In the face of a string of leftist successes in the Andes, with radical-populists elected in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, the Right can boast one spectacular triumph. Medellín, the most conservative city in Colombia, the continent’s most conservative country, has been undergoing a dramatic boom for the past few years. Levels of high-rise construction now surpass those of Los Angeles and New York combined. Since 2002, the profusion of apartment towers, luxury hotels, supermarkets and shopping malls has been breathtaking. The country’s largest conglomerates and over seventy foreign enterprises now have their Colombian headquarters in Medellín, among them Phillip Morris, Kimberly Clark, Levi Strauss, Renault, Toyota and Mitsubishi. A 30,000 square-foot convention centre opened in 2005, and over a dozen international conferences have been held there annually, generating more than $100 million in investment and business deals. Medellín’s fashion industry is at present second only to São Paulo’s; its medical sector is a Latin American leader in organ transplants, aids and cancer research. An upscale museum-park complex in the city centre, replacing the old outdoor market and red-light district, houses the work of world-renowned Medellín artist, Fernando Botero, with his sculptures featured in an open-air setting.
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- Mauricio Velásquez: The Battle of Bogotá In a high-stakes election, South America’s most ruthless recent embodiment of reaction, Álvaro Uribe, lost his bid to install a minion in the presidential palace and pursue the extermination of guerrilla forces in Colombia. Mauricio Velásquez analyses the electoral victory of Uribe’s one-time confederate Santos, and the prospects for civil peace in its wake.