Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

Farc rebels accused of committing horrific crimes ‘with impunity’

| July 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani in Bogotá

Last year, two teenage girls and a young woman vanished in an area dominated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) – the Marxist rebel group locked in peace talks with the government to end halt a century of insurgency.

The guerrillas killed all three and refused to hand over their bodies or disclose their whereabouts, according to the victims’ families.

“I always feel sick, really sick. I cannot sleep, thinking about whether it’s true that they raped her, that they tied her up, and that they killed other people in front of her,” said a relative of one of the girls. “Could it be true that they did all this, without me being able to do anything? I want them to return her to me, or to know the truth.”

Human Rights Watch says the guerrillas are committing such abuses “with impunity” ... Read More

Santos advierte a las FARC de que los ataques ponen en riesgo el proceso de paz

| July 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
El Pais

POR ELIZABETH REYES L.

A solo ocho días de iniciar su segundo mandato, el presidente Juan Manuel Santos, que ha apostado su carrera política a firmar la paz con la guerrilla de las FARC, salió al paso de quienes pedían una posición más fuerte frente a los recientes ataques que ha perpetrado ese grupo subversivo contra la infraestructura petrolera y energética. “Están jugando con candela y este proceso puede terminar”, fue la advertencia del mandatario al grupo guerrillero que en mayo cumplió 50 años de existencia.

Para el Gobierno no ha sido fácil afrontar la negociación con la guerrilla en medio del conflicto. El propio Santos lo ha reconocido en varias ocasiones. “Yo sabía desde el inicio que iba a ser muy difícil y ha sido difícil y seguirá siendo difícil”, le dijo a EL PAÍS en una entrevista tras ser reelegido. Sin embargo, ahora advierte de que no se puede seguir “indefinidamente” ... Read More

Colombia president says ‘demented’ FARC attacks could end peace talks

| July 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

(Reuters) – Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos warned on Tuesday that continuing attacks perpetrated by leftist FARC guerrillas, many of which target infrastructure, could bring an end to peace negotiations with the government.

The threat was made weeks after Santos’ successful re-election campaign, which made much of agreements he had reached with the rebels on more than half the agenda for peace talks that he initiated in late 2012 to end a half-century of war.

“What we are saying to them is, keep this up and you are playing with fire and this (peace) process can end,” Santos said at an industrial event.

He referred to infrastructure attacks, including a major one this week on an electricity pylon that cut power to Buenaventura, with more than a quarter of a million people the largest city on Colombia’s Pacific coast .

“It’s something demented … They are ... Read More

Oficiales Venezolanos tienen Nexos con Narcotraficantes Colombianos

| July 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

Por WILLIAM NEUMAN

[Traducción por IASW]

El jefe de la inteligencia militar de Venezuela estaba en la nómina de un capo de la droga colombiano, invirtió su propio dinero en los envíos de drogas y coordinó personalmente el envío de miles de kilos de cocaína, de acuerdo con fiscales de Miami y Nueva York.

El representante de Interpol en Venezuela, por su parte, aceptó cientos de miles de dólares en sobornos de otro traficante, comentaron los fiscales de Miami.

Tres acusaciones federales que fueron hechas públicas la semana pasada abren una ventana para comprender los lazos entre militares venezolanos, funcionarios encargados de hacer cumplir la ley y narcotraficantes colombianos. Esta conexión, que funcionarios en Washington han advertido desde hace mucho tiempo ha sido rotundamente rechazada por las autoridades venezolanas.

Los casos salieron a la luz después de que la semana pasada autoridades de Aruba arrestaron al ex jefe de inteligencia militar, Hugo Carvajal, a petición ... Read More

Japanese PM opens LatAm tour with Mexico energy deals

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

By Leticia Pineda

Mexico City (AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe struck a series of energy deals with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the start of a five-country Latin American tour.

Abe, whose visit to the region comes on the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s, met Pena Nieto at the presidential palace for talks that ended with the signing of a raft of deals.

The new agreements included one between Mexican state oil firm Pemex and Japan’s development bank, and another between Pemex and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.

With Japan on the lookout for new power sources after the Fukushima disaster forced the shutdown of its nuclear reactors, energy is high on the prime minister’s agenda for the trip.

Mexico is undergoing sweeping changes in its energy sector, with Congress poised to end struggling Pemex’s 75-year monopoly ... Read More

Netherlands Says Venezuelan Detained in Aruba Has Immunity

| July 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JUAN FORERO And DAN MOLINSKI CARACAS—Authorities in Aruba on Sunday freed a powerful former Venezuelan general, wanted by the U.S. on drug-trafficking charges, from jail on the Caribbean island after a ruling that he is protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity.

Hugo Carvajal, who had headed the Venezuelan military-intelligence service and had been named consul general in Aruba, was escorted to the airport and flew to Venezuela on Sunday night.

His release comes four days after Aruban authorities had detained him at the airport on an American warrant, generating angry accusations from Venezuela’s government that Mr. Carvajal had been “kidnapped” and warnings that tiny Aruba would suffer economic consequences for cooperating with the U.S.

“We were ready to do whatever it took to defend the dignity and honor of Venezuela,” President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday night, hailing Mr. Carvajal’s release as a diplomatic victory for the South American country.

“We rescued him through the political, diplomatic operation ... Read More

Unmasking the Venezuelan ‘narcostate’: The Case of Hugo Carvajal

| July 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

[Ed. Note: This week, retired Venezuelan Gen. Hugo Carvajal was detained in Aruba at the request of U.S. authorities.  Carvajal was the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence (DGIM) and a close confidante of the late Hugo Chávez. In 2008, he was designated by U.S Treasury as a “drug kingpin” for his ties to the Colombian narco-terrorist FARC.  That year also, the highly respected Colombian magazine Semana published an exposé of Carvajal that reported on his criminal associations with the FARC. The following article was translated by IASW.]

Hugo Carvajal: Hugo Chávez’s “Montesinos”

Semana Reveals the Scandalous Ties between Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal, the FARC, and Drug Traffickers

Semana magazine (Bogotá)

February 2, 2008

There are very few people who have the luxury of having Hugo Chávez’s ear. Of that select group, one of the closest, most loyal, and who Chavez trusts the most is General Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios: the brains of Venezuelan intelligence.

The ... Read More

NORIEGA: La inseguridad de Centro América intensifica la crisis en la frontera sur de Estados Unidos

| July 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

La oleada de inmigrantes ilegales en la frontera suroeste de los Estados Unidos,  hizo sonar la alarma para el Presidente y el Congreso e impulsar una misión de rescate internacional para enfrentar a criminales, narcotraficantes y pandilleros que amenazan la seguridad de EE.UU., junto con las vidas y sustento de millones de centroamericanos.

El presidente Obama ha solicitado $3.7 mil millones en fondos de emergencia para hacer frente a la afluencia de inmigrantes ilegales a lo largo de la frontera de Estados Unidos con México. A pesar de que la suma es considerable, es evidente que los programas que están siendo ejecutados y planificados por la administración son medidas provisionales. Estas medidas no hacen nada para hacer frente al causante del problema a largo plazo: la creciente criminalidad  y la corrupción en Centroamérica, que en su mayoría son alimentadas por el tráfico ilegal de drogas provocado por la demanda de los ... Read More

Colombia Oil Auction Disappoints

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY DAN MOLINSKI

Colombia announced disappointing results Wednesday from its first oil auction in two years, which sought to attract investment dollars from major foreign oil companies that have the money and the know-how to explore offshore and to dig through shale.

Latin America’s fourth-largest oil producer drew investment commitments totaling $1.4 billion, well short of the $2.6 billion the government said it was hoping for. Of the 95 oil blocks spread out over 50 million acres that were up for bid, 26 of them, or 27%, received offers, compared with expectations for a 40% success rate.

While the total investment dollars didn’t achieve the government’s target, the submitted offers did include a few big names, including those in a bid for the “Colombia Block 4″ area in the Caribbean Sea. A temporary joint venture among Exxon Mobil XOM +0.19%Corp, Norway’s Statoil STL.OS -0.16% and Spain’s Repsol REP.MC +2.14% made the only bid for that block.

Colombia pumps about one million barrels a day of ... Read More

Why Colombia makes a nice alternative to Brazil

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Market Watch

By Peter Kohli

In my previous column on Chile, I explained why I was looking at opportunities in South America that were neither Brazil-focused nor ETFs based on the Andean Exchange. Today I’m going to look Colombia and why looking past the obvious could make for some good investing in this country.

I’m approaching the picks based on specific sectors which I think will do well on their own, namely consumer goods, finance and infrastructure.

Colombia has gone through its political and economic turnaround, and it now offers a very good macroeconomic story. For me, it’s a particularly auspicious sign that the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, won re-election, thereby giving foreign investors more comfort and the country more stability, to say nothing of the fact that he, unlike his opponent, is committed to ending 50 years of rebel conflict in the country.

Colombia’s economy grew 5.9% last year, according to ... Read More

Juan Manuel Santos: Colombia is ripe for investment

| July 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was in Miami on Monday, prospecting for foreign investment as his country puts an era of drug violence and guerrilla conflict behind it.

Santos came to Miami with three key members of his economic team — Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas, Luis Fernando Andrade, president of the National Infrastructure Agency, and Clemente del Valle, president of the National Development Finance Co. — to take part in a private Goldman Sachs investor conference on Colombia at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Making his first U.S. trip since winning reelection on June 15, Santos noted at a later news conference that “practically half the country is ripe for investment.” He said Colombia had a very ambitious development agenda that added up to investment opportunities of $26 billion. Santos will be sworn in to a new four-year term on August 7.

As Colombia’s political environment has stabilized, economic growth has increased. ... Read More

Citizens’ security is Latin America’s biggest problem

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

PEDRO RODRÍGUEZ, head of Nicaragua’s youth-affairs police, grabs the shoulder of 17-year-old Axel Matus and gives it a shake. “He was one of our worst cases,” he says. In most of Latin America, a youth with Axel’s background—gangs, drugs, knife-fights, joblessness—would cringe at such attention from a burly police commander. But Axel stands bolt upright and admits: “My life was utter chaos.”

Not any more. Axel now attends the Juvenile Affairs police headquarters in Managua, where he is given free meals and tuition every day. Besides subjects like maths and English, he is learning how to be a barber (his blade skills now applied with scissors). Hundreds of troubled kids voluntarily study with him, and the police chief knows most of them by name. They are neatly dressed and ooze self-esteem.

Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the ... Read More

The Ongoing Expansion of Organized Crime in the Americas

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

Eroding the power, control and influence of violent transnational extremist organizations in this Hemisphere, over the last decade, has been at best a near total failure.

Attributable to this assessment of much more than the intense human carnage, manifested by record breaking murder rates, is the reality of near collapse of societies, instability and ineffective/ungoverned regions, and remaining vulnerable populations – demonstrated most graphically in Central America.

The world’s highest murder rates go to number one Honduras and number three El Salvador, both in Central America. Farther to the south, Venezuela holds the number two position.  And in Argentina violent deaths among youth are at a ten-year high.

Yet there are officials who blindly look south and argue that these threats are not necessarily existential, claiming that they pose no real challenge to borders or national security.

This organized crime-terror nexus has a nucleus and norm of fear, intimidation, extortion, kidnapping, murder, political tampering, and torture. The ... Read More

Lo que está en juego en Colombia

| June 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

POR ROGER F. NORIEGA (rnoriega@aei.org)

El presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, fue reelegido para un segundo mandato el día de ayer con un poco más del 50 por ciento de los votos emitidos. Derrotó así a su rival de derecha Óscar Iván Zuluaga. En su discurso de victoria, Santos parecía arrepentido después de una amarga campaña que muchos ven como un referéndum a su primer mandato. Se comprometió a “corregir todo lo que haya que corregir” y “a reformar todo lo que haya que reformar”.

Lo que ocurre en Colombia importa a los Estados Unidos. Las exportaciones estadounidenses y el comercio global con Colombia se han cuadruplicado en la última década; es la cuarta economía más grande de América Latina y un socio económico prometedor. Ocho mil millones de dólares en ayuda de EE.UU. desde el año 2000 ayudaron a ese país sudamericano a domar una amenaza narcoterrorista y recuperar un ... Read More

High Stakes in Colombia

| June 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Real Clear World-01

BY ROGER NORIEGA

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos secured a second term yesterday, winning just over 50 percent of the votes cast to defeat his rightist opponent Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. In a victory speech last night, Santos appeared contrite after a bitter campaign that many see as a bruising referendum on his first term. “We’re going to correct what has to be corrected, we will adjust what must be adjusted and we will reform what has to be reformed,” he pledged.

What happens in Colombia matters to the United States. U.S. exports to and overall trade with Colombia have quadrupled in the last decade; it is Latin America’s fourth largest economy and a promising economic partner. Eight billion dollars in U.S. aid since the year 2000 helped that South American country tame a narcoterrorist threat and recover healthy economic growth. Although the Colombian government has reduced coca cultivation by over 50 percent ... Read More

Los colombianos creen que Santos puede conducir a su país a un futuro más prospero?

| June 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

[Traducción por IASW]

POR ROGER NORIEGA

Los partidarios del presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, describen la segunda vuelta electoral del domingo como una “elección entre la guerra y la paz.” Esa descripción tan polarizante oscurece el hecho de que los colombianos no están muy convencidos del liderazgo de Santos y la manera en la que ha dirigido al país. Los votantes del socio más importante de los Estados Unidos en América del Sur no parecen estar seguros si sus políticos tienen una visión viable para el futuro.

En la primera ronda de votación celebrada el 25 de mayo, el 75 por ciento de los votos fueron emitidos en contra de Santos. El 60 por ciento del electorado ni siquiera se molestó en votar. Estos números son devastadores para el presidente y demuestran una inconformidad con las políticas de la administración y sobre la desconfianza que existe en las instituciones y la capacidad ... Read More

Colombia Splits Over How to End War

| June 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY JUAN FORERO

Like most Colombians, Susy Abitbol wants to end the country’s 50-year guerrilla war, what President Juan Manuel Santos pledges to deliver if his countrymen re-elect him in Sunday’s election.

But Ms. Abitbol said she also wants justice: Her husband, a policeman, was held hostage by the rebels for 13 years and then executed by his captors during a failed rescue attempt by Colombia’s army. She fears Mr. Santos’s ongoing peace talks with the rebels will whitewash their crimes, with the guerrillas winning seats in congress after disarming.

“I don’t think it’s good to plant seeds of hate or vindictiveness, but the damages have to be paid,” said Ms. Abitbol, a soft-spoken 39-year-old therapist who lives in a high rise here with her teenage daughter, Viviana. “There has to be jail time. They have to feel what innocent people who they hurt felt.”

Mr. Santos’s rival Sunday, Óscar Ívan Zuluaga, a tough-talking ... Read More

Do Colombians think Santos can lead them to a brighter future?

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

BY ROGER NORIEGA

Supporters of Colombia’s beleaguered president Juan Manuel Santos describe Sunday’s run-off election as a “choice between war and peace.” Such a polarizing description obscures the plain reality that Colombians are deeply ambivalent toward Santos and his stewardship. Indeed, the key U.S. partner in South America is roiled by anxiety about whether any Colombian politicians offer a viable vision for their future.

In the first round of balloting on May 25, 75 percent of the votes were cast for candidates other than Santos; 60 percent of those eligible did not even bother to vote. These numbers are devastating for the incumbent and they point to broader doubts among Colombians about whether their politicians and institutions measure up to the country’s challenges.

Santos owes his election in 2010 to his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the popular two-term president whose tough, energetic leadership cut two armed insurgencies down to size and restored economic ... Read More

Colombia’s Peace Talks with FARC: A Political Conspiracy?

| June 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

BY STEPHANIE RUDAT

On February 4, 2008, over 12 million people participated in demonstrations in 193 cities around the globe protesting FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). While there is arguable evidence of those protests impacting an retreat of FARC presence despite the release of many who had been abducted in the aftermath, the guerilla forces have since regained strength and influence upon current President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos.

Interested in understanding how this massive protest was organized using Facebook, I engaged the primary organizer, Oscar Morales Guevara, that same year and set out to learn more about FARC, the Colombian government and FARC’s influence on international security. It’s been eye-opening to say the least. Since then, I have kept a close eye on the Facebook page, One Million Voices Against FARC, originally created to organize the massive demonstrations and have noted a significant uptick in posts which have centered around the continuing Peace Talks cited by President Santos ... Read More

Colombia split over peace talks in election battle

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY HELEN MURPHY

(Reuters) – Two camouflaged military helicopters dot the sky as Silvio Mora sweeps up remains of a freshly killed chicken at his backyard slaughter house in Colombia’s southern conflict zone of Putumayo.

“At least peace may end that,” he says, pointing toward the troop carriers as vultures pick at the bloody slop he brushed into the jungle behind his concrete shack. “Look at how we live. The war has brought only misery, we need peace talks to work.”

Mora, 45, turned to subsistence farming in the regional capital Puerto Asis after his 20 hectares (49 acres) of coca were fumigated during former President Alvaro Uribe’s hardline rule to stop Marxist rebels using the crop to produce cocaine.

The father-of-four is among hundreds of thousands of Colombians in frontline areas who want President Juan Manuel Santos re-elected on Sunday so he can continue negotiating an end to five decades of war with guerrilla leaders ... Read More

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