Spotlight: President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia

BFP Magazine

Transforming the Colombian economy

Spotlight: President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia

By Karina Robinson, The Banker

Friday, September 7, 2007

BOGOTÁ: President Álvaro Uribe is widely credited with transforming the Colombian economy, bringing greater security and fostering one of the most welcoming business environments in Latin America. But many people know him only as a wagging finger - an index finger, to be exact.

As he shook his finger at me during a recent interview - a gesture so associated with him that it was used as the symbol of his re-election campaign - I comforted myself with the knowledge that I was in good company. All his ministers have been thus scolded in front of the Colombian people during his weekly, daylong Communal Councils, broadcast live on national television.

Uribe has kept his approval rating at around 70 percent, an astonishing record for any politician in his second term and fifth year in power. It is even more of an accomplishment in Colombia, a country where "magical realism" - the literary style exemplified by the Colombian-born novelist Gabriel García Márquez - also seems to apply on the ground.

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