Contempt for The United States Congress, Not Colombia

I vividly remember arriving at Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport in the mid- 1990s, clearing immigration, and then heading towards the city. My mind swirled with edginess and fear knowing I had reached a city with one of the highest homicide rates and kidnapping incidences in the world. For an American businessman, it was a notoriously dangerous place to be.

For decades a pervasive tension permeated the thin Andean air as a result of the violence that has relentlessly rocked Colombia. Nearly every Colombian family has been tragically touched by terror, murder and kidnapping. It leaves haunting memories.

During those decades, Colombia was the nexus of ruthless drug lords with unfathomable financial resources controlled by a relentless Marxist-Leninist group known as FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or in Spanish from which it gets its acronym Fuerzas Armadas Revolutionaries de Colombia), which has been long designated an international terrorist organization. Their leaders have ordered the taking of the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

One of FARC’s victims was the father of current Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, who was killed during a kidnap attempt in 1983. President Uribe took office in 2002 and was re-elected to a second term in 2006. Since Uribe took office the homicide rate in Bogotá is down 71%; at a level below that of Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., Caracas, Mexico City and Sao Paolo.

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