The international accolades just keep coming for Colombia as 2016 winds down – fresh from being named Lonely’s Planet’s No. 2 pick for travel in 2017, the latest positive news for the once no-go country is that The Economist, an English weekly news magazine and one of the world’s most respected media outlets, has named Colombia their “country of the year” for 2016. You can read the full ‘Country of the Year’ article on the Economist website.
The award is given to the country that the publication deems the most improved over the course of the year. As the article points out, “to win The Economist’s country of the year award, it is not enough to be peaceful and rich” (otherwise you’d assume that most Nordic countries would have the award locked down annually). The Economist notes that previous winners Myanmar and Tunisia were rewarded “for escaping tyranny and building something resembling democracy,” and that countries like Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand “need not apply.” Estonia, Iceland and Taiwan are all mentioned in the build up to crowning the champion for 2016: Colombia.
So why has this august publication gone with our beloved adopted homeland for this award? According to The Economist the reason is simple: the “colossal achievement” of “making peace in 2016.” From a country on the brink of being a failed state, to one which has successfully negotiated an end to a 52 year war which claimed the lives of over 220,000 people. It’s not been a bad year for Colombia really! As the article points out, the deal is certainly “incomplete and involves ugly compromises.” However, as they also note: “the alternative is worse.”
So congratulations to Colombia, The Economist’s ‘Country of the Year 2016.’ For our money, a worthy winner.