The issue you have held in your hands is always special to us. As we move towards our fifth anniversary publishing Colombia’s only English-language newspaper what seemed like a far out idea has evolved into something very familiar for many. Every month we manage to craft words into stories and illustrate the beauty of this country with photos. Now we have gone digital with a platform which covers the same country, persons and ideas, yet reaches a global audience.

While writing is both discipline and profession, it is always a leap into the unknown where ideas need constant editing and what seems like an impossible task turns into reality at the press. To have interesting persons grace our front cover is a fitting tribute to the efforts our writers and photographers put in every month to make The City Paper what it is – a beautiful monthly publication, free to all who care to read it and growing steadily in circulation and reputation.

It would be fair to say that the years have presented formidable challenges. As we go out to get content, we see a country which opens up to new enterprise, is riding a valuable resource curve and hence seeing more foreigners come and stay. This is good news for The City Paper as we broaden our readership and remain the only English language newspaper around. Many of our core readers are grateful to find an English newspaper in a neighborhood restaurant, hotel lobby or museum.

We have learned that newcomers to the city are an infectious lot and their enthusiasm over Bogotá boils over in what we do. Despite some necessary criticism over the city’s delayed infrastructure, garbage crisis and insecurity, visitors are generally impressed that Bogotá makes the grade, with interesting exhibitions and world-class concerts. There is much out there that at times it is hard to cover all that needs to be covered. Even though there are times when one wants to throw in the towel with the traffic and rain, there is an overriding sense of optimism and that this country is moving forward. At The City Paper and, we want to do a good job in keeping you informed.

Colombia stands at a critical moment in its history, and we are privileged to witness these changes. The country regained its investment grade and President Santos instigated much needed reforms to taxation. While the FARC talk from Havana about truces and the need to “save the peace” the country must look at land and the state of its agriculture. The economy is overheating with mining and oil production, but there are vast areas of the country still under control of the guerillas. It was confirmed in the news that FARC commanders ‘Cano’ and ‘Mono Jojoy’ had amassed a property empire spanning much of Meta, Caquetá and Vichada departments while orchestrating their mass kidnappings.

While giving back land to displaced families is just, the Colombian government needs to focus on generating jobs and incentives to help small businesses grow. The lowering of interest rates to 3.75 percent by the country’s central bank, Banco de la República, is welcome, but doesn’t guarantee the easing of credit by retail banks.

As we embrace the cunning Year of the Snake, change will come. We will continue to print and cover online a country based on tolerance and journalistic freedoms. We will stay independent and influential. These are core values at the heart of the words we write.