Business, Finance & Economics

Santos scolds Europe: get your house in order


Europe's debt crisis is a major bummer, seriously.



Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos has really been pounding the pulpit lately.

The other day, he threatened the newly appointed leader of the FARC, suggesting that he'd die the same way that his predecessor did earlier this month — in a government bombardment — if he kept fighting.

And then on Monday, he took Europe to task, scolding them for being unable to institute the austerity measures that Latin America had to endure during its own crisis years earlier. 

Santos was in London to promote trade and investment in Colombia.

But he couldn't help but draw comparisons to the debt crisis Latin America went through in the 1970s and 80s. Santos said he was concerned that industrialized countries weren't "capable" of making the right decisions to escaple the crisis, according to Reuters.

And then:

Asked what those decisions were, Santos said: "The same decisions that those same countries told us in Latin America to take a few years ago. Exactly the same ones."

He added: "Now the world has changed. Now we are saying 'Put your house in order because your disorder is affecting us.'"


Santos has a fair point, though. When Latin America was in a liquidity crunch, there was a lot of clucking from the West. The International Monetary Fund stepped in.

Now, Santos suggested, it was time for Europe to take a dose of its own medicine.

Colombia's pretty insulated though, like the rest of Latin America, from the euro zone crisis. Their financial systems are strong and low debt, this time.

He also offered a little plug for Colombia, which he said would grow by more than 5.5 percent this year, largely escape the euro zone debt crisis, and has plenty of room for talented professionals who speak Spanish and want a new start.

If I'm a Spanish businessman and I have idle capacity...for me the most interesting thing would be to go to Colombia, where this capacity is needed, and invest there," he said.

Spain's unemployment rate is at 21 percent — the highest in Europe. It's led a lot of educated Spaniards to seek work elsewhere, maybe in a Spanish-speaking country...

Either way, it's interesting to see Santos speaking out in this way, echoing the sentiments of Brazil's Rousseff, another regional leader, as they watch Europe and the US circle the drain. Talk about a new world order.