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Colombia: peace dividend

Thursday, June 19, 2014


 

Challenger Oscar Zuluaga put up a good fight, forcing Colombia’s election into a second round.

But in the end, Colombians saw no reason to deny a second term to President Juan Manuel Santos.

Violence is down.

The economy is up.

Santos, re elected last week, has struggled to find a peaceful end to the country’s fifty-year old civil war.

On the other hand, he has made progress since starting negotiations, which would let the country’s biggest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, lay down its weapons and become a legitimate political party.

An economist, Santos won support from business leaders, who like his positive approach to globalization.

A populist, Santos in his victory speech said he would narrow the gap between rich and poor.

A diplomat, he pledged to maintain good relations with all countries, including ideological opponents Venezuela and Ecuador.

Few leaders can be all things to all people.

For now, Santos seems to doing it.