Colombia Rising

Photograph by Christopher Morris for TIME—VII for TIME

Colombian renaissance A new, ultramodern library in the low-income area of Santo Domingo overlooks Medellín

Juan Manuel Santos, a leader known for a shrewd sense of political timing, is checking his watch as he sits down with TIME journalists at the Casa de Nariño palace in Bogotá. Colombia's President isn't being rude; it's just that any minute now, 250 km to the south, Marxist guerrillas will release their last 10 military and police hostages. Santos knows the images — like the stirring picture of army sergeant Luis Alfredo Moreno, wrapped in a Colombian flag and pumping his fist skyward after being held 14 years in the jungle — will speak more powerfully than he...

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