My dad fled the country and left his business and all his assets never to return. My mom told his it wasn't worth his life, which it wasn't.
My dads business partner's wife was at the time was trying to install herself into the day to day operations and have more of a role in the business. He thought she was simply greedy and harmless. My dad now feels different about that because she was the only one that knew my dads schedule and where he was going to be that day.
She was also the only one that knew that her husband was going to be without his body guards that time of day.
My dad has lots of stories of Colombia and it's violence in the 90's, most of which was drug influenced.
It wasn't the media blowing anything up and exaggerating.
My parents loved Colombia and it's people though. It would be great now that it's safer so he can maybe visit the place he loved and worked most of his life.
Couple of hundred dollars to a teenage sicario in Escobar's time and you're gone.
I remember of this story that was posted on HN, a few months ago.
tl;dr woman becomes a paramilitary assassin killing political opponents, later she just becomes a contract killer
He remembers training a young man who was eager to learn the trade of a company my dad worked with. This must have been the 1980's. My dad thought he was genuinely interested in it. Soon after my dad left that company to start working on his own interests. A few years later the guy meets my dad somewhere and tells him how successful he is now all thanks to my dad taking a chance on him, not seeing him as a complete waste of time like others have and training him.
He invited my dad to his ranch and my dad took him up on the offer. It turned out he was now working for one of the cartels and making obscene amounts of money doing it. My dad did not maintain contact with this guy after, needless to say.
I am now speculating here now but I think my dad partner's wife wanted the business for nefarious purposes. Her husband had businesses in other Central American and North Caribbean countries and to someone trying to move contraband the nature of these businesses would have been extremely valuable.
I was blown away by how friendly and engaged the developers I met were. I can say unequivocally I have never had the audience burst out in spontaneous cheering and applause at the end of a technical talk with such enthusiasm as they did in Medellín.
The conference venue was a beautiful, modern building next to the botanical gardens. The coffee was both delicious and strong. But most of all, the people were whip-smart and hungry to make their dent in the world. I can’t say enough positive things about Colombia.
You can't say enough positive things about the small, elite privileged slice of Colombia that you interacted with. It's a bit disturbing that you appear to have no notion of how different the reality for the masses is in comparison to your own thin slice of experience. I'd be very careful before extrapolating.
Building view for reference:
It's worth noting that Alejandro Echeverri also teaches (edit: has taught) at Syracuse University.
It sounds like you experienced the lives of the privileged, mobile elite of Colombia. That's valid, as far as it goes, but any boosterism should be tempered with at least a mention of the countries massive inequality (sadly not that atypical for Latin America).
If someone posted about a positive experience at a tech conference in New York, I wouldn't expect to see a follow up reminding us about poor people in Tennessee.
CIA Gini coefficients:
US 47.0 (2014),
Colombia 53.5 (2012)
Ratio of the average income of the top 10% to the bottom 10%:
Granted, this is income not wealth inequality. And there are many ways of measuring it. I would like to know your source.
See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_distribut... for wealth ginis.
I'm sure there are lots of different measures that give lots of different results. My point was just that the US and Colombia aren't radically different in terms of economic inequality.
The goal is places like Denmark.
South America in general has serious inequality problems.
What if you take into account the non-linear value of money, though? This seems to be missing in most accounts of inequality.
When everyone's at the bottom, there's little wealth inequality
You say that as though boosterism has a negative effect on the non-mobile-elite of Columbia when I would think that any economic activity would be a boost for the whole economy there.
This is not always the case, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle-down_economics
The nature and landscapes are just incredible. You have rolling lush green hills with forests and lakes, snowy mountains, canyons and desert plains, the coffee regions, tropical forests and beaches.. You can even drive for just a few hours and see a few of these in a single day. It is truly wonderful and can't really be described, you just have to go there and see it for yourself.
The food in particular is really great. For instance, the sheer variety of fruits and vegetables on offer that I didn't even know existed before I went to Colombia is remarkable!
If you are considering going to Colombia, don't give it a second thought, just book your flights! I promise you will have an amazing time, and will be telling your friends the same when you get back :-)
Speaking of fruits, one of the problems there has to do with papayas. There's a Colombian phrase "no dar papaya" (do not give papaya) and it means that you shouldn't act foolishly because someone will "take your papaya", if you do. In fact, the second unwritten rule regarding papayas (aside from "don't give them") is that if someone offers it to you, you must accept. Essentially, it comes down to "take whatever opportunity will place you in an advantageous position". This is obviously bad on a societal level, in many ways.
That being said, it's still an undeniably beautiful place/people/culture/cuisine.
So if a voluptuous Colombian woman offers you some papayas, then yes, "you must accept".
Colombia is indeed wonderful, and to anyone wishing to travel there I suggest you get away from the big cities and check out the countryside. Some spots in Boyacá worth visiting are Paipa, Laguna de Tota, Duitama, and Villa de Leyva.
In retrospect I should have used a different term to differentiate people that are sharing smaller projects with liberal licenses from people who regularly write patches for the linux kernel.
Imagine you have lots of taxes, travel is restricted, and you have enough people with good work ethic that adapt to those conditions.
When those taxes disappear (plain extortion by paramilitary and guerrillas) and travel between cities is possible again (again roadblocks by paramilitary and guerrillas), then the good work ethic goes a long way.
Right now the paramilitary is no more, FARC is becoming a political party, we are getting immigrants from neighborhood countries and we are fixing more issues than we did before.
Now, there's something that bothers me and it is the science budget was cut by this government. No immediate repercussions, but very bad for long term development.
I like his Nobel Prize speech: La soledad de América Latina (The Solitude of Latin America) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzHWZKZXZwI (audio starts after a while, and captions are in available in English):
> Several themes Márquez addresses in his speech mirror those of his short stories and novels. Márquez touches on European colonialism, colonial legacies, deterritorialization of the Latin American culture, and he specifically addresses Latin American countries that have been affected negatively by foreign policy.
I wish I knew Spanish well enough to fully appreciate his literary style (currently struggling with "Vivir para contarla", his autobiography, looking up every 10th word!).
Anyway, there is a huge amount of excellent and diverse literature in my own language; other languages are a bonus.
There were a lot of tourists in Medellín. I do have to agree, people were very nice.
Highlight, I went to checkout an organic coffee farm outside of the city. One of the cowboys from the farm took my horseback riding through the hills. Very cool experience.
Definitely recommend Colombia for a unique vacation.
“The remarkable, inspiring story of Medellin”
Lots of colombian corporate giants where founded in the '40s in Medellín. Today, out of the 10 most valuable colombian companies, 6 are headquartered in Medellín. These companies (not in order) are Éxito (retail), Argos (concrete), EEPM (utilities), Sura (insurance), Nutresa (food) and Isa (utilities).
In conclusion the city was heavily industrialized before the cartel, but the drug war did indeed bring some money that got managed for good in later decades.
Acapulco in particular has grown immensely since its heyday in the 1950s. Its population within the city proper was 49k in 1960. Now it has grown to 708k. Wages are low; think $8/day in a hotel where guests pay $150/night. Moreover, foreign tourism is dwindling.
> I woke up many hours later not knowing where I was. I stayed in bed, without pillows or blankets, feeling queasy and resting for a half-hour, trying to figure out what happened. At that point, I didn’t remember the lady, but I soon realized that I was at home, even though it hardly resembled my apartment — because it was empty. Everything was gone: my computer, my guitar, my clothing, my jewelry, about $5,000 in pesos I had hidden under my mattress, even my shampoo. There was only the bare bed and a table.
> I went downstairs to the lobby. ‘‘What happened to my stuff?’’ I asked the doorman.
> ‘Your mom came with a man and took your things away,’’ he said. I told him that was impossible because my mom was hundreds of miles away in Barranquilla, my hometown. ‘‘Let’s look at the surveillance video,’’ he said, explaining that I brought the woman by the day before. I had recently told the doorman of my plans to move, so he assumed she was my mother helping me out.
> ‘That’s not your mom?’ he asked, standing at the video monitor and pointing to her, sounding alarmed. I still didn’t remember anything about the old woman, but then, after watching the video some more, it started to come back to me. I saw her haul my stuff out with the help of a middle-aged man, who had waited in the lobby. She was wearing one of my coats as well as an expensive pair of shoes (mine) made by a Colombian designer.
> Watching the video, I saw myself come in with the woman, smiling as if everything were normal, and then I did not appear again. A doctor who checked me out later said I was given a drug nicknamed burundanga, popularly used by criminals in Colombia. He said it could have been administered through the paper the lady handed me, or perhaps some kind of aerosol. Even though my memory was wiped clean, on the video I appeared to be my everyday self.
Just Google "devil's breath" or "Angel's Trumpet".
If what this article claims about Colombia today is true, then I'm very happy for the country and it's people.
It's on youtube, but it doesn't have subtitles