Some habits are hard to break -- for instance, tapping phones to spy on political opponents and journalists. In response to this new scandal, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's administration has secured resignations from two top security officials, but the affair has shaken the already-tarnished reputation of Colombia's government.

It's a tough predicament for a president still fighting allegations of too-cozy ties to right-wing paramilitaries, who battled leftist guerillas in a decades-long, just-cooled civil war. Whether the political fallout dampens a resurgent Colombian economy and the U.S.-traded companies that depend on it, such as FEMSA (NYSE:FMX), Cemex (NYSE:CX), or Bancolombia (NYSE:CIB), time will tell.

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At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had shares of FEMSA, but no position in any other company mentioned here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Cemex is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Fool rules are here.