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| 8/9/2010 12:00:00 AM

With Uribe era ending, Colombia looks back and ahead

August 9--Uribe will turn over a far safer country to former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, elected in a landslide after promising to continue Uribe's policies. But the challenges are now socioeconomic.

Reporting from Bogota, Colombia — On his inauguration day eight years ago, leftist guerrillas tried to kill Colombian President Alvaro Uribe with a rocket and mortar attack. The U.S. government had drawn up contingency plans for a rebel-led government, and citizens were hunkering down in their homes at night in fear.

As Colombians who lived through those dark days know, Uribe on Saturday will turn over a far safer country to his successor, former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who was elected in a June landslide after promising to continue Uribe's policies.

With billions in U.S. aid under Plan Colombia, the hard-line Uribe knocked the FARC guerrilla group on its heels, giving the government the upper hand in its 4-decade-long struggle against insurgents. Expanded police ranks have sharply reduced violent crime in cities. A tripling in foreign investment since 2003, mainly in mining, energy and tourism, is fueling an increasingly dynamic economy.

Read more here.

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

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