COLOMBIA: On the Cliff

For almost three years Colombia's silver-haired Mariano Ospina Pérez has walked some of the steepest political cliffs in Latin America. Not once have his judgment, his courage and his silken poise failed him. A Conservative who reached the presidency because of a split in the Liberal Party, he has had to govern with a Liberal majority in the Congress and with a coalition cabinet. Ospina brushed off diehard Conservative pressure to crush the opposition by high-handed use of his powers. Last year, when enraged followers of assassinated Liberal Chieftain Jorge Eliécer Gaitan sacked his capital, Ospina refused Liberal demands...

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