Archive for the ‘Alvaro Uribe’ Category

Colombia: Congressional elections tomorrow

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Former president Álvaro Uribe is favored to win, while the coalition of president Juan Manuel Santos will likely to retain its majority in both chambers.

Uribe has been scathing in his criticism of the peace talks held in Havana.

The headlines are interesting:
Colombia to Elect New Congress in Gauge of Peace Talks Support

Voters will elect all 102 Senators and 166 Lower House Representatives on March 9, in an election that pits Santos’ allies against former President Alvaro Uribe, whose Democratic Center Party opposes the negotiations with the rebels.

The government has been holding peace talks in Cuba since 2012 with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in a bid to end a civil conflict that began half a century ago. A strong showing for Uribe’s allies will make it “rough going” for Santos if he wins a second four-year term in presidential elections in May, said Michael Shifter, President of the Inter-American Dialog in Washington.

Uribe and his supporters oppose any deal that would give FARC leaders immunity for crimes, or which would allow them seats in Congress. Uribe also advocates a tougher line on the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, whose country he has described as a “paradise” for terrorists and drug traffickers.

Electoral test for Colombia peace talks as Uribe eyes comeback

The WSJ went with the Uribe-as-Juan Valdez campaign photo:

Ex-Colombian Leader Declares War on Peace Process
Álvaro Uribe is expected to face off against his successor President Juan Manuel Santos from the Senate seat he’s expected to win on Sunday.
(emphasis added)

Mr. Santos is pursuing a peace agreement with Latin America’s last powerful insurgency, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, talks that have strong support from the Obama administration. If approved, that agreement would likely include pardons for guerrilla commanders and allow them to enter politics, people close to the talks say.

The talks and the concessions are loudly opposed by Mr. Uribe and his allies, who continue to advocate for a military and judicial approach to end the war.

“There has to be justice,” Mr. Uribe said in a recent speech. “If it’s necessary to give the FARC reduced jail sentences, then fine. But we can never agree to impunity.”

It is worth pointing out that Santos himself has stated that he believes Colombians would accept a deal granting unelected guerrilla leaders seats in Congress if it brings an end to a conflict that has left 220,000 dead.

Voters would pass a referendum containing unpopular measures such as the transformation of the FARC into a political party and special treatment in the justice system for crimes committed by guerrillas, as part of a package that ends half a century of bloodshed, Santos said.

What Santos wants is to place unelected, guerrilla leaders in Congress after granting them amnesty.

No wonder Uribe’s upset.

Colombia politics predicts Uribe’s party will gain the most seats, but abstention and protest votes will emerge as the real winners on Sunday. Read their full post.

Colombia: FARC plot to murder Uribe

Friday, November 15th, 2013

While the travesty “peace negotiations”are held in Havana (as if that wasn’t a bad enough sign), the FARC is trying to kill former president Álvaro Uribe:

The assassination was being plotted by the Farc’s Teofilo Forero Mobile Column, under the command of a rebel known as Paisa, said Mr Pinzon.

As you may recall, just last week the Colombian government had announced a “fundamental agreement” with the FARC, but we don’t know the details.

Colombia’s lead representative in peace talks with Marxist FARC rebels said on Wednesday that any attack against former President Alvaro Uribe would destroy the negotiations.

The FARC have not disarmed, and have continued their attacks.


Cuba: The FARC rides the yacht

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The communist regime doesn’t allow citizens to own sailing vessels, and those who do are desperate, but the elite live the lives of the very rich and famous. . . including the narco-terrorists,

Castro’s VIP treatment of the FARC’s leaders should not come as a surprise, he’s been rolling out the red carpet for terrorist groups — including Carlos “the Jackal,” ETA, ELN, PLO, M-19, Medellin Cartel, Montoneros, Macheteros, FLN, EGP, MIR, IRA, FALN, NLF, MRTA and PFLP — for decades.

FARC negotiators Iván Márquez (left), Laura Villa and Jesús Santrich, on a catamaran yacht, in Cuba:

As former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe says, “While the FARC relax in Havana, their victims rest in peace in Colombia’s cemeteries and common graves.”


Colombia: “Peace is not in Havana”

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Presidential candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga has had it with the FARC peace talks hosted by the Communist Cubans,

“Peace is not in Havana,” he said in his nomination speech. “The national agenda isn’t up for negotiation with the FARC.”

“I have never believed in this [peace] process because it’s based on a mistaken premise,” he told El Tiempo newspaper. “A legitimate state cannot sit down on equal terms with an organization that commits terrorist acts and finances itself through narco-traffic.”

While relatively unknown, Zuluaga has the backing of former president Alvaro Uribe, who would be a shoe-in for the Senate, while current president Juan Manuel Santos is increasingly unpopular.

Negotiations with the FARC have gone over a year.

Colombia: Alvaro Uribe at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Earlier this week, former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe testified at the Subcommittee Hearing: Challenges to Democracy in the Western Hemisphere

His complete statement is available online. I found this section particularly interesting,

Triggers of Change
The potential for positive change in growth in the years ahead is not an accident; it is a consequence of the consistency, congruence and sense of urgency that a group of countries have adopted as their policy cornerstone. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay represent 70 per cent of the region’s population and 75% of the regional GDP.

This group of countries has common characteristics that explain their outstanding performance:
The strengthening of Liberal Democracy.
The adoption of an institutional Framework in favor of foreign and national investment.
The construction of a sound and sustainable social safety net.
The expansion of export markets and the commercial integration with the world (through free trade agreements).
A public administration driven by results and the elimination of the byzantine ideological debate between left and right.
A sound macroeconomic administration driven by fiscal and monetary prudence.
Better regulatory environment.
Construction of strategic infrastructure.
The consolidation of an innovation agenda leaded by an improvement in education.
A well capitalized financial sector and the constant expansion of financial services.

Today countries like Panama, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, and Paraguay, as well as most of the Caribbean States, are following this line of behavior. Because of that, the IDB, with Luis Alberto Moreno as its leader, many analysts, statesmen and prestigious publications like The Economist, are optimistic and talk about “The Latin American Decade.”

Countries that opted for a sound evolution of policies have motivated sustainable positive change. Countries that have opted for a “Revolution” to accommodate the institutional order in favor of an ideology have been shown to be ones with instability, limitation of individual liberties, government intervention, lack of confidence from investors, and a growing social polarization with the risks of political turmoil’s [sic].

Read the whole thing.

Colombia: Farmers and students protest

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Eight days on, No deal on Colombia farmers’ strike after night of talks

Representatives of Colombian farmers’ groups and government ministers say they have not yet been able to reach a deal to end a 10-day strike.

The two sides will reconvene on Wednesday after they failed to reach agreement after nine hours of talks.

The protests by livestock, dairy and crop farmers have been paralysing parts of the country.

The demonstrators accuse the government of running the agricultural sector into the ground.

On the agenda are the high cost of fertilisers and other key farming materials, and how farmers are being undercut by cheaper imports and agricultural products being smuggled across the border from neighbouring Venezuela and Ecuador.

The farmers have been backed by some student and trade union groups which have held demonstrations in the capital Bogota and the city of Cali to show their support.

President Santos’s reaction has been puzzling,
As Farmers’ Strike Paralyzes Colombia, President Questions Its Existence

The government has responded with calls for composure and accusations of outside manipulation. Since the strike began on Aug 19, President Juan Manuel Santos has tried to minimize the strikers’ actions, giving statements that have only served to taunt protesters and bring together union leaders.

“The so-called agrarian strike does not exist,” Santos said on Sunday. Acts of violence, the president said, were caused by guerrilla infiltrators – an often-used government claim — who wanted to destabilize the country and hamper dialogues with troubled agrarian sectors. “It’s just 10 or 15 people. The situation is under control and problems are being resolved,” Santos added.

“10 or 15 people”?

Five people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in the numerous skirmishes that plague the countryside, according to police reports. Students in public universities have attacked authorities with rocks and homemade bombs. Protesters have burned cars and trucks, and an unknown group in Boyacá, a historically peaceful agrarian state located a few hours north of the nation’s capital, reportedly placed a cable line across a road late in the afternoon to kill an unsuspecting motorist that drove by. Red Cross medical missions have been detained at roadblocks, and there have been disturbances in more than half of the nation’s states.

Former president Álvaro Uribe harshly criticized Santos (video in Spanish),

Uribe accused Santos of ignoring farmers while favoring the FARC (with which Santos is negotiating). “The government has forgotten to stimulate local industry. . . coordination between [agricultural] producers and manufacturers has been neglected.” Uribe didn’t stop at that; he asserted that the Santos administration is leading the country to “anarchy towards a path to Castro-Chavismo.”


Panama Canal: Was the FARC the intended recipient of the Cuban weapons?

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Colombian terrorist/crime group FARC (which stands for Colombian revolutionary armed forces in English) is currently in peace talks with the Colombian government. The negotiations are taking place in Cuba, while the FARC insist that they will not surrender their weapons, will not disarm, and will not serve time in prison. They want a similar deal to that of the IRA in Northern Ireland.

At the same time, Colombia’s largest armed rebel groups, the Farc and ELN, have met as recently as last month “to strengthen” their “unification process”:

They are discussing how Farc could enter politics if a deal is reached to end five decades of conflict.

According to the Farc statement, the meeting with the ELN (National Liberation Army) at an undisclosed location discussed the need to “work for the unity of all political and social forces” involved in changing the country.

The two groups have clashed in the past but have recently joined forces in armed operations against government targets in Colombia.

So the FARC holds peace talks, while engaging in negotiations to merge with another, equally deadly Colombian terrorist group.

Presently, the peace negotiations are on recess, and are scheduled to resume on July 28,

After having exchanged proposals about the second point in the agenda (political participation), the parties have worked separately to continue discussing the first sub item on the agenda, which envisages the rights and guarantees to exercise political opposition in general and in particular for the new movements that may emerge after the signing of the Final Agreement, as well as the access to the media.

In the meantime, elsewhere in Latin America, Panama stopped a North Korean freighter suspected of smuggling drugs, and, after a tussle with the crew, a suicide attempt by the captain, and the captain’s heart attack, they find, hidden behind sacks of Cuban brown sugar,

240 metric tons of “obsolete defensive weapons”: two Volga and Pechora anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two Mig-21 Bis and 15 engines for those airplanes.

Keep in mind that the U.N. sanctions ban all imports to and exports from North Korea of conventional weapons, as well as material related to the country’s nuclear- and ballistic-missile programs.

But that was only on the first search; now Panama finds [four] more containers of Cuban war materiel on North Korean ship

Port authorities said four new containers had been found, bringing the total to six, in two stacks of three. They were not declared in the ship’s manifest and were hidden under 220,000 sacks of Cuban brown sugar.

But wait! There’s more!

Panamanian police academy cadets offloading the sugar so far have opened only one of the freighter’s four cargo holds, and each hold has six separate sections, according to the port officials, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to comment.

Foreign technicians with specialized imaging equipment are expected to arrive soon to search every inch of the ship and not just its cargo holds, because the tip that led Panamanian authorities to search the freighter indicated that it was carrying illegal drugs.

[Panamanian] Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino, meanwhile, said the work of unloading the 220,000 sacks of sugar from the 450-foot Chong Chon Gang is an “odyssey” because the 100-pound bags were loaded in Cuba without using pallets.

“The technicians have told us that this cargo was loaded in a way that makes it difficult to unload,” Mulino told reporters, estimating that the work of unloading all the sugar will take another seven to 10 days.

One may take Cuba’s story at face value and believe them when they say that they were sending the armaments to Korea “to be repaired and returned to Cuba” – demonstrating that Cuba remains a threat. The line is that

the Cubans might have sent the equipment to North Korea to be repaired because Russia—an obvious choice to do the repair work—would have asked for cash, while North Korea may have well accepted a barter deal that included the 10,000 tons of sugar on the ship as payment for the repair of the weapons systems.

While all this is going on, former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe tweeted yesterday that he was told by a reliable source that the shipment was not headed to North Korea, but, instead, to Ecuador.

Which adds a new twist to the story.

Why would Ecuador’s government bother with such antiquated equipment, when it can buy new? For instance, five years ago, following the Uribe administration’s raid of a FARC encampment a mile into the Ecuadorian border, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says Quito may buy weapons from Iran to enable the tightening of security on its border with Colombia.

During his stay in Tehran, Ecuadorian officials attended an exhibition organized by the Iranian Defense Ministry and were familiarized with the country’s defense equipment.

That may be accomplished through money transfers in the joint Ecuadorian-Iranian bank, and with the help of the direct flights between Iran and Venezuela.

Ecuador can also openly purchase armaments through other sources.

However, the FARC, involved as it currently is in “peace talks”, and considering the fact it is recognized as a terrorist organization, is not in a situation where it can openly purchase armaments. Cuba, its host on the peace talks, is strapped for cash; so is North Korea; the FARC has money from its drug trade and other criminal activity. The FARC doesn’t need state-of-the-art armaments, it only needs enough to destroy and disrupt Colombia into chaos.

And, while we’re at it, let’s remember that last year FARC Camps [were] Dismantled in Panama’s Darien Jungle as a result of a joint operation between units from Panama and Colombia.

Jaime Bayly talked about this last night (in Spanish),

So, the question remains,

Was the FARC the intended recipient of the Cuban weapons?

UPDATE,
Linked by Babalu. Thanks!

Linked by HACER. Thanks!


The Cuban missile roundup

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

While the news channels can’t stop distracting themselves with racism, our enemies are still out there:

Cuba’s Criminal Regime and North Korea

After all the talk about hope and change and reform in Cuba, the old Stalinist regime of the Castros turns out to be in bed with North Korea and to be violating UN sanctions on that other Stalinist regime. Birds of a feather….

Today’s news tells us that a North Korean vessel traveling from Cuba to North Korea was stopped and searched near the Panama Canal. Lo and behold, hidden in the sugar were missile parts.

Cuba says it’s not important, because the missile is “obsolete”, but Analysts question Cuba calling Korea ship weapons ‘obsolete’ (emphasis added),

It said the cargo included 240 metric tons of “obsolete defensive weapons”: two Volga and Pechora anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two Mig-21 Bis and 15 engines for those airplanes.

Petersen said the shipment belies the Cuban claims.

“If you’re sending an engine to be repaired why would you sell the entire aircraft?” he said.

The missile radar systems could be upgraded to make air-defense systems more effective at shooting down modern military aircraft, other military analysts said. Defense experts said images released by Panama indicate the cargo is a radar system for the SA-2 family of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles, which are designed to shoot down enemy aircraft at high elevations.

More intriguing yet, former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe tweeted that the missiles were headed to Ecuador,

Alberto de la Cruz translated,

New information coming in… “on the ship loaded with weapons and missiles. Remember that we had provided information regarding this news. I can say that the ship was not on its way to North Korea. This ship was on its way to Ecuador and some of those weapons was for that country.” Regards. I hope this is investigated.

For now, the UN is going to investigate,

Five U.N. investigators, including one from the Security Council, are expected to arrive around the beginning of August once the ship, the Chong Chon Gang, has been unloaded, Panamanian government officials said.

and so far the US has done not-a-thing,

The incident has not derailed U.S.-Cuban talks on migration

Once the five UN guys get back from Panama, expect a strongly-worded letter to follow.

Colombia: Legitimizing the FARC

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Colombia’s Perilous Peace Talks
Former President Álvaro Uribe warns that negotiations ‘validate’ FARC terrorists.

Under Colombia’s 1991 constitution, a criminal conviction disqualified an individual from running for office. Now the “framework for peace,” an amendment to the constitution that was signed into law last year by President Juan Manuel Santos, converts FARC atrocities into “political crimes” and gives the attorney general discretion over which ones will be prosecuted.

By categorizing violent crime and even what are essentially crimes against humanity—including the recruitment of child soldiers—as “political crimes,” the Santos government can now offer the FARC political “eligibility” in exchange for an end to hostilities.

Make no mistake, the FARC insist that they will not surrender their weapons, will not disarm, and will not serve time in prison. They want a similar deal to that of the IRA in Northern Ireland.

That should not come as a surprise, considering how the IRA trained the FARC, and how now the IRA is lending its expertise to the negotiations taking place in Havana.

Colombia: Bayly entrevista a Uribe, 2a parte

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Primera parte ayer; segunda parte hoy,