Juan Manual Santos was sworn into office as the new President of Colombia, after garnering 69% of the country’s popular vote. Santos was the country’s former defense minister before being elected President when the eight-year term of President Alvaro Uribe ended.
In his inauguration speech Santos outlined the goals of his Presidency on international and domestic issues. He reached out to the left-wing rebels, FARC, that are in their 46th year of insurgency, stating he is open to a dialogue with them if they renounce all forms of violence.
Santos is also making international relations with Venezuela and Ecuador a priority. In spite of recent tensions, the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa was present as was the Foreign Minister of Venezuela.
President Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela has broken off all diplomatic ties with his Latin America neighbor after being accused of harboring Colombian FARC guerrillas, something he vehemently denies. Ecuador also severed ties with Colombia when Colombian troops crossed the border into Ecuador as it conducted raids of FARC strong holds.