April 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Thank you for coming back to Eyes On Colombia, but this blog is discontinued for the foreseeable future, though I’ll be leaving it up for browsing, etc. Perhaps I will pick it up later but for now, I need to focus on other things. Enjoy Colombia!
February 21, 2011 § 3 Comments
China is looking to build a railway link from the Atlantic to the Pacific, hugging the Darien Gap and going from Chocó’s Gulf of Cupica to Antioquia’s Gulf of Urabá. The aim is to build a land-based alternative to the Panama Canal, allowing easier import and export to and from China. The main practical challenge, though, is successfully completing the 136-mile railway in an area known for its strong paramilitary presence.
The project, if brought to completion, could be a boon or bust for Colombian businessmen. The reason for a bust being that the Panama Canal is already in the process of doubling its capacity, a multibillion dollar undertaking. Currently, almost 50% of the vessels that traverse the canal already need its full width in order to pass through. At some point this year, it is estimated that one-third of the roughly 15,000 ships that will pass through the canal will be too big to make the crossing. The expansion project, while being approved by Panama’s government back in 2006, is not expected to be completed until 2014.
If the major reason against building the Colombian railway isn’t enough, there’s always the secondary reason to look at. In addition to the canal, the Panama Canal Railway also exists (and has existed since the 1850’s) and happens to do just what the Chinese project hopes to accomplish in Colombia, at three times less the distance.
What seems to be more at play here is not the fact that Colombia needs the railway, but that they want what China wants. Sure, a railway would improve Colombian infrastructure and provide jobs for Colombians but it would also help solidify relations with a major trade partner. Not only that, but China would very likely get first dibs on Colombian coal exports, which currently leave Colombian shores from the Atlantic ocean, as well as other favorable concessions. In light of another joint project that would see a major expansion of the Buenaventura port, it seems like Chinese interests will influence Colombia for the foreseeable future.
In a way, the title of this article serves as two since more powerful countries tend to train developing nations how to behave by favoring policies that aid the larger country. The main caveat against both countries having stronger ties, however, is that Chinese products will both enter and pass through Colombia and thereby compete with Colombian products internally and abroad.
February 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
The following documentary is a journey to retrace the history of the Barranquilla Group.
February 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
“The opportunity for us is to become the platform of choice for entrepreneurs around the world,” said Juan Diego Calle, chief executive of .CO Internet, a company based in Miami that operates the “.co” registry under license from the Colombian government. “To do that, we want to build massive awareness.”
For financially struggling governments, the sale of country code domain names is a boon. Colombia, for example, gets 25 percent of the revenue from sales of the “.co” name under its deal with .CO Internet. Last year, the company generated a total of $20 million from the sale of “.co” domains; this year, that is expected to rise to more than $30 million, Mr. Calle said.
More than 600,000 “.co” addresses have been sold, in more than 200 countries, he said. Only about 20,000 of those are actually from Colombia, with the most interest coming from the United States and Europe.
The company predicts that the total number of “.co” registrations will rise to five million within five years. Mr. Calle was hoping for a surge of interest after a prominent marketing pitch over the weekend. During the Super Bowl, the world’s largest domain name registrar, Go Daddy, highlighted “.co” in an advertisement. The spot, as is typical of the company’s TV ads, featured the “Go Daddy girls” in tight T-shirts and hot pants. But this time, Joan Rivers was one of them. Before the game, Go Daddy said it planned to introduce a new member of the team, a “ ‘.co’ girl.”
While some country codes have had a hard time attracting anything other than niche interest, analysts say the Colombian suffix may have a better chance to rival “.com” because the letters “co” are recognized in many languages as an abbreviation for “company” and are not merely seen as an abbreviation for the country’s name.
“As long as it doesn’t become well known that it’s just a bastardization of the country code for Colombia, it could take off,” said Josh Bourne, managing partner of FairWinds Partners, which advises firms on the use of domain names.” – NYT
February 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Since early December, hundreds of private contractors of a multinational banana corporation have illegally invaded and occupied Afro-Colombian peace communities in the Curvaradó river basin with the intent to clear the land and actualize banana production for Banacol Inc. Their actions have been supported and assisted by local paramilitaries, army soldiers and municipal governments.
The peace communities’ collective territory is protected under the Colombia Constitution and protective measures under the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
According to documents released by the Colombian human rights organization, Intereclesial Comisión de Justicia y Paz (Justicia y Paz), Banacol Inc. is paying vulnerable people to displace equally vulnerable Afro-Colombian peace communities and grow bananas for them. Enabling Banacol Inc. to usurp protected, ancestral, sovereign territory and exploit its rich soil for profit; under the justification of nonlocal vulnerable Colombians needing residence and work.” – Colombia Reports (more here)
February 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
“For the descendants of African slaves who populate Colombia’s poorest, most corruption-ridden corner, music has long been the most natural of distractions from a very hard life.
And so it is for ChocQuibTown, a soulful, hip-hop trio in the running for the year’s best Latin-Rock/Alternative Album at the Grammys on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Their music is a soapbox that you dance to.
“De Donde Vengo Yo” (Where I Come From), which won Best Alternative Song at the Latin Grammys in November, is a spirited lament of the hard-luck life: multinationals and corrupt politicians get rich off gold and platinum; poor blacks get run off their land by illegal militias.
Forty-five percent of the 450,000 inhabitants of the band’s home province of Choco, which is along Colombia’s northwest coast bordering Panama, has been uprooted, while 70 percent live on less than a dollar a day. Paved streets, electricity and running water are rare.” – ABC News (more here)