Posted by Patrick Burns on Sep 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Santos compares ‘Mono Jojoy’ to bin Laden

Colombia news - Santos in New York

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday compared the death of FARC leader “Mono Jojoy” to killing Osama bin Laden, and announced that the army found fourteen computers and 60 USB cards in the camp where the guerrilla was killed.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, Santos said “the important thing about this strike was that it was the heart, the headquarters of the FARC.”

“It’s as if I came here and told New Yorkers that Osama bin Laden had been struck down,” Santos said about the rebel leader’s death. “This is the beginning of the end of 40 years of war in Colombia.”

According to the president, the confiscated computers and USB cards will provide the military with valuable information about the guerrilla organization.

Santos stressed that the most recent blow against the FARC is the latest step in a decade-long progress.

From being a failed state just ten years ago, Colombia has come 180 degrees, said the country’s head of state. In his speech, Santos outlined the country’s recent accomplishments in fighting the FARC, ending impunity, addressing human rights, and normalizing relations with other countries in the region.

In a rising Latin America, “Colombia is exercising leadership” and re-establishing relations with Ecuador and Venezuela, Santos said. He explained that while he and Chavez are “very different – very, very different,” the two have managed to respect each other. “I must say that Mr. Chavez has delivered and relations are going on the correct path.” Citing the $7 billion in trade with the neighboring country, Santos said that “Venezuela realized, as we realized, it’s in their own interest, as it is in our interest, to have good relations.”

Following his speech, Santos met U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the U.N. summit in New York. According to Santos, this meeting was going to focus mainly on trade. “We are called a strategic partner … we hug each other … but no free trade agreement,” Santos said. The Colombian president said he was optimistic about the pending free trade agreement between the two countries, and that it would perhaps be ratified after the U.S. congressional elections in November.

Not only would free trade ease the flow of business, but it would also contribute to Colombia’s efforts to attract investors. “We want to be predictable,” Santos said.