Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

En libertad “Popeye”, jefe de sicarios de Pablo Escobar

| August 27th, 2014 | No Comments »

Ejecutó 300 asesinatos y coordinó 3.000, pero por colaboración, estudios y buena conducta cumplió 22 años de 30. Testigo excepcional de la participación de los Castro en el narcotráfico.

Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez , el temible exjefe de sicarios del fallecido capo del narcotráfico Pablo Escobar recobró el martes la libertad tras permanecer encarcelado más de 22 años por cargos relacionados con homicidios, secuestros y concierto para delinquir, se informó oficialmente.

“La caravana que salió de la prisión de Cómbita (Boyacá) era la de Popeye. Ya Popeye está en libertad”, señaló a la AFP una fuente del Instituto Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario (Inpec).

Alias Popeye, abandonó la prisión escoltado por una comitiva de varios vehículos sin que su imagen pudiera ser captada directamente por las cámaras de los medios que aguardaban su salida.

Con paradero desconocido, la caravana de vehículos estaba conformada por autos de la Defensoría del Pueblo, el ... Read More

Colombia’s government announces poverty and employment targets for second term

| August 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
Colombia Reports

During a “Good Governance” workshop Monday, Colombia’s Finance Minister announced President Juan Manuel Santos’s targets in investment, poverty reduction, andunemployment to achieve a “more equal country” during his second term.

 By 2018, President Juan Manuel Santos and his ministers hope to:

decrease unemployment to 7.5% decrease poverty to 25% decrease extreme poverty to 5% increase investment to 32% of GDP.

According to Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, Colombians currently have an annual income of around $8,300 dollars. Cardenas would like to set a target at $11,200 of income per capita by the end of 2018, an addition of over $3,000 to a Colombian’s income.

“All these objectives are all connected. For this we need more housing, roadways, that the whole energy sector keeps growing. Connecting all these objectives, we can provide Colombian families with more employment. And something fundamental, that we advance in the erradication of extreme poverty,” stated Minister Cardenas, according to the President’s website.

Unemployment currently stands at 9.2%, poverty at 29%, and extreme ... Read More

Colombia overtakes Peru to become the region’s fastest-growing big economy

| August 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

AS HE prepared to begin a second term as Colombia’s president on August 7th, the first name that Juan Manuel Santos inked in for his cabinet was Mauricio Cardenas, who keeps his job as finance minister. That was no surprise: helped by an investment boom, the country’s economy grew by 6.4% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. Mr Cardenas says the second quarter was strong, too. The government will be raising its growth forecast for this year from 4.7%.

This is a welcome exception to a regional trend: Latin America as a whole looks likely to grow by less than 2% this year, the worst figure since 2009. The end of the commodity boom that lifted the region for more than a decade, the fading of the era of cheap money as central banks in the rich world prepare to raise interest ... Read More

Virginia M. Bouvier: Has Colombia’s time come?

| August 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN


With violence exploding in Gaza, airstrikes in Iraq, armed groups terrorizing Nigeria, Syrian extremism spilling into Lebanon, and the return of war in Sudan, the cause of peace can seem daunting. Closer to home, however, there is cause for hope.

Prospects for peace in Colombia are looking better than they have in years. If successful, the current peace process would put an end to an internal armed conflict that has lasted half a century. The conflict has taken the lives of some 200,000 Colombians, forcibly displaced 6 million more (granting Colombia the dubious honor of world record holder for the highest number of displaced), and destroyed countless livelihoods. Peace in Colombia would open a new era for growth and prosperity and contribute to regional stability.

... Read More

Colombia Wins Investors’ Favor—And That’s the Problem

| August 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


When Colombia undertook an extensive tax overhaul, Wall Street rewarded it by making the country a bigger piece of one of the most widely used emerging-market bond indexes, handing fund managers a mandate to buy more of the nation’s debt.

For Colombian plantain farmer Paula Martinez, the ripple effects of that decision have felt more like a punishment.

The index reshuffling prompted investors to redirect billions of dollars to the country’s local-currency-denominated debt, causing the value of Colombia’s peso to surge against the dollar. That, in turn, has made it more difficult for Ms. Martinez, 57 years old, to compete with growers in other countries. A highly valued currency makes a country’s exports more expensive and reduces profits for exporters when they convert overseas earnings back to pesos.

Ms. Martinez joined hundreds of other struggling banana and plantain farmers in protests last week. Among their demands: ... Read More

Colombia sends more troops to ELN rebel stronghold

| August 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

The military in Colombia says it is sending more troops to the eastern province of Arauca, a rebel stronghold, to deal with a recent wave of attacks.

The announcement comes hours after gunmen shot dead a local politician, Pedro Antonio Bohorquez, and his bodyguard in the city of Saravena.

Earlier on Tuesday, eight soldiers were also injured by a homemade explosive device in a separate incident.

The area, which borders Venezuela, is a stronghold of left-wing ELN rebels.

With an estimated 2,500 members, the ELN is Colombia’s second biggest rebel group.

It has been fighting the Colombian state for five decades.

On Tuesday, Colombia’s police chief, Rodolfo Palomino, offered a reward for information on the attackers.

“Reward of up to 50 million [Colombian pesos; $26,600, £15,800) to those who help us arrest the criminals who brought terror to Saravena,”Colonel Palomino tweeted after arriving in the city.

Attacks continueEarlier, Colombia’s ministry of defence announced it was ... Read More

Colombia sends more troops to ELN rebel stronghold

| August 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

The military in Colombia says it is sending more troops to the eastern province of Arauca, a rebel stronghold, to deal with a recent wave of attacks.

The announcement comes hours after gunmen shot dead a local politician, Pedro Antonio Bohorquez, and his bodyguard in the city of Saravena.

Earlier on Tuesday, eight soldiers were also injured by a homemade explosive device in a separate incident.

The area, which borders Venezuela, is a stronghold of left-wing ELN rebels.

With an estimated 2,500 members, the ELN is Colombia’s second biggest rebel group.

It has been fighting the Colombian state for five decades.

On Tuesday, Colombia’s police chief, Rodolfo Palomino, offered a reward for information on the attackers.

“Reward of up to 50 million [Colombian pesos; $26,600, £15,800) to those who help us arrest the criminals who brought terror to Saravena,” Colonel Palomino tweeted after arriving in the city.

Attacks continue

Earlier, Colombia’s ministry of defence announced it was ... Read More

FARC: Peace Agreement In Colombia Won’t Happen This Year

| August 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Negotiators for the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group will not meet President Juan Manuel Santos’ goal of finalizing a peace accord by the end of this year, the leader of the guerrillas said Monday.

The peace process, which began in November 2012, will be delayed by the complex nature of the debate on the fourth point of the peace agenda dealing with the recognition of – and reparations to – the victims of the conflict, Rodrigo Londoño, known as “Timochenko,” said on the FARC Web site.

The agenda calls for the creation of a so-called historic commission made up of six experts from each party and two rapporteurs, who will be tasked with establishing the causes and factors that contributed to the duration of the strife and the impact on the population.

“The Historic Commission will be tasked with elaborating the reconstruction of ... Read More

Victims’ issues come to the fore in Colombia peace talks

| August 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP


Farmer Elver Montano has a long tale of pain and uprooting to tell as Colombia’s peace talks turns to the 5.3 million victims of Latin America’s longest armed conflict.

His eyes well with tears as he recalls the day, March 22, 2007, when a military operation forced him to abandon all his belongings in the town of El Charco.

“There were 8,500 of us who just had to run for it, during a clash between the army and the FARC,” he said.

Montano’s fate, and those of other civilian victims of the conflict, will finally get a hearing when negotiators sit down in Havana August 12 to begin discussions of how they should be compensated for their loss.

What next for peace?

It is the latest chapter in peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government that have been underway since November 2012.

The conflict has claimed the lives ... Read More

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sworn in

| August 8th, 2014 | No Comments »

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said peace talks could falter if left-wing Farc rebels do not halt attacks, as he was sworn in for a second term.

“Gentlemen of the Farc: you have been warned,” the president said, to a crowd of more than 2,000 guests, including foreign delegations from 73 countries.

The 62-year-old was re-elected for a second term in June.

His victory was a resounding vote of confidence for the peace process he began with the rebels in November 2012.

Colombia has suffered more than five decades of conflict which has led to more than 200,000 deaths.

Challenges ahead

President Santos reiterated his commitment to peace talks at his inauguration ceremony in Bogota on Thursday.

“Acts of peace, that’s what the Colombian people ask for today… I will employ all my energy to bring peace during this mandate,” he told the crowd.

The challenges facing President Santos are many.

First he will be ... Read More

Colombians losing faith in peace process: poll

| August 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Colombia Reports

Colombians are increasingly pessimistic about the eventual outcome of ongoing peace talksbetween the government and rebel group FARC, a poll showed Wednesday. 

A survey conducted by Datexco for Colombian newspaper El Tiempo and radio station La W in July showed that 48% of Colombians do not believe that the government and the FARC are able to make peace. Another 45% said they were confident peace will be signed at the end of the negotiations that have been ongoing since late 2012.

The same poll showed that 50% disapproved of how Santos was conducting the peace talks. Some 46% said they approved.

Sixty-one percent of the respondents said to believe in the FARC’s desire for peace against 29% who do. The pollster failed to ask whether Colombians had faith in the government’s desire for peace.

The number of skeptics has reportedly increased from 50% in June, after a recent spate of violent attacks by the FARC.

President Juan Manuel Santos said last Tuesday that the FARC ... Read More

Colombia’s Santos takes office hoping to end 50 years of violence

| August 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


When Juan Manuel Santos dons the presidential sash Thursday it will mark the beginning of a four-year, high-wire political act that could bring an end to the hemisphere’s longest-running and deadliest civil conflict.

Santos, 62, a former minister of defense known for some of the most effective and controversial strikes against the nation’s guerrillas, is playing the role of peacemaker in an uneasy nation. While the country wants the bloodshed to end it’s also concerned about making concessions at the bargaining table.

Santos is also facing a feisty new opposition in the form of his old boss, ex-President Álvaro Uribe, who took a Senate seat last week and could play spoiler as an eventual peace deal is put up for referendum.

“The great challenge is peace,” Santos said recently. “And the next four years are going to be an enormous challenge for all of Colombia.”

As world leaders arrive for the inaugural ... Read More

Menor demanda externa reduce crecimiento de América Latina

| August 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


SANTIAGO – La menor demanda externa de materias primas por parte de los socios de América Latina y el Caribe, principalmente China, llevó a Cepal a reducir su estimación del crecimiento de la región de 2.7% a 2.2% en el 2014.

A la menor demanda externa se suma “un bajo dinamismo de la demanda interna, insuficiente inversión y un limitado espacio para la implementación de políticas que impulsen la reactivación”, sostuvo la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal) en un informe económico presentado este lunes.

El menor crecimiento de China es “el principal riesgo” en lo que queda de año para los países de la región exportadores de materias primas.

En tanto, el crecimiento de Europa y Japón, otros importantes socios comerciales de Latinoamérica, caerá de 0.5% a 0.2% y de 1.7% a 1.4% respectivamente, lo que también significará una menor demanda de las ... Read More

Multiples acusaciones de narcotráfico contra Carvajal en narcotráfico

| August 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


El ex jefe de inteligencia militar venezolano Hugo Carvajal —figura central de al menos seis investigaciones criminales realizadas en Estados Unidos— presuntamente coordinó el envío de 5.6 toneladas de cocaína encontradas en México dentro de un avión DC-9 que partió de Venezuela en el 2006, en un famoso caso que también vincula al conocido narcotraficante Walid Makled.

Según la acusación presentada en su contra por la Fiscalía Federal del Distrito Sur de Nueva York, Carvajal estaba detrás del transporte de la droga que se encontraba dentro de 128 valijas encontradas dentro del avión que partió desde la rampa presidencial del Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetía.

“En o alrededor del 10 de abril del 2006, Hugo Armando Carvajal-Barrios, el acusado, en Venezuela, coordinó el transporte de aproximadamente 5,600 kilogramos de cocaína desde Venezuela a México”, declara la acusación contra el ex Director de Inteligencia ... Read More

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


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


[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

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