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JINSA in Colombia, Days 2-5

March 4, 2012

The JINSA Leadership Visit to Colombia continues. Some of the meetings the JINSA delegation held since the last update were:

Jorge Bedoya, Deputy Minister of Defense, is seen at center with (left to right) JINSA Vice President Michael Nachman, Maj. Gen. James W. Parker, USA (ret.), JINSA Board Member Allen Hyman, Gen. James T. Hill, USA (ret.), and JINSA Board Member Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.

– The Directorate of Intelligence of National Police of Colombia (DIPOL)

– Major General Jose Javier Perez Mejia, Head of the Joint Chief of Staff, Colombian Armed Forces

– National Security Advisor Sergio Jaramillo Caro

– Deputy Minister of Defense Jorge Bedoya

– An incredible hour was spent in conversation with former president Alvaro Uribe, the architect and visionary of the plan that stabilized the country by taking the fight to the FARC and the narco-trafficking criminal gangs from 2002 to 2010. The security which resulted made possible incredible successes.

The JINSA delegation returned to the U.S. Embassy for an intense set of briefings by DEA officials and by officers of the 7th Special Forces Group who assist in the training of the Colombian military.

In Medellin, the JINSA delegation met with officials in the city government responsible for law enforcement and emergency response. Formerly the world’s most dangerous city, Medellin has made enormous strides

JINSA delegation with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (sixth from left).

in the reduction of major crimes. After the briefings, the group was shown the new intelligence coordination center where all aspects of emergency response is coordinated.

The JINSA group toured several sites around the city where the local and federal governments have made major investments in improving the lives of the city’s poorest residents.

In Santo Domingo, once known as the most dangerous neighborhood in all of Medellin, a 1.5 mile cable car system connects the residents, who live in a dense warren of illegally constructed homes running all the way to the top of the steep hill, to the commuter rail line at the bottom. What was once a 2.5 hour trip to jobs in the city below is now but a 40-minute commute for many of the residents.

In another part of the city, a poor hillside neighborhood was improved by the installation of a series of escalators. One resident told the JINSA group that the escalator system was “a miracle” that vastly

At the emergency response operations center for the city of Medellin, Colombia.

improved the quality of her life.

View from the cable car toward the neighborhood of Santo Domingo, Medellin.

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