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Cablegate: Colombia: Feedback On White House Conference

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UNCLAS BOGOTA 006283

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSUM KPAO CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA: FEEDBACK ON WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE

REF: SECSTATE 108659

1. Per reftel, post consulted with Arnobio Cordoba Palacios
of Afro-Colombian Credit, and Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao of
National Pastoral Social, to solicit feedback regarding their
participation in the July White House Conference on the
Americas. A former mayor of Quibdo, capital of the
department of Choco, Cordoba is a well-regarded
Afro-Colombian leader. He is the founder and director of a
foundation that provides micro-credit for Afro-Colombians.
Henao is the director of a religious organization that works
to reduce poverty and social disenfranchisement.

2. Cordoba said the conference well-organized and
productive. He felt the topics were excellent and the
discussions useful. He especially appreciated the chance to
participate on a panel with Secretary Paulson on economic
opportunities for especially vulnerable populations. Cordoba
used the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing
Afro-Colombians. He suggested it would be helpful if future
conferences expanded on the role different USG agencies have
throughout the Americas. He also said he hoped conference
follow-up could contribute to building a network of key
organizations.

3. Henao said the conference was useful in sharing
perspectives on poverty and social inequality from different
countries. He felt it was especially valuable to learn about
the range of solutions for social problems implemented in
other countries. Henao said that while the conference
touched on a number of themes, it was too short to
sufficiently explore them. He suggested that future
conferences could have an extra day for smaller groups to
discuss issues in more detail.
Nichols

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