Those who are fixated on the link between Colombia and drugs (and not just coffee), miss out on all its wonderful history, music and culture, including Shakira and the star footballer Valderamma. I greatly enjoyed my trip to Colombia several years ago, which including interaction with some members of the Bogota Jewish community.
There have long been positive links between Colombia and Israel, so it was great to read the article in the Jerusalem Post, describing the recent warm visit to Israel of the Colombian Foreign Minister.
As the article stated, “Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez assured Israel on Thursday that bilateral ties are “very strong,” and whoever wins his country’s presidential election next month will be supportive of the Jewish state. “Colombia and Israel have had a very long relationship and a very strong partnership too,” Bermudez told The Jerusalem Post, in an interview in his suite at the King David Hotel. “I truly believe that Colombia today, regardless of who will be the most likely winner, is going to continue on the same track… I am very optimistic about the future of our relationship.” He also expressed a desire to strengthen Colombia’s military relationship with Israel as well as trade ties, and develop what he termed “joint ventures on innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.”
With the difficulties that Israel has had with the Obama administration, it is also not surprising that Obama has been less supportive of Colombia than previous Presidents.
Back to Bermudez who said in the Jerusalem Post article “Colombia and Israel have had a very long relationship and a very strong partnership, too. Both countries and our peoples have suffered and have endured, in a way, similar difficulties. At the same time, I would say that we both are resilient and determined, that we share somehow a lot in common. I would say that for us, it’s very important to make a partnership with Israel in several aspects. One of these aspects, which was part of the conversation with President Peres, is how we can come up with a joint venture between the private sector and public sector in Israel and Colombia, in projects on innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital. You are a well-reputed country, and you serve as innovative, entrepreneurial and so on, and we would like to learn about that, and we have certain experience. Colombia is well-rated worldwide in terms of professionalism, commitment and innovation too.”