June 15, 2009- News Clips - KGMB9 - Colombian Training Ship Arrives in Hawaii

By Lisa Kubota - A Colombian Navy ship arrived in Honolulu on Monday morning after a month at sea. The training vessel is welcoming visitors, offering a unique opportunity for cultural exchange. The ARC Gloria made quite an impression as it pulled into port. The sailors, dressed in the colors of Colombia's flag, sang their hearts out from the ship's rigging.

"They started singing their national anthem and several other songs, and it made the goose bumps stand out," said David Spearman, a visitor from San Diego. "It's gorgeous. It's amazing. It's breathtaking," said visitor Andrew Bouchard.

This is the fifth time the ship has stopped in Hawaii. It has 170 crew members and military cadets. The students are learning important lessons out on the open ocean. "Navigation, about the stars, navigation with the moon, with the sun, how to maneuver a ship," explained Captain Luis Tovar.
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June 12, 2009- News Clips - THE WHITE HOUSE -  Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of President Uribe of Colombia

President Obama will meet with President Uribe at the White House on Monday, June 29.  Colombia is a close ally and partner of the United States, and the President looks forward to discussing a broad range of bilateral and hemispheric issues, including ways to enhance our cooperation on security and development challenges in Colombia and throughout the Americas.  The President also looks forward to discussing with President Uribe our economic engagement, including the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and the long-term, institutional consolidation of security gains in Colombia through effective governance, as well as other ways to further strengthen the bilateral relationship.

 

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June 12, 2009- News Clips - REUTERS -  Obama, Uribe to discuss long-delayed trade pact

 
By Doug Palmer - U.S. President Barack Obama is eager to discuss a long-delayed free trade agreement with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe when the two leaders meet on June 29, the White House said on Friday.

Colombia is a close U.S. ally and Obama looks forward to discussing a number of issues with Uribe, including how to enhance regional security and development, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

"The president also looks forward to discussing with President Uribe our economic engagement, including the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement," Gibbs said.

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June 12, 2009- News Clips - PROVIDENCE JOURNAL - A president in Central Falls: Colombian community gives a warm welcome to Uribe

By Tatiana Pina Andres Taborda, 16, and his aunt waited in the long line that snaked down Illinois Street on Thursday to hear Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez speak at Central Falls High School.

Andres attends St. Raphael Academy, in Pawtucket, where his family lives. He was born here but his parents emigrated from Colombia, and family conversation over coffee after Sunday Mass often focuses on the president of their homeland.

Uribe has been widely credited with transforming the nation as his security policies have weakened guerillas, made paramilitaries less active and reduced crime. In office since 2002, he enjoys a 70 percent approval rating. He is in Rhode Island this week to address the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which opens Friday in Providence.

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June 12, 2009- News Clips - AP - Colombian President Receives Key to Rhode Island City

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has received an honorary key to the city of Providence following a brief meeting with Mayor David Cicilline. Uribe met privately with Cicilline and shook hands with supporters but did not take questions from reporters during an appearance at Providence City Hall on Thursday. Uribe is scheduled to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Providence on Friday.

A conservative who is closely allied with Washington, Uribe told Cicilline that his administration had set a "great example of efficiency" in running the city.

Uribe told a business forum last month that it would be "inappropriate" to seek a third consecutive term as president but has not expressly ruled out making a bid. The Senate approved a referendum that would ask voters to permit him to run again.  

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June 12, 2009- Press Releases - Providence, Estados Unidos, 11 jun (SP). El Presidente lvaro Uribe Vlez propuso este jueves la construcción de una alianza entre Colombia y los Estados Unidos, que permita la eliminación total de la droga.  Así lo manifestó el Jefe de Estado durante un encuentro con la comunidad colombiana en Central Falls High School, de Providence (Rhode Island), como parte de su agenda en Estados Unidos.  El Mandatario afirmó que en la actualidad no se debe hacer una división entre países productores y consumidores, ya que la droga es un solo problema. Sealó que hay que hacer una gran alianza con el pueblo y con el Gobierno de Estados Unidos: la eliminación total de la droga. Yo ya no divido al mundo entre productores y consumidores. Cada país corre el riesgo de ser productor, centro de narcotráfico, país de precursores químicos y país de consumidores. Por eso, nuestro Congreso está aprobando una enmienda constitucional para ilegalizar el consumo de drogas, dijo. El Presidente Uribe llamó la atención sobre el riesgo que conlleva pensar que el narcotráfico y la violencia que genera se resuelven con la legalización de la droga. Un grave problema en el mundo es darle legalidad al consumo de droga, la permisividad con la dosis personal. El mundo tiene que eliminar eso. Es muy difícil derrotar el narcotráfico si hay esa permisividad con el consumo.  Reiteró que por esta razón el Congreso colombiano estudia una reforma constitucional que permita penalizar la dosis mínima de droga. Ahora nuestro Congreso -y espero que desde aquí se le pida que lo apruebe totalmente-, está aprobando una enmienda constitucional para que la dosis personal de droga sea ilegal, manifestó. Advirtió que el negocio ilícito de la droga está enlazado con la violencia en la que se involucra a menores de edad. La criminalidad infantil está asociada indisolublemente con la permisividad para el tráfico de droga. Si queremos luchar contra la criminalidad infantil hay que eliminar cualquier posibilidad de legalidad del tráfico de droga, por eso nosotros queremos esa enmienda constitucional, expresó Uribe Vlez. El Jefe de Estado indicó que con esta iniciativa tambin se busca otorgar la posibilidad de rehabilitación y asistencia a las personas drogadictas, sin perder de vista que muchos se vuelven criminales. Alguien me dice: Presidente, pero es que al enfermo drogadicto no lo pueden meter a la cárcel’. Eso está bien, lo aceptamos. Pero es que, además, de los enfermos drogadictos y a los enfermos hay que darles la posibilidad de rehabilitación, de asistencia. Además de ellos hay muchos criminales. Saben ustedes cómo distribuyen droga para que no los metan a la cárcel? Llevan en el bolsillo una dosis personal, la venden y despus regresan por otra. Y de dosis personal en dosis personal envenenan a la comunidad, puntualizó.  
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June 12, 2009- Press Releases - President lvaro Uribe Vlez reiterated his call to the United States congressmen for the approval of the FTA between Colombia and the United States. He insisted on the importance of this trade agreement for our country. The approval of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States is necessary for the international community to continue trusting Colombia, President Uribe highlighted during a gathering with Colombian citizens. A woman from the audience suggested sending a letter to Senator Eduard Kennedy, asking for help with the FTA with Colombia. President Uribe answered to this, by asking Colombian citizens who live in the United States to send e-mails to American congressmen asking them for the approval of the trade agreement. That is a vital point and thank you lady. Who of you have internet? Use it every day. Send a message every day supporting the FTA with Colombia. Colombians now how to kindly ask for things." Write to Senator Kennedy, to all Senators, to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to all Representatives,  to Charles Rangel. Write to all of them, so they can approve the Free Trade Agreement. Do that homework everyday, an internet message. We need that message to get to the Congress of the United States, President Uribe said. He expressed that if Colombia is fighting to get approval from Congress, is because both nations share common democratic and freedom values, and also because Colombia is an important ally of the United States. President Uribe also said that the agreement is vital because it will be a signal for investment to keep flowing to Colombia. We are negotiating with several countries, and other countries can ask themselves: Why negotiating with Colombia if the United States has not ratified its agreement? The ratification of this agreement is a gesture that will be received by the international community as a sign that investment must flow to Colombia, the Head of State pointed. In addition, he reminded the efforts of the country to extradite more than 1000 drug traffickers and the eradication of illegal drugs crops, and he declared that an agreement between both countries will help to end with this scourge. The Free Trade Agreement has to be a step forward so Colombia can get rid of drug trafficking and also terrorism, which is financed by the traffic of drugs he pointed. He reminded that Colombia is the leader of the continent in seizing illegal capital, but beside these efforts, the country also needs investment to give alternatives to Colombians, and that is why it is important to have a Free Trade Agreement.  
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June 11, 2009- News Clips - 4th Annual Youth Clinic Series with Pibe Valderrama

The 4th annual youth clinic series created by Verizon Wireless in collaboration with Real Maryland F.C. and DC Soccer.  A 3 hour recreational clinic offering youth instruction from celebrity  professional soccer players. All levels of youth players are welcomed. Families are encouraged to attend the event and participate in activities following the clinic.  It will take place June 14th from 9:00am to 1:00pm at Richard Montgomery High School Stadium (250 Richard Montgomery Dr., Rockville).
It's open to kids 5-17 years of age.
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June 10, 2009- News Clips - PROVIDENCE JOURNAL - Colombia's president to address Conference of Mayors

By Tatiana Pina.Providence, R.I.- Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez will be in Providence this week to address members of the 77th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, which begins Friday.
The visit marks the first time that a Colombian president serving in office comes to New England, according to Bibiana Gomez, the consul general for the Colombian Consulate in Boston.

President Uribe, 56, who was elected in 2002, is scheduled to deliver a speech at the conference award luncheon Friday at the Rhode Island Convention Center. He will address the Conference of Mayors as part of his efforts to encourage the United States to pass its Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and to promote the progress Colombia has made in terms of economic growth, national security and human rights. Uribe is widely credited with leading Colombia's turnaround, according to Gomez.  
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June 9, 2009- Press Releases -         Bogotá, June 9 (Minister of Foreign Affairs). The President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe will meet with the President of the United States Barack Obama, on June 29th at the White House. This will be their first bilateral meeting and issues of common interest for both countries will be discussed. The meeting follows a series of telephone conversations and a brief meeting between the two Presidents at the Summit of the Americas, in Trinidad and Tobago in April. During his visit to Washington, President Uribe will meet with policy makers, think tanks, representatives of the business community and other Administration officials. Spanish Version Bogotá, 9 de junio de 2009 (MRE). El Presidente de la Repblica, lvaro Uribe Vlez, se reunirá con su homólogo de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, el próximo el próximo 29 de junio en Washington. Esta será la primera reunión bilateral, en la que se trabajarán los diversos temas de inters para ambos países. La reunión se realizará luego de varias conversaciones telefónicas y un  encuentro de ambos mandatarios en la Cumbre de las Amricas en Trinidad yTobago. Durante su visita a Washington, el Presidente Uribe tambin se reunirá con líderes de opinión, centros de pensamiento, empresarios y funcionarios de la administración Obama.
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June 9, 2009- Press Releases -     On June 9th, the President of Colombia, lvaro Uribe Vlez, will start a  two-day visit to the cities of Montreal and Ottawa in Canada, and  will continue on June 11 and 12 to the city of Providence, Rhode Island  in the United States. During his visit to Canada, the President will be with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jaime Bermdez Merizalde and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism,  Luis Guillermo Plata. In Montreal, the Head of State will participate in the Economic Forum of the Americas and will hold meetings with Canadian entrepreneurs. He will later meet in Ottawa with the Prime Minister of Canada,  Stephen Harper, members of the Cabinet and the Liberal Party of Canada. In Providence, the President will participate in the National Conference of Mayors of the United States. He will also hold a meeting with the private sector and the Colombian community in the area.          The following is the agenda (local time) of President Uribe during his visit to Canada and the United States: Canada Tuesday, June 9 11:00 a.m. Departure of President lvaro Uribe Vlez and his committee from Catam military airport in Bogota, heading to the city of Montreal, Canada. 6:00 PM  Arrival in Montreal, Canada Wednesday, June 10 7:30 a.m. Private breakfast in honor of President lvaro Uribe, offered by the World Economic Forum in Montreal and  Frase, Milner &  Casgrain (FMC). 9:00 a.m. Arrival of the Head of State of Colombia to the Economic Forum of the Americas. 9:30 a.m. Statement of President lvaro Uribe Velez at the Economic Forum ofthe Americas' Free Trade in Latin America. 10:00 a.m. Meeting with Prime Minister of the Province of Quebec and Canadian businessmen. 1:00 p.m. Departure of President Uribe from Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, to the city of Ottawa. 1:30 p.m. Arrival of President Uribe to Ottawa International Airport. 3:15 p.m. Private meeting of President lvaro Uribe Velez with Prime Ministerof Canada, Stephen Harper,  at the Canadian Parliament. Later there will be an expanded meeting with members of the Cabinet. 4:00 p.m. Greeting in the Canadian Parliament between President Uribe and the leader of the official opposition party  (Liberal Party of Canada), Michel Ignatieff. 4:45 p.m. Greetings from President lvaro Uribe Vlez to the Liberal Party Caucus of Canada. Thursday, June 11 9:00 a.m. Private meeting with members of the Committee on International Trade of the Canadian Parliament 11:35 a.m. Departure of the President and his official committee from Ottawa International Airport, bound for the city of Providence, State of Rhode Island in the United States. Providence, United States   Thursday, June 11 1:00 p.m. Arrival of President lvaro Uribe Vlez and his official committee to the city of Providence, United States. 3:00 p.m. Meeting between the  Head of State with the Mayor of Providence, David N. Cicciline, at the City  Hall. 4:00 p.m. Meeting with U.S. private sector. 6:00 PM Meeting with the Colombian community in  CF High School  at Central Falls, Providence. Friday, June 12 10:00 a.m. Meeting with ONDCP Director, Gil Kerlikowske. 11:30 a.m. Meeting of President Uribe with the mayors of Miami, New York,Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Boston at the Providence Convention Center. 12:30 p.m. Statement of President lvaro Uribe Velez at the National Conference of Mayors of the United States. 2:00 p.m. Meeting between the Head of State and  United States Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke. 3:15 p.m. Private meeting with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of the Democratic Party from Rhode Island. 5:00 p.m. Departure from Providence city  Airport due to El Dorado Airport in Bogota.        
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June 9, 2009- Op-eds - OP ED - The Importance of Free Trade

By Neena Shena - Obama's current protectionist track will harm U.S. national security. President Barack Obama has fashioned his foreign policy persona around "constructive engagement" with the international community. Apparently, however, the only "engagement" he cares for is diplomatic. Free trade, one of the cornerstones of post-World War II U.S. foreign policy, is conspicuously absent. Indeed, the president's anti-trade campaign rhetoric, the "Buy America" provision in the stimulus package, and tepid support for reviving the Doha Round of international trade talks have signaled to the world that America is closed for business.  
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June 9, 2009- News Clips - GLOBAL POST- A Colombian experiment in nation building

 
By John Otis. Vista Hermosa, Colombia The rows of white containers on the edge of this Colombian farm town bring to mind FEMA housing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
But rather than a botched response to disaster, these trailers signal Colombia’s commitment to an experiment in nation building that is providing insight for American planners in Afghanistan. Located inside an army base on the edge of the Macarena mountain range in southern Colombia, the so-called Fusion Center brings together Colombian government agencies, local politicians, police and army troops as well as U.S. military and development experts. They have been tasked with pushing Marxist rebels out of the zone, eradicating the drug crops that finance the insurgents, and building roads, schools and clinics to win over a hostile local population.

 

 
It’s a formidable task. But after two-and-a-half years, the U.S.-backed pilot program known as the Macarena Consolidation Plan is showing some encouraging signs.
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June 9, 2009- Press Releases -   Colombia's President, Alvaro Uribe Velez, appointed current Presidential Adviser for Social Action, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, as new ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). Ospina will continue to lead the Colombian diplomats in Washington until June 18.  
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June 8, 2009- Press Releases -     The Minister of Interior and Justice Fabio Valencia Cossio,and the Deputy Minister of Justice, Miguel Ceballos, will meet Monday in Washington with Secretary of Justice and Attorney General of the United States,Eric Holder. Minister Valencia highlighted the desire of the Colombian government to have  the highest level dialogue with the Government of United States in all aspects of justice and coordination in the fight against all forms of crime that affect societies both countries. He referred to the importance of the justice issues, which arethe responsibility of the Executive branch, to be directly addressed by the Secretary of Justice of the United States and Minister of Justice of Colombia.T his approach has not been recorded for over 10 years. The main points to be discussed at the meeting are: Extradition The Government reaffirmed its international cooperation policy of fighting organized crime through the extradition of Colombian nationals linked to crimes such as drug trafficking and money laundering, among others. Judicial cooperation The Government pays special attention to judicial cooperation through virtual audiences to facilitate the prosecution with Colombians extradited to the United States and seek mechanisms to facilitate further collaboration with the Colombian justice system. Strengthening the Criminal Accusatory The Minister of Interior and Justice will discuss the development of the Criminal Accusatory System in Colombia and request technical support for its strengthening. Fight against drugs In developing the policy against drug trafficking, the Interior Minister of Justice will discuss various aspects of Colombia's action against drug trafficking and strengthening mechanisms to combat the whole chain, from cultivation to the consumption. Protection for union leaders The Minister of Interior and Justice will inform the Attorney General and Secretary of Justice of the United States on the actions the Colombian Government has taken  to strengthen the policy of protection of Human Rights.  Special attention will be dedicated to  the protection of social, political and religious leaders in the country.  The Minister highlighted a fact that points to that direction with  the adoption of a bill,presented by the government, which increases the penalties for crimes against trade unionists, civil servants, journalists, human rights defenders, candidate or  aspiring candidates to office, political and religious leaders.    
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June 5, 2009- News Clips - NYT - Shakira’s Children

By SCOTT MALCOMSON. Last October, on the plane from Miami to San Salvador, Shakira stared into her MacBook, pondering. The next morning, she was to give a speech on the importance of early-childhood development to an Ibero-American summit meeting that would gather most of the heads of state of Latin America as well as the prime minister and king of Spain, the prime minister of Portugal and a select group of somewhat lesser dignitaries.

 
This was not the usual venue for Shakira Mebarak Ripoll of Barranquilla, Colombia. That would be stadium-size, and could be anywhere in the world, filled with thousands and thousands of fans, the people who have made her among the biggest-selling female vocalists on the planet. But Shakira has this other side she began charitable work right after she had her first big hit, at 18 and two years ago she, her longtime boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua, and some of their friends conceived the idea of a loose union of Ibero-American singers, called ALAS (wings in Spanish), which would use the power of their fame to mobilize fans, and the politicians fans vote for, to advance the cause of early-childhood development. Since then they had rallied most of the biggest pop stars in the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking worlds; held enormous concerts in Mexico and Argentina; gained the philanthropic support of some of Latin America’s richest families (as well as Warren Buffett’s son Howard); and captured the attention of a good number of heads of state. Now, flying down to El Salvador, staring at her Mac, she was, perhaps, approaching her moment of political breakthrough.

It’s already too long! she said, smiling resignedly as she typed out her speech. And I still have more I want to say. Tap tap tap. At the back of the eight-seater plane was the Spanish megastar Alejandro Sanz, scratching out his own speech, his girlfriend next to him, in a leggy bundle, nursing a bad cold. His relaxed focus contrasted with Shakira’s nervousness, and periodically Shakira ribbed him about it, which made him grin. Tap tap tap.

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June 5, 2009- News Clips - NWA.COM - Expanded selection of Colcaf coffee products announced by Walmart

In March, Walmart announced an expanded selection of Colcaf coffee products for Walmart's Sam's Choice gourmet coffee program. Besides the 100 percent Colombian coffee Walmart carries, some 3,500 Walmart stores in the United States will also carry Colombian French Roast, House Blend, Espresso Roast and Breakfast Blend varieties.

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June 4, 2009- News Clips - Colombia will host the sixth summit of the Organization of American States in 2013

 
Colombia will host the sixth summit of the Organization of American States, OAS, which will take place in 2013, the American foreign ministers and delegates decided Wednesday. The summit of the OAS is a meeting of all American Presidents and is held every four years. Politicians from 34 countries agreed that Colombia has the capacity, experience and environmental conditions to be a "very good host".
Cartagena and Medellin are the most likely cities to host the summit.  
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June 2, 2009- News Clips - Donohue’s Bogotá speech calls for continued action on Colombia Trade Agreement

 
In a speech before the Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce in Bogotá, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue applauded Colombia as a vital trading partner and urged its political and business leaders to continue to press the U.S. Congress for action on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.
 
Let me be very clear the burden now rests on the Congress of the United States, on the government of the United States and on the people of the United States to pass this agreement, Donohue said.  Every day of delay hurts American workers, hurts American companies, hurts American farmers and it hurts Colombia too.
 
Referencing the success of previous trade agreements, Donohue urged business leaders in Colombia to press the U.S. Congress for action on the agreement through increased lobbying visits to Washington.  He also warned them to prepare for the baseless verbal attacks that their country will face as the agreement moves forward.
 
Despite many distractions, let’s keep our eyes on the prize, he said.  Do the hard work of getting ready, educating members of Congress about Colombia, and building support for the agreement.
 
While in Colombia, Donohue met with President lvaro Uribe and U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield. Beyond the trade agreement, he highlighted the Chamber’s support for an expedited, global economic recovery by supporting extraordinary action from Congress and the Federal Reserve, fighting protectionism and strengthening intellectual property protection.

 

 

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June 1, 2009- News Clips - El Consulado de Colombia en Washington publica el listado de las cdulas que estan listas

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Consulte aquí el listado de las cdulas de ciudadanía que están listas para ser recogidas por sus respectivos dueos en la sede del consulado en Washington, D.C. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
Para mayor información sobre trámites y servicios que presta el consulado, haga click acá.

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May 29, 2009- Press Releases -     The announcement was done by Carlos Costa Posada, Minister of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, at the end of a meeting with U.S. Ambassador in Colombia, William Brownfield. "The U.S.Government has expressed a keen  interest and support for the Colombian environmental issues," said the Minister.  "Colombia will actively collaborate with the proposed environmental programs for the region made by the President of the United States, Barack Obama,". The minister explained  U.S.  interest in  supporting sustainable development projects, environmental initiatives and  the protection of forest reserves programs. "President Obama announced his interest to establish a regional cooperation program to address energy issues  and climate change. It is a program currently being designed by the United States and they have invited us to provide  ideas and recommendations," said Costa Posada . According to the Minister of Environment, Colombia is one of the regional leaders in controlling greenhouse gas emissions. "Undoubtedly, the U.S. government has expressed great interest and support for the environmental issue in Colombia. We welcome their interest and will continue to keep working together," the official concluded.  
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May 29, 2009- News Clips - Villegas Editores wins 19 prizes at the International Latino Book Awards

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

At the annual ceremony of the Latino Book Awards in New York, nineteen books fromt he Colombian publishing house, Villegas Editores, won 19 awards. The second most important fair of the world, BookExpo America 2009,   provided the framework for this ceremony which brings together the best publishers around the world. The ILBA (International Latino Book Awards) awards are given to publishers of any nationality for books that have a Latin theme and are distributed in the United States. The selection criteria include traits such as quality, originality and innovation in content and design.

Each award is assessed by a group of five experts jurors located in different parts of the United States, which account for a total number of two hundred thirty juries the competition. After a rigorous analysis, the juries issue their verdicts from their cities of residence, so that the winners can be widely recognized throughout the territory. The authors, photographers, illustrators and designers associated with the various books of Villegas Editores, as well as the cultural and natural wealth of our country, find in this competition a unique opportunity to be valued and recognized internationally. 
Villegas Editores won awards in the following categories:

  • Best Educational Children’s Book - Spanish or Bilingual
  • Best Arts Book - Spanish or Bilingual - Tie
  • Best Cookbook - Spanish or Bilingual
  • Best History/Political Book - Spanish or Bilingual
  • Best Cover Design Hard Cover - Tie
  • Best Interior
  • Best First Book - Spanish

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May 28, 2009- Press Releases -     The Embassy of Colombia thas announced that on Friday, May 29, Cartagena will be the scene for the presentation of results of an evaluation conducted by the Commission for the Advancement of the Afro Colombian, Palanque and Raizal Population. We need to develop a racially inclusive approach in Colombia. The Commission’s recommendations aim to improve education, income generation and political representation, all conditions that will allow the complete and equal development of the Afro Colombian, Palenque and Raizal Community, said Vice President Francisco Santos. For over a year, the members of the Commission have been working to study the conditions of this population in Colombia, with the permanent participation of recognized members of the Afro Colombian, Palenque and Raizal community.Similarly, the Commission has received guidance from the United States Congressional Black Caucus, which has been open to share its expertise and knowledge with Colombia.   U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) has been particularly involved in theCommission’s work and has been fully supportive of the need to keep movingforward on this track. Mr. Meeks, together with Badi Foster, Phelp Stokes Fund; Julian Roberts, Assistant to Mr. Foster; Ambassador Larry Palmer, Inter-American Foundation; Joe Beasley, Southern regional director for the Rainbow/ PUSH Coalition; Austin R. Cooper, Jr., Goodworks Institute; and Stephanie Jones, Urban League, will join Vice President Santos; Paula Moreno Zapata, Minister of Culture; Pastor Murillo, Director of Afro-Colombian Community Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Judith Pineda, Mayor of Cartagena, for the presentation that will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29, after a series of meetings,which began today.   ABOUT THE COMMISSION The Commission was established in October 2007, and started its work in May2008. It is led by Vice President Santos. The main purpose of the Commission was to evaluate the living conditions of the Afro Colombian, Palenque and Raizal population, and submit recommendations to the Government aimed at overcoming the existing barriers that have stifled the progress of this population, particularly in the economic and social fields, as well as regarding the protection and fulfillment of their civil rights.   The Commission’s members include Government officials, Afro Colombian membersof Congress, the academic and private sectors. Likewise, there has beenpermanent participation of representatives of the Afro Colombian population,through its leaders and organizations, as well as international leaders including representatives of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus.  
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May 28, 2009- Press Releases -     In 2007, Colombia was ranked number 50 and now lies in position 38 according to the International Congress and Convention Association, with a special recognition to Bogota and Cartagena. The country outperformed destinations such as Uruguay, Russia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Panama and Puerto Rico, among others.  Nubia Stella Martinez, Vice President of Tourism Proexport noted that this result is good news, since the consolidation exercise of events promotion is a very  recent institutional effort. The official explained that tourism is a crucial aspect for development since  it regulates the seasonality of tourism demand, creates jobs and promotes the exchange of professional knowledge. Moreover, it constitutes a factor of promotional efforts of the national tourism.  Colombia's rise in the ranking of ICCA, which involved 90 countries, is a good the evidence of a coordinated effort with various public and private agencies in the country.  She highlighted  the progress of Cartagena and Bogota in the ranking. The first moved  from position 89 to 69, with a total of 22events last year, while the capital moved from position 114 to 108, with 15international meetings. The International Congress & Convention Association is the global networkof industry conferences and conventions, which was founded in 1963 by a groupof travel agents. Currently, ICCA is comprised of 850 member companies andtourism organizations from 85 countries in the corporate world. Its mission isto ensure that its members always maintain competitive advantages in the fieldof congresses and conventions. To learn more about the report, click here.  
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May 27, 2009- Press Releases - It is impossible to find another person with the merit that you have to receive the San Carlos medal. Thank you, Speaker Hastert. You are a great friend of Colombia  the Head of State said after thanking Speaker Hastert for his support. We will never forget that time when you came to Colombia to approve Plan Colombia in the year 2000. Plan Colombia has been an excellent decision, a step forward. It's the first practical aid that we have received from the entire world,  and you were one of the main supporters of Plan Colombia , the Colombian Leader pointed. Those unilateral trade preferences had your support voice. The negotiations for our bilateral Free Trade Agreement found in you a great sponsor. Now the Colombian people are hopeful that, with friends like you, we can have the ratification of our FTA, he added. As for the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, he thanked the honor and assured that he has worked together with President Uribe, because he believes in the goodness of the Colombian people and in its democracy. Thank you so much from the bottom of my hearth. This democracy which is the oldest democracy in South America, has worked hard to overcome many problems. We are, indeed, friends on a national basis. We do understand, between the United States and Colombia, the need to work together. But the need to work together begins in personal friendship, and I pledge mine. Thank you Hastert said.   
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May 26, 2009- News Clips - President Uribe received a recognition from the University of Pennsylvania

President of Colombia, lvaro Uribe Vlez received on May 21st the Dean’s Medal given by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most prestigious business schools of the world. The President received the award from Thomas Robertson, Dean of the Finances Faculty of the business school at the Ministry of Foreign Relations Office.
Robertson praised the personal qualities of President Uribe and his work for the benefit of all Colombians. Under his ethical and strong leadership, Colombia has not only stabilized, but also has flourished, and its achievements show progress in security and also the strengthening of democracy and institutions as well as an economic expansion, the Dean said.

He also highlighted the increase of foreign investment and investors trust, and the commitment with social cohesion and social responsibility, which allows access to education and attention to the country’s priorities. When he was receiving the award in the name of all Colombians, President Uribe said that the Wharton School has been a leadership trainer and a sleepless worker for private investment and supporter of an integration of the world’s economy.

It has been a great school for management, for leadership, and for what holds one and other, the law, commitment with others, and all that is around fundamental ethical concepts, the President remarked.
 

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May 22, 2009- Press Releases -     Today in Bogota the first of thirteen meetings that will be held all over the country took place in accordance to the agreements reached April 30th during the inauguration of the National Meeting to Guarantee the Rights of Social and Community organizations and Human Rights Groups. Interior Viceminister Viviana Manrique Zuluaga launched the first Regional Meeting together with Samuel Moreno Rojas, Mayor of Bogota, Clara Rojas, member of the Mayor’s Cabinet, Wolmar Perez, Ombudsman, Carlos Franco, Director Human Rights Presidential Program, Rafael Bustamante, Director Human Rights Program Ministry of Interior and Justice and Gloria Florez, Minga Director and representative to this regional meeting. Mrs.Manrique thanked the Mayor’s Office enthusiastic response to this first meeting and requested continued cooperation to ensure improved conditions so that human rights advocates, community and social leaders and vulnerable segments of the population can carry out their legitimate tasks in Bogota.    The Viceminister was pleased with the massive attendance of civil, military and police authorities and reiterated how today’s activity will not solve every problem, but it certainly is the beginning of a process which will allow us to establish a permanent dialogue. For more information click here  
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May 20, 2009- Press Releases -     Carolina Barco, Ambassador of Colombia to the  United States, will receive the Meritorious Service Award, given by the American Planning Association (APA) for her achievements and contributions as an urban planning professional. Every year, APA recognizes professional planners that have made significant achievements in planning, progress and advocacy. This year the President of the American Planning Association will be responsible for delivering the prize to the Colombian Ambassador to the United States. Carolina Barco will be the keynote speaker during the APA's annual meeting with a conference about Bogotá, where she collects the succesful experience of urban renewal in the Colombian capital and how it allowed a social and cultural transformation of the city.   The award ceremony will be held on May 21 at the Symposium 1909 - 2109:Sustaining the Lasting Value of American Planning. The event is organized by the APA and will be at the National Building Museum, which commemorated the centenary of the first meeting held in May 1909, when 43 planners met in Washington in the First National Conference on Planning, regarded as the birth of the planning movement in the United States.  See Gallery 1 See Gallery 2
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May 20, 2009- News Clips - Colombia launches new website to promote Foreign Direct Investment

 
The Government of Colombia has launched the official website  to promote foreign direct investment in the country, www.investincolombia.com.co.  This  new service provides audiences with information about opportunities and incentives offered by the Government . It ncludes a detailed step by step guide on how to invest.
The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata said: "Investors have for the moment, information on 19 potential sectors. The website also includes information on the country, macroeconomic indicators, cases of success, and all the information about incentives,". He added:  Today, Colombia enjoys more positive international attention and it’s one of the reasons why  we are doubling the  efforts for promotion of FDI".

Minister Plata also highlighted the attractions the country offers to foreign investors, such as free zones, free trade agreements and legal stability, among others.

"Colombia today is a destination for investment, and it's  the right time to make a strong promotion of the country. With the launch of this website we are telling the world: Colombiais here! "said Minister Plata. 

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May 18, 2009- News Clips - Colombia's film business moves forward

Generous state support and soaring private investment are spurring further growth in Colombia's film industry.
In fact, the impact of a 2003 film law that established tax breaks for film financiers and the creation of a $3 million annual Film Development Fund,. . continues to reverberate, playing a pivotal role in getting Cannes' Un Certain Regard entry "Los viajes del viento" (The Wind Journeys) off the ground. Similarly affected was Camilo Matis' 40-minute short "1989," starring Vincent Gallo, which closes the fest's Critics' Week.
"By having 'Los viajes del viento' and '1989' accepted by official sections in Cannes this year, we are reaping the benefits of years of government stimulus and promotion of national cinema," says Claudia Triana, head of nonprofit Proimagenes en Movimiento, which manages the Film Development Fund among its myriad functions. She says the last Colombian film accepted in an official Cannes section was Victor Gaviria's "The Rose Seller" in 1998.
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