Housing Complex

Colombian Hearts: Tourism Promotion or Trade Agreement Promotion?


You've probably seen one by now.

Colombia is Passion, a Colombian branding campaign, has created 40  outdoor statues to be placed around Washington D.C., and later New York City.

At least two are standing in Adams Morgan. Movers dropped off several in Logan Circle, and Thomas Circle. And Dupont has sprouted at least one heart (that I know of.) Union Station visitors can also check out several larger sculptures.

Supposedly, the street exhibit  "tells the story of progress in Colombia, a vibrant country with the oldest democracy in Latin America. Those who still have misconceptions about Colombia will leave with a change of heart, having witnessed how Colombia has transformed in recent years," according to Colombia is Passion's press release.

But others would counter it's a kind of propaganda campaign to muster up support for the Colombia Free Trade agreement, which was passed by Colombia in 2007, but has never been approved by Congress.

Why else would these hearts be popping up in Washington D.C. during the beginning of the fall Congressional session?

"This isn’t about tourism, they’re being disingenuous," says Andrew Willis Garcés, who is part of a group called the Colombia Human Rights Network, a roughly two dozen-person coalition of Colombians and Colombian-Americans in D.C.

"It’s pretty clear that it’s linked to the trade deal," said a source with Public Citizen Global Trade Watch.

Anyway, it's protest time: An announcement circulated on "UNION CITY," a listserv, and is currently up on the AFL-CIO Washington DC Metro Council website about a rally planned for Tuesday:

MASS DEMO SET TO PROTEST COLOMBIAN UNION MURDERS: Local labor activists are hitting the streets on Capitol Hill next Tuesday to denounce the Colombian government’s involvement in the murders of workers and trade unionist in Colombia. “Colombia is still the most dangerous country to be a unionist,” says Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, which is co-sponsoring the demonstration.  “Colombian death squads have murdered nearly 2,700 workers trying to forms unions in the past two decades. We must remind members of Congress of the outrageous human rights violations that still occur in Colombia, especially to union members.” The protest is co-sponsored by the International Labor Rights Forum, Witness for Peace, the TransAfrica Forum, and DC's Colombia Human Rights Committee. Click here for more information. - photo: labor and human rights activists shut down traffic in front of the White House in June to protest the murders of Colombian trade unionists; photo by Adam Wright

  • Diego Pinzon


    you're right to ask if the tourism effort is somehow linked to the fact that the trade pact has languished in congress (thanks Pelosi!)

    however in an overly simplistic bow to the ultra liberal left and the union movement, you forgot to present the opposing view.

    Did you bother to do any research on the tourism campaign? did you bother to do any research on the trade pact and how democratic congressional leaders have done their best to bury it (all while stoking the fire by courting FARC and their moneyman Chavez)?

    if you did.. you may want to present that research in a more fully developed story as opposed to a number of short notes wondering why these statues are popping up in your town.

    Your article is nothing more than propaganda for the AFL-CIO and would have been left as as short byte on the AP event calendar.

  • Simon

    I just returned from a two-week vacation in Colombia. Had a great time. Beautiful scenery, good food, great music, lovely people in all senses of the word. My only fear is that this heart campaign will work, and tourists will go flooding into the area.

  • David Sedillo

    Hey Diego, what was she missing? Want to present your "opposing view"? Which Dems have courted the FARC? Oh, I also found this story via a Google Alert, but you might note that most random WCP readers, who don't work in the embassy, don't get the reference to a short byte and have never seen the AP event calendar.

  • http://www.tourismzones.com/ Leo

    trade agreements may have a fairly bright prospects. especially for the tourism industry in the future day.

  • Diego Pinzon


    i had a very nice response on friday evening, which has apparenlty not made it pass whatever moderator the CP has in place for such comments.

  • Diego Pinzon

    in short
    i'm in no way involved with the embassy-my coment on the AP calendear was a knock on the writer not pulling any info into the article, although i see she has now gone looking for another conspiracy.

    if you want to know more about the dems courting FARC, you only have to look as far as Pelosi who has hosted Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba (who in turn has been denounced as a Chavez stooge, who in turn is a known Farc supporter, defender and financier)

  • Pingback: Protest Against Colombian Hearts Starting Soon - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: Catching up on the news « Public Citizen

  • Pingback: Colombian Hearts Campaign Draws Signs, Protests, and Animal Hearts? - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: Arts Roundup: Middleton Moombahton Edition - Arts Desk - Washington City Paper