Search

 

Cablegate: Ambassador's Trip to Cartagena Highlights the Richness Of

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0132/01 0142016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 142012Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2032
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000132

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EAID PHUM EINV ECON ETRD PTER PREL SOCI CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S TRIP TO CARTAGENA HIGHLIGHTS THE RICHNESS OF
U.S.-COLOMBIA RELATIONS

REF: BOGOTA 3375; BOGOTA 3521; BOGOTA 3593

--------

SUMMARY

--------

1. The Ambassador traveled to Cartagena on December 4-5 to
inaugurate the 13th Houston Series conference, visit two USAID
projects, meet with landmine survivors, and attend a luncheon
hosted by AmCham Cartagena. The Ambassador's visit to Cartagena
was widely covered by the press and highlighted the richness of the
U.S.-Colombia bilateral relationship, focusing on the importance of
democratic institutions, USG assistance to Colombia's most
vulnerable groups, and the benefits of expanding business and
investment opportunities between the two countries. END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------------

HOUSTON SERIES -- MESSAGE OF PROGRESS

-------------------------------------

2. On December 4-5, the Ambassador delivered welcoming remarks and
a keynote address at the Houston Series, an annual conference
hosted by the U.S. Embassy that brings together Colombia's leading
decision-makers to debate the country's most pressing issues. The
conference was widely covered by the press and included panels on
democracy in Latin America; media and information in a democracy;
opposition and governance in Colombia; political parties and
political reform; autonomy of the legislative, judicial and
executive branches; and democracy in the Andean region. The
Ambassador commented on the conference's transition since its
beginning in 1998 from urgent themes of peace and security to this
year's focus on institutionalization and democracy, noting the
significant progress that has been made. He further discussed the
importance of examining the lessons that can be learned from
Colombia and how they can be applied elsewhere, a precursor to his
December 16 speech at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies (CSIS) touching on the same theme.

--------------------------------------

USG SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES

--------------------------------------

3. With a focus on highlighting USG assistance to Colombia's
vulnerable populations, the Ambassador met with a group of
demobilized combatants who participate in the GOC's reintegration
program. The group consisted of eight former members of the
National Liberation Army (ELN), Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) and United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
who receive market-based business and job skills training from a
local Colombian organization, COMFAMILIAR Cartagena. The
participants spoke about their reintegration process and presented
personal stories of developing small businesses from a butcher shop
to a fast food enterprise. In response to the Ambassador's request
for their recommendations on improving the reintegration process,
the participants suggested additional support for university
scholarships. USAID through its implementer, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM), has contributed $124,600 USD to
the project.

4. Ambassador visited a nutritional recuperation center (NINEMA) in
one of Cartagena's poorest neighborhoods. Since April 2008,
USAID/Food for Peace (FPP), through the World Food Program (WFP),


has contributed foodstuffs worth approximately $30,000 USD to
support the center's activities. Press covered the Ambassador's
visit to NINEMA and the Ambassador participated in a press gaggle
at the conclusion of his tour of the center.

5. Ambassador met with five landmine survivors from Colombia, and
the U.S. Expert Level Delegation attending the Cartagena Summit on
a Mine Free World, highlighting the USG's commitment to tackle all
aspects of the landmine problem in Colombia. USAID, through Mercy
Corps, funded the participation of 14 landmine survivors in the
summit and leadership workshops. During the meeting one survivor
stressed the importance of targeting assistance and support through
larger vulnerable communities to avoid further stigmatization of
the survivors.

--------------------------------------------- -----------

EXPANDING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES: REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

--------------------------------------------- -----------

6. The U.S. Commercial Service and AmCham Cartagena collaborated to
host the Ambassador for a luncheon. During his keynote speech, the
Ambassador stressed the growth of business and investment
opportunities between the U.S. and Colombia, and provided examples
of Colombian companies' expansion into the U.S. and growing U.S.
investment in Colombia. The Ambassador struck an optimistic tone
for business and investment opportunities going forward, and
emphasized the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in
building a better Colombia. He pushed back at criticism by some in
the private sector that the U.S. had abandoned Colombia in its
dispute with Venezuela. The Ambassador then presented an award
from Commercial Service Bogota and AmCham Cartagena to
International Supply as the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) of
the Year for its uncompromising commitment to "Buy American".

-----------------------

POSITIVE PRESS COVERAGE

-----------------------

7. PRESS COVERAGE: Ambassador Brownfield's visit to Cartagena
received extensive local and national print and broadcast coverage.
As the visit timed with the Colombian Supreme Court ruling on the
Arango Baci case (Reftel), most national coverage focused on the
Ambassador's answers to questions related to this topic. Several
local publications and broadcasts covered the visit to USAID
project NINEMA and the meeting with landmine survivors. El
Heraldo, Barranquilla's Liberal Party oriented leading daily
(readership 357,900) featured the visit to NINEMA in the print and
online edition.
BROWNFIELD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>