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| 3/7/2011 12:00:00 AM

Colombia Leader Seeks Wide-Ranging Changes, and Looks Beyond the U.S.

March 7--President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia glows when speaking of a plan by Chinese and European investors to build a city for 250,000 people near the Caribbean coast. His foreign minister has circled the globe in the seven months that Mr. Santos has been president, visiting places like Cambodia, but not Washington.

In a reconciliation that has taken many in Latin America by surprise, Mr. Santos is now so friendly with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, who just last year was accusing Mr. Santos of plotting to assassinate him, that he takes delight in referring to Mr. Chávez as “my new best friend.”

Mr. Santos, in a wide-ranging interview here, insisted that the United States, which has long considered Colombia its top ally in the region, remains a “great partner,” even as some in Colombia’s establishment grow increasingly frustrated with a stalled trade deal and a steady reduction in American counterinsurgency aid.

But he also emphasized a remarkable foreign policy move under way in which Colombia is shifting its gaze from the United States to Asia, repairing ties with Venezuela and Ecuador and adopting a measured posture within Latin America that stands in stark contrast to the hawkish style of Mr. Santos’s conservative predecessor, Álvaro Uribe.
 
Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home. 
 
 
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