Constitutional Court Denies Mr. Uribe a Third Term

Yesterday the Constitutional Court ruled that the referendum to allow Mr. Uribe a third term as President  was conducted improperly and the enabling law was stricken. This means that Mr. Uribe will not be a candidate for the presidency in the upcoming elections.

Mr. Uribe´s response was a clear indication of his commitment to the rule of law. He stated that he accepts and respects the decision of the court. He then spoke at length on the importance of the rule of law. I think this is a proud moment for Colombia and an indication that the country is moving in the right direction.

In addition, he sets an example for other democracies in the region and especially for our neighbors in Venezuela. Long live Colombia, long live the rule of law!

Check out the English coverage in El Colombiano´s Global Newsroom blog on February 26th.

Sixth International Classical Music Season in Medellin

The Metropolitan Theater is announcing the 6th International Classical Music Season here in Medellin. Events will start on 04 March at 20:00 with a harp concert by Emmanuel Ceysson. Mr. Ceysson will perform works by C.F.E. Bach, Louis Spohr, Carlos Salzedo, Eliott Carter, Marcel Tournier, Gabriel Fauré, and Ekaterina Walter-Kühne.

Ticket prices are $COP 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000. At today’s exchange rate this corresponds to $US 10.30, 15.45 and 20.60. Tickets for most of this seasons concerts will fall in the same price range.  There is a 50% discount for students. People affiliated with Comfama or who use the Tarjeta Intelecto are eligible for a 20% discount. Anyway you cut it this is a great deal!

I will make occasional announcements on A Medellin Chronicle regarding upcoming  concerts. Otherwise please visit the Metropolitan Theater Web site at this link.

Hope to see you there…



Rainy Season On Its Way?

The last few days have been quite humid and we have had a few showers. I see on the satellite imagery that the rains are moving into the southern departments of Colombia. It is beginning to look like we may start to get some significant rain in a few weeks, el Niño and all. I have my fingers crossed.

25/02/10: More rain yesterday afternoon making the evening cool and pleasant. The patio is still damp so it may have rained duirng the night. Very welcome!

Detecting Counterfeit Bills

One form of crime that is easy to fall victim to is receiving counterfeit bills. This generally does not involve losing large amounts of money as the largest bill in circulation is COP$ 50,000 and this is worth about US$ 26.00 at today’s exchange rate (TRM). It is however very embarrassing to try to buy something with such a bill and be told it is no good!

The Bank of the Republic has a web site that shows each of the bills in circulation and text that explains the anti-counterfeiting features. This site can be accessed through this link. Once you are at the bank´s site just click on a link to a bill, for example, billete de 50.000 and an image of the bill is displayed. Hovering the cursor over the text to the right brings up the information on each of the measures.

The text is in Spanish. I may try to provide a translation of this information at some point in the future. Stay tuned…

Quetzalcoatl ?

This figure is showing up in several places around Medellin. Does anyone know its significance? It also would be nice to know who the artist is. I have seen a signature of Lopez near one occurence but I am not sure if this is the artist and if it is who Lopez may be.

The image on the right was made on Calle 61 near Carrera 49.

The image to the left was found on Barranquilla (Calle 67) near the Hospital Metro Station. It is part of a panel of images painted on a wall built for the Metro Plus Project. There are politically  significant images related to the US and a king or emperor- like figure without cloths.  This  site is near the University of Antioquia and I strongly suspect this may have influenced the choice of images.

I have seen this figure portrayed as outline drawings at two location on Giradot. One just north of Ayacucho and another further south. I would be interested in knowing about others.

Cable Arvi Gets Heavy Use

  

The Cable Arvi system between Medellin and Piedras Blancas is getting heavy use during its first two weeks of commercial service. This photo was taken about 1700 on Saturday afternoon (20/02/2010). The system says it is transporting 5000 to 6000 people per day on weekends. 

Folks in this photo look less than enthused but this is due to a wait of about an hour to board the cable. Comments are all positive and people take a lot of pride in Medellin´s very modern transportation components. 

People love this system!

Judicial Growing Pains

Recently Colombia made the shift from strictly Napoleonic Law to a system of “innocent until proven guilty.” This reform was included in the new constitution created in 2002. After 8 years the system is experiencing growing pains. An article published in El Colombiano today quotes the Minister of the Interior, Fabio Valencia, as saying that the new system frustrates the government´s efforts to bring dangerous delinquents to justice due to incorrect application or interpretation of the law.

The implementation of the new legal system created a clear distinction between the prosecutorial and judicial functions. What it did not do is provide  funding for the prosecutors to conduct adequate investigations in a timely manner. Per this article, in the US a prosecutor may have 20 investigators as assistants while in Bogota or Medellin a prosecutor may have 800 to a 1000 cases and a single assistant. This leads to delays and mistakes which force judges to set accused parties free on technicalities.

I greatly admire the Colombian judicial reform effort and wish the country the very best. Based on what I have seen in the US there will always be complaints that the system lets criminals escape justice too frequently. That how ever appears to me to be superior to forcing the accused to shoulder the burden of proof.

Great Streaming Jazz 88.3

Jazz 88.3 is not a Medellin station but it sounds great where ever you are. Actually it is out of San Diego, California my home town. Take a listen,  and don´t be afraid to make a contribution…
http://www.jazz88.org/listen.php#

Wines in Colombia

Ok. I´m not a great expert on wines but I do drink a bottle or two a week. Here in Medellin one can find a fairly good selection of wines, with those produced in Chile being dominant in the market. Compared to California they tend to be expensive. Most that I would consider range between 18,000 pesos and 30,000 pesos. This comes out to around $US 9.00 to 15.00 based on an exchange rate of 2000 pesos per dollar. They also tend to be toward the bottom of the overall price range.  These represent day-to-day consumption material. I am still far from knowing the full story even here.  

Many are in the 30,000 to 80,000 peso range (15 dollars to 40 dollars) per bottle.  This puts them beyond the grasp of most Colombians but fits fairly well into a middle class budget, at least for occasional use.

As time goes by I plan to make comments about the various wines I try here.

Major Show of Francisco Antonio Cano’s Work

The Museo de Antioquia is hosting major show of Francisco Antonio Cano’s work.

http://www.museodeantioquia.org.co/

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