Monday, January 19, 2009

Obamania in Colombia



Barack Obama: Obamania in Colombia

"Obamania" has hit hard here in Colombia. Certainly not as hard though as the economy seems to be there in the United States, though. I just learned that Circuit City and a few other large chain stores have now closed. What is happening there?

When President-elect Obama dropped and broke his Blackberry the other day, it was front page news here in Colombia! Can you imagine!

President Obama and Administration Policies
Here in Colombia, two of the most pertenent questions on the minds of Colombians are:

1. What will be the Obama administration's approach to the TLC or Latin American Free Trade Agreement with Colombia?

Much of the fallout from this - positive or negative, will directly affect the more than 13 million Afro-Colombians at virtually all economic and social levels. Colombia remains one of the countries "blaclisted" by economic / financial and "money-laundering" regulations of the US. For example, you cannot use PayPal, Clickbank or WorldPay or most other money/payment receipt services to recieve payments for internet or online services here. Running an internet-based business in Colombia is next to impossible because you can't "get paid" from customers in other countries. If you want to buy a house, property or small business here in Colombia with U.S. funds, it's extremely difficult since bank transfers are horrendously expensive and can cost up to 50% of the transaction amount or are fire-walled at 10,000 USD. Western Union, which is permitted here, is also highly cost-prohibitive. The US dollar is strong and steadily growing stronger here after a significant plunge in recent past months.

2. How will President Obama's administration deal with the Narco-trafficking situation between Colombia, Mexico and the US - and how will the new policies impact the immigration of Latinos (Colombians) to and from the US?

Currently up to 10,000 applicants go through the US Embassy in Bogota's doors EACH DAY - that's right up to ten thousand people each day. I just witnessed this in part for myself last week as Doris and I were at the embassy in Bogota to renew her American tourist visa.It was a "slow" day as only about 3000 people went through that day according to the two embassy officials I spoke with. Even so, it was an impressive sight to see triple lines of people a block long starting at 6:30 or 7:00 am with appointments for visa interviews. Up to 90% are turned down flat for one reason or another. Doris got her visa renewal however since I was there and provided support documents to assist her application, plus we were strictly honest and properly prepared for the proceedings.

Preparations for the first African-American presidential inauguration seem massive, it's certainly going to be a truly historic, media event. I'll try to watch as much of it as possible on CNN in English here. How about you?


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries worldwide. Get your FREE, pdf format report on CD or via e-mail, "If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com


1 comment:

Eric Roth said...

Wow!

Your short report provided three pieces of information to me: 10,000 Columbians seek a U.S. visa daily; Columbians can't use Paypal or Clickbank; and numerous institutions are closed for Obama's inauguration. Amazing.

Obama seems to have captured the world's imagination. Naturally, many United States citizens are very excited about this peaceful transfer of power. Obama's style and substance seem to point to a smarter, saner, and healthier leadership.