Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

Colombia kidnap: Farc agrees conditions for release

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Colombia’s Farc rebels have reached an agreement with the government over the conditions necessary for releasing an army general and four others.

Announcing the agreement in Havana, Cuban and Norwegian officials acting as mediators said the hostages would be released as soon as possible.

However, the details of the agreement were not released.

Peace talks between the two sides were suspended after the men were captured by the left-wing rebels at the weekend.

Ruben Dario Alzate is the first Colombian general to be abducted in 50 years of conflict.

The rebels said they seized the men because they were unhappy at the continuation of Colombian military activities during peace talks.

Farc negotiator Pablo Catatumbo had earlier called for a bilateral ceasefire.

President Juan Manuel Santos had demanded the men’s release before peace talks could resume.

Talks in doubt Cuban diplomat Rodolfo Benitez and Norwegian official Rita Sandberg confirmed the agreement in Havana on Thursday.

However, they gave no further indication ... Read More

Colombia, Rebels Agree on Steps to Free General

| November 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News


Countries assisting peace talks between Colombia’s government and leftist rebels said Wednesday night that an agreement has been reached to free a general whose capture jeopardized the negotiations.

A joint statement from Cuba and Norway said the two sides agreed “on the conditions for the release” of Colombian army Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate and four others taken captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in recent days.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos immediately celebrated the accord, saying in a statement that government peace negotiators would return to Havana as soon as all the prisoners were released.

“God bless, I’m thrilled,” Alzate’s wife, Claudia Farfan, told The Associated Press upon receiving the news. “I can’t wait for the moment to welcome my husband home.”

The brief statement by the international guarantors didn’t say when the captives would be let go or what the conditions are, saying only that the International Red Cross would play a ... Read More

Las FARC reconocen que el general Alzate está en su poder

| November 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01


La confesión de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) de que habían hecho «prisionero de guerra» al general Rubén Darío Alzate, a un soldado y una funcionaria que lo acompañaba, cayó como un jarro de agua fría entre los negociadores que desde hace dos años intentan firmar la paz con esta guerrilla en Cuba.

Aunque el secuestro se ha usado desde hace más de 50 años como método de financiación y presión política, en febrero de 2012, cuando se inició la fase exploratoria de los diálogos de La Habana, las FARC anunciaron la entrega de todos los secuestrados políticos que todavía tenía en su poder y, simultáneamente, la abolición del secuestro con fines financieros.

Reducción del 80%

Consciente de que el secuestro ha disminuido un 80%, el presidente Juan Manuel Santos fue enfático: los diálogos con las FARC se descongelan, siempre y cuando liberen al general de 55 años y a dos soldados que fueron ... Read More

Fate of peace talks in FARC hands: Colombian president

| November 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP

By Alina Dieste

Bogota (AFP) – The fate of Colombia’s peace talks is in the hands of the FARC rebels, the president has warned, after halting negotiations designed to end Latin America’s longest-running conflict.

The Marxist guerrillas are under increasing pressure at home and abroad to free a general whose kidnapping prompted President Juan Manuel Santos to stop the talks, throwing the most promising effort yet to end Colombia’s 50-year-old conflict into fresh crisis.

The two-year-old negotiations were derailed Sunday when General Ruben Alzate disappeared in a remote region on the Pacific coast in what the government denounced as a kidnapping by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

After an emergency meeting with top army brass, Santos called off the talks — which had been due to resume Monday in Cuba — and sent his defense minister to the isolated department of Choco to ... Read More

Colombia suspends peace talks with rebels after general abducted

| November 17th, 2014 | No Comments »

BOGOTA, Colombia –  Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has suspended peace talks with the South American nation’s largest rebel group after an army general was taken captive.

Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate was surveying a rural energy project along a remote river in western Colombia Sunday when he and two others were snatched by armed men. A soldier managed to flee in the group’s motor boat and reported that the captors were members of the 34th front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Colombian media reported that it’s the first time in a half-century of fighting that the guerrillas have taken an army general captive.

Calling the apparent abduction “totally unacceptable,” Santos said he had ordered government peace negotiators set to travel Monday to Cuba for the next round of talks to stay back until Alzate and the others — an army captain ... Read More

If Colombia’s guerrillas sign a peace deal, will the guns go silent?

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


Several weeks ago on the outskirts of the northwestern town of Montelíbano, a police caravan was ambushed. By the time the firefight was over, seven police officers were dead and another seven were wounded, making it the second most lethal attack on the armed forces this year.

However, what worried the authorities was who they claim was behind the attack: a joint assault by the 58th front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas and their sworn enemies, the Urabeños — the country’s largest criminal gang, also known as the Úsuga.

Government negotiators and the FARC have spent the last two years in Havana trying to hammer out a peace deal that would allow the 50-year-old guerrilla force to lay down its arms and re-enter society. The negotiations are taking place without a cease-fire, and attacks are frequent.

But the Sept. 16 ambush fueled skeptics’ worst fears: What if ... Read More

Farc son el tercer grupo terrorista más rico del mundo: Forbes

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Colombiano

Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), con 600 millones de dólares al año, son el tercer grupo terrorista más rico del mundo, según un ranquin publicado este miércoles por Forbes Israel.

El escalafón lo lidera el Estado Islámico con dos mil millones de dólares al año, escoltado por el movimiento islamista Hamás que según Forbes recauda mil millones de dólares.

Luego de las Farc, el grupo chií libanés Hizbulá, con 500 millones; los Talibán con 400 millones y Al Qaeda y sus afiliados con 150 millones, completan el listado.

Según la publicación, estos grupos financian sus operaciones con métodos similares a aquellos empleados por organizaciones criminales, tales como el tráfico de drogas, robos y extorsión, pero también logran dinero a través de la caridad, donaciones y en algunos casos, agencias gubernamentales.

Una organización terrorista, precisa, como cualquier otra, tiene un modelo de negocio y financiación de sus actividades: desde su mantenimiento, salarios y entrenamiento, a la adquisición de armas, ... Read More

Colombian indigenous court convicts Farc guerrillas

| November 11th, 2014 | No Comments »

An indigenous court in western Colombia has convicted seven left-wing Farc guerrillas over the murder of two leaders of the Nasa tribe.

Five were sentenced to between 40 and 60 years in jail and two others will receive 20 lashes.

The two victims had been removing posters praising a Farc leader when they were killed.

Indigenous authorities in Colombia have jurisdiction in their own territories unless this contravenes national law.

The verdict and sentences were decided after several hours of debate by an assembly of about 3,000 members from the indigenous reserve in the Cauca province town of Toribio.

Gabriel Pavi, leader of the Northern Cauca indigenous councils association, said the guerrillas were captured “in uniform and with rifles” and that “all are indigenous”.

The harshest sentence – 60 years in jail – was given to a man who confessed to killing the two native leaders.

Four other defendants received 40 years each for having “fired indiscriminately” ... Read More

Colombian Rebels’ Attacks Set Back Nation

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


CEDEÑO, Colombia—The recent blast was routine: Marxist rebels detonated dynamite remotely by cellphone along the Caño Limon oil pipeline, scorching the jungle as it blew up its target.

And once again, an economic lifeline for Colombia—a 480-mile pipeline that can carry 220,000 barrels of crude a day to a Caribbean port—closed for repairs.

“The guerrillas gave us advance notice, so I sent the kids home a bit early,” said Melida Wilches, a teacher at a school adjacent to pipeline mile-marker 79, where the blast occurred.

Over the past two years, attacks by rebels against Colombian pipelines have punctured a hole in the progress and the self-assuredness of one of Latin America’s most dynamic economies and raised questions about the outlook for Colombia as a reliable provider of crude to the U.S.

Following a boom by a sector that President Juan Manuel Santos had called an economic locomotive—when oil production doubled to one million ... Read More

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


The large electrical transformers bound for Mexico were the perfect place to hide cocaine. It was a matter of chemistry to dilute the drug into an oil mixture that could be concealed as coolant, a job handled by a Mexican engineer working discretely in a suburban warehouse near Buenos Aires.

The transformers carrying 2 tons of liquefied cocaine from Bolivia were loaded onto a cargo vessel at a Buenos Aires port and shipped out to sea. But investigators had been watching the operation and when the shipment arrived, an Argentine judge was on hand to insist on a test that, to the astonishment of authorities at one of Mexico’s most secure ports, revealed the drug.

The traffickers, Judge Sandra Arroyo said, had used “an ingenious and logistically novel method for the deception.”

The interception earlier this year called attention to a worrying trend in Argentina, the increasing use ... Read More

Republicans Should Signal Leadership, at Home and Abroad

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Roll Call

The 2014 midterm elections were a rejection of the policies of President Barack Obama. And the Republican takeover of the Senate is a repudiation of the gridlock in Congress symbolized by the bare-knuckles tactics of outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new Republican Senate leadership should move swiftly to seize the high ground and signal it is ready to do the peoples’ business. Quick action on several international issues — the Keystone XL pipeline, trade promotion authority and long-delayed ambassadorial nominations — are bipartisan actions that Republicans should put on the table even before they take over in January.

Although opinion polls show voters favor Republican positions on the economy, foreign policy and security, the party’s brand needs burnishing. As Obama hints at a more confrontational tone that could undermine any hope of making Washington work, Republicans can rise above Obama’s blame game by working with Democrats on tangible initiatives to bolster America’s ... Read More

US Sen Rubio sees new hope for Venezuela sanctions

| November 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio hopes Republican gains in midterm elections will breathe new life into efforts to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials who commit human rights abuses.

The Florida Republican is a sponsor of legislation targeting Venezuela’s socialist government that has been stalled since clearing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May with bipartisan support. Similar legislation, which instructs the Obama administration to freeze the U.S. assets of known abusers and commit more American funding to pro-democracy groups in the South American country, has already passed the U.S. House.

Speaking in Colombia’s capital a day after Republicans won control of the Senate, Rubio said Wednesday that he welcomes the Obama administration’s decision in July to impose a travel ban on more than 20 unidentified senior Venezuelan officials who played a role crushing anti-government demonstrations earlier this year. At least ... Read More

Las Naciones ‘Sumergidas’ de Latinoamérica

| November 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

Líderes políticos y diplomáticos de América Latina y el Caribe saben más sobre Cuba y Venezuela que incluso los observadores más astutos en Washington. Por lo tanto, deberían saber lo que le conviene más a su región ¿no?

Entonces, ¿por qué el Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe en la ONU le dio su apoyo a Venezuela para ser el próximo representante de la región ante el Consejo de Seguridad? Y, ¿por qué están determinados en invitar a el déspota cubano Raúl Castro a la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá en la primavera?; haciendo caso omiso de las objeciones por parte de sus socios comerciales más importantes, como Estados Unidos y Canadá.

Para muchas generaciones de latinoamericanos, Cuba fue el hogar de algunas de las mejores editoriales de lengua española en el mundo, cientos de periódicos y estaciones de radio de calidad, derechos laborales progresistas, altos niveles de alfabetización y ... Read More

Latin America’s ‘submerging nations’

| November 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

The political leaders and diplomats of Latin America and the Caribbean know more about Cuba and Venezuela than even the keenest observers in Washington. So, they should know better, right?

Then why did the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean at the UN designate Venezuela to take the region’s non-permanent Security Council seat?

And, why are they determined to invite Cuban despot Raúl Castro to the Summit of the Americas in Panama next spring, ignoring the objections of the leaders of the consequential trade partners in the United States and Canada?

For generations of Latin Americans, Cuba was home to some of the world’s best Spanish-language publishing houses, hundreds of quality newspapers and radio stations, progressive labor rights, the region’s highest rates of literacy and nutrition, and a robust middle class.

Then came the Castro revolution. Although some may have been caught up ... Read More

Colombians Jailed in Venezuela for $15 Grocery Run

| November 1st, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By Joshua Goodman

A $15 grocery run has cost two single mothers from Colombia 48 days in jail, along with the threat of a 14-year prison sentence, as a result of a crackdown on smuggling in Venezuela that is ratcheting up tensions and highlighting growing economic distortions between the neighbors.

Jenifer Rojas and Belsy Alvarez were arrested in early September by Venezuela’s national guard walking out of a supermarket in the western city of San Cristobal with bags of rice, pasta, mayonnaise and other staples whose prices are capped in Venezuela and whose sale is restricted to the country’s residents.

Along with the cashier who rang up their purchases, they face charges of smuggling and violating the socialist government’s new law of fair prices, whose penalties include 10 to 14 years in jail.

The Colombian women were let out on parole late Friday while they await trial and must now appear in court every ... Read More

Colombia peace talks enter ‘toad swallowing’ phase

| October 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Nick Miroff

With every incremental advance in the peace negotiations between Colombian government negotiators and FARC rebel commanders, President Juan Manuel Santos faces an increasingly unpalatable spectacle — the Bogota equivalent of the “Satan sandwich.”

The armistice talks have been taking place in Cuba for nearly two years, and for the process to advance, more and more FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commanders are being flown to Havana to participate and take a personal stake in the outcome.

But that means Santos must guarantee safe passage to Cuba for the same rebel leaders whom government forces have been battling in Colombia’s jungles. Notorious FARC commanders who haven’t been seen in years are suddenly showing up on Colombian TV reports wearing sunglasses and guayaberas in Havana.

Santos’s political opponents have seized on this, saying the FARC is using the talks to allow its top figures to escape capture. Some of the president’s rivals have ... Read More

Colombia leader seeks Europe’s help for ‘last chance’ peace

| October 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By Philippe Zygel

Bogota (AFP) – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says he hopes Europe can provide funds to help him strike a “last chance” deal with leftist guerrillas after half a century of conflict.

During a lightning tour of six countries in five days next week, Santos will lobby for the creation of a European fund for the post-conflict period, should his government clinch a historic deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

“It’s the oldest conflict in the Western world,” Santos told AFP in an interview at the presidential palace in Bogota — his first with an international news agency since his re-election in June.

“If we manage to secure peace, it will have an impact far beyond Colombia’s borders.”

The center-right leader is expected to discuss gains made in nearly two years of peace ... Read More

As Colombia pursues peace, victims of the conflict struggle with forgiveness

| October 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

POPAYAN, Colombia - Gloria was 10 years old when armed rebels burst into her home at night, forced her father to his knees and shot him twice in the back of the head as the family watched. The guerrillas never said why. When she was 14, the men returned. Four of them raped her.

Now 20, Gloria (whose real name is not being used to protect her safety) is putting her life back together in the colonial town of Popayán, about an eight-hour bus ride from her troubled Andean village.

Far from family members and friends, Gloria says she harbors no hatred toward the men who shattered her life.

“In the middle of it all,” she says, “something good came out of it.”

Colombia is, perhaps, closer than ever to signing a peace deal that would put an end to a half-century-old conflict that has left at least 220,000 dead and forced some ... Read More

Colombia police arrest Venezuelan troops after illegal border crossing

| October 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
Colombia Reports

By Craig Corbett

Five members of the Venezuelan military were arrested on Sunday morning after illegally crossing into Colombia.

The armed troops allegedly crossed into La Parada in North East Colombia by mistake, and were attempting to return to Venezuela when they were stopped and arrested by Colombian police.

Local police had been notified by concerned locals, who witnessed the truck containing armed Venezuelan troops crossing the border via the Simon Bolivar International bridge.

Representatives from Colombia migration authorities said the five Venezuelans “entered Colombian territory without realizing that had crossed the border, at a time when conducting an inspection in the town of Ureña in Venezuela.”

The troops were escorted to migration authorities in Cucuta. Police and government authorities were met by Venezuelan representatives to discuss the issue, and to negotiate the troop’s release.

Venezuelan authorities released a statement saying that “thanks to the timely intervention of the Colombian law enforcement a problem was avoided and delivery ... Read More

Pacific Rubiales Gains on Pact With for Mexican Ventures

| October 18th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Andrew Willis

Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. (PREC) signed an agreement with Petroleos Mexicanos to study oil and natural gas ventures as Mexico opens its energy sector to private investment for the first time in 76 years.

The Bogota- and Toronto-listed company entered into a three-year arrangement with state-owned Pemex to analyze potential projects including deep-water and onshore heavy oil ventures, Pacific Rubiales said today in a statement. The shares fell 1.7 percent to 29,200 pesos at the close of trading in Bogota after earlier surging as much as 7.9 percent.

“We expect Mexico will be a significant driver of future growth for Pacific Rubiales,” Chief Executive Officer Ronald Pantin said in the statement.

The former Petroleos de Venezuela SA executive is looking to Mexico’s energy liberalization for diversification as production growth slows at the company’s Colombian fields. Pacific Rubiales has more than $1 billion ready to invest in ... Read More

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