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Cablegate: "Colombia Is On the Right Path," Former President

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) During a half-day visit to Colombia June 22,
President Clinton expressed unequivocal support for
President Uribe and his policies, as well as for the
Colombian people. Speaking to a business and leadership
forum (Expogestion) with an audience of over 2,000 people -
including President Uribe, former President Gaviria, and
leading political figures and business executives - Clinton
said he often points to Colombia as a country trying to
improve itself through "perseverance, hard-work, and
determination." He indicated great satisfaction with
President Uribe's handling of Plan Colombia, which he had
helped to start with former President Andres Patrana. Uribe
asked Clinton to intercede on behalf of Colombia to continue
with a second phase of the Plan.

2. (U) Following the thunderous applause for President
Uribe, Clinton remarked to the crowd that it was not often
that he received less applause than a sitting president, and
that this was a testament to Uribe's leadership and the
direction he had taken the country. He said he hoped Uribe,
pending the Constitutional Court's decision, would serve for
four more years.

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3. (U) All major newspapers gave the visit front-page
coverage on June 23. Leading daily El Tiempo showed Clinton
walking in the streets side-by-side with President Uribe,
under the headline "Clinton and Uribe on foot in Bogota."
Presidential chief of staff Juan Lozano told the Ambassador
the following day that such a walk would have been
impossible five years ago given the security situation. A
follow-up article on June 24 focused on Clinton's informal
agenda, including his greeting people on the street and
shopping for gifts. The same day, an op-ed section cartoon
showed Clinton in a car with a sign "strong backing," and
President Uribe on the street thanking him for his visit and
support. The major television newscasts also gave ample
coverage, focusing on Clinton's remarks as well as the walk
with Uribe. Overall press treatment characterized the visit
as a sign of strong support for President Uribe's democratic
security policies, and recognition of Colombia's commitment
to fight narco-trafficking and terrorism.


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