Bill Clinton, Colombian Muse


Photo: Everett Bogue

Proving that he’s the perfect centerpiece for any type of event, Bill Clinton headlined a cocktail party given by the government of Colombia and promoting tourism there, held at the Villard Houses Friday. (Why him? “For believing in our country and encouraging others to do the same,” according to the invite.) Even better than Clinton’s mere presence, though, was what attendees received in their gift bags: a CD by Los Niños Vallenatos del Turco Gil — apparently the Menudo of the Colombian countryside — praising Clinton.

Our favorite tracks, at least judging by their titles, are “Homenaje a Clinton” (Homage to Clinton) and “Bill Clinton: Buen Amigo” (Bill Clinton: Good Friend), in which the warbling young boys sing of “un hombre de progreso para su pueblo / un hombre de paz para el mundo.” (That’s “a man of progress for his town / a man of peace for the world.”) The boys once visited Clinton while he was in the White House, and they now consider him, according to another lyric, “nuestro muchacho compadre,” or “our dear friend.” They’re sure that “los americanos lo aprecian por su talento” (“Americans appreciate Clinton for his talents”), and for no particular reason they’re searching for the former president’s family. (“Hillary!
Chelsea! Donde están?”). Will Clinton soon pick up his sax and join the young singers? We’ll never know: After receiving the Colombia is Passion award, he spoke for ten minutes and quietly left. —Rebecca Milzoff

Bill Clinton, Colombian Muse