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Colombian Peace Talks
Starting the 14th of October in Olso, Norway, Colombia will reenter talks with the guerillas of FARC, Fuersas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, after a ten year hiatus. The government has made substantial gains in pushing the rebels out of the major cities under former president Uribe. Now President Santos is able to enter into talks with the fifty year old revolutionary organization from a position of strength. There is substantial popular support for an agreement from the Colombian electorate. In addition Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela are actively supporting the talks. For those interested in investing in Latin America the Colombian peace talks are a must to follow.
What Would Peace in Colombia Mean to the Region?
Think of the civil wars, revolving dictators, and unrelenting chaos that reigned from Guatemala and El Salvador to Panama for decades. Only Costa Rica, which disbanded its army in the late 1940′s avoided the continual trauma. It is said that by the mid 1980′s smart folks in Central America made a comparison. After World War II the economies of Central America and those of various Asian nations such as South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore were roughly equal. By the mid 1985′s the “Asian Tigers” had strong economies and wealthy middle classes. At the same time drive time radio in San Salvador advised commuter which streets to take on the way home to avoid fire fights between rebels and government forces. When that fact sunk in peace was on its way. President Arias of Costa Rica got a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiations and the entire region is better off and on its way to increasing prosperity.
Now think of Colombia, a nation the physical size of California with a similar population of about 45 million. The nation is rich in natural resources and has a hard working population. Just ask anyone in Panama who they would like to hire if work permits were not an issue and the answer is commonly, “a Colombian because they work harder.” Colombia has free trade agreements and trade relationships that span the globe. When the nation is able to devote its entire effort and attention to bettering the lot of its people and not free captives chained to trees in the jungle things will get decidedly better. Successful Colombian peace talks will help Colombia and the region as well.
Investment and Colombian Peace Talks
The Colombian peso has outperformed all other currencies versus the US dollar in 2012. In fact, Colombia has had to buy dollar to keep the peso from advancing too rapidly. There are great investment opportunities, both large and small, from Cartagena to Bogotá, Medellin to Cali, and in towns in between like Pereira and Manizales. If your interest is profiting in Panama think of a stronger trade relationship between the nation with the Panama Canal and its larger neighbor to the East.