Posts Tagged ‘Juan Manuel Santos’

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…)

Colombia: Gustavo Petro leaves a void in the Colombian Left

Monday, March 24th, 2014

FARC warns that Santos’ ruling may affect peace process

[Translation of an article from El Telégrafo of Guayaquil, Ecuador, for March 21, 2014.  See original here and related article here.]

Political leaders and analysts believe that the removal of the mayor of Bogotá will have repercussions in the presidential elections next May. The former official has announced that he will promote voting for “none of the above.”

The former mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, a one-time militant with the M-19 guerrilla movement, is the only local official on the left who has managed to hold a high political office in Colombia. His removal from office is without doubt a blow to the left, which saw in him the possibility of governing [the country], analysts stress.

President Juan Manuel Santos removed Petro in compliance with a request by the attorney general, who held that the mayor committed serious errors in the course of transferring the Bogota garbage collection system from the private sector to the public in 2012, and after denying a petition for a preliminary injunction in the case made on Tuesday by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (more…)

The Colombian peace talks: Political reform

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

[Translation of an article from El Turbión of Bogotá for July 11, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Juan Diego García

In the Havana talks between the government of Colombia and the FARC [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia],  debate over the second item on the agenda, political reform, is beginning. And, just as happened at the outset, the government is attempting to reduce the scope of the accords to a minimum while the guerrilla tries to give them the greatest reach possible. Santos advances a very restricted interpretation of political reform that reduces it in practice to guaranteeing electoral participation for the guerrilla without changing the rules of the game, while the guerrilla proposes taking advantage of the occasion to bring about much more far-reaching changes.

This is in reality a repetition of the initial scenario, when the first item on the agenda was dealt with from very contrary positions, which in the end did not stand in the way of a basic agreement on the rural question, as everything seems to indicate. Perfectly normal conduct that nevertheless has a greater reference point that is impossible to ignore: for now, at least, neither side is in a position to defeat the other. This is doubtless the basis that gives meaning to the dialogues and determines the real extent that the possible accords can reach. (more…)

Colombia: The peace process and the international context

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

 

((US marines at Turbo, Antioquia, Colombia))

((US marines at Turbo, Antioquia, Colombia))

[Translation of an article from El Turbión of Bogotá, Colombia, for June 7, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Juan Diego García

For the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean a peace process in Colombia is positive from every point of view. None of them benefits directly from the war and, on the contrary, they view with mistrust and fear the possibility that the conflict might spread to neighboring countries or might be reproduced elsewhere sympathetically.

For all of them, the war imposes too many conditions, and in a negative way, on commercial relations, which have grown markedly in the past few years. The fiscal integration of the nations, an imperative need, is blocked by the conflict. To begin with, communication between the two oceans is key, especially in the direction of the Pacific for countries like Venezuela and Brazil. Stability and a good social climate are important requirements for business to prosper. War as a permanent fixture benefits only those who profit from the arms trade or who practice a primitive capitalism. So peace would eliminate a source of concern for the governments of the region, one that is not at all negligible. (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: Agrarian question a challenge in peace talks

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo, Brazil, for October 25, 2012. See original here.]

By Marcel Gomes

In the face of slow progress in the negotiations between the government of Colombia and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) in Oslo and Havana, economist Héctor-León Moncayo, a member of the Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos (ILSA), one of the most important NGOs in Bogotá, points out that the “Colombian agrarian question,” one of the reasons the insurgency exists, is also one of the main obstacles to the achievement of peace.

In the past few years, the country has seen a new wave of investment in agriculture and mineral extraction, threatening areas traditionally occupied by small producers and indigenous peoples. The greater part of the armed ranks of the FARC come from these sectors of society. (more…)

Colombia: No deadline in Bogotá-FARC peace process, rebel leader says

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Timochenko accuses Santos of creating false hope

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for September 20, 2012. See original here.]

Bogotá, September 19 – The top commander of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko, says no deadline for reaching an agreement in the near future should be placed on the peace process with the government that is to begin next month, according to statements released today.

Timochenko told the weekly Voz, organ of the communist party, that President Juan Manual Santos has made a point of saying that the process should last “months and not years,” which could create false expectations.

The guerrilla chief stated that in the secret meetings held by the two sides in Cuba between February and August there was never talk of how long the negotiations, which are to begin in Oslo, Norway, on October 18, might last. (more…)

Argentina: Repsol YPF awakens the beast of colonialism

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 21, 2012. See original here.]

By Marcos Roitmann Rosenmann

Measures taken to nationalize and to recuperate basic riches in Latin America or Africa or Asia have always suffered the ire of colonial centers and the enterprises affected. There is no shortage of examples: Lázaro Cárdenas, Jacobo Arbenz, Fidel Castro, Omar Torrijos, Velasco Alvarado, Salvador Allende, Evo Morales, Hugo Chávez; the list is long.

Accustomed to ordering and to being in charge, arrogant empires are unfamiliar with the concepts of independence and sovereignty. They are reluctant to deal as equals. Paternalism, based on positions of strength, shapes the discourse of imperial haughtiness. To declare oneself opposed to paternal authority and the established order usually brings on exemplary punishment: blockades, destabilizing processes, economic strangulation, assassinations of leaders or coups d’état. These days, the expropriation of a private company, Repsol YPF, whose interests are those only of their stockholders and whose objective is to obtain profits at the cost of any ethical, judicial or environmental consideration, awakens the ire of the hegemonic powers, their institutions and principal political leaders. (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…)