Archive for the ‘FARC’ Category
Methinks he’s really hankering for a Nobel Peace Prize:
Colombian President Santos Seeks New Path on Drug War
Leader Says He Hopes for Breakthrough on Drug War in Peace Talks With FARC Guerrillas
The Colombian leader, who faces a critical re-election test in May, said that an important breakthrough in the war on drugs would be achieved if, as expected, negotiators for his government and for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, reach an agreement on stamping out drug trafficking by the guerrillas, the third point in a proposed peace plan.
The FARC, which the U.S. considers to be a terrorist and drug trafficking organization, relies heavily on cocaine trafficking to finance its activities. The two sides have been locked in tough negotiations for the last 17 months in Havana to end the five-decade guerrilla insurgency.
“I expect to reach an agreement on that third point in the near future,” he said. If the FARC stops drug trafficking and becomes a partner with the government in eradicating drugs, it would have “enormous implications repercussions for Colombia and the world,” he said.
It sounds like Santos believes that the FARC will throw away its hugely profitable main source of revenues, everybody will hold hands, and a choir of potheads stoned on legal pot will Kumbaya as peace breaks out all over the land.
Forgive my cynicism, dear reader, but I visualize a slightly different scenario: The FARC signs whatever agreement will get them into congress (since Santos wants them in congress without being elected), legalizes all its drug activities consolidating power, and Colombia kisses the rule of law good-bye.
Álvaro Uribe’s not buying Santos’s tripe:
“Pres. Santos forgot to tell the BBC that he promised secure democracy and he has allowed terrorism to advance”
Pte Santos olvidó decir a la BBC que prometió la seguridad democrática y ha permitido el avance terrorista
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) April 22, 2014
It’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.
Federal police launch huge raid on Argentina’s ‘drug capital’
More than 3,000 federal agents involved in raids on around 80 ‘bunkers’ in the Argentine city of Rosario, plagued by violence between drug gangs
YPF, Chevron to Invest $1.6 Billion in 2014 in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta
Both companies will share equally in the investment outlay, which will go toward drilling 170 wells and building production facilities in Loma Campana, Neuquen. Good luck with that.
Metro, train and bus services around the country have been paralysed, as Ignacio de los Reyes reports
Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
So, of course, Cristina’s trying to create a diversion: UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina
But while everyone is talking about the shoe, little is talked about what the woman also threw along with it: a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. Operation “Cynthia” was a Bolivian army maneuver to capture Argentinean doctor and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Colombia has a loose-tongued president.
Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.
French Foreign Minister Visits Cuba
A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.
It’s what you call a totalitarian democracy: Does Ecuador’s leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Ecuador’s constitution bars Rafael Correa from running for the fourth term. But this won’t stop him from seeking reelection if ‘the people’ want it, he hints.
Chinese lending to Latin America
China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options and, while on the subject of China, A Pax Sinica in the Middle East? Some Conjectures
[Mexican Finance Minister Luis] Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC [the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control], or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets.
Nicaragua Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.
Panama Canal expansion draws bigger customers, and criticism
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. A massive building project is underway there to widen it for larger ships, but the expansion has not been undisputed.
Peru’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weaknessThe “Italian model” holds that the important thing is that the economy was run by responsible technocrats. How’s that working out?
The real lesson from Italy is that if the political system is unable to act in the long-term interest of the majority, it ends up contaminating the economy with its failures. Peru is a democracy without meaningful parties. A regional election in October is likely to repeat the last one, in which 23 of the 25 regional presidents were independents. Thanks to mining and gas royalties, they command a big chunk of public money. One important region, Áncash, has become a mafia mini-state. Ten political opponents of the regional president, César Álvarez, have been murdered after denouncing corruption. His critics accuse Mr Álvarez, who denies all wrongdoing, of having bought off prosecutors. This month Mr Humala froze Áncash’s bank accounts.
It always amazes me that countless “models” – the Danish model, the Swedish model, etc. – are held as examples worth emulating in Latin America, instead of free market capitalism.
Uruguay to make medical marijuana available to prisoners
Any inmates who have been prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health will have access to it according to the country’s drug tsar
Venezuela’s Protest Movement Fights The Ghost Of Chavez
The legacy of Hugo Chavez hangs over Venezuela — and the country’s protest leaders are having a hard time bringing his followers into their fold. Especially with the armed motorcycle gangs threatening them.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: No food in the shops, but 3 jets for Raul
El libro que hay que leer: En español: Infobae entrevista a Casto Ocando, autor de Chavistas en el Imperio
At Da Tech Guy:
Within this figure the reported estimated are that 1,255 were recruited by the FARC and 132 by the ELN.
These are the people Santos wants to put in Congress without being elected.
While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.
Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia
The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.
Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.
Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”
Si quiere a Timochenko en la presidencia e Iván Márquez en Senado, ya sabe por quien votar en próximas elecciones. pic.twitter.com/HmfE9jj3BJ
— cazador (@cazador2050) February 7, 2014
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in
Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,
Yo soy honoredo that Presidente Obamba que appointedo mi as el officialo translator de Españish para el Obambacare websitero. Si can puede!
— Miguel Bloombito (@ElBloombito) January 13, 2014
Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.
Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots
Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)
According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.
Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts
"esquiador" venezolano en #Sochi2014 tiene un banco en Suiza, socio de Carlos Kauffmann y cia. Su hermano es socio de L. Oberto en St Barts.
— Alek Boyd (@alekboyd) February 8, 2014
The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish
At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.
The fish are biting . . . you: Carnivorous fish injure 10 Argentine river bathers in area where 70 were wounded last month
The Laureus World Sports Awards, abruptly cancelled, Sporting events in Rio
We regret to announce
Someone explain to me why should anyone trust the FARC, Bomb explodes in Colombian town as rebel ceasefire ends
At least one person was killed when a bomb went off in the town of Pradera in western Colombia, officials say.
OBAMA CALLS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ‘THE DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN’
El Salvador’s first presidential debate brims with pledges – but can candidates deliver?
El Salvador’s presidential election takes place next month, and topics of gang violence, the economy, and healthcare are top of mind.
Andres Oppenheimer is optimistic: Latin America’s downward spiral?
Sure, Venezuela may descend into further chaos, but it doesn’t have many followers. Argentina will most likely change course within the next two years, and Brazil will, in the worst-case scenario, remain stagnant.
More importantly, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are doing well, and may drag several other countries in their direction. Together with Brazil, the four Pacific-coast countries make up more than 75 percent of Latin America’s economy.
More than a downward spiral, we may soon see the end of the populist cycle, and the beginning of an upward spiral.
Organized crime in 2014: What can Latin America expect?
Organized crime is adaptable and profit-driven, and in 2014, that could mean moving beyond Mexico and Colombia to a more diverse set of nations.
Michoacan replaces security chiefsMexican soldiers patrol the streets of Apatzingan, Michoacan. Photo: 16 January 2014
Mexico’s authorities say top security officials will be replaced in the western state of Michoacan that has recently been rocked by violence.
Gangs from Central America on the rise in Mexico: Report
A new report out of Mexico details the growing links between Central American Maras and the nation’s main criminal groups, highlighting more cross-border gang activity
El pincel de la justicia
Ramiro Gómez hace su primera presentación en un espacio formal, en una pequeña galería en Chinatown. No tiene un taller: el dueño del lugar le prestó el primer piso para que ahí concluyera cuatro lienzos que son parte de la obra que expone.
Fixing Puerto Rico: Part I
Regulation, Death by a thousand cuts (Updated)
Thomas Berry died ‘trying to show family real Venezuela’, parents say
Berry family speaks for the first time of grief at death of their son and his wife, killed by robbers in front of their daughter after their car broke down on a dangerous stretch of highway
Pet rights? When all are rights there are no rights
The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: Festival success
At Da Tech Guy Blog: Do heed those travel warnings.
The week’s podcast: The US-Latin America stories of the week
Nine-year-old US boy climbs Aconcagua peak in Argentina
A nine-year-old boy from the United States has become the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas.
Brazil jail fights kill 59 in 2013
At least 59 inmates have been killed in a single northern Brazilian prison this year; the town is Pedrinhas.
Brazil Boosts Levy On Overseas Transactions
Brazil is raising taxes on more transactions its residents make abroad, as the country tries to increase government revenue and reduce the outflow of dollars.
Colombia`s year of peace
The Free Alan Gross website.
Man who shouted “Down with communism!” during pope’s visit to Cuba is now in Chattanooga
Andrés Carrión Says security agents threatened to kill him, fired his wife, forced them out of their home and sent two snitches to get close to him.
Mexico to Tax Luxury Item: Pet Food
Mexico’s pet owners are bracing for a new tax on pet food, which the government recently declared a “luxury item.
A 16% Sales Tax to Kick In as Government Scrounges for Revenue
A must-read firsthand account from a former NGO worker: 32 years after the revolution Reagan is right
In fact, so much gold has been produced by the “informal” (or “illegal’) mining sector in Peru – involving some 40,000 miners who have tried to scrape whatever they can in abandoned mines around the country, from the jungle province of Puerto Maldonado to the deserted landscape of Ica – that gold has become more lucrative than cocaine trafficking (of which Peru is the largest exporter, having surpassed Colombia in 2012, according to the United Nations).
Pension Update: Puerto Rico Up, San Jose Down
It’s been an up-and-down week for public pensions. In San Jose, a judge struck down a significant piece of the city’s pension reform plan, setting the stage for a big ballot fight next year. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, the Senate finally passed a measure to put the Teachers Pesion Fund on solid footing.
TURKS & CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands: 18 Believed to Be Migrants From Haiti Drown
Eighteen people believed to be migrants from Haiti died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted to shore in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Uruguayan Navy Seizes Over 1 Ton of Cocaine
Caracas Says It Received China Credits
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said China has given his country $5 billion in credits under a deal reached in September.
Money Pledged in September to Be Used for Several Purposes
PDVSA awards crude tender to U.S. refiner at wide discounts-trade, via Kermit, wjo points out,
A decade or so ago Venezuelan crude was sold on longterm contracts at about $10 per barrel discount from the two widget fiction crudes, WTI & Brent. Looks like it is now $20 discount and crude production has declined quite a bit.
The week’s posts:
Cuba: Institutionalized racism
At Da Tech Guy: Fausta’s Puerto Rican Christmas menu
says a judge, after much to-do over garbage mishandling by a former guerrilla who’s mayor of Bogota:
Mayor’s Firing Should be Postponed: Colombia Chief Prosecutor:
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez Ordered Gustavo Petro’s Removal
Colombia’s chief prosecutor is urging President Juan Manuel Santos to postpone a controversial decision by the inspector general to fire Bogotá’s left-leaning mayor over alleged mismanagement of trash collection, saying the decision’s better left for courts or voters.
And here’s the thing,
The fate of the mayor of the city of eight million is being closely watched in Havana, Cuba, where Colombia’s government is engaged in 13-month-old peace talks with the country’s main Marxist rebel group FARC. A key outcome of any peace deal would likely include allowing leftist rebels who lay down their weapons to run for political offices, including that of mayor.
In other Colombian news, front-page, WaPo, finally, a bit of good news:
The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.
The covert program in Colombia provides two essential services to the nation’s battle against the FARC and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN): Real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.
That weapon is a $30,000 GPS guidance kit that transforms a less-than-accurate 500-pound gravity bomb into a highly accurate smart bomb. Smart bombs, also called precision-guided munitions or PGMs, are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain.
Information published by ABC regarding negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s staff—when he was foreign minister—in an FMLN drug trafficking operation in El Salvador, has corroborated suspicions that existed in Venezuelan political and diplomatic circles.
“This news confirms what many already knew about the significant and growing presence of drug trafficking in Venezuela and its important relations with the top echelon in the government and the Armed Forces,” former Venezuelan ambassador to Sweden and Guyana, Sadio Garavini commented. “Venezuela has become a center of command and control of international drug trafficking since the expulsion of the DEA (U.S. anti-drug agency) of the country and the indefinite suspension of the effective partnership with former United States cooperation in the fight against drugs.”
This should come as no surprise to Fausta’s Blog readers.
Additionally, the links extend to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and Hezbollah:
leaders of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador are linked to the Colombian guerrillas, while stressing the massive financial backing from Venezuela to the FMLN, which has been done to take complete control of the country.
“The FMLN and Alba Petroleos of El Salvador – the entity that funnels Venezuelan aid – has taken over the country in ways the United Fruit Company would have never imagined: from airlines to mass purchases of land in the capital, coffee crops above price, pharmacies, banks, and media outlets. Montsant also points to reports and studies by the University of Salamanca, demonstrating the influence of Venezuelan oil through Alba Petróleos on Salvadorans leaders, enabling a patronage policy that seeks votes in the popular sectors.
The ABC article is titled Diplomáticos confirman la conexión de Venezuela con el narcotráfico
Destacan que la tradicional alianza del chavismo con la guerrilla colombiana de las FARC ha sido un factor esencial en ese comercio ilegal
(Diplomats confirm Venezuela’s links to drug trafficking
They assert that chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla is an essential factor of the illegal trade.)
Last week, ABC had reported that Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s mediated an FMLN deal with the FARC back when he was vice-president (link in Spanish) allowing drug flights landing in the state of Apure, Venezuela.
Linked by Babalu. Thanks!
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.
The FARC have not disarmed, and have continued their attacks.