Colombia glitters abroad amid grumpiness at home

By any yardstick, Colombia is poised for a stellar year. It’s expected to sign a peace deal that will end the hemisphere’s oldest civil conflict, have the re-gion’s strongest economy, and play host to high-profile visits from both Pope Francis and President Barack Obama. To top it off, it’s even in the running for an Oscar.

But talk to people on the street and the mood is de-cidedly sour. Pocketbooks have been strained by the twin woes of a devalued currency and nagging infla-tion. And an El Niño-related drought is threatening water and energy shortages.

In that sense, Colombia is likely to have both a ban-ner and a bummer of a year. And whichever senti-ment tips the balance could have deep repercussions for President Juan Manuel Santos.

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