Posts Tagged ‘Juan Manuel Santos’

Colombia: The FARC borrow a page from Iran and Cuba

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

The Obama administration agreed to the Cuba deal, and to the Iran deal. Neither Cuba nor Iran ceded an inch.

The FARC are paying attention: Mary O’Grady writes about the agreement that has yet to be made public,
Colombia’s Peace Deal Comes Apart. Soon after President Santos hailed the agreement at the U.N., the FARC weighed in.

In a dramatic speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that his government is on track to soon sign an agreement with the Colombian organized-crime syndicate FARC, bringing hostilities to an end. “The time of peace” is near, he solemnly predicted.

Not so fast, the FARC shot back that very same day. Its leaders issued a six-point document objecting to claims made by the Santos negotiating team in Havana about the status of the talks, and what has been agreed upon.

Santos refuses to allow a referendum anyway, but

The FARC, on the other hand, understands that it has all the leverage over Mr. Santos it needs. He has staked his legacy on a deal and hungers for the international recognition a signed agreement would bring. The stakes are even higher after the show in New York, in which Mr. Santos practically promised that he would deliver a complete final agreement in six months’ time. Colombia’s president must have studied the art of negotiation with the team President Obama sent to deal with Iran.

The FARC refuse to pay reparations to its victims, to disarm,

to confine its troops in any way or restrict the liberty of those who admit guilt

The FARC also demand to have a role in choosing the Special Jurisdiction for Peace judges.

Again, the accord has not been released to the public.

Alvaro Uribe tweets,
According to FARC, the justice accord is now Constitutional Reform as per Geneva Protocol.”

A candidate in Colombia’s October 25 elections representing former President Alvaro Uribe’s opposition party was shot in southwest Colombia on Saturday.

Santo’s peace is the deterioration of safety.
[retweet] So far 7 murdered candidates, 15 attempts on other candidates, and 187 threatened. Government, what guarantees?

NOTE: Yes, I refer to the FARC in the plural, while O’Grady does in the singular. Colombians refer to the FARC in the plural.

Venezuelan planes violate Colombia’s airspace twice in two days

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Borrowing a page from Putin, perhaps?

Colombia accuses Venezuela of new airspace violation

Colombia accused Venezuela Monday of violating its airspace for the second time in two days amid a smoldering border crisis, saying a warplane had again flown well into its territory.
. . .
The accusation came after Colombia said two Venezuelan warplanes crossed its northern border on Saturday — a claim Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez dismissed as “an invention.”

The plane flew six miles into Colombian airspace, did a sharp turn and returned to Venezuela – all without requesting permission.

The first incursion happened twice on Saturday, the day that both countries announced that they would renew ties amid the border crisis. The second took place yesterday, as Colombian president Santos announced that he was planning to visit

the northeastern province of La Guajira to assess the situation after Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro extended border closures to the region last week.

According to the reports, all incursions lacked warning to or authorization from Colombia.

Venezuela denies the incidents.

Video (in Spanish) from EFE,

Adding insult to injury, After deporting 1,400 Colombians, Venezuela pledges to take 20,000 Syrian refugees.

In other Colombian news,
Murder of Colombian journalist sullies local election campaign. Reporters’ association calls for more security measures in wake of Flor Alba Núñez’s death. She was shot as she arrived at La preferida estéreo radio station in Pitalito, southwest Colombia, where she worked. The link shows surveillance camera footage of the murder.

While the warplanes were flying, over 400 (civilian) passengers were stranded in Madrid for four days following cancellations by Conviasa, Venezuela’s national airline. Due to currency exchange laws, any Venezuelan passengers could not get more cash, either. (links in Spanish)

Colombia: Is the U.S. pressuring Uribe to accept FARC terms?

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Spain’s El País reports (in Spanish)
EE UU media entre Santos y Uribe sobre el proceso de paz en Colombia. En dos reuniones, el expresidente expresó sus reparos y propuestas y el Gobierno le aclaró “informaciones equivocadas” [U. S. mediates between Santos and Uribe on the Colombian peace process. In two meetings, the former president stated his misgivings and proposals and the Government cleared up “erroneous information.”]

Los dos encuentros, el primero el 12 de julio y el segundo este martes en la mañana, se han dado por invitación del enviado especial de Obama para el proceso de paz, Bernard Aronson, y el embajador de Washington en Bogotá, Kevin Whitaker. La primera duró dos horas y se centró, según Villegas, en la necesidad de que haya una “unión nacional” frente a los temas de paz. También se habló sobre la seguridad del país, una de las mayores preocupaciones del uribismo que insiste en que se ha deteriorado desde el inicio de los diálogos de paz con las FARC, hace ya tres años.

[My translation: The two meetings, on July 12th and last Tuesday, took place by invitation from Obama’s special envoy to the peace process in Havana, Bernard Aronson, and the U.S. Ambassador to Bogota, Kevin Whitaker. The first meeting lasted two hours and focused, according to (Colombia’s Defense Minister Luis Carlos) Villegas, on the need for a “national union” on the peace issues. They also discussed national security, a major priority of uribismo which insists has deteriorated since the start of the FARC talks three years ago.]

Tuesday’s meeting lasted five hours.

Now-senator Uribe has consistently insisted that the FARC completely disarm and its leaders must serve time in prison, and is firmly opposed to a government proposal for a special legislative commission that would allow for FARC member participation in Congress. The government, on the other hand, wants to expedite approval of this proposal.

Tweeting yesterday, Uribe stated:
The reform the Government announces is a coup against the people, against democracy, all in favor of the FARC.”

Conversation with the Government: The only option we’re allowed is for us to declare support to their accords with FARC

Uribe had sought support from U.S. congress members for his opposition stance last February.

In other Colombia news, Santos, who had tip-toed on the border dispute with Venezuela for fear that Venezuela may undermine his pet project of peace with the FARC, is now declaring that ‘the Bolivarian revolution has failed.’

[Post edited to add tweet]

The Swedish model Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Contrary to what the uninformed Left would believe, the Swedish model won’t be working in LatAm any time soon.

Whale appears alongside yachts in luxury Argentine area
News of the whale quickly spread on social media and was broadcast live by local stations, prompting hundreds to line up along the port area to catch a glimpse

Post-Kirchner Argentina Promises More Populist MiseryNo Matter What Party Tops the Election, the Welfare State Wins

Argentine Tango With Creditors Takes a TwirlArgentine officials are hinting at a thaw in a long-running standoff with hedge-fund creditors, boosting investors’ interest in the struggling South American nation ahead of a New York court date Wednesday.

El narcotráfico salvó la campaña

After some delays in early voting, Argentineans cast their ballots to elect presidential candidates

Law Requires Bolivian Officials to Speak an Indian Language

Delivering a message, with a hit, Brazilian anti-corruption radio DJ shot dead live on air
Gleydson Carvalho gunned down in studio as he broadcast
; Two Arrested in Killing of Brazil Radio Host

Brazil’s space programme
Ten, nine, ten…
Rocket science is hard. Rocket diplomacy is harder

Brazil’s space programme suffered a blow in July when President Dilma Rousseff scrapped an 11-year-old agreement with Ukraine to launch satellites aboard Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rockets from Brazil’s Alcântara spaceport in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The official explanation implied that the much-delayed project, which had been budgeted at 1 billion reais ($290m), had become too expensive. Brazil may also fear that Ukraine will not fulfil its part of the deal, not least because its space industry is located near Donetsk, which is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

8%: Brazilian President’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low
The country’s economy is struggling and nation faces a growing corruption scandal

Gunmen shoot Spanish convict dead in front of his home in Brazil
Galician Anxo Antono Valiño had been convicted of murdering a businessman in 2007

Chile ex-spymaster, Manuel Contreras, dies at 86

Santos: Colombia Government Negotiator Met Twice with FARC’s Top Leader

Santos Pisses Away Colombian Tax Dollars on His Own BrandingState Propaganda Makes Mockery of Accountable Presidency

Havana’s hottest spot is a crowded ramp to WiFi bliss
At one the world’s most unusual Web lounges, Cubans have been trying WiFi for the first time

Locarno: Andy Garcia on Hemingway, Family, Directing and Cuba

“The political situation is Cuba has not turned,” Andy Garcia said politely, but very adamantly. “There is one government, a dictatorship. The Castros are still in power. There’s never been a popular election in Cuba. Nothing will change in Cuba until the Castro regime leaves and the people are free.”

Leaked Documents Blow Rafael Correa’s Spying Ways Wide OpenEcuadorian Watchdog Alleges Long-Term Surveillance, Infiltration of Opposition

String of Driver Murders Invoke Militarized Transport for El SalvadorSánchez Cerén Will Not Negotiate with Narcos

Haitians vote in delayed elections
Haitians vote in legislative elections that have been repeatedly delayed since 2011, in a test of stability for the impoverished nation.


Mexico’s economy was supposed to soar. It’s starting to flop.
President Peña Nieto’s economic reforms have yet to produce growth, and the peso has been battered.

6 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Homemade Submarine

Convicted rapist arrested in Mexican journalist murder case
Still no official motive as to why Rubén Espinosa and four women were brutally killed

US Lifts Restrictions Over Seized Property in Nicaragua

Panama Canal to limit ship draft due to drought

Peru’s Shining Path Rebels still Enslaving Around 200 People

Pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Is Weighing on the Little Guy, Too

St. Lucia to Launch Citizenship-by-Investment Program

Venezuela shortages: ‘Take away beer and things get risky’
Venezuelans facing prospect of heatwave without their favourite beer, latest in a series of shortages from disposable nappies to light bulbs

Obama’s failed ‘charm offensive’ in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
Sunday palate cleanser: Carlos Copello & Anabela Brogioli

Saturday essay: The Swedish model again, and why it won’t work in Latin America

Venezuela: Food riots

Don’t call that a debate

Another Capt.Louis Renault moment, Mexico: People’s disbelief at official story of El Chapo’s escape

Today’s must-read: It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution

Brazil: File this under “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas”

Argentina: A story in 5 tweets

Hillary’s sinking, roll out Princess Chelsea

Cuba: Hillary’s ignorance

Running out of people’s money: Puerto Rico UPDATED

Venezuela: The shocking state of its health service

Colombia: Pope Francis wants to meddle with the “peace process”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

After earning Raul Castro’s thanks and praise for brokering the restoration of relations between Cuba and the US, and thereby screwing the dissidents as repression becomes more severe, now Francis wants to meddle in the Colombian “peace process.”

During a private audience with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Francis

“. . . se mostró enseguida “dispuesto a desempeñar el papel que sea necesario” para poner fin al “más viejo conflicto de Latinoamérica”. [My translation: . . . he’s immediately “willing to take whatever part is needed” to put an end to “Latin America’s oldest conflict”.]

“Peace process” is a fluid term, as last week the Colombian military finally killed Jose Amin Hernandez Manrique, known as Marquitos, a top commander from the country’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), a group urging the FARC to continue its war following a surprise FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers.

To his credit, Santos didn’t jump at Francis’s offer. However, the FARC already thanked Pope Francis for his interest regarding the peace talks.

Why the hell does Francis want to meddle? First with Cuba/U.S., then with the global warming scam, and now with Colombia/FARC?

Is he after a Nobel Peace Prize?

Where did Church doctrine and spiritual matters go?

While a majority do call themselves at least nominally Catholic, Colombia does not have a state religion. The Pope’s words carry weight, but only among those who follow him.

Francis is working on the premise that, as head of the Catholic Church, his intervention will carry moral suasion.

Here’s the catch: It cannot.

The FARC, the ELN, and any of the other sundry Marxist narco-terrorist groups, have, for half a century, kidnapped, tortured, killed, maimed, raped, stolen from, and perpetrated heinous crimes on their fellow countrymen. They will only go along for as long as, and only if, it serves their purpose. They are immune to moral suasion.

Likewise on global warming, Francis speaks pretty words,

“Enlighten the masters of power and money so that they should not fall prey to the sin of indifference, so that they should love the common good, support the weak, and care about this world that we inhabit,”

Apparently Francis hasn’t realized that fossil fuels work for the common good. I highly recommend that he read Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels which makes a convincing case that fossil fuels are the only way to develop cheap, reliable, plentiful energy for seven billion people, and that it’s immoral to deny it to the developing world.

For Francis, the thousands of Christians martyred wholesale by ISIS, the Cuban dissidents, the hundreds of millions relying on the use of fossil fuels, are just window dressing. Now the FARC stands to benefit from Francis’s intercession.

But back to Latin America:
Until and unless Francis publicly denounces the role of the Catholic Church in the safe passage of Nazis (among them Josef Megele) into Argentina, his country of birth, as far as I’m concerned, he can STFU.

Colombia: Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Push for Colombians to Stop Farming Coca Falls Short
The effort has gained new urgency since the government’s decision last month to halt an American-backed campaign to kill coca crops with spraying.

The project set out to bring rural residents under the governmental umbrella for the first time and create the conditions for them to succeed. That meant improving roads needed to bring crops to market, giving titles to farmland, granting agricultural loans, bringing electricity to isolated hamlets, and setting up government services like courts, schools and health clinics.

But critics say that after Mr. Santos was elected president in 2010, the government’s interest seemed to wane.

Santos’s commitment is to negotiations, not actions.

Rather than spray and build infrastructure, the government will be sending groups of workers to pull up coca crops by hand. Meanwhile, the farmers have had to continue paying the FARC protection money all the same.

It comes as no surprise, then, that “the effort here has fallen far short of expectations,” or, as Louis would put it,

Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Words fail me:

Colombia has become embroiled in a heated debate after President Juan Manuel Santos announced the possible creation of a rural police force similar to the French gendarmerie if the government signs a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The idea, Santos said, was to consolidate security in the regions most affected by the internal armed conflict, and he did not rule out the participation of demobilized ex-guerrilla members in that force.

Santos’ initial proposal did not mention the FARC, but when a journalist asked him about the possibility, the president thought about it and replied: “I hadn’t thought about that, but I would not rule it out. We could very well negotiate something like that with the other party [FARC],” he told the press in Paris after meeting with French President François Hollande during an official visit to the country.

Considering how Santos wants unelected FARC in Congress, it’s no surprise that many were outraged, among then Uribe,

“Santos has destroyed the self-esteem and initiative of law enforcement, and now he finishes them off by announcing the creation of terrorist police forces”

Let’s hope Santos was only talking off the top of his head.

The Santos administration talks with the FARC will resume on February 4 in Havana.

Colombia: Peace at all costs?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Former president, now senator, Álvaro Uribe has been keeping track of the FARC casualty list during the peace talks:

FARCMETER (on peace talks) Attacks: 842,
Civilians wounded: 326, murdered: 105,
FARC wounded: 726, murdered: 650,
Kidnappings: 71

But president Juan Manuel Santos is intent on leaving a legacy as the president who ended “the longest-running conflict in the hemisphere.” Cynic that I am, he’s probably hankering for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now he’s proposing broadening the definition of “political crime” to include drug trafficking, but only for FARC members. Mary O’Grady explains,

Not all drug traffickers would be eligible to have their crimes reclassified, he said. Instead the proposal would be a sweetener offered by the government “specifically” for the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the peace talks, now in their fourth year in Havana. The idea, he said, is to prepare for “the day that members of FARC want to participate in politics.”

The negotiations, which were supposed to last a year, have gone on for 40 months, which gives the Cubans plenty to work on,

Cuba is notorious for 24/7 surveillance of influential visitors. The home-court advantage allows it to psychologically evaluate Colombian negotiators, study their weaknesses and develop relationships of trust to manipulate them. The KGB also taught the Cubans to recognize, and make use of, excessive personal ambition, Mr. García said.

Mr. Santos has not hidden his yearning for a deal that would be labeled the end of the longest-running conflict in the hemisphere. It’s hard to ignore the possibility that Cuba and the FARC are toying with the president’s ego.

Fifteen months ago, Santos was saying he was amenable to granting unelected guerrilla leaders seats in Congress. He has become enough of a tool to destroy democracy in the process.

Colombia: Government suspends peace talks after FARC kidnaps general

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Colombia Suspends Peace Talks With Rebels After General’s Capture
President Says Negotiations With FARC Are Off Until Further Notice

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement that the peace talks between the Colombian government and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, currently under way in Havana, Cuba, would be suspended until further notice following the FARC’s capture of Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate in a conflict-torn region near the Pacific coast.

Mr. Alzate was taken hostage along with an army captain, Jorge Rodriguez Contreras, and a civilian lawyer, Gloria Urrego.

All throughout the “peace talks” taking place in Havana, the FARC continued killing and kidnapping. Former president and now senator Alvaro Uribe tweeted,
639 soldiers and police murdered by FARC terrorists during dialogue with Santos.”

Uribe also published an article (in Spanish) on the error of negotiating with the FARC:

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Santos must present any peace agreement with the Marxist rebels to Congress no later than 24 February, and that the public must be told in advance of this date.

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Today’s the first round of the Colombian presidential election.

I say the first round because it’s unlikely that current-president Santos will get a large enough majority to avoid a second round.

Uribista Óscar Iván Zuluaga was making headway until the video scandal popped up:
Colombian Presidential Candidate Stumbles Over Campaign Allegations
Conservative Óscar Iván Zuluaga’s Surge in Pre-Vote Polls Hurt by Flap Over Videotapes

A 55-year-old former finance minister who has centered his campaign on sharply criticizing Mr. Santos’ peace talks with Marxist rebels, Mr. Zuluaga became entangled in the scandal after one of his campaign workers was arrested on May 6 for allegedly spying on Mr. Santos’s emails and those of guerrilla commanders participating in negotiations taking place in Havana, Cuba, with the Colombian government.

Eighteen days, two viral videos and numerous denials later, Mr. Zuluaga just can’t shake off accusations he was directly involved in what prosecutors here call a complex case of computer hacking.

Zuluaga denies involvement with the spying that the Santos campaign accused him of orchestrating.

Santos, however, had a scandal, too,

another scandal took off on May 8, when Mr. Zuluaga’s most powerful supporter, former President Álvaro Uribe, alleged $2 million that may have been tainted by drug trafficking was funneled into Mr. Santos’ 2010 presidential campaign. The Santos administration denied accepting funds from drug traffickers, and prosecutors said Mr. Uribe didn’t presented evidence.

Al-Jazeera has Five reasons to care about Colombia’s polls
Arms dealers, coffee drinkers and potential holidaymakers, take note.

5) Colombia is now the closest Western ally in South America, bucking the left’s pink tide

There’s enough dissatisfaction that Colombia Politics blog advises, If no one deserves your vote, vote “en blanco”. The Miami Herald speculates, Analysts say it’s far from clear how badly Zuluaga will be hurt by the scandal, but some have suggested it may sap enough votes to put another candidate into the second round against Santos.The Brazilian psychic predicts Zuluaga will be the next president:

As Drudge says, developing . . .