Cocaine: is the tide turning?

In recent news, the US anti-drug tsar claimed that Colombian cocaine production had fallen 25% from 2010 to 2011, making Colombia the world’s third biggest producer of cocaine, after Peru and Bolivia.

Good news? Of course.

Does this mean that the end of the conflict is near? Probably not.

A BBC report claims that the illegal armed groups are increasingly turning to gold to fund their activities. So make sure that jewelry you are thinking of buying is fairly traded.

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Conversation in a taxi (5)

It started as all conversations in taxis do:

Taxi driver: So what country are you from?

Me: From Scotland.

TD: Oh really?! My brother-in-law is from Scotland.

There follows a brief conversation in which I discover that the marriage did not last, that the couple met in Florida, that the children don’t visit Colombia often and then:

TD: And my brother married the Scotsman’s sister, but that was just to get residence. They never lived together.

Tut, tut.

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Nice hats


I must say I thought the Colombian Olympic Team

looked very smart in their uniforms today.


I particularly liked the team hat,

the iconic sombrero vueltiao,

perfect to wear under the blazing Coast sun,

and to use as a fan to create a little breeze

to keep away the mosquitos.

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Olympic News


Terrible embarrassment for someone at the Olympics today:

photos of the North Korean women footballers

were displayed beside the South Korean flag,

causing the match to begin over an hour late.


It’s as if they put the Venezuelan flag beside Colombians

my colleague commented.


Colombia lost 2-0.

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Learning to Live


I was at a party last week where a couple sung a beautiful song

by a Medellín singer songwriter called Héctor Ochoa Cárdenas.


It’s called Aprendiendo a Vivir (Learning to Live).


There’s no way I can translate it and keep its charm,

but I’m going to do my best with just one verse,

because I think it sums up a very Colombian attitude to life:


Life teaches us, and experience tells us,

that the past doesn’t exist and the future is uncertain;

that you can’t live on illusions or memories,

that the best thing is to live the present

and not turn back.


You can hear the whole song here and read the words here.

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Let those who have ears hear


You could easily feel that everything is fine in Colombia,

(the supermarkets are full of food, the transport system works)

but only if you were deliberately not paying attention.


Recently, a friend of mine was telling me

about a relative of hers who is very ill.

She has suffered a lot, my friend explains,

I think hunger has a lot to do with her being ill.


Hunger! Current illness casually ascribed to past illness!

When was the last time you heard someone do that?

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A Question of Identity


Yesterday I met a little boy.

Hallo, who are you? I asked.

Without a word, he pointed to his father.

Ah, you belong to him? I said.

He nodded proudly, then told me his name, and shook my hand.


It made me think about who I am,

and whether the first thing I say about me

is that I belong to my heavenly Father?

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7 things I saw today


(in chronological order)

1. A woman doing her make-up as she drove down the hill outside my flat.

2. A motorcyclist lying motionless on the road.

3. The cutest little girl solemnly waving goodbye to everyone

as her mum carried her off the bus.

4. Two men siphoning petrol from a motorbike.

5. Four blond foreigners on the metro.

6. A young man delicately rummaging through a rubbish bin.

7. Two men pushing a car up the same slope outside my house.

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