Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

Colombia peace process rattled by deadly guerrilla attack

| April 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JIM WYSS

The Colombian air force was ordered to resume bombing the country’s largest guerrilla group Wednesday after rebels ambushed an army patrol overnight, killing at least 11 and injuring 19.

The midnight attack was the deadliest since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and government negotiators began meeting in Havana in 2012 to hammer out a peace deal to end the half-century conflict, according to local analysts.

President Juan Manuel Santos accused the guerrillas of breaking their own unilateral cease-fire and attacking the soldiers unprovoked. Santos also said he was resuming aerial attacks on the guerrillas, which had been suspended since March, as part of a series of steps to reduce violence amid the negotiations.

On Wednesday, speaking from Havana, the FARC suggested they’d been forced into the action as a defensive measure.

“By all accounts this [attack] was caused by the government’s incoherence — ordering military operations against guerrillas that had ... Read More

Attack Roils Colombian Peace Talks

| April 16th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY SARA SCHAEFER MUÑOZ

BOGOTÁ—Colombia’s military moved to restart aerial bombing raids on rebel camps after Marxist guerrillas killed 11 soldiers in a rural attack, threatening peace talks the government had recently said could be completed this year.

The government blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for an attack with guns and grenades on an army platoon late Tuesday night. The rebels said government troops initiated the skirmish, which occurred in the Andean state of Cauca and injured at least 17 other soldiers.

The sudden escalation of hostilities seemed likely to undermine trust between negotiators who are now in Cuba trying to end a half century of conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.

President Juan Manuel Santos staked much of his presidency on the promise of ending the insurgency and yielding the economic dividend that would result from peace. He has come under great political pressure to crush the guerrillas militarily ... Read More

Una región que arropa la represión

| April 14th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
Felipe Trigos-01

La Séptima Cumbre de las Américas celebrada el pasado fin de semana en Panamá demostró de nueva cuenta la inhabilidad de superar la fascinación con el mito de la revolución cubana y la falta de comprensión sobre los daños que este movimiento trajo, no solo para Cuba, sino para toda la región.

Cuando líderes del hemisferio tienen la oportunidad de coincidir con Raúl o Fidel Castro en reuniones multilaterales, parecería que lo más importante en la agenda es rendir homenaje a los hermanos y aprovechar la oportunidad para la foto, quizás para no provocar la protesta clamorosa de izquierdistas que ven con ojos enamorados ‘la obra’ de los Castro, a pesar de 55 años donde se ha podido constatar la opresión, pobreza y sufrimiento que ha causado a millones que habitan la isla.

La Cumbre en Panamá, que se centraría en temas como la prosperidad y la equidad, acabó sirviendo de plataforma ... Read More

An ‘Obama doctrine’ fail: Cuba still won’t love us

| April 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
New York Post

The two men will cross paths at the Organization of American States’ seventh summit, a meeting of 35 Western hemisphere heads of state that kicks off today in Panama.

Cuba was finally invited to attend the two-day affair this year.

Because the Communist regime’s membership in the OAS has been suspended in 1962 (it only accepts democracies as members), and because in past years Washington insisted Cuba be banned from the summit, the island nation wasn’t being invited before.

But this year, the United States dropped its objections, and so Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama can be expected to hug it out like the bros they’re fast becoming.

It’s all part ... Read More

¿Puede Obama rescatar su fallida política exterior en Latinoamérica?

| April 9th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
Real Clear World-01

El presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, ha notado claramente que muchos en América Latina y el Caribe tienen una afinidad extraordinaria con el mito de la revolución cubana. Lo que aún no tiene claro es que la gran mayoría de los ciudadanos de la región preferiría vivir en el Chile construido por Augusto Pinochet que en la Cuba destruida por Fidel Castro.

Durante la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá Obama se encontrará con una región que ha perdido la estabilidad y la prosperidad desde que asistió a su primera cumbre en 2009. A pesar de que esperaba cosechar elogios por su acercamiento con La Habana, Obama recibirá en cambio un trato hostil por parte de varios líderes latinoamericanos, quienes encabezados por Nicolás Maduro de Venezuela y apoyados por Castro están determinados en diezmar la influencia que le queda a Washington en una región de suma importancia para la ... Read More

Can Obama Rescue His Failing Latin America Policy?

| April 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

U.S. President Barack Obama has clearly noticed that many in Latin America and the Caribbean have an uncanny affinity for the myth of the Cuban revolution. What he has yet to realize, however, is that the vast majority of the region’s citizens would rather live in the Chile built by Augusto Pinochet than in the Cuba destroyed by Fidel Castro.

As Obama travels to Panama this week for his third Summit of the Americas, he encounters a region that has lost stability and prosperity since the president first attended the summit in 2009. Although he hoped to harvest accolades for his rapprochement with Havana, Obama will instead be greeted by a coterie of hostile counterparts, led by Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and abetted by Castro, who are determined to sever Washington’s remaining influence in a hemisphere critical to U.S. prosperity and security.

To be fair, other OAS leaders insisted that Castro ... Read More

Mr. Obama’s opportunity in Panama

| April 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post By Editorial Board

PRESIDENT OBAMA’s move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba in December was supposed to improve political and economic conditions for average Cubans and remove an irritant in U.S. relations with other Latin American nations, which have been pushing to end the isolation of the Castro regime. Four months later — a short time, admittedly — there is no sign of those benefits. According to Cuban human rights groups, political detentions have increased: There were more than 600 in March alone. More than 50 long-term political prisoners are still being held. Several Cuban opposition leaders are banned from leaving the country, which means they cannot attend this week’s Summit of the Americas in Panama.

U.S. and Cuban officials have yet to agree on the terms for reopening embassies. But the Castro regime has nevertheless reaped some substantial gains. Raúl Castro will be welcomed to the Americas summit for the first time; Mr. Obama will shake his ... Read More

Obama’s Amateur-Hour Foreign Policy In The Americas

| April 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily

Terrorism: Seeking applause at a summit in Panama, President Obama vowed to swiftly remove Cuba as a state sponsor of terror. It just shows how his foreign policy runs — for political convenience, not national security.

As he headed off to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, President Obama tossed a tidbit for the region’s tyrants that’s expected to be a crowd-pleaser: A vow to quickly lift the State Department’s designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terror.

The move would let the communist dictatorship buy weapons from the U.S., gain dual-use technologies, end some financial sanctions and open Cuba to foreign aid.

And as for whether Cuba really was a state sponsor of terror and a threat to the U.S., well, that was secondary. Given the huge number of State Department political appointees, an independent assessment isn’t possible.

Pressure to lift the designation has come from the Cuban regime as a precondition ... Read More

La cumbre de las mentiras

| April 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
El Pais

POR MOISÉS NAÍM

La próxima semana va a tener lugar en Panamá una cumbre de jefes de Estado de las Américas. Allí ocurrirán una celebración y una confrontación. También se dirán muchas mentiras.

La celebración se debe a la normalización de las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba. Barack Obama y Raúl Castro se darán la mano, sellando así el inicio de una nueva fase entre ambos países. Esa foto quedará para la historia. Pero no será la única. También veremos la foto (o muchas fotos) del presidente Nicolás Maduro y sus aliados denunciando la sanción impuesta por Estados Unidos a Venezuela.

Mientras que la foto de Obama y Castro refleja lo que debería ser el futuro del hemisferio, la ópera bufa que será escenificada por el Gobierno de Venezuela reflejará su pasado. Un pasado en el cual los gobernantes utilizaban la mentira y la manipulación para confundir a incautos y engañar a ... Read More

Historic encounter: Obama, Raúl Castro to have ‘interaction’ at summit

| April 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield and Nora Gamez Torres

President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro briefly shook hands at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in 2013, and then chatted on the phone last December before announcing plans for renewed diplomatic relations.

Now, the big question is what type of encounter the leaders of once-hostile neighbors might have in Panama during the seventh Summit of the Americas next Friday and Saturday. Both will attend — a first in the history of the intra-regional summits that began in Miami in 1994.

“This opens the door for everyone,” José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, said in January. “We can now deal with matters together. It releases a lot of tensions and pressures.”

But there won’t be a full complement of regional leaders. Chile’s Michelle Bachelet will stay home as her country weathers a month of natural disasters, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa ... Read More

Andres Oppenheimer: Obama on defensive at summit

| April 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

Until a few weeks ago, it looked like next weekend’s Summit of the Americas in Panama would be a golden opportunity for President Barack Obama to seal his announced normalization of ties with Cuba, and remove a decades-long sore point in U.S.-Latin American relations. But with few days to go before the 34-country summit, Obama’s prospects of emerging a big winner look bleak.

Several developments in the past few weeks will put Obama on the defensive at the mega-summit, a rare occasion where the U.S. president will meet collectively with all his Western Hemisphere counterparts. Since the first of these meetings was held in Miami in 1994, they have taken place only every three or four years.

First, the March 9 Obama executive order denying U.S. visas and freezing U.S. assets of seven Venezuelan government figures accused of human rights abuses or public corruption has led Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ... Read More

Drug enforcement agents seize 1.5 tons of cocaine in Colombia

| April 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Drug enforcement agents seized 1.5 tons of cocaine bound for the United States, Panama, Mexico and Europe, and arrested eight suspects during an operation targeting the Clan Usuga gang, Colombian police said.

The cocaine was seized in operations conducted by drug enforcement agents with support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the northwestern province of Antioquia and the southwestern provinces of Nariño and Cauca, the National Police said.

Two Ecuadorian suspects were arrested in Guapi, a town in Cauca, while a Panamanian, a Dominican, two Nicaraguans and two Colombians were captured in Panama City, a police spokesman told Efe.

The Clan Usuga, which traces its roots to the paramilitary movement, accumulated cocaine at strategic locations on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts and later transported it in speedboats to fishing boats, the National Police said in a statement.

Drug enforcement agents seized 607 kilos ... Read More

No peace with impunity for Colombia

| April 1st, 2015 | No Comments »
New Internationalist

On 24 December 2014, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed his hope that the New Year could bring an end to his country’s 50-year-old internal conflict.

The negotiations between the central government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which have been taking place in Havana, Cuba, since August 2012 have now reached their final stages.

But while the government and the guerrillas’ delegations discuss the remaining items of the six-point agenda, the negotiations are faced with a dilemma that is far from being solved. How, and to what extent, should those culpable of the conflict’s atrocities pay for their crimes?

The answer has so far been cashed out in terms of transitional justice: the successful overcoming of a conflict may justify, and indeed require, more lenient punishments for those involved.

To put it very roughly, so long as those responsible for the ... Read More

Forget Brazil. This emerging market is on the rise

| March 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
CNBC-01

By Elizabeth MacBride

Brazil, an emerging-market darling just a couple years ago, is crumbling amid economic stagnation and political turmoil. But there’s a far brighter story—one most investors are missing—elsewhere in Latin America.

Four countries—Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile—three years ago formed a free-trade bloc called the Pacific Alliance. Tiny Costa Rica joined the club in 2013. Together, they’re a bigger economy than Brazil, and they’re expected to grow three or four times faster than their huge neighbor over the next few years.

Brazil’s $1.7 trillion economy contracted by 0.1 percent in 2014, according to Brazilian central bank data released Thursday, and it’s seen shrinking by 0.5 percent 2015. A corruption scandal at state-controlled Petrobras, the state-controlled petroleum giant, is expected to further hobble the country’s economy.

Pacific LatAm rising Country Population GDP past 5 years Predicted 2014/2015 Mexico 115 Million 1.90% 2.4%/3.5% Colombia 47 Million 4.20% 4.8%/4.5% Peru 30 Million 5.50% 3.6%/5.1% Chile 17 Million 4% 2.0%/3.3% Costa Rica 5 Million 3.10% 3.6%/3.6%

In contrast, the five Pacific Alliance members, with a collective GDP of $2.2 trillion, are expected to grow 3.3 percent in 2014, and 4 percent in 2015. ... Read More

US GENERAL TO SENATE: TERROR GROUPS BENEFITING FROM LATIN AMERICAN DRUG TRADE

| March 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
Breibart

WASHINGTON, DC — The Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is among the terrorist organizations that are benefiting from the illegal drug trade in Latin America, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command (Southcom), told lawmakers.

Illegal drug trafficking in Latin American generates at least “tens of millions” for Hezbollah, which uses the funds to fuel its operations in the Middle East, explained the Southcom general.

During a hearing this afternoon held by the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee, Ron Johnson (R-WI), the panel’s chairman, asked the general to comment on the nexus between drug traffickers and terrorist organizations in Latin America.

“Mr. Chairman certainly in a classified setting we can give you a lot more detail. Suffice it to say from open source, I think we know that in at least several occasions over the past decade and a half, terrorists have attempted ... Read More

Cleaning up Latin American democracy

| March 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

During the multitudinous demonstration against Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, in São Paulo on March 15th, a lunatic fringe chanted for a return to military rule. That was sad more than worrying. The rightists were shouted down. Their isolation served to underline how routine democracy has become in many Latin American countries in the third of a century or so since the generals returned to barracks.

That outcome was not inevitable. Compared with Europe or North America, democracy in Latin America must struggle against big obstacles, including poverty, gaping income inequality and corruption. Another is poor institutional design. Latin America combines directly elected presidents, as in the United States, with multiparty legislatures chosen by proportional representation, in the manner of many European parliamentary systems. The result has often been gridlock: weak governments have lacked majorities in legislatures unthreatened by dissolution, which induces consensus in parliamentary regimes.

These ... Read More

Colombian army nabs drug suspect wanted in U.S.

| March 25th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

A Colombian man wanted in the United States on drug trafficking charges was detained by soldiers near the border with Panama, Colombia’s army said Monday.

Special forces of the army’s Air Assault Division captured Juan Carlos Portela Noriega in Chigorodo, a town in the Uraba region. He is reputed to be a leader of the Clan Usuga gang, which operates in the area.

The U.S. government has requested that Portela be extradited for trial before a federal court in Texas, the Colombian army said.

Authorities in Colombia say Portela has connections to the Mexico-based Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels and that he has coordinated exports of cocaine and other banned substances.

The drugs were transported via speedboat to Panama, where they would be loaded onto cargo vessels bound for Central American, used by the Mexican cartels as a staging area for shipments to ... Read More

Colombia’s hunt for elusive drug lord Otoniel

| March 25th, 2015 | No Comments »
BBC

By Natalio Cosoy

Widescreen TV sets hooked up to satellite dishes, expensive drinks and perfumes – these are just some of the luxury items Colombian police have found in huts in the otherwise poor rural area of Uraba, in western Colombia.

The huts, and the luxury items inside, belong to Dairo Antonio Usuga David, better known as Otoniel, one of the most wanted men in Colombia.

Currently some 1,200 members of the security forces are chasing the elusive gang leader.

That is more than double the 500 who hunted Pablo Escobar, the drug lord who controlled the infamous cocaine cartel of the same name.

Crime syndicate

Otoniel runs the Usuga clan, a drug gang that has its powerbase in the Uraba region of Colombia, but whose network extends across the country and beyond.

Members of the gang have been arrested as far away as Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Peru and ... Read More

Colombia’s FARC says cease-fire in jeopardy

| March 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

The unilateral cease-fire Colombia’s FARC rebels have observed since December could be jeopardized by army attacks, guerrilla delegates to ongoing peace talks with the Bogota government said here Thursday.

“We see with great concern how, gradually, these attacks on guerrilla structures have been eroding the FARC’s determination to maintain an indefinite, unilateral cease-fire,” rebel chief negotiator Ivan Marquez said in Havana, the venue for the peace process.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Latin America’s oldest and largest guerrilla group, called on Colombian President Jose Manuel Santos “to do something” to preserve the cease-fire initiated by the FARC last December.

The cease-fire “is dissolving in practice, and it pains us to acknowledge it, because there have been so many attacks and operations targeting our positions that our people have been forced to respond,” the FARC’s deputy leader said.

Marquez said the FARC embarked on ... Read More

In Colombia, Drug Trafficking Will Outlast A Peace Deal

| March 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
Stratfor

As peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia progress, the focus of talks will inevitably turn to cocaine. The militants’ deep involvement in the production and smuggling of the drug will undoubtedly complicate the government’s ability to give leaders of the group, known as the FARC, amnesty from prosecution as part of any peace agreement. But even if the government and rebels come to accord on how to handle criminal charges, the flow of cocaine out of Colombia is unlikely to decline, even in the short term. Consistently high demand abroad and domestic factors in Colombia will keep some cocaine production and trafficking networks to the United States operating unabated, though minor shifts in drug export patterns are to be expected.

There are many reasons to be optimistic about progress toward a peace deal with the FARC in 2015. But the biggest possible ... Read More

Page 1 of 5512345»102030...Last »