Global News Blog: Colombia a Terror Threat?

November 18, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Shannon Smith

Ready for a nice relaxing vacation to Colombia? I think not. Recently, Colombia was updated as number six on the Terrorism Risk Index by the British risk analyst, Maplecroft.

The United States issued a travel warning to make U.S. citizens aware of the possibility of terrorist activity. But is this anything new? Colombia is one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Drug trafficking is everywhere, corrupt government, paramilitary groups, and guerillas have been controlling much of the nation for over 40 years.

The index is ranked based on the number of attacks, victims, causalities, and a umber of historical components. However, in Colombia the rate of which persons are threatened and attacked has decreased over the past seven years.

In response to the recent ranking, Colombia released an article explaining their “exceptional” conditions. They defend themselves and describe all the wonderful sights and attractions in their beautiful country. The compared themselves to the crime rates in Mexico, Rio de Janero, and San Paulo and touted that Bogota is one of the safest cities in South America.

Is America justified in releasing such allegations? Is the ranking made by Maplecroft credible? Does Colombia’s history of corruption and violence make it a terror threat? Improvements have obviously been made in Colombia, but are they strong enough? I think not. So, if you want to live on the edge, I would suggest taking a trip down to Colombia.

Global News Blog: Nicaragua Captures 30 Fishermen

May 5, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Mallory Savoie

In April, Nicaragua captured a total of 30 fishermen: 25 from Colombia and five from the Cayman Islands. The chief of the naval force, Capt. Roger Gonzalez Diaz, explained that the fishermen were caught in Nicaraguan waters. Gabriel Silva, the Colombian Defense Minister, confirms the capture of the fishermen.

The waters in question are found off of the coast of Honduras. Nicaragua believes they own the area 135 miles off of the Caribbean coast.

Colombia and Nicaragua have been fighting over these particular waters for a long time. Nicaragua believes they own these waters, while Colombia believes these waters are open ocean.

The dispute continues as this new case continues to unfold.

Global News Blog: Colombian Spy Agency to Cease Wiretap Control

March 2, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Sarah Stradtman

Last Thursday the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, made it official that the Colombian intelligence agency will no longer be in control of wiretaps after an investigation of illegal activity. All control of the wire will now belong to the Colombia National Police.

“The Administrative Department of Security, known by its Spanish acronym DAS, is under investigation over allegations that it illegally wiretapped judges, opposition politicians, members of the ruling party and journalists,” said the CNN article.

If the Colombian government is dealing with corruption and the illegal activity amongst political leaders, who’s to say that the Colombian law enforcement is going to be any more trustworthy?

The article also states that there have been problems in the past with the National Police but president Uribe, “has made strenuous efforts to fix the problem.”

Something doesn’t seem right here. In my opinion, it seems that intelligence agency knows something about the ruling party that we don’t know, or are a party of the opposing party and have the intention to destroy the life of the ruling one. Otherwise, why would the president all of a sudden care if people on his side were being monitored?

I guess we will have to wait for the case to unravel before we uncover the information being wiretapped, and if the National Police can be trusted this time around.

Global News Blog: Wiretapping Scandal in Colombia

March 1, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Posted by Kendra Kahanek

Whether it is the KGB, or the former United States President Richard Nixon, another government agency falls into a scandal of unlawful wire tapping for information. According to a CNN article, The Colombian domestic intelligence agency remains under an investigation for illegal wiretapping, with a judge establishing that in the future this organization would no longer have authority over any type of electronic interceptions.

One might ask whether this type of technology hinders or helps a nation and consequently it depends. Colombia and the United States contain a democratic type of government in which the people need to trust. Some believe in upholding the rights of each citizen’s right to privacy, including the freedom to talk on a cell phone or any phone without the government listening in on the conversation. Individuals in Columbia may have lost this trust due to the current unlawful wiretapping of phone conversations.

Although wiretapping can create distrust between a government and its publics in any nation, it might hamper the Columbian government’s ability to fight the leftist rebel group known as FARC, which is currently undermining the government in parts of the country. This war has been going on for 40 years. Removing some of these wiretapping abilities from the government would cut down the Columbian intelligence agency’s capability to collect information on the rebel group.

The question remains whether wiretapping conflicts with civilian rights to privacy or is wiretapping necessary to protect our country.

Global News Blog: Selfless Act Helps Colombia to Succeed

February 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Sarah Stradtman

In this article published in the New York Times world section, a story is told about “Luis Soriano, a teacher from La Gloria, Colombia, [who] has traveled to the village of El Brasil with his Biblioburro nearly every weekend for the past decade.” Mr. Soriano has been mounting his two donkeys, and strapping book bags to their saddles with books for the less fortunate. “This began as a necessity; then it became an obligation; and after that a custom,” he explained, squinting at the hills undulating into the horizon. “Now,” he said, “it is an institution.” He created it out of the simple belief that the act of taking books to people who do not have them can somehow improve this impoverished region, and perhaps Colombia.

As a fellow advocate of philanthropic behavior, this article really hit home personally. Growing up, I was active in community service for both middle school and high school. After school almost every Thursday for four years I went to a Dallas day care in a rough area to read to children who either hadn’t learned, were learning, or knew, but didn’t excel. It’s amazing to see how much these children long to be smart, and learn. I never would’ve known how highly children appreciate knowledge at such a young age, when it was something I never even thought twice about.

It is people like Mr. Soriano who are taking necessary steps to change this world, and I found this story truly inspiring. Because of this 36 year old man, the children of Colombia are getting a chance to succeed. Could you imagine what the world would be like if every individual took an issue they thought was important and worked this hard to achieve such an extravagant goal?

Global News Blog: Cinema: A Valuable Public Diplomacy Tool

February 18, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Ashley Warmack

According to “Colombia Reports”, Colombia is having a hard time getting people to support entertainment. Many people believe that Cinema life, things such as T.V., music, and film are trash and nonsense. However, according to the reports, they disagree, stating, “Cinema has become a tool for nation-building, but also for the mass communication of a nation’s idea of itself, and as such, one of the most successful tools of public diplomacy. ”

Colombia must support outlets of visual expression that respond to this purpose. Being able to send out a message through entertainment media has a huge influence on all nations and is a powerful communication tool to get through to the public.

However, I think countries should be aware of how other countries are portrayed though entertainment. “Hollywood not only has contributed to the branding of the American identity, but it also has contributed to branding, often misleadingly, other national identities.” In order for Colombia to not be “branded” by other country’s cinema art, other countries need to be promoted as a whole.

Many countries have been successful in the film and entertainment industry; and clearly Colombia needs a break through. Colombians are just now realizing how big of an impact entertainment media effects ones culture. Colombia needs to be finding people that can promote and support Colombian Cinema.