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Obama in Colombia

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They looked normal so no one paid them any attention, says Juan Gossaín. But all the time he was in Cartagena for the Sixth Summit of the Americas (14-15 April), Obama wore bullet-proof clothes (except perhaps when he was in bed, wearing broad-sleeved, white pyjamas).

All his day clothes were lined with a special bullet-proof material, called Kevlar, made from a flexible and light fibre that allows him to walk normally. Specialists from the Secret Service carried out the work, giving his clothes this special inside lining.

He walked in his customary fast fashion, that won him admirers in Cartagena, but the lining explains why sometimes Obama’s clothes seemed too big for him or he seemed to have got fatter.

Gossaín says that at meal times Obama discretely put a small box on the table, which contained an anti-acid medication and also a powerful antidote, were he to be poisoned.

He ate nothing at the sumptuous meals. Indeed, the only meal he was known to have eaten properly was a big breakfast, American-style: jug of orange juice, coffee, scrambled eggs and bread.

Obama was, in fact, the first US president to have spent a night on Colombian soil. Franklin Delano Roosevelt got close to it: he passed a night  in an American frigate moored off Cartagena.

The Americans went in for their normal exccesses: they took over all 360 rooms of the Hilton Hotel; and the delegation consisted of 19 planes and 28 cars.

To read the full article, in Spanish, go to El Tiempo.com