Colombia has advanced from being a country in diplomatic isolation to a regional leader, President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday while on a mid-term tour through the country in defense of his administration’s policies.

“We have achieved to again play a very relevant role in the region where we were isolated, where we in some way were cornered,” Santos said while in the southwestern city of Pasto.

According to the president, Colombia has been able to climb the international stage thanks to advances in security matters.

“For too long, for decades, Colombia was seen as a country in trouble, a country people were afraid to go to, a country where foreign investment was avoided, a country where we were seen as the champions in kidnapping, champions in human rights violations, champions in crime and drug trafficking, where there were guerrillas and paramilitaries, and where people lived in desperation,” Santos said.

Two years into his term as president, Santos said “we have overcome a threshold that [now] allows us to change the agenda.”

“Today, where ever Colombia arrives, it puts its foot down and we are respected,” the president said.

From Colombia Reports