Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, in his year-end speech on Thursday, asked the country to unite to overcome the humanitarian crisis caused by excessive rainfall that killed over 300 Colombians in 2010.
According to Santos, 2010 has been a successful year regarding national security and foreign relations, but the rainy season is calling for unity.
“We need to unite. We need to grow as a nation to emerge from this crisis stronger,” Santos said from the town of San Estanislao in the Bolivar department, one of the regions most affected by the floods.
The president admitted that the government is not able to attend to the humanitarian crisis alone and asked each political party, several NGOs, labor unions, and Colombians in general to allow the victims of floods and landslides return to “normality,” a process which “will not be easy or short.”
“My dream is that, emerging from this tragedy, we shape an even better Colombia than the one we have. But we will only achieve this if we work together,” said Santos, who stressed that the government’s priority for 2011 is to overcome the destruction caused by the weather.
Desite the tragedy caused by the weather, Colombia is doing well, said Santos.
“We’re doing well and with the help of everyone we will continue to do well.”
The president stressed the blows dealt to the illegal armed groups active in the country and that crime in 2010 was lower than the year before.
“It suffices to recall that, thanks to the work of our security forces, we took out a symbol of terror in Colombia, the FARC‘s military commander ‘Mono Jojoy,’ and the head of one of the worst gangs in the country, the killer of killers, alias ‘Cuchillo,'” said Santos.
The Presdent asked Colombians to remain vigilant and keep “fighting the violent and the criminals” to protect the population.