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President-elect Juan Manuel Santos inaugurated

August 7, 2010 - BOGOTA

Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos takes over from President Álvaro Uribe on Aug 7. In a sign he intends to mend fences with neighbors, he has invited Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to the inauguration. Ecuador President Rafael Correa is also expected. A former minister of defence, Santos shares some credit with his predecessor for reducing Colombia's Marxist and rightwing violence. Santos says he plans to capitalize on improved security by addressing problems such as poverty. Quito broke ties with Bogota following the raid that killed a top commander of the leftist guerrilla group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Caracas froze diplomatic ties with Bogota in 2009 after Colombia signed a military agreement that allows United States troops access to seven Colombian military bases

Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos takes over from President Álvaro Uribe on Aug 7. In a sign he intends to mend fences with neighbors, he has invited Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to the inauguration. Ecuador President Rafael Correa is also expected. A former minister of defence, Santos shares some credit with his predecessor for reducing Colombia's Marxist and rightwing violence. Santos says he plans to capitalize on improved security by addressing problems such as poverty. Quito broke ties with Bogota following the raid that killed a top commander of the leftist guerrilla group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Caracas froze diplomatic ties with Bogota in 2009 after Colombia signed a military agreement that allows United States troops access to seven Colombian military bases. Over the past eight years, the Government of Colombia has demobilized the rightist paramilitaries, the Autodefensas de Colombia (AUC). 'I can now have different priorities, and mine are not security. They are more to do with jobs and the fight against poverty,'; said the president-elect, explaining how he wants to differentiate his presidency from his predecessor's. 'We have the second highest unemployment rate in Latin America, poverty of roughly 45 per cent, extreme poverty of around 17 per cent. Those numbers are too high.'; Colombian authorities uncovered an alleged FARC plot to launch a terrorist attack in Bogota on Aug 7 during the inauguration. (Written Jul 2010). ;

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Date written/update: 2010-08-07