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.