Booklist | No Lost Causes – WSJ.com

Maybe you can call Alvaro Uribe the Mitt Romney of Latin America–a political leader who turned around a country that faced the following challenges:

The country he inherited, upon his election, was a perfect hell. Various paramilitary groups and Marxist terrorist organizations, pre-eminent among them FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), controlled half of the country’s territory, often aided by Colombia’s left-wing neighbors, Venezuela and Ecuador. Every year, an average of 28,000 Colombians were killed and 3,000 kidnapped, usually to coerce a ransom. Drug traffickers generated $3 billion annually. Unemployment was close to 16%.

Insights into his personal approach are unique:

What is most interesting about “No Lost Causes,” Mr. Uribe’s engaging memoir, isn’t so much the narrative of his achievements but the insight he offers into his own character and the life experiences that created it. (Mr. Uribe has recently been nominated to be a director of News Corp., the owner of The Wall Street Journal.) The simplistic interpretation is that Mr. Uribe sought to avenge the murder of his father, killed by FARC in 1983. But his suffering wasn’t so strikingly dissimilar to that of tens of thousands of other Colombians whose lives had been altered by two decades of civil war (in the 1940s and 1950s) and decades of drug-related violence and Marxist terrorism. Just after his father’s murder Mr. Uribe served on a peace commission charged with exploring an end to the horror through dialogue.

via Book Review: No Lost Causes – WSJ.com.

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3 thoughts on “Booklist | No Lost Causes – WSJ.com

  1. Ankit Lohani says:

    Reading the article it becomes apparent, that even in politics, that it is very important to have simple goals and the drive to do almost anything to make that happen.

    Uribe talks about “channeling his emotions” and sending the military to foreign territory to take out the rebel commander. Apparently, it becomes clear, that according to him it is totally legitimate to eliminate some radicals who disagree with you for the benefit of a larger population.

    This brings in a question. Can you be anti “anti life” all the time. According to the article, NO.

  2. claytonconley says:

    It is truly amazing the things that Alvaro Uribe Velez was able to accomplish. It’s interesting to note that he didn’t focus his autobiography on his accomplishments, but rather it allowed insight into the character of a man who did so much for democracy in Columbia. So what are the traits of such a leader? His meticulous discipline learned while growing up on a farm helped him to complete tasks formerly thought of as too much work; his self-control he employed when dealing with left wing marxist; his patriotism to Columbia and a hope for a better tomorrow – all of these traits truly served to improve the democratic condition of Columbia. So long as men like the former President Velez are around, democracy will be preserved.

  3. Matthew Merrill says:

    The title of Mr. Uribe’s book immediately caught my attention. Does anyone remember the movie Mr. Smith goes to Washington? In it he says that sometimes lost causes are the ones most worth fighting for. In Mr. Uribe’s case, I would say this is true. With the explosion of paramilitary and terrorist groups around the globe, the fact that Mr. Uribe could take such a disciplined approach to promoting the ideals of democracy is truly admirable. Additionally, I believe that Mr. Uribe could be a model, as Angola is in Africa, for rooting out corruption and unhealthy practices in South American nations. However, to be effective, future leaders need a mix of poise, dignity, self-control, and discipline, and commitment to democratic ideals such as Mr. Uribe had.

    This article explains some of Mr. Uribe’s involvement in global affairs after finishing his term as president of Colombia.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/news-corp-alvaro-uribe_n_1965730.html

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