Disagreement With the Commentary on Colombia

Re: Uribe's Colombia and U.S. Money

To the Editor:

After reading the article called "Uribe's Colombia and US Money" I think its author, Jose Maria Rodriguez Gonzalez, sounds like a member of the FARC or a sympathizer of this ruthless terrorist group. Most statistics demonstrate that Colombia is much safer today than it was five years ago, thanks mostly to President Uribe's wonderful leadership. You guys should be very careful about whose columns you decide to print, this author seems to have ulterior motives.

Juan Perez
Coral Springs, Fla.

To the Editor:

It is ironic that when the legally-elected president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez, is viewed favorably by 66 percent of the Colombian people that the writer of this article talks so badly about him.

I'm going to list some mistakes by the person who wrote the article; a person that is not aware of the real conditions in our country and who looks to be very fond of the left wing. In reality, this was not an article written by an actual analyst, because it contains no accurate analysis.

In the first place, the president of any nation in the world goes on television when he or she has a message to deliver to the people. It is not something uncommon, and is practiced by leaders around the globe. Why it is a problem when Colombia's president does it?

The alliance with the U.S. is not something that came from this government; Colombia has been America's ally for almost a century, or even more. The Colombia plan is a way to divide responsibility on a problem that is not only from Colombia — the thing is that we can make drugs in our country, but it is the American people that demand it.

I don't see why its a problem that Colombia wants to sign an FTA with the U.S. Countries like Chile, Mexico and other Central American nations have one, but when Colombia wants to ratify one the author views it as a "strategy by the Colombian president to stay in power." That is something very far away from the truth. The majority of the people in Colombia understand the importance of the FTA, and support the initiative.

About the paramilitary: The legislation in Colombia established a minimum eight-year jail sentence for former members of paramilitary groups.
- They have to tell all the truth about the conflict.
- They have to make reparations to the victims of the conflict.
- In fact Colombia was a disaster in 2002; check the list of murders and kidnappings to verify that.
- Terrorism was the prime cause for Colombia's lack of growth.

Under Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian social system has grown exponentially, in both health and education, and there are more people affiliated with the welfare system than ever.

The meetings referred in the article are called "community councils." These councils are filmed by the institutional government channel, and are not broadcast on all channels. Also, different activities are filmed, not just that of the legislature. The community councils are reunions where the president speaks directly with different people all around Colombia and hears the varied problems of the rural and urban communities.

Please look into the decreasing number of journalists and union leaders killed in the last few years, you will see a consistent decrease in the number of every type of crime.

It is kind of boring to point out all the mistakes that this article has, as it is clearly written by a person that does not "live" in Colombia, and that has a predisposition against Colombia's president. It is full of lies and is overly supportive of the radical left wingers that come from guerilla movements. It is ironic that a person who condemns any government approaches to the paramilitary, but it doesn't acknowledge past inducements made to left wing guerrillas.

Finally, I want to say that in the present Colombian budget, more than half is going to be used for social purposes.

Juan David Dapena Ossa
Medellin, Colombia