Category Archives: Frutos de mi Tierra

Lo que está sucediendo en mi patria Colombia. En honor al celebre escritor Tomás Carrasquilla.

Carlos Gaviria visits Austin

The president of the colombian political party Polo Democrático Carlos Gaviria was one of the speakers invited to the XXVIII Annual ILASSA Student Conference. His speech was basically a critique of the current government because it claims that Colombia has a strong democracy while he considers that many aspects of Colombia’s situation (like the high percentage of poverty) are clear signals that Colombia doesn’t have a democracy but instead what he refers to as a sudo-democracy.

I think Colombia does have a democracy, but it has many flaws. As he recognizes, there is not a country in this planet with a perfect democracy and Colombia by no means is close to have that.

Even recognizing that Uribe has many flaws I sincerely think Colombia is better today than how it was 6 years ago. And after hearing Gaviria today, it gives you the impression that this is not the case and that Uribe is the devil itself following a master plan to be a dictator. I honestly believe that this is not the case, and I definitely don’t want Uribe to be reelected again.

No more FARC in Austin

This coming February 4th: join us in the mobilization against FARC.

It is really sad to see how the “Colombianos en UT” group have changed the main objective for the mobilization. Here is the text they sent through the “Asociación de Colombianos en Austin”:

Please join us Monday, February 4 2008 10:30 am at South First and Barton Springs: we will march to City Hall.

Position of “Colombianos en UT” in reference to the “Un Millón de Voces Contra las FARC” March February 4 2008

We march against, and manifest our rejection of all crimes against humanity committed in Colombia over the last five decades by all of the different parties involved in the internal conflict of Colombia .

We march to say:
NO MORE Guerrillas (FARC, ELN, EPL…)
NO MORE Paramilitaries (AUC, ACCU, CONVIVIR, Aguilas Negras,….)
NO MORE complicity of government officials with illegal armed forces
NO MORE abuse by elements of the armed forces
NO MORE massacres
NO MORE kidnappings
NO MORE forced displacement
NO MORE targeted assassinations
NO MORE extrajudicial killings
NO MORE forced disappearances
NO MORE arbitrary detentions
NO MORE impunity for military and paramilitary officials
NO MORE death squads
NO MORE state sponsored terror

We march for PEACE as long as it is dignified and just. We march for LIBERTY and JUSTICE for all Colombians.

Please join us Monday, February 4 2008 10:30 am at South First and Barton Springs: we will march to City Hall.

Please distribute widely

This is clearly a mistake. It causes the mobilization to lose its focus. It causes that people identifies them selves with some of the points of the protest but not with others. It dilutes the clear message that started it all: NO MORE FARC. .

I’m glad to inform that the original objective of the mobilization has been reestablish.


con la frente marchita,
las nieves del tiempo
platearon mi sien.

Sentir, que es un soplo la vida,
que veinte años no es nada,
que febril la mirada…

Ok, lets not be drama queens: coming back to Medellín after less than one an a half years is not as dramatic as Carlos Gardel´s tango “Volver”. But I felt like singing and as a free piece of knowledge for today, let me tell you that Gardel died in Medellín when his plane crashed back in 1935.

This trip to Medellín has been great: I’ve been able to see family and friends. I had visited towns around the city that I hadnt visited since I moved to Austin. I got to be at Paola’s wedding at Fizebad and met her family and friends. And I got to show my hometown to my non-colombian friends which I believe left this country with a great impression.

As always pictures are worth a thousand words.

Check also Vanessa’s pictures and Paola’s pictures (ceremony and party).

No better way to end this post with a very paisa style phrase: Medellín es una chimba parce!

Colombia: Superpower in Speed Skating

No, I’m not joking. Colombia has won the last few world championships of speed skating and it is very close to win it again this year in Anyang – South Korea.

It really amazes me that Colombia can beat countries like the USA, Italy, Spain, France, New Zeland, among others. I really can’t understand the reasons for this situation. I know that speed skating is not an olympic sport and that might be the reason why other countries do not invest much into it and maybe Colombia realized that it had a shot into becoming very good at it and it did it.

Congratulations Colombia!

Re-election aproved in Colombia

Yesterday the Colombian Constitutional Court has approved the immediate presidential the re-election, which implies that present president Alvaro Uribe Vélez, can be a candidate for the presidential elections of the 2006.

This produces me joy and preoccupation at the same time.

The good thing is that the present president has great acceptance rating in the country. During his mandate he has maintained popularity index around 60-70% being the highest for a Colombian president in many years. He has highest index at the moment in Latin America where there are cases like president Toledo in Peru with a 6%. So I think it is good that a popular president stays in the government. Another reason is that the policies of security of the present government, have managed to reduce the high indexes of criminality, insecurity, drug trafficking and violence that affected the country for many years. The electoral period in Colombia is only 4 years which is insufficient compared with the 40 years that the guerrillas have been around. Thus a period of 8 years can at least be more beneficial.

In general Colombia is better today than for 4 years. People’s confidence in the country is back. Foreign investors are looking back at Colombia. It is not common anymore to see Colombians leaving the country because of the violence. And if we can be better than today in 4 years, wonderful!

The goals for president Uribe, if he gets reelected, must be: total disarmament of armed groups (guerrilla and paramilitary) and eradication of the drug trafficking. If this happens, it is possible to think of electing a more humanist and philanthropic president for the next period. Somebody like Antanas Mokus.

But I also believe that approving re-election is a bad thing. I consider that Colombian democracy is not sufficiently mature to assume the challenges that a re-election implies. Reelect Uribe today is good. But what if Andrés Pastrana or Ernesto Samper has had a chance to be candidates for re-election in their time? What if a bad president has the political and economic machinery necessary to win a re-election? Does this sound familiar to you? (U.S.A.)

I also don’t like the example that Uribe is giving with the whole re-election process. Basically he demonstrated that any president can modify the constitution of the country for his own benefit.

It’s already too late and the re-election has been approved. If it had been up to me I would have done things differently. The president Uribe from the beginning of his mandate should have look for his successor. Somebody who keeps the same line of thought. Somebody with his character and determination. And make sure that Colombians understand that this person would continue the processes and projects initiated in his period. Basically Uribe needed to look for another Uribe different than himself. Worse case if he cannot find another Uribe he could have chosen a puppet as president with him being the puppeteer and publicly recognize it so that people supported his puppet knowing that the president was really him.

But there is nothing to do now. The damage to the constitution is already done so I hope that Uribe gets reelected; that way all this wasn’t done in vain.

Reelección aprobada en Colombia

El día de ayer, la Corte Constitucional Colombiana ha aprobado la reelección presidencial inmediata, lo cual implica que el actual presidente Álvaro Uribe Vélez, puede postularse para las elecciones presidenciales del 2006.

Esta noticia me produce en parte alegría y en parte preocupación.

Lo bueno es que el presidente actual tiene gran aceptación en el país. Durante su mandato ha mantenido índices de popularidad al rededor del 60-70% siendo los más altos para un presidente colombiano en muchos años y siendo los más altos actualmente en Latinoamérica donde hay casos como el presidente Toledo en Perú con un 6%. Así que es bueno que un presidente que es querido por su pueblo, siga en el mandato. Lo otro es que las políticas de seguridad del gobierno actual, han logrado reducir los altos índices de criminalidad, inseguridad, narcotráfico y violencia que por muchos años se han vivido en el país. Sin embargo el período electoral de 4 años con el que cuentan los presidentes, es insuficiente comparado con los 40 años que tienen las guerrillas en existencia. Así al menos un período de 8 años puede ser más provechoso.

En general, Colombia está mejor hoy, que hace 4 años. De nuevo se respira confianza. De nuevo hay interés en el país por parte de los inversionistas extranjeros. Ya no es tan común ver Colombianos huyendo del país por causa de la violencia. Y si dentro de 4 años podemos estar mejor, sería maravilloso.

Las metas del presidente Uribe, si es reelegido, deben ser: desmovilización total de los grupos armados (guerrilla y paramilitares) y erradicación del narcotráfico. Si esto sucede, se puede pensar en elegir un presidente más humanista y filántropo para un próximo periodo. Alguien del corte de Antanas Mokus.

Pero también creo que es malo que la reelección haya sido aprobada. Considero que la democracia Colombiana no está lo suficientemente madura para asumir los retos que implica una reelección. Reelegir a Uribe hoy es bueno. ¿Pero que tal que Andrés Pastrana o Ernesto Samper hubieran podido postularse para la reelección en su tiempo? ¿Qué tal que un presidente malo llegue al poder, y tenga la maquinaria política y económica necesarias para ganar una reelección? ¿Les suena familiar (EEUU)?

Adicionalmente, no me gusta el ejemplo que está dando Uribe con la reelección. Básicamente esta demostrando que cualquier presidente puede modificar la constitución del país en pro de su beneficio.

Ya es demasiado tarde y la reelección ha sido aprobada. Sin embargo yo hubiera hecho las cosas diferentes. El presidente Uribe desde el comienzo de su mandato debió buscar su sucesor. Alguien que conserve su misma línea de pensamiento. Alguien con su mismo carácter y determinación. Y hacerle entender al pueblo colombiano, que esta persona seguiría los mismos procesos y proyectos iniciados en su período. Básicamente Uribe debió buscar otro Uribe, que no fuera él mismo. Y dado el caso de que no existiera otro Uribe en el país, podría haber elegido un títere, para él seguir siendo el titiritero tras bambalinas. Y reconocerlo públicamente para que la gente le diera su apoyo al títere.

En últimas ya no hay nada que hacer. El daño a la constitución ya está hecho, así que solo queda esperar a que Uribe sí sea reelegido, para que todo esto no haya sido en vano.