delegation to visit Latin American three countries that are major trade partners with the U.S. (and with Florida in particular).
Colombia's vice president expressed on Saturday willingness to see more Turkish investors in his country. Angelino Garzon said he hopedTurkey and Colombia would have better and firmer relations. "We think that the more Turkish investors come to Colombia, the better it will be for our relations, trade and business world," Garzon said during Turkey-Colombia Trade and Investment Forum in Istanbul.
A House delegation led by House Speaker John Boehner is in Colombia Wednesday on the second leg of a three-country Latin American trip focusing on trade, energy and economic security issues. The delegation, which is scheduled to meet Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, will review the implementation of the new bilateral free-trade pact — passed by Congress last fall — and hold discussions on the future of the U.S.-Colombia security partnership.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) called on Colombia Wednesday to implement all measures necessary to secure the coming into force of a free trade agreement between Bogota and Washington
U.S. State Department
Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero will travel to Chile from January 11 to 13 and to Colombia from January 17 to 20. Under Secretary Otero will be accompanied in Colombia by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Kathleen Fitzpatrick and USAID Assistant Administrator Mark Lopes.
Antioquian gymnast Jorge Hugo Giraldo became the 87th Colombian to secure a place at the 2012 London Olympics after finishing 15th at a qualifying event. Before Giraldo’s success 50 Colombian women, 31 men and 5 mixed teams had already booked their place on the flight to the U.K.
A congressional delegation lead by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) touring three countries in Latin America is meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday.
Congressman Rick Crawford will host an export roundtable for Arkansas businesses Thursday from the Delta Center for Economic Advancement at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The forum will include a panel discussion and focus on promoting the economic benefits available to Arkansas businesses through the 11 free trade agreements the U.S. has signed with 17 countries.
Colombia is the third best country in Latin America to start a business, the Latin Business Chronicle reported Monday.
Music lovers can soak up sounds in a Caribbean setting this week as Cartagena hosts the sixth International Festival of Music. With a theme entitled "The Sound of the Americas," the event will offer an intensive program of concerts, talks, classes and workshops until January 14.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will lead a congressional delegation to Latin America, his office announced Monday….The group of legislators will focus in particular on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement as well as other "economic security issues," according to Boehner's office.
New York Times
House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio announced Monday that he is leading a small delegation of lawmakers on a six-day trip to Central and South America this week. Seven lawmakers are currently in Brazil, and they plan to visit Colombia and Mexico later in the week.
Cartagena authorities have announced stringent security plans for the Sixth Summit of the Americas, after U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed he would attend. It will be Obama's first visit to Colombia since President Juan Manuel Santos took office.
Colombia will target international investors and sovereign wealth funds to raise as much as $3 billion this year from the sale of a stake in oil company Ecopetrol SA, said Mines and Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas.
The Colombian government has announced plans to recruit U.S. volunteers to improve English levels in schools. The 36 volunteers will work with more than 5,000 pupils in schools which authorities believe could most benefit from extra help.
Negotiators from Colombia and Venezuela advance in 48-hour meet in Bogota the legal framework of bilateral exchange, said Colombian Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados.
Colombian and Venezuelan delegates are meeting on January 12-13 in Bogotá to refine the legal framework regulating bilateral trade, stated on Wednesday Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Sergio Díaz-Granados.
Colombia’s peso advanced to an almost four-month high amid increased foreign investment flows into the South American country. The peso climbed 0.6 percent to 1,838.35 per U.S. dollar, from 1,850 yesterday.
How do you choose an international ETF? First, draw a 10,000-mile radius around Europe and look outside of that. Second, look for a thriving capitalist economy. Colombia may not be in the headlines every day, but that doesn't mean there's no story to be told.
More than 11,000 acres of stolen land was returned are displaced families as Colombia's historic Victims Law came into effect Thursday. "Today we begin the Great Agrarian Revolution of Colombia," proclaimed President Juan Manuel Santos at a ceremony returning the "Las Catas" estate to 304 families who will use it to farm rubber, cocoa and bananas.
Des Moines Register
The recent passage of the long-delayed Colombia, Panama and South Korea free trade agreements (FTAs) is projected to significantly increase U.S. exports and create tens of thousands of new U.S. jobs by immediately eliminating nearly all tariffs on most U.S. goods and services.
Colombian companies negotiated share deals worth $4.4 billion in the final six months of 2011, more than any other South American country.
Colombia’s peso rose near a four-month high on speculation foreign investment flows into the South American country will continue to grow as the economy expands.
Colombia aims to be Latin America's third largest economy after Brazil and Mexico in the next two years, said the country's trade minister Monday. At a press conference in Madrid, Sergio Diazgranados said, ''Today Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America, it was the fifth four years ago. We are in process of transforming the country enough that we can say (...) we are the largest economy in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.''
The Human Rights Brief
Colombia is continuing its work toward lasting peace by addressing the needs of the victims of the country’s decades-long armed conflict. On June 10, 2011, President Juan Manuel Santos signed the Victims and Land Restitution Law (Victims Law), which complies with the United Nations’ Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (Basic Principles) of 2005.
Colombia has the fourth largest internet usage in Latin America, according to recent U.S. market research. A quarter of households are now connected to the internet, with only Brazil, Argentina and Chile having larger online communities, according to the study.
Press Release of Speaker Boehner
A seven-Member bipartisan U.S. House delegation led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has completed the Colombia leg of a three-country mission to Latin America focused on jobs, energy, and economic security. The Colombia portion of the trip was highlighted by meetings with Colombian President Juan Miguel Santos in the capital city of Bogota and the port city of Cartagena.
Colombia and Brazil agree to create a border commission to improve security and trade in the two countries' border region. 'We are discussing interesting initiatives such as the creation of an integrated information center for Amazon, initially consisting of Colombia and Brazil that will protect the region from transnational crimes and thus strengthen security in border areas….”
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Maria Otero arrives in Colombia for an official visit Tuesday. According to the U.S. State Department, while in the country Otero will travel to Tumaco, a city in Colombia's southwest coast, close to the border with Ecuador which is of strategic importance for drug-runners.
Seen from the air, the fertile plains and rivers of the sweeping Las Catas country estate in northern Colombia stretch towards the hazy horizon. Down below, on these grounds where drug lords once lived, 304 families gathered for the official handing over of land deeds. It has been a long struggle to get titles to the lands they settled on five years ago, after armed groups displaced them.
The Inter-American Development Bank is to invest $12 million in human rights education in Colombia, announces Colombia's education minister Wednesday. The money will be invested in the National Plan for Education in Human Rights.
Colombia aims to become the third largest economy in Latin America in 2014, announced Sergio Diaz-Granados, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, on Monday. "Our goal is to become the third biggest Latin American economy and to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)," he told a news conference in Madrid.
The president of the Canadian senate has met Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss the progress of the free trade agreement between the two countries. Senate President Noel Kinsella and a delegation of senators also met with Vice President Angelino Garzon.
Tourism in Colombia during the 2011-2012 holiday season was up on last year, figures released by Colombia's hotel association showed Tuesday. The Hotel and Tourism Association of Colombia, COTELCO, said that hotel occupancy in Colombia during the 2011-2012 holiday season, which spans December and the first half of January, was up 4% on the same period previous year.
“It’s a chance for all the countries of the region to jointly work in the most important and critical issues for the region”, said Otero speaking in Colombia at the end of a two-day visit as part of a South American tour of several countries. The US official said President Obama will be arriving at the Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias where the summit will take place April 9 to 15, with “the commitment to work in collaboration with the rest of the countries from the region”.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has pledged to lift one and half million citizens out of extreme poverty over the next three years. ''We want to lift 350 thousand families, or 1.5 million Colombians, who barely survive, out of extreme poverty,'' he said.
Unlike U.S. women, Colombian women have made great strides in the political arena in a short period of time, says Barbara Frechette in the book "Sharing Power." In this excerpt, she compares this progression to the one in the United States.
Wall Street Journal
Colombia aims to reduce inflation this year even as its booming, oil-led economy fuels consumer demand and pressures prices higher, Central Bank President Jose Dario Uribe said.
Eleven of Colombia's 192 credit unions, serving 600,000 Colombians, formed a trade association. According to the Credit Union Times, the Colombian Association of Financial and Savings Cooperatives met this week with the chairman and president-CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions, Manuel Rabines and Brian Branch.
Colombian Tourism Minister, Sergio Diaz-Granados, has announced the government's goal to bring four million foreign visitors to the country in 2014. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos hopes to attract Spanish investment into the tourism sector, which it believes has not yet been sufficiently exploited.
Television networks Mundo Fox and RCN are joining forces to form a Spanish-speaking channel for the United States. "It is going to consititute a joint venture, a contract of shared risk. Fox will have 50% and RCN will have 50%," said Gabriel Reyes, the president of Colombian network RCN Television.
Annual textile fair Colombiatex, starting Tuesday in Medellin, will bring international business and investment opportunities to Colombia's fashion industry.
U.S. President Barack Obama hailed last year's ratification of a free trade pact with Colombia and other countries in his last State of the Union address before the November presidential elections.
Colombia's FTA czar presented Tuesday a roadmap of requisites for the trade pact with the United States to go into effect this year. Hernando Jose Gomez presented to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the Council of Trade Associations, the roadmap with 50 urgent actions for both the public and private sectors during the implementation stage of the U.S.- Colombia free trade agreement.
Reparations to victims of Colombia's long, bloody armed conflict will reach as much as $30 billion in the next 10 years, the government said on Tuesday.
The Colombian government says the free trade agreement with the European Union should take effect in September. The Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados said the government is optimistic that the legislators of all the parties involved will approve and ratify the bill in the next eight months.
Colombia's Labor Minister has announced plans to create 38,000 jobs in the coffee region, reports Caracol Radio. Rafael Pardo said the joint venture between national and municipal governments would aim to strengthen education, training and investment, in the hopes of creating more jobs in the region.
Colombia is a country on the comeback. This revival began in 2002 when former president Alvaro Uribe decided to take on both the leftist guerillas and the drug barons. Since then, his successor [Juan Manuel] Santos has followed up on those policies, and they have worked...Foreign investors have noticed, and last year, foreign investment in Colombia was up 56% to $14.8 billion.
Nearly five years after the Bush administration first negotiated free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, revised versions of those pacts were finally approved by the U.S. Congress last fall and will be implemented during 2012.
Foreign direct investment in Colombia grew by 113% between 2010 and 2011, from $6.8 billion to $14.4 billion, according to UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. In the report Global Investment Trends Monitor, Colombia ranked fifth worldwide in terms of the growth of FDI received. Austria, South Africa, Italy and Portugal were the only nations to do better.
Colombia, South America’s third- largest oil producer, expects about $10 billion in international investment in crude, mining and energy projects this year, Mines Minister Mauricio Cardenas said.
Colombia’s peso strengthened to a four-month high after the Federal Reserve said yesterday it will keep the benchmark U.S. interest rate low until at least late 2014, bolstering demand for higher-yielding assets.
The Colombian film "Choco" has been selected to be shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, organizers confirmed Wednesday. Appearing in the festival's Panorama category, "Choco" is the debut film from Colombian director Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza.
The Colombian peso is strengthening 1% against the dollar Thursday, adding to the sharp gains by the currency in January, as investors and traders respond to the Federal Reserve's signals that it will keep U.S. interest rates near zero until 2014. Before Thursday's gains, the peso had already appreciated nearly 7% against the dollar in January. A surge in foreign investment geared at Colombia's booming oil and mining sector is considered by analysts as the main reason for the peso's strength.
The PGA Tour, Pacific Rubiales Energy and the William J. Clinton Foundation announced today that President Clinton will travel to Bogota, Colombia in February and attend the Nationwide Tour's Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship. The tournament will be presented by Samsung and will support the Clinton Foundation's work through the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI) in Colombia.
Fresh Fruit Portal
Colombian and Dutch government representatives have signed a deal to provide US$4.8 million in assistance of the Latin American country’s banana sector. The initiative is called the ‘Program for the implementation of organized practices, seeking welfare for the productive banana and plantainunits of Urabá, Magdalena and Chocó.
The Green Car Website
Electric vehicles could soon become commonplace in the Colombian city of Bogota, after a project was introduced to spearhead an electric taxi fleet. The project was put together by the Clinton Climate Initiative Cities programme, and its partner the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. It has been born from Bogota’s role in the C40-CCI Electric Vehicle network of 15 global cities and the electric taxis are expected to be operational in the city within a few months.
Betting on gains in the Colombian peso has proven to be the most profitable risk-adjusted trade in the foreign-exchange market this year as policy makers raise interest rates to keep inflation in check. The peso’s so-called Sharpe ratio, a gauge that measures the reward for the risk investors take, jumped to 22 this year, the highest among 44 currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
U.S. trade officials are expecting to cut a wide swath through a broad trade agenda this year, all probably before Congress leaves town in August. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has three major issues on his agenda — implementing the three free-trade agreements passed last fall, opening up the Russian market to U.S. goods and services and wrapping up negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Argentina Independent
Yesterday Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, launched a new environmental policy, declaring that the government will “no longer allow [the] environmental massacres” that the country has seen over the last 20 years, in which 10% of its forests have been destroyed.
Colombia’s peso jumped the most in three weeks and bond yields rose after the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates in a bid to keep inflation in check. The peso advanced 1 percent to 1,800 per U.S. dollar at 8:07 a.m. in Bogota, from 1,817.75 yesterday, the biggest gain on a closing basis since Jan. 10.
Colombia expects to benefit from foreign investments totaling US$10 billion in the country’s crude, mining and energy projects in 2012. The government’s minister of mines, Mauricio Cardenas, shared his forecast with reporters at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Hay Festival is an international festival designed to celebrate and discuss today's changing world through discussions surrounding literature, philosophy, contemporary social and cultural issues, the environment, and geopolitics. Each year it brings renowned writers, thinkers, and innovators to different cities throughout the world for several days, and last week it set up shop here in Cartagena's centro histórico.
Colombia's main stock index rose sharply Tuesday, fueled by gains in oil and financial shares, while the peso appreciated against the dollar. The Colcap index, the benchmark for Colombia's most heavily traded shares, rose 1.21% to end the session at 1633.62 points. The index gained 3.95% in January after declining 14% for 2011.
Wall Street Journal
Colombia national oil company Ecopetrol said Tuesday its proven net reserves at the end of last year were 1.86 billion barrels of oil equivalent, an 8.3% increase from a year earlier. Ecopetrol is the largest oil company in Colombia, where overall production had nearly doubled in the past five years to an average 930,000 barrels a day last month.
We already knew Colombians were people with a lot of flavor, delicious dishes and high-spirited, so for many it won’t come as a surprise that being happy and hopeful would also be one of their greatest characteristics. According to a recently released poll by WIN/ Gallup International Association, the South America country took first place on the "Global Barometer of Hope and Happiness", which surveyed individuals in 54 countries.