The lighter side of Colombian current events!

When it comes to current events in Colombia, the hard-hitting and leading news pursued by the media is rarely positive.  The problems here can still be quite severe, however, the nation is far less troubled than it was even 5 years ago. But as we experience more of this beautiful nation, it becomes apparent that daily life here maintains the same familiar values that are threaded throughout humanity…and more importantly Colombians not only love to have a good time, but they know how to have a good time!  So in order to shy away from some of the more negative perceptions the world might have towards Colombia, here is a look at some of the more upbeat newsworthy topics sweeping the nation.

*The northern, historical port city of Cartegena is currently hosting it’s 3rd annual Festival Internacional de Musica.  The festival is unlike any other music fesival in latin America as it’s focus is primarily by and for those with a keen appreciation for classically arranged pieces.  The week-long festival sees virtuoso musicians from all over the world converging on the city to participate in concerts, conferences, lectures and workshops.  The roster of guest artists include The London Symphony Orchestra, and individuals from the United States, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain and Chile.  Among the foreign performers are also scores of Colombian musicians, from young to old, and all brimming with talent.

All of the various aspects of the festival are being held at venues city-wide.  Colombians can also catch special television broadcasts or tune into one of the many affiliates of the Colombian University’s Radio Network.

*International Colombian pop phenomenon, Shakira, is slated to perform alongside many other big-name acts at free concert in Washington DC this weekend.  The concert is part of a series of festivites celebrating the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama.

According to the BMI index, Shakira has sold over 60 million albums worldwide.  She is the highest-grossing artist in Colombia and is reported to be coming out with a new album later this year.  She has also been named “Humanitarian of the Year” by People en Español.

*Colombia’s 3rd largest city, Cali, has just wrapped up its 51st Feria de Cali.  It is also a music festival but since Cali is the salsa capital of Colombia, if not the world, the scene of the festival is heavily steeped with variations of this one particular genre of music and dance.  The most renowned salsa steppers, along with hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Cali every year to participate and do what Cali does best.

*The Colombian summer month of January seems to be one non-stop party.  If planned accordingly, one could fiesta hop all over the country.  The last big bash of the month also takes place in the north in the city of Sincelejo.  It is essentially a religious gathering but the main event that has since been popularized is it’s “correleja”.  The correja is a temporary bullring that hosts daily shows of men going head-to-head with the bulls.  Although in this case the bull fighters are only using small prickers instead of swords-a practice that has been keeping with the tradition of the northern coast for centuries.

*With less than one week in his 8 year presidential term, US President George W. Bush awards Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Uribe, as he is more simply known throughout Colombia, was chosen alongside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.  Although the medal itself is known as “the highest civilian award”, these three world leaders were known to be among Bush’s most faithful allies.