Posts Tagged ‘Juan Manuel Santos’

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…)

Colombia: On strike against poor education

Friday, October 14th, 2011

 

(("Education is not for sale" -- El Colombiano photo))

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for October 12. See original here.]

University leaders, inspired by the Chilean protests, warn that the educational reform reveals the privatizing spirit of the government of Juan Manuel Santos. The president claims the law is intended to improve the system.

By Katalina Vásquez Guzmán

Wearing leather shoes, because it’s a long walk, Kevin gets ready to march against the education reform that the Juan Manuel Santos administration is steering through Congress. Today workers and teachers will join students in the national strike to pressure the executive to give up the bill and to draw up a new proposal in conjunction with student groups and university leaders. The student federations that called on the more than 500,000 students in Colombian public universities to strike regard Santos’ reform as a threat, without consent. This would be one of the most important national protests since Álvaro Uribe’s successor assumed the presidency. (more…)

Honduras: Chávez’s motives

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Chávez, Lobo — Revistazo photo

[Translation of an article from Revistazo of Tegucigalpa for April 12. See original here and “First Part” here.]

by Tomás Andino Mancía

Second part

As for President Hugo Chávez, we can reject the hypothesis that he was taken by surprise, like a naïve dove, by the cold and calculating Colombian president, since Chávez has confirmed in his statements that he has been making efforts for some time, and that he will continue making them, to advocate Honduras’ return to the OAS. (more…)

Honduras: Why Santos and Chávez want a reconciliation with Lobo

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Chavez, Santos, Lobo — Revistazo photo

[Translation of an article from Revistazo of Tegucigalpa for April 11. See original here,  “Second Part” here and related article here.]

by Tomás Andino Mencía

First Part

The Honduran population in resistance has still not gotten over its surprise at the unexpected turn in international politics concerning the coup d’état in our country, not so much because of the well known cynicism of the Honduran oligarchy in blessing today whom it demonized yesterday as the worst monster in the world, but because of the political recognition and support the regime of President Hugo Chávez offered to the coup’s successor regime, as much for the sake of its return to the OAS as to enable it to receive the benefits of PetroCaribe. (more…)

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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…)

The war in Colombia goes on

Monday, September 6th, 2010

[Abridged translations of two articles, the first from the Venezuelan website TeleSUR, the second from El Nuevo Siglo of Bogotá, both from September 3.  See the original articles here and here.]

TeleSUR photo
TeleSUR photo

New outbreak of armed conflict in Colombia aggravates human rights situation

The renewal of the armed conflict Colombia is living through has aggravated the human rights situation in the country, the Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y los Desplazamientos of the country declared on Friday.

“The Colombian tragedy really consists of the fact that the war continues, we are not in any post-conflict state,” Marcos Romero, a member of the Consultoría, affirmed during an exclusive interview with TeleSUR.

According to Romero, despite the iron-fisted policy imposed by the Colombian government for eight years, there are still remnants of paramilitary groups in almost all regions of the country.

“We have had eight years of an iron-fisted policy and this policy has resulted in the cornering of the guerrillas but there are heirs to the paramilitary groups in almost all regions of the country,” he stated… (more…)

Colombian President Santos: Good chemistry with Lula, unknown with Obama

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

[Translation of an article from Estadão of São Paulo, Brazil, for September 2. See the original here.]

by Patrícia Campos Mello

I went to Brasilia yesterday to interview the new president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. This trip to Brazil is Santos’ first official visit to a foreign government. The former defense minister has “excellent chemistry” with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his advisors say. Santos says he is satisfied with Lula’s condemnation of terrorism in the region, although the Brazilian president made no direct mention of the FARC. Lula confirmed in a speech during lunch with Santos in Itamaraty that nothing justifies terrorism and that he supports the Colombian people’s struggle. (more…)

Colombian President Santos rejects peace talks with FARC

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 14 based on Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Agence France Presse and Reuters dispatches. See also “Colombia: FARC proposes dialogue with Santos” posted here on August 1.]

Bogotá, August 13 – A day after the explosion of a car bomb for which no organization has claimed responsibility, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected the possibiliity of peace talks with guerrilla forces because “the conditions are not right” and prohibited any gesture leading to such talks.

“We haven’t thrown the key to dialogues into the sea but the door is closed and will stay closed until those who want a dialogue on peace show their real motives in a clear and credible way,” Santos said in Popayán, capital of the department of Cauca, the scene of clashes between soldiers and combatants of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

“Until we have a very clear demonstration of the real intentions for a dialogue for peace, with concrete steps like those we have mentioned, that they free the hostages, that they give up terrorism, that they release the children they have recruited by force, that they give up extortion, that they stop acting like terrorists, until we see that, the key will be carefully hidden away,” he said. (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…)