Always the very best way to understand Peace Corps history in a country is to turn to that country for perspective.  There may be conflicting opinions and that may be at the heart of the current controversy.  In 2009, then President Uribe wrote to Acting Peace Corps Director Jody Olson inviting the Peace Corps to return to Colombia.  His letter is a powerful testimony to the value of Peace Corps.  But years earlier, there was a popular movie in Colombia, entitled “El Rey”. The movie’s premise was that Peace Corps Volunteers had brought cocaine production and marketing to Colombia.  Peace Corps Online, published by RPCV Hugh Pickens, described the movie and the controversy. Here is the link to those articles: http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/467/2024372.html

Thanks to RPCV Bob Arias  for a copy of President Uribe’s letter.  Bob’s extraordinary Peace Corps resume includes work with Peace Corps Response over five years in various South and Central American countries.  He served in Colombia from 1964 to 1966.  He helped establish the foundation for the return of Peace Corps to Colombia.

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