Critics of U.S. ties to Colombia built a satirical website mocking Colombia’s efforts to change the country’s perception in Washington.
The website, built by “Colombians, Colombian-Americans and allies,” is a reaction to the campaign the Colombian embassy in D.C. started to portray Colombia as a holiday destination and investment possibility.
The embassy planted some forty hearts across the city to show D.C. residents a different Colombia than the one known for its drug trafficking, leftist rebels and human rights violations.
According to U.S. network Bloomberg, the campaign cost US$800,000 and is funded by the Colombian government and wealthy associations like that of flower and coffee growers who hope to benefit from a free trade agreement with the U.S.
According to the activists, Colombia’s “PR offensive purports to be about tourism, but is in fact designed to push Congress to drop its opposition to the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”
In response, the critics started their countercampaign “to market exploitation opportunities and luxuriously abusive vacation packages to US taxpayers, who provide the South American nation with over $500 million annually in US aid.”
Both campaigns met on D.C.’s Union Square where the Colombia’s campaign offers free coffee and gives away flowers and activists organize street theater.