Today’s IHT Online features this interesting article about the rapid improvements Colombia is making insofar as improving its image as a violent country ravaged by the drug trade. Using my trips to my mother’s homeland as a personal basis for comparison, it certainly seems that the article’s claims are true.
I was amazed by the difference in how much Medellin in particular had improved. When I traveled there in 2003, my lasting impression was how impoverished the area seemed. While the poverty is far from eradicated, I left Colombia this fall impressed by how cosmopolitan Medellin seemed. Improvements were widespread and obvious. Unfortunately, the city seemed much more polluted that during my last trip. That may have been due to the particular air quality during the time of our honeymoon.
The government’s bold stance against violence is illustrated neatly in this square. Botero’s sculpture, “The Bird of Peace” was bombed by guerrillas. Instead of removing the destroyed work, the government annoted the incident on the old installation and built a new one right next to it.
Lastly, writing this reminded me of a funny saying my cousin Nicolas told us over cocktails while were discussing music and fashion trends: “Poor Colombians wish they were Mexicans. Middle-class Colombians wish they were American. The rich wish they were European.”