He probably doesn’t want to upset the folks in the tri-border area:
President José Mujica said in an interview Monday that any Guantánamo detainees his country takes will be treated as refugees and will be free to travel wherever they wish, even if they have promised the United States that they’ll stay in the South American country for at least two years.
Mujica told El Espectador radio that Uruguay has tentatively agreed to take four Syrians and a Palestinian who have been held at the military detention center in the U.S.-held corner of Cuba.
Mujica denied that the five are dangerous and said that “in no way” would Uruguay prevent them from traveling.
While he was at it, Mujica also said he’ll skip meeting Pres. Obama in Washington, thank you.
Lachlan Markay writes in the Washington Free Beacon on The Correa-Khamenei Axis
Ecuador pumping up its relationship with Iran and Syria, experts say
Correa, who began his third term as president on Friday, reaffirmed Ecuador’s alliance with Iran.
“We would ratify it a thousand times over,” Correa said of the alliance during his inaugural address, according to a translation of the speech.
Iran’s vice president for international affairs, who attended the inauguration in an official capacity, said the two countries “have elite people and revolutionary governments and we are happy that the ‘Citizens’ Revolution’ — the slogan of Ecuador’s president — can live on,” according to a report from Iranian state-owned media.
Correa also expressed support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which also sent an envoy — its former ambassador to Venezuela — to Correa’s inauguration, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.
Iran’s relationship with Ecuador appears to be mirroring its arrangement with Venezuela, according to Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, who has called Ecuador “one of Iran’s largest money-laundering hubs in Latin America.”
As you may recall, The Ecuadorian Finance Co., Inc. (COFIEC), a bank that was seized a decade ago by the former Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD) would be the legal vehicle used by the Ecuadorian state to conduct financial transactions with Iran. The purpose is to help Iran evade sanctions.
Additionally, two years ago, Deutsche Welle was reporting that Ecuador had become the new hub for international crime.
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.
If you think things are going to get bad in NYC, wait until you see this:
Colombia, FARC agree on rebels’ future if peace signed
Colombia’s government and Marxist FARC rebels reached a “fundamental agreement” on the guerrillas’ future in politics, one of the thorniest issues addressed in peace talks in Cuba, according to a joint statement on Wednesday.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been fighting the government in a jungle and urban conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people in the five decades since it began as a peasant movement seeking land reform.
The partial accord may pave the way for FARC to enter Colombian politics, which chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said would provide a “new democratic opening” and cement peace after an end of conflict.
As you may recall, Santos had said that he favored granting unelected guerrilla leaders seats in Congress and special treatment in the justice system.
No wonder the FARC were out celebrating on a catamaran yacht the other day.
Apparently “The two sides are unlikely to reveal many details of the agreement” for the time being. Kevin Howlett asks,
For many, the central consideration under “political participation” is whether the FARC top brass will be allowed to stand for election.
Will the FARC be given seats in congress?
And, if so will they be given to Timochenko, Ivan Marquez and the rest?
Without answers to these questions any accord seems largely cosmetic.
For now, the visuals are not that good, PLO scarves included:
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Former Marine Kevin Scott Sutay, an American vacationing in Colombia, was taken hostage last June by the Marxist-drug guerrilla FARC.
Jackson inserted himself in the matter two weeks ago during a global forum of black leaders in Colombia, when he called on the guerrillas to free the American.
Jackson, speaking in Havana where he met on Friday night with Colombian rebel commanders who are in Cuba for peace talks with the Bogota government, said he hoped to arrive in Colombia within a week to facilitate the release of Kevin Scott Sutay.
“We accept this obligation and opportunity to render service to Kevin Scott, his family and our nation,” Jackson said. “We have made contact with the State Department urging them to contact as quickly as possible the nearest of kin of Kevin Scott because his release is imminent.”
Jackson is on a private visit to communist-run Cuba that is being hosted by the Council of Churches.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected proposed mediation by US civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson over a rebel-held hostage.
Mr Santos said only the Red Cross would be allowed to be involved, because he did not want “a media spectacle”.
“Only the Red Cross will be authorized to facilitate the release of the North American kidnapped by FARC. We won’t allow a media circus”:
Solamente Cruz Roja será autorizada para facilitar entrega de norteamericano secuestrado por las FARC. No permitiremos espectáculo mediático
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) September 28, 2013
Reaching new heights of hypocrisy, The Farc say they want to free Mr Scott to boost peace talks. Well, it’s their hostage, they’re holding him, release him, then, if they’re so keen on “boosting peace talks.”
This does not bode well,
Santos Says Colombians Would Back FARC in Congress to Seal Peace (emphasis added)
President Juan Manuel Santos said 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
- Guerrilla leaders
- seats (plural) in Congress
And “special treatment,” too:
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.
The thing standing between Santos’s sweet deal?
The process is complicated by opponents who “extrapolate and magnify” some issues in order to frighten the public, rather than weighing them as part of a pact that brings peace, he said.
It better be complicated: the FARC to this day is still sheltering international terrorists.
The largest terrorism attack in our hemisphere prior to 9/11/2001 was the explosion at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. It was masterminded by Mohsen Rabbani, who presently is actively recruiting converts in Latin America, and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran’s Defense Minister.
Where do things stand now?
Cristina Fernandez trusts Teheran and hopes for cooperation in the AMIA case
President Cristina Fernandez during her speech to the UN General Assembly said she hoped that the new Government in Iran would cooperate with Argentina in relation to the clarification of the attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.
The Argentina/Iran project, which commits both countries to commit to an investigation into the perpetrators of the deadly bombing, is subject to uncertainty in Iran where it remains in legal limbo.
Funny wording, that, “commits both countries to commit to an investigation”.
Having received the equivalent of a pre-engagement ring, Cristina went on and asked for “a date to send an Argentine magistrate to Teheran”.
Don’t hold your breath, Cristina.
While at the, she took time to condemn the UK government for deploying nuclear-armed submarines around the Falklands.
What the hell?
The president of Colombia is not insisting that the Marxist–Leninist narco-terrorist guerilla that has murdered thousands disarm immediately?
Colombia Santos: Farc ‘to keep weapons until referendum’
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said the Farc rebels would be allowed to keep their weapons until a peace agreement was ratified.
Mr Santos said no-one could expect the rebels to give up their weapons before a peace accord had been given final approval in a referendum.
He added that a ceasefire would be implemented once a deal was reached in talks under way in Cuba.
There’s not going to be a referendum until at least Marcht next year.
Considering that last month the FARC rejected the referendum proposal, while continuing to attack the Colombian army (two weeks ago they killed 13 soldiers), one must pause and wonder, what is Santos thinking?
Two different views on the ongoing negotiations:
Peace Signs in Colombia
Can Bogotá and the FARC Finally Overcome Their Differences? which concludes with,
Polls published by the Colombia media indicate that the majority of Colombians support ending the conflict with the FARC by diplomatic means. Unfortunately, there has been little public discourse about the potential struggles that the nation will face if the FARC lay down their arms. Although Cuba and Venezuela have publicly expressed their support of Colombia’s peace efforts, regional tensions remain high, especially when it comes to relations with the United States. For now, then, even if a peace agreement is signed, it does not mean that peace will prevail.
The president is talking about a paradigm shift. “Many people are accustomed to the war but I don’t accept that,” he told me. “I think Colombia deserves to have peace and I am quite certain that we will achieve it.”
Part of his optimism stems from his conviction that the rebels “are weakened and they don’t have an alternative.” Actually they do have an alternative, which is to stay out in the jungle and die with their boots on. Still, Mr. Santos is the FARC guerrillas’ best hope for getting a deal that will offer them some leniency. Should he walk away or fail to win re-election in May, they are not likely to fare better under the next government.
Mr. Santos’s critics, including former president Alvaro Uribe, doubt the FARC’s good faith. As I reported in June, they also worry that the government will sacrifice justice for peace and will get neither.
As far as I can see,
- The FARC are not interested in disbanding. To the contrary, they are seeking alliances with the ELN
- The FARC are calling for a “restructuring of the Colombian state“, including a major redesign of the Colombian Constitution
- The FARC are not interested in ceasing its operations as a drug crime entity
- As the O’Grady article states, the FARC’s goal is “to force the government to designate the area an autonomous zone that it could control”
- And, inspired by their Cuban hosts, they are in it for the long run.
What kind of peace, then, could these negotiations yield?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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