Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. He'll be recording his activities and impressions on our blog throughout the trip. Click here to read Part III.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. Click here to read his second entry.
Yesterday was consumed by flights (DC to Houston, Houston to Bogota, Bogota to Cartagena) and long delays at the airports in between. This provided plenty of time to occupy the mind with reading.
A "complex security and humanitarian crisis.” That’s how Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) described the situation for Latin America's refugees and displaced people at Tuesday’s panel discussion, Refugees, Displacement, and Hemispheric Stability in Latin America, on Capitol Hill.
A quick and comprehensive resolution to Panama’s most acute refugee crisis is imminently achievable. Unfortunately, that’s been the case for over a decade.
More than ten years ago, targeted violence drove more than 800 rural Colombians from their homes, and over the border into Panama. Panama allowed these families to remain in the Darien jungle under a Temporary Humanitarian Protection protocol, but did not allow them to work or travel freely throughout the rest of the country.
You're easily fooled upon arrival in Bogotá. You think, "This is it. This is Colombia." At over 9,000 feet above sea level and average temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, Colombia's capital enjoys an "eternal spring" year round. After a few days in the hospitable climate of Bogotá, I couldn't help but think: "I hope the rest of the country is like this."
The next day I found that such is not the case. For two years now, record-breaking rains have produced the worst flooding in 80 years throughout much of the country.
This week, the Washington Post published a poll showing that the U.S. Congress has set a new record for disapproval. A whopping 84 percent of Americans do not approve of the way Congress is doing its job. Media coverage of the House and Senate highlights the brinksmanship and polarized politicking that seems to surround every piece of legislation – and now, even routine nominations and confirmations.
Happy New Year, from all of us at Refugees International! Before we start tackling the challenges of 2012 – and there will be many – we bring you a brief wrap-up of all things RI from the year gone by.
First, "RI in 2011: By the Numbers":