Colombia’s Semana’s Santos Comes to Washington

Last reminder:

On Friday, October 16 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) and The Newspaper Guild-CWA will present the inaugural bestowal of the Charles A. Perlik Jr. Award for Excellence in the Field of Print Journalism Throughout Latin America, to Mr. Alejandro Santos Rubino, director of Semana Magazine. Larry Birns, COHA Director, and Ricardo Gjivoje, a COHA Senior Research Fellow as well as former Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, together with Bernard Lunzer of the Newspaper Guild-CWA, represented by Melissa Nelson (the Director of Collective Bargaining), will host the award ceremony. Please join the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, The Newspaper Guild-CWA, Larry Birns, Ricardo Gjivoje, Melissa Nelson and our distinguished guests in the conference room in COHA’s Connecticut Ave. headquarters.

COHA for a long time has been looking for an opportunity to commend Mr. Santos and the management, editors, and staff of Semana which, since its founding in 1982, has been devoted to promoting justice, democratic rule, public rectitude and elsewhere constructive engagement among members of Colombia’s civic society as well as and in the hemisphere. The award will be accepted by Mr. Santos, the current director of Semana and a highly regarded, award-winning Colombian journalist. Under the leadership of Mr. Santos, Semana has helped shape the profile of Colombian society and its political life, as well as strengthen the nation’s ethical backbone, during a particularly turbulent period in his nation’s history, during which over 136 Colombian journalists have been assassinated.

In addition to accepting the award, Mr. Santos offer give a presentation on some of the most ambitious, venturesome, even dangerous topics which were covered by Semana’s investigative journalists, lead by Mr. Santos. An impartial and highly-respected voice in the intensely political nation, Semana has consistently published groundbreaking exposés on the sometimes murky, sometimes laudable activities of Colombian authorities. Mr. Santos particularly will focus on Semana’s exposé on the illegal wiretapping of politicians, journalists, and magistrates conducted by the DAS (the Colombian intelligence agency), in order to pass this information on for a fee to drug traffickers, paramilitaries and guerrillas. This report by Semana subsequently rocked the Colombian Government and has not only had national, but international consequences for the government because it brought to light the infiltration of a series of political mafias which had penetrated this extremely important government agency because the normal function of this body was designed to guarantee security to the people of Colombia. In his Friday address at COHA, Mr. Santos is expected to present important details about the DAS case, as well as the consequences that these revelations have had on the stability of the Colombian government.

In being the director of the most important opinion and analysis publication in Colombia, presumably in all of Latin America, Alejandro Santos will touch on several other important themes that are currently being witnessed in Colombia and the region. One of the topics that he is expected to address will be recent developments in the country’s approaching 2010 presidential elections. Mr. Santos is scheduled to give details of Semana’s recent articles on the nature of Colombia’s electorate, how popular is President Alvaro Uribe after seven years in office, and the political environment that Colombia is now experiencing with the imminent election for the third time of President Uribe, as well as the consequences of that event in the region.

After his presentation, Mr. Santos will open the floor to questions.

The award ceremony and presentation by Mr. Santos will be held Friday, October 16 at 10 a.m. in the conference room of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs office, located at Suite 1C Conference Room, 1250 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20036. The event will last approximately an hour, followed by a reception.
We hope to have your presence to honor Semana and Mr. Santos.

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