With campaign ads flooding the airwaves in the frantic push for the finish line, you’d be forgiven for missing the crop of “visit Colombia” commercials swirling like a bambuco dancer through your television set. These commercials, which are part of the Colombian government’s Country Image Campaign, trot out scenes from Colombia’s Technicolor heartlands—lush green fronds, lithe topless children, colorful marketplaces and sunshine, lots and lots of sunshine—to the sounds of a narrator doing his best Gabriel García Marquez impersonation. He proceeds to tell you that Colombia is “a place where the rivers wanted to be an ocean” and that you should, well, disregard all the bad stuff you’ve heard about Colombia of late. All those guerillas and narcogangsters and disgraced free-trade lobbyists be damned. In Colombia, the voice says, “the only risk is wanting to stay.” Guess they didn’t ask this guy.

Julia Ioffe is a freelance writer based in New York City.