Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia
Having first cut my teeth in journalism working the news desk at an anglo newspaper in Costa Rica back in 2000, I am always impressed by those who decide to launch an enterprise of this type. So this week on Colombia Calling we sit down with the Bogota Post's director Emma Newbery and staffer Azzam Alkhadi to talk about this venture and how it has gone for them as they approach the 1 year anniversary of their launch. 
We discuss the rise of the internet, the death of the newspaper, their readership, aims and dream and of course, above all, Colombia. 
Tune in to find out why Newbery decided to plunge into an adventure of this type, why she is here in Colombia and where the Bogota Post will go from here. Learn about the machinations of a newspaper trying to bridge the gap between anglo and local news and make a success of it. 
Direct download: RCC-2015-02-23.mp3
Category:society and culture -- posted at: 11:59am EST

This week we head out to talk with Juan Carlos Caicedo, a US born Colombian, watershed management expert and ecologist to talk about some of the studies that he has conducted here in Bogota regarding the natural environment of this city. 
By studying the immensely popular Virrey Park and the flora and fauna found in this 2km stretch of green found in this dense city, Caicedo has charted 65 different species of birds, hundreds of insects and a whole variety of trees. His plan is to continue to do studies of this kind to better inform Bogotanos of the importance of environmental awareness. 
We talk about pollution, we talk about the city's growth, we talk about environmental policy, in fact, no stone is left unturned in this vivid conversation with a realistic, studied and well-travelled environmentalist. He's not here to shove doctrine down your throats, he's here to highlight and help us understand the needs of a city. 
Tune in for a fascinating discussion about an overlooked subject in Bogota. 
Direct download: RCC-2015-02-16.mp3
Category:society and culture -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

In today's show we get to explore a little more about the situation of scarcity of household goods in Venezuela. Last week it was condoms and so as a first on Colombia Calling we have launched a competition to find the best or most appropriate or most amusing name for the state funded condoms which President Maduro is promising to produce. 
After tackling this lightweight topic, we move on to the issue of tourism and being a tourism operator here in Colombia. This is based on jy own experiences operating a hotel here in the small town of Mompos. As we have the big tourism fair coming up in Bogota at the end of the month I am talking about what to expect and how to survive it and the difficulties we face in this industry in Colombia. 
And finally, in the last segment of the show I provide you with snippets from my interview with the infamous Christopher Kavanagh or "the Mick" who I interview with the aim of writing a story about him. Some of you may remember him as being the subject for the new novel "Mad Outta me Head" by Colin Post featured on this show some months ago. The Mick was imprinsoned in Colombia in 1986 for trying to smuggle cocaine bback to Ireland and he has remained in a legal limbo ever since. For the first time, I sit down with for a beer or seven and interview this legend of Bogota's underworld. 
Direct download: RCC-2015-02-09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:07pm EST

All too often perhaps we can allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the great lifestyle that one lives out here in Colombia and forget about the day to day realities of life. So, with this in mind we invited Briton Claire Austin back on to the show to talk about how it has been raising her son here in Bogota and finding out the reasons why, after just over three years, she will be returning to the UK. 

In a fresh and personal interview, Claire shares with us the trials of raising her son, her hopes and feelings about having to return home and indeed the issues raised by the UK government about trying to secure a visa for her husband Juan. Frankly, once you listen to the difficulties encountered by this young Anglo Colombian family. you'll immediately sympathise with Claire and Juan and their predicament which, I am sure you'll agree, is far from unique but all the same no less shocking. You can read more about Claire's experiences on her blog:

As a future parent, this show is of special significance to me as well and I find myself wondering if I want my son to be raised here, to attend school here and thinking about other issues such as healthcare. These are things which I took for granted back in the UK and now, they are very real considerations. 

Tune in for a fantastic interview about the culture of the family and the issues of raising a bilingual child in Colombia with Claire Austin.

Direct download: RCC-2015-02-02.mp3
Category:society and culture -- posted at: 3:16pm EST