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Uribe's Next Four Years

Monday, Oct. 23, 2006

In an Oct. 20 report, the International Crisis Group says the next four years for Colombian President Alvaro Uribe may be difficult:

As he begins his second four-year term, Uribe seems to be in a stronger position to tackle Colombia's long-standing problems: drug trafficking, the internal conflict, continued lack of security and poverty in rural areas, corruption, and social inequality. But appearances may be deceiving. His governing coalition is fractious, his popularity vulnerable to what a still powerful insurgency chooses to do. He has yet to define a comprehensive second-term strategy for peace and development that addresses these issues and puts a priority on bringing rural Colombia into the political, economic and social mainstream.

Those who have been with us since the early days may think these conclusions sound familiar. Here's what Anastasia Moloney wrote Aug. 20 in World Politics Review:

Uribe was re-elected because many of Colombia's 44 million citizens, particularly those living in urban areas, felt safer. His success is credited to overall improved security, including significant declines in kidnapping and crime rates that have paved the way for gradual economic growth.

But despite his popularity and large majority in Congress, Uribe faces colossal challenges during the next four years.

She went on to cite combating FARC, bringing justice to AUC victims and bringing economic development to Colombia's poor as Uribe's chief challenges. So, if you don't have time to digest the ICG's 19-page report, Moloney's analysis would be an excellent substitute.

We know it's unbecoming to sing our own praises, but we couldn't resist, especially since we're fans of ICG's work. A case in point: the lucid backgrounder they released today on the situation in Bangladesh. The executive summary is worth a read to keep up on the fragile situation in the world's third most populous Muslim country.