Alvaro Uribe writes for The Hill (h/t Babalu) Ongoing political persecution will turn Colombia into Venezuela.
Alvaro Uribe writes for The Hill (h/t Babalu) Ongoing political persecution will turn Colombia into Venezuela.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos goes to Washington this week to seek Donald Trump’s blessing for his amnesty deal with the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. He also wants the $450 million that Barack Obama set aside for Colombia in this year’s U.S. budget. Back home Mr. Santos gets few blessings—a poll published May 8 by the market research firm Yanhaas found he has 19% approval. Mr. Trump might like to consider why that is.
On almost all counts Colombia is worse off than when Mr. Santos took the helm in 2010. Important economic reforms have languished, but last year the government sharply hiked taxes. The economy grew a scant 2% in 2016.
Mr. Santos has presided over a corruption boom.
. . .
Mr. Santos may feel smug when he arrives in Washington. He went around the Colombian Constitution to make his FARC deal law. Then he enshrined it above the constitution, even though the public rejected it in a national plebiscite. He also got his country’s Congress, which he controls, to give him rule-by-decree powers during its implementation.
Colombia is now a place where the president’s political enemies, or their relatives, often wind up in jail. Former President Álvaro Uribe’s brother Santiago has been behind bars since early 2016, though he has never been convicted of any crime.
Read the whole thing.
The FARC is not disarming, thereby violating the peace agreement, while Santos tweets that the new U.S. budget includes $450 million to support his FARC deal, writes Mary O’Grady.
First, Santos’s tweet,
“Bi-partisan accolade from the U.S.: Congress approved $450 million for Colombia Peace, 74 million more than in 2017”
Espaldarazo bipartidista de EE UU: Congreso aprobó presupuesto con partida de US$450 millones para Paz Colombia. 74 millones más que en 2016
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) May 4, 2017
The latest proof that Mr. Santos was snookered by FARC is the discovery last week of another cache of FARC arms that were supposed to be handed in. Hidden weapons are like cockroaches. If you discover one, you can be sure there are many others unseen.
On Wednesday the Colombian army found 16 FARC rifles and 39 grenades near the border of the departments of Meta and Guaviare. The army said that the weapons had been used for extortion and to attack government teams eradicating coca. Last month another find in the same area included one M16, six magazines and 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
On April 20 the minister of defense announced the discovery of a FARC weapons cache in Putumayo. It included 54 rifles, six machine guns, three grenade launchers, 100 kilos of explosives, 200 land mines and 3,600 detonators. Two weeks earlier, the minister said, authorities had found 600 mortar grenades in Tumaco, in the department of Nariño.
The child soldiers are not being returned, kidnappings continue (including a United Nations worker last week), and FARC are still active in the state of Amazonas.
Yesterday O’Grady tweeted Pedro Corzo’s op-ed in El Nuevo Herald,
Wake up Colombia
— MaryAnastasiaO’Grady (@MaryAnastasiaOG) May 7, 2017
Corzo asserts that Colombia is on the path to Chavismo,
El presidente Juan Manuel Santos ha sido un catalizador a favor del surgimiento y fortalecimiento de personas y fuerzas políticas contrarias a la democracia, como son los casos de las FARC y ELN, dos facciones que no han renegado de sus convicciones marxistas, ideología que sustenta gobiernos contrarios a los derechos ciudadanos.
Las características de los acuerdos de paz con las FARC y las conversaciones con el ELN propician el fortalecimiento de factores opuestos a la democracia.
[my translation] President Juan Manuel Santos has been a catalyst favoring the emergence and strengthening of people and forces adverse to democracy, as is the case with the FARC and the ELN, two factions that have not renounced their Marxist beliefs, an ideology supported by governments that oppose citizen rights.
The characteristics of the accord with the FARC and the talks with the ELN favor the strengthening of factions opposed to democracy.
Santos is leading his country towards disaster.
Former Colombian presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana met with Pres. Trump at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, in a meeting probably arranged by Marco Rubio:
In a tweet following the meeting, Pastrana thanked Trump for the “cordial and very frank conversation” about problems in Colombia and the region.
Uribe was unavailable for an interview, but his former vice president, Francisco Santos, said it was important that the Trump administration and U.S. Congress hear a more complete picture of the reality in Colombia. He described the meeting as short, but with a clear message. The former presidents raised concerns about the situation in Venezuela and Colombia, including damage they say the peace process has caused.
“We’re very worried,” said Francisco Santos, who is the Bogotá chair of Uribe’s Democratic Center political party and the current president’s cousin. “You have a perfect storm, and the government says everything is going fine and we’re living in peace. And that’s not true.”
The Mar-a-Lago meeting coincided with a letter Uribe wrote to the Trump administration and Congress, which he published on Twitter, warning that President Santos’ efforts to complete a peace deal with the rebels could lead to Colombia becoming an authoritarian state similar to Venezuela.
Message to the authorities and the Congress of the United States of America… https://t.co/U1THc37vYn
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) April 16, 2017
Prior posts on the FARC and the peace agreement.
First Santos is named in the Odebrecht corruption scandal.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday reiterated his thanks to his Ecuadorian counterpart and host, Rafael Correa, for the latter’s support of Bogota’s peace process with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas.
“Many thanks for all the support that you have been giving us, support in the peace process. Your generosity, your vision, your commitment to peace in the region and peace in Colombia is something that we will never forget,” said Santos upon his arrival in the city of Guayaquil to meet with his Ecuadorian colleague.
Correa said that it was “an honor” to welcome the Nobel Peace Prize winner, a recognition – he said – that was “well deserved for being the author of peace in your beloved Colombia and in the region.”
“You know you can count on us,” said Correa, adding that “Ecuador is the facilitator and guarantor of this negotiation process. I hope it has resounding success and seals a comprehensive peace in our beloved Colombia.”
What precipitated the lovefest?
On Feb. 7, the Colombian government and the ELN in Quito began an historic dialogue with an eye toward ending the confrontation they have pursued for more than 52 years, after the peace accord signed on Nov. 24 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Ecuador’s presidential election is next Sunday. The Ecuadorean Opposition Looks Ahead to Second Round to Build Coalition.
Andrea Zarate reports on how the Odebrecht Corruption Scandal Ensnares Leaders of Peru and Colombia, specifically Toledo of Peru,
Peruvian prosecutors accused the former president, Alejandro Toledo, of accepting $20 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for infrastructure contracts, including the rights to build a highway connecting Peru to Brazil.
and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Santos of Colombia,
In Colombia, prosecutors said Tuesday that President Juan Manuel Santos’s re-election campaign in 2014 might have received about $1 million from Odebrecht, according to The Associated Press. The country’s top prosecutor, Nelson Martinez, said the donations had come through a third party working on behalf of the company, The A.P. reported. Mr. Santos did not comment.
As you may recall, Odebrecht allegedly had a department in charge of bribing officials around the world. It appears they were very thorough.
El Tiempo reports that there will be no presidential pardon for FARC leader Ricardo Palmera a.k.a. Simón Trinidad, who is currently serving a 60-year sentence at the Florence ADX US Penitentiary for the execution of American Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Thomas Janis, and the kidnapping and torture of Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes.
Julián Villabona Galarza explains,
Although Obama has the legal authority to grant a pardon Trinidad, due to special executive powers in the American legal system, he will not exercise his powers on this occasion, according to reporter Sergio Gómez Maseri, who is the Washington correspondent for El Tiempo, and who had first hand information from a United States government source.
Colombian president Santos reportedly had been pressuring Washington to release the terrorist Trinidad to appease the FARC, which he later denied.
In other FARC news, French president François Hollande to visit FARC encampment on official Colombia trip
Hollande will visit Colombia between the 22 and 24 of January, when he is expected to visit a guerilla demobilization site in Cauca province.
“Hollande, the president of France who cannot confront jihadist terrorism, will visit a Colombia handed over to the FARC.”
Noticia en Europa "HOLLANDE, PRESIDENTE FRANCÉS QUE NO HA SABIDO ENFRENTAR AL TERRORISMO YIHAIDISTA, VISITA LA COLOMBIA ENTREGADA A LAS FARC
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) January 8, 2017
Hollande’s visit is yet one more step towards legitimizing the FARC’s ascension to political power.
Last Friday Juan Manuel Santos and Alvaro Uribe met at the Vatican with Pope Francis to discuss the so-called peace agreement with the FARC.
“The Santos and Uribe boys, please go to the principal’s office”
Santos y Uribe en el Vaticano pic.twitter.com/53gd4GnTys
— Juan Manuel Caro (@jmcaro) December 16, 2016
It was part of Santos’s Nobel Peace Prize Victory Tour™, which so far includes pressuring the Spanish government to censor advertising billboards.
The WSJ reports,
The pope first held separate private meetings with each of the two men. Then the three met for an encounter in which Mr. Santos and his rival sat side by side across a desk from the pope. The arrangement was unusual because it seemed to suggest equal standing between Mr. Uribe and Mr. Santos, a head of state.
The Holy See said the pontiff “spoke about the ‘culture of encounter’ and emphasized the importance of sincere dialogue between all members of Colombian society at this historical moment.”
But it was clear that Mr. Uribe maintained his tough stance against the accord, which he says amounts to granting impunity by permitting former FARC commanders to hold 10 seats in congress.
Uribe’s correct; the current deal, redrafted on December 1 and fast tracked by the Supreme Court on December 14, legitimizes the FARC and turns it into a political power.
Francis’s spokesman said he won’t go to Colombia until the peace agreement is “bulletproof.”
Uribe spoke to the media after the meeting,
“I summarized to Pope Francis the basic elements on which there are disagreements and told him I hope they are allowed to be changed”
Hice resumen al Papa Francisco de los temas esenciales sobre los que hay desacuerdos y le dije que ojalá los permitan cambiar pic.twitter.com/7NP9xfzj1P
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) December 17, 2016
Among the Twitter reactions:
“After talking to Santos // After talking to Uribe”
Luego de la conversación Santos // Luego de la conversación con Uribe pic.twitter.com/nhdExd7ZZE
— Mr. Green ♻ (@lopesergio) December 16, 2016
Post corrected for HTML error.
Colombian media reports that Santos wanted to discuss the peace agreement with Pope Francis. Pope Francis thought it would be a great idea, and to have Uribe join them. The Vatican sent a plane to fetch Alvaro Uribe, who flew in, attended the meeting, did not give into pressure, and flew back home right away.