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| 5/6/2011 9:00:00 AM

Colombia’s Resurgent Capital Backslides Amid Crime and Congestion

May 6--This city emerged as a mecca for urban planners over the past decade. Freethinking mayors brought about a remarkable renaissance by trying everything from creating an innovative low-emission rapid transit system to sending hundreds of mimes to intersections to mock and humiliate traffic violators.

But the hard-won accomplishments that earned Bogotá plaudits around the world are now being eclipsed by outrage. So many ambitious construction projects have been put in motion simultaneously that the city has endured months of traffic chaos. And a long simmering corruption scandal has resulted this week in the suspension of Bogotá’s mayor, Samuel Moreno.

Making matters worse, fears of violent crime are spreading yet again. While Bogotá is still safer than it was before its once heralded comeback, when it was plagued by car bombs and high kidnapping rates, news reports of grisly murders and robberies, including assaults on foreign tourists in hotels, are gripping residents again.

Much of the ire here is focused on the deterioration of this capital city’s once cutting-edge public transportation system, a bus network called TransMilenio designed to have the feel of an above-ground subway. The system was so admired that it helped inspire similar projects in other developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
 
Read more here.

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

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