Posts Tagged ‘Alvaro Uribe’

Colombia: Uribe, paramilitarism and imperialist intervention in Latin America

Friday, October 24th, 2014
((Álvaro Uribe))

((Álvaro Uribe))

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for October 16, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here. The author is an activist in the Brazilian chapter of the Marcha Patriótica movement.]

By Javier D. Rodríguez

A few weeks ago a debate was held in the national congress of the Republic of Colombia on the connections between former President and now Senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez and paramilitary groups and narcotraffickers. The debate, initiated by Senator Iván Cepeda of the Polo Democrático Alternativo, sought to ask the Justice Department for results of the investigation into criminal acts allegedly carried out by Uribe, described in detail by Cepeda and other participants during the discussion, which lasted more than eight hours.

The history of Uribe’s involvement in public office is long, as is the history of his corruption scandals and his ties to the paramilitary and drug trafficking. At the time of his first public office as director of civil aviation in 1980, there were charges that he granted permits to planes used by drug trafficking cartels; afterward, as national congressman in 1989, the same Uribe would be one of the main critics of the deportation of drug traffickers; and in his term as governor of the department of Antioquia he was responsible for the birth and growth of paramilitarism through the creation of armed civilian groups called “Convivir” [Asociaciones Comunitarias de Vigilancia Rural]. (more…)

Colombia: What is the opposition going to do?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
 ((Álvaro Uribe  -- Semana photo by Diana Acosta))

((Álvaro Uribe — Semana photo by Diana Acosta))

After failing to remove Juan Manuel Santos from the Casa de Nariño, former president Uribe’s opposition will move from Twitter to the Senate

[Translation of an unsigned article from Semana of Bogotá for June 16. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

For two years Álvaro Uribe, the most popular politician in the recent history of Colombia, set for himself the goal of preventing the re-election of his immediate successor and heir, Juan Manuel Santos. He turned his Twitter account, with its more than three million followers, into an anti-administration platform; he created the Centro Democrático party, the main opposition block in the new congress, with him in the lead; and with its backing he carried Óscar Iván Zuluaga to within a few percentage points of the Casa de Nariño [seat of the executive branch].

Beyond defeating the Uribista candidate, Santos defeated his mentor, transformed for more than half his first term into his Nemesis. The main reason the re-election campaign did not turn out to be a leisurely exercise, like other recent experiences in Latin America, was Uribe’s determined opposition. The former president was also responsible for exposing and exploiting the current president’s mistakes, in one of the most intense, litigious and aggressive electoral contests in recent history. The relative weakness with which Santos will begin his second term compared with his first is due almost entirely to the attacks by Uribe and his followers. (more…)

Peace in Latin America at stake in Colombian election

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
((Zuluaga and Uribe -- El Clarín photo))

((Zuluaga and Uribe — El Clarín photo))

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for May 29, 2014. See original here.]

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera

The runoff in the Colombian presidential elections on June 15 will be of exceptional importance for Latin America and the Caribbean.

If Uribista candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga, whose dirty war campaign was managed by [former President Álvaro] Uribe, should prevail, the peace process in Havana between the FARC and the Colombian government would cease and the country would fall into a bloody intensification of the hostilities with this guerrilla and with the ELN [Ejército de Liberación Nacional].

Zuluaga based his campaign on an iron fist against the guerrilla and declared the day after his winning the first round that he would suspend the peace talks in Havana provisionally until the FARC, which he describes as the largest drug cartel in the world, agrees to a unilateral ceasefire and other onerous conditions. This is the equivalent of asking the guerrilla to surrender unconditionally, which would put an end to the promising peace process. (more…)

Brazil should take part in the Colombian conflict, Marcha Patriótica says

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

 

((David Flórez))

((David Flórez))

Spokesman for Colombian political movement suggests Brazilian government may be backing Santos’ policy

[Translation of an interview from Opera Mundi of São Paulo for June 3, 2013.  See original here and related articles here, here, here, here and here.]

The Colombian political movement Marcha Patriótica is hoping for a more “pro-active” position from the Brazilian government on the historical conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) guerrillas.  David Flórez, spokesman for the movement, declared in an interview with Opera Mundi, “It is not very clear if (the Brazilian government) is for peace or if it backs Santos’ policies.”

Flórez and other members of the political and social coalition, of which former Senator Piedad Córdoba is a member, were in Porto Alegre on May 24, 25 and 26 as guests of the Fórum Pela Paz na Colômbia [Forum for Peace in Colombia], held in the gaúcho state’s legislative assembly. The event included social activist groups from Argentina and Uruguay, who endured  nearly 24 hours on a bus to arrive at the capital of Rio Grande do Sul.  Brazilian participation was less challenging in comparison. (more…)

Colombia: First political agreement between government and FARC in 30 years of negotiations

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Semana of Bogotá for May 27, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Álvaro Sierra Restrepo

The peace process between the government and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) got a powerful boost on Sunday. After six months of talks, the parties announced they had reached agreement on the question of rural development, the first of the five items on the agenda, and that they will move on to the second, that of participation in electoral politics, in the next round of talks, beginning on June 11.

The announcement, which both sides clearly wanted especially to stress, as they charged Norway and Cuba, the host countries, with reading their joint communiqué to the press for the first time, has both a deep meaning and a powerful impact. (more…)

Colombia: FARC in Havana

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The truth and the lies about a heroic guerrilla movement

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for February 8, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

There is no hiding the fact these days that the Juan Manuel Santos administration is not interested in having the Havana peace talks attain the objective of the agreement sketched out in Oslo with the sponsorship of Norway and Cuba. On the contrary, it makes an effort to prevent their leading to an end of the conflict and to the peace that the Colombian people want.

The head of the Bogotá delegation, Humberto de la Calle, repeatedly finds pretexts for threatening to end the talks, preventing the discussion of items on the agenda from moving forward.

The capture of two police officers in the Valle department, supposedly by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the Ejército Popular (EP), is the latest of these pretexts. (more…)

Colombia: Santos dissolves security department

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Santos distances himself from Uribe in response to US pressure

[Translation of an Agence France Presse article as published in Vanguardia of Bucaramanga, Colombia, on November 1, 2011. See original here.]

“The country knows very well the reasons we have decided to take this step,” said President Santos as he announced Monday evening the elimination of the agency. “It is not a transformation, it is not a reform. In the case of the DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad – Administrative Security Department) it is liquidation. DAS is being eliminated,” the president declared.

During the Uribe administration (2002-2010), DAS was involved in scandals over infiltration by paramilitary groups.

One of its former directors, Jorge Noguera, was convicted of homicide and complicity with these extreme right groups, which were demobilized between 2003 and 2006, and former vice director José Miguel Narváez is also charged with homicide. (more…)

Local elections in Colombia, in the shadow of ‘parapoliltics’

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

At least 41 candidates have been assassinated by guerrillas or by paramilitaries during the campaign

[Translation of an article from Nueva Tribuna of Madrid, Spain, for October 28. See original here.]

By Javier M. González

This Sunday, October 30, Colombians will choose local and regional officials in the first elections under the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos. Between February 2 and October 20, 41 candidates were assassinated by diverse violent groups, according to a study by the independent NGO Misión de Observación Electoral (MOE – Electoral Observation Mission). This figure is practically double the number of deaths recorded in the last regional elections, in 2007.

The guerrillas, especially the FARC, rightist paramilitary groups, drug traffickers and other criminal groups are also competing in these elections, through the buying of candidates or the assassination of possible adversaries. For the different violent organizations, of the right or the left, tied or not to drug trafficking or other illegal activities, the control of mayors, city councilors and even governors is an objective that assures them impunity for their activities. And, in many cases, access to security information vital to their survival. (more…)

Humanitarian aid for Colombia from Venezuela and Brazil

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Vanguardia Liberal photo

[Three articles. Under newly elected President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia renewed diplomatic relations with Venezuela last August after ties had been broken over accusations by former President Álvaro Uribe that Venezuela was harboring guerrillas of the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have since made a show of harmony. In the meantime, Colombia has been hit with serious flooding in recent weeks, resulting in some 138 people dead, 208 injured, 22 missing and 1.3 million homeless. The United States has pledged $150,000 in relief funds, in sharp contrast to the seven billion dollars the US has spent on Plan Colombia in the ten years since the US began participating in the effort, most of it directed to financing the Colombian military in its pursuit of the FARC.]

Venezuela and Brazil to send aid after winter storms

[Translation of an article from Vanguardia Liberal of Bucaramanga, Colombia, for November 28. See original here.]

The president of the republic, Juan Manuel Santos, reported yesterday that his counterparts in Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and in Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have made a commitment to provide aid in response to the harsh winter weather the country is experiencing, as they informed him during the UNASUR (Union of South American States) heads of state summit held last Friday in Georgetown, Guyana. (more…)

Colombia: Hunting civilians

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Persecuted for more than a year, this electrician is just one of the Colombian government’s victims

Brasil de Fato photo

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo, Brazil, for October 6. See original article here.]

by Patrícia Benvenuti

Thirty-seven-year-old Colombian electrician Carlos Alirio Peña García no longer feels safe at home, in the municipality of Barbacoas, in the department of Nariño, in the south of the country, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He is afraid that at any moment the police, who a year ago tried to make him pay for a crime he did not commit, will come back.

García’s case is just one example of the crimes the Colombian government perpetrates against the civilian population, who have to deal with the consequences of the alleged war against terrorism and narcotrafficking. (more…)

Colombia: Uribe’s “seguridad democrática” strategy a matter of social perception

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 6, 2010.]

by Blanche Petrich

Bogotá, August 5 – In the view of a wide sector of Colombian society – 70 percent according to the polls – President Álvaro Uribe, who will move out of the Casa de Nariño [the presidential residence] this Saturday, is practically a hero, who defeated “narco-terrorism,” eliminated insecurity in the major cities and restored the citizens’ ability to travel on the South American country’s highways without the risk of kidnapping or extortion, with which the guerrillas and the paramilitaries had ravaged the country until just a few years ago.

An aura of legendary proportions built up around Uribe moved his former adviser, José Obdulio Gaviria – known as his “musketeer” – to express himself in exalted language in his article in El Tiempo last Wednesday: “Heaven has granted us a superior intellect, a guide to lead his people across the desert,” he declares. (more…)

Colombia: FARC proposes dialogue with Santos

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FARC leader Cano says US military presence is “an indignity”

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 31.]

Alfonso Cano

Bogotá, July 30 – In a 30-minute video posted Friday on its web site, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), the oldest guerrilla force in the country, has proposed to President-elect Juan Manuel Santos that a dialogue be initiated to seek a political solution to the internal armed conflict.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced last night that his country has deployed military units on the border in response to “a threat of war” by Colombia because outgoing President Álvaro Uribe is “capable of anything.”

“What we are proposing, once again, is that we talk. We are still determined to seek political solutions. We are hoping for the new government to reflect and not to deceive the country any longer,” said Guillermo Sáenz, known as Alfonso Cano, leader of the insurgency, in a video recorded in July in the Colombian mountains. (more…)