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Colombia in the News
Archive: 1/05-12/08

Afro-Colombians fight biodiesel producers  12/21/2008 BBC: "Mr Caceido, in his early 30s, says he moved to Bogota in 2001 after being threatened by presumed paramilitaries in Tumaco, a Pacific coast region. "We have been discriminated against in three ways," he says with steely restraint. "We are displaced, we are black and we are poor." It is Mr Caceido's view that underlying the displacement of countless Afro-Colombians is a clash in values between the communities' use of the land and an initiative of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to produce more palm oil for biodiesel. For Afro-Colombians, Mr Caceido says, land use is based on cultivating a few traditional crops for subsistence - such as corn, yucca and cocoa - or for hunting and fishing. But, according to human rights organisations working in the north-west Choco province, and in dense forests along the Pacific, paramilitary gangs are seizing Afro-Colombian land to facilitate biofuel conglomerates."

The Black President Colombia Won’t Acknowledge  12/11/2008 Tlaxcala: "Alvaro Uribe is not the 84th president of Colombia but the 85th as, for circumstances that the historians attribute to racism, a black president that this country had had in the middle of the nineteenth century, Juan José Nieto Gil, was literally erased from history."

History Repeats Itself For Indigenous Communities in Colombia  11/14/2008 Mama Radio: "Eyewitnesses say the assassins of Lemus and Rivera were members of the Aguilas Negras, or Black Eagles, newly formed paramilitary groups that have emerged throughout Colombia in recent months. The 39-year-old Lemus, the brother of two well-known Nasa activists, was driving his car on the road from the town of El Palo to the indigenous reserve of Toribio, in the mountainous region of northern Cauca. He was accompanied by his wife and son. According to eyewitnesses, Lemus was ordered to stop and get out of his car by two hooded gunmen, who proceeded to drill him with bullets in front of his family. The assassins, before leaving the site of the attack, wrote “Águilas Negras” on the window of Valencia Lemus’ vehicle."

COLOMBIA'S RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL  11/7/2008 "Colombia's Ministry of Defense (MOD) has also engaged an Israeli company, Global Comprehensive Security Transformation (GLOBAL CST), to help the Colombian government conduct a strategic assessment of the internal conflict. GLOBAL CST is a security company run by Major Gen (reserve) Yisrael Ziv, former Director of Operations for the Israel Defense Forces and a personal acquaintance of Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos. The assessment is focused primarily on defeating the FARC and other internal terrorist and criminal organizations, but also includes an evaluation of external threats including Venezuela and Ecuador. The MOD is spearheading the exercise and has named it the "Salto Estrategico" (Strategic Leap)."

Illegal killings by army seen widespread in Colombia  11/1/2008 Reuters 

Colombia's Uribe Said To Hinder Militia Probes  10/17/2008 WaPo: "But the report accused Uribe of trying to obstruct the probes, instead of supporting them as he claims in his frequent trips to Washington. It also highlighted how Uribe and his aides have tried to tarnish the Supreme Court, which is carrying out an assertive probe that has already found ties between dozens of members of Congress and paramilitary groups. "President Uribe's and his cabinet members' repeated verbal attacks, bizarre public accusations and personal phone calls to members of the court create an environment of intimidation," the report said."

Scenarios for the FARC  7/24/2008 Americas Program: "The strategy outlined by the Southern Command (SouthCom) and the Pentagon, and expressed in Plan Colombia II, does not seek the definitive defeat or negotiations with the guerrillas. Eliminating the FARC from the scene would be bad for business and undermine the imperial strategy of destabilization and re-colonization of the Andean region. That project cannot be carried out without a direct or indirect war, without permanent destabilization as a vehicle for the territorial and political reconfiguration of the strategic region that includes the arc curving from Venezuela to Bolivia and Paraguay, and passing through Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru."

Colombian military used Red Cross emblem in rescue  7/15/2008 CNN 

Latin America Experts Condemn U.S. Detention and Search of Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba  7/10/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "U.S. Customs and Immigration Services agents detained Senator Cordoba for approximately three hours and searched her belongings. During this time, the agents also photocopied private documents she was carrying. These documents could put in danger the lives of political activists if turned over to the Colombian government."

Bush, Colombia & Narco-Politics  7/3/2008 Consortium News: reprinted from 8/07 - "George W. Bush’s strategy of countering Venezuela’s leftist president Hugo Chávez by strengthening ties to Colombia’s rightist government has been undercut by fresh evidence of high-level drug corruption and human rights violations implicating President Alvaro Uribe’s inner circle."

McCain Pushes Colombia Trade Pact  7/3/2008 Consortium News: "Republican presidential candidate John McCain, on a visit to Colombia with top supporters Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, is a strong supporter of a proposed free trade agreement between the US and Colombia and planned to promote it during his visit."

US Military Special-Ops Team, and Not the Colombian Army, Carried Out Hostage Rescue in Colombia  7/3/2008 NarcoNews: "The source claims the rescue mission was a U.S.-led operation with Colombian support – as opposed to the reverse, as has been widely reported in the U.S. media. The operation had been underway for some months prior to the July 2 rescue day. In priming this pump, the U.S. team managed to plant some satellite phones with the FARC. The source declined to provide details on how that was accomplished for fear of compromising future operations of this nature. From there, the U.S. military used its technology to set up surveillance by intercepting the FARC’s communications. The whole operation was carried out, the source claims, under the guise of being a humanitarian mission. The FARC, the source claims, believed they were dealing with a “French humanitarian group.” The communications intercepts helped to facilitate that deceit, the source adds."

So, That's Why McCain Went to Colombia  7/3/2008 The Field: "Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa will hold a press teleconference on Wednesday, July 2 to discuss John McCain's trip to Colombia to push another job-killing trade agreement with a country that continues to turn a blind eye to human rights violations, including an alarming rise in murders of trade unionists. More than 2,500 trade unionists have been assassinated in Colombia since 1986, more than in any country in the world. Already this year, 27 Colombian trade unionists have been killed."

TransAfrica Forum Reflects on U.S. Foreign Policy towards Colombia as John McCain Travels to South America  7/2/2008 TransAfrica: "Senator John McCain visits Colombia this week. At issue is the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Plan Colombia, the multi-billion dollar, U.S.-backed, drug eradication effort designed to halt coca production and end cocaine shipments. According to news reports, his campaign committee is financing the trip."

Palm Oil in Colombia: Biofuel or Bioterror?  7/1/2008 Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association: "The 39-year-old Polo is vice president of the board of the Major Council, an organization of 21 communities that owns 42,700 hectares in the Curvaradó river basin in Chocó, Colombia. He is an active leader in his community’s efforts to recuperate collectively titled lands that have been occupied since 1997 by multinational oil palm companies connected to Colombia’s paramilitary. He has been the target of death threats by palm oil companies, he said, as have the legal representative of Curvaradó's Council, Ligia Maria Chaverra, and farmer Enrique Petro. Polo said, through interpreter Rocio Orantes, that he lives in a part of Colombia populated by people who were brought to the country from Africa as slaves, as well as indigenous and mixed-raced people. All have shared cultures and farmed there for many years, growing their own food and raising bananas for export to the United States."

Photos in Colombia's "Magic Laptop" Undermine Claim of Chavez-FARC Connection  5/31/2008 Alternet: "A series of photos allegedly found on the laptops of Raúl Reyes, the FARC leader killed when the Colombian government bombed and raided a FARC encampment across the Ecuadoran border, appear to have actually been taken by Colombian intelligence agents--or by allied police or intelligence agents--in Quito, Ecuador. The photos were supplied to the Bogotá daily El Tiempo by an anonymous Colombian intelligence source Monday, March 3, just two days after the raid on the encampment. Credible doubts about the provenance of the photos are potentially explosive, suggesting that a piece of evidence that the Colombian government claimed originated from the FARC laptops actually came from another source, and also because they indicate the presence of Colombian intelligence in Quito." [includes sample fotos]

Slain Colombian Insurgent Held Secret Talks with U.S. Diplomats  5/20/2008 National Security Archives: published 3/4/08 - "The slain insurgent, Raúl Reyes, met secretly in Costa Rica in December 1998 with a U.S. diplomatic mission led by Philip T. Chicola, then director of the State Department's Office of Andean Affairs. The meeting was particularly sensitive in that the guerrilla group represented by Reyes, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was listed on the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The FARC remains Colombia's oldest and largest rebel army. Stressing "the absolute requirement for confidentiality," Chicola told Reyes that the U.S. wanted to "to develop a channel of communication" with the FARC."

Money Laundering & Murder in Colombia: Official Documents Point to DEA Complicity Kent Memo’s Corruption Allegations Bolstered by FOIA Records, Leaked U.S. Embassy Teletype  5/18/2008 NarcoNews 

Interpol says Colombia FARC documents authentic  5/15/2008 Reuters: "Interpol concludes there was no alteration," Interpol chief Ronald Noble said through an interpreter at a Bogota news conference. "Our role has nothing to do with the content."

UK palm oil consumption fuels Colombia violence, says report  5/11/2008 The Guardian: "British consumers have become the biggest export market for the controversial crop which is used in margarine and pastries as well as toothpaste, soap and detergents and cosmetics. The surge in demand has sustained a ruthless landgrab by rightwing paramilitary groups in Colombia's rural areas, War on Want, a London-based advocacy group, says in its report. "The UK, despite being one of the largest consumers of Colombia's palm oil products, remains unaware of the devastating impact of cultivation of this crop on the lives of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities."

Colombian colonel, three others arrested for alleged paramilitary ties  5/7/2008 AP 

Criminal gangs rise from ashes of militias - Demobilized fighters in Colombia turn into drug traffickers, killers  5/5/2008 La Times 

The Guardian Covers (Up) Colombia’s Reality - London’s “Left Leaning” Newspaper Props Up Latin America’s Most Authoritarian Government  5/5/2008 NarcoNews: "During these two months the Guardian published 38 articles that discussed Colombia in significant detail. It is a very revealing exercise to scan these articles for information that is readily available on the website of Human Rights Watch (HRW).? HRW is a prominent organization with a track record of being disproportionately hard on US enemies (Hizbullah, Hamas, Venezuela) and soft on the US allies (Israel, Haiti under Gerard Latortue). [1] It is not a group likely to exaggerate the crimes of a US and UK ally. One might expect that a supposedly left leaning newspaper like the Guardian would, at the very least, tell readers what HRW has been reporting."

New Colombia drug gangs wreak havoc  5/4/2008 LA Times: "The young farmer was killed in a roadside ambush in February near this mining and drug trafficking hub in north-central Colombia, apparently by one of a new generation of criminal gangs that have emerged in the two years since right-wing paramilitary fighters officially disbanded. The status of the paramilitary fighters has serious ramifications for President Alvaro Uribe, a conservative U.S. ally who famously broke up the militias, which were playing a role in destabilizing the country. But he has seen his presidency challenged by revelations that many of his closest allies were tied to the right-wing gunmen. The paramilitary groups, originally formed to defend farmers and ranchers against leftist rebels, subsequently turned to drug trafficking and other criminal activities, including extortion and mass killings, prosecutors say."

Letting Down Afro-Colombians - The Shameful Failure of the Black Congressional Caucus  5/3/2008 Counterpunch: "H.Res. 618 calls on the Colombian government to end racial discrimination and protect Afro-Colombians’ constitutionally guaranteed lands. The resolution encourages the U.S. and Colombian governments to consult with Afro-Colombians when developing policies which stand to affect their communities. The measure is currently in the first stage of the legislative process and is being considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Co-sponsors of the bill include prominent African American lawmakers such as John Conyers, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Barbara Lee. But, out of 38 African American members in the House, a whopping 13 refused to become co-sponsors of H.Res 618. What does this say about the leadership abilities of veteran legislators such as John Conyers? Even more disgracefully, Charlie Rangel, Democrat of New York and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, refused to sign on to the legislation. In fact, African Americans from New York have been particularly derelict. Yvette Clarke, who represents one of the most liberal districts in the state comprising Park Slope, Brooklyn, also failed to support the legislation."

Doubt cast on Colombia's seizure  4/29/2008 Washington Times: "The government of Colombia, stung by scandal over government links to right-wing militias and an imperiled trade deal with Washington, faces charges from leading U.S.-based academics that it is distorting information purportedly seized from Marxist guerrillas during a cross-border raid. In an open letter to the media, about two dozen specialists from U.S. research institutes and universities, including Harvard and New York University, have warned reporters to be cautious with accounts from Colombia's government that purport to link Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC."

Letter to the Media: Laptop Does Not Prove Venezuela Ties to Rebels  4/28/2008 Mala 

Cousin of Colombian President Arrested in Death Squad Probe  4/23/2008 WaPo: "Authorities on Tuesday arrested former senator Mario Uribe, a cousin and close ally of President Álvaro Uribe, for alleged ties to death squads in a widening inquiry that has implicated nearly a quarter of Colombia's Congress. The arrest of the former senator, who built a formidable political movement that helped his cousin win the presidency in 2002, comes during an institutional crisis that has tarnished a country closely allied with the United States. As the result of investigations that began in 2006, 32 members of Congress have been arrested and about 30 others are being formally investigated for ties to paramilitary groups that killed thousands of civilians, infiltrated state institutions and trafficked cocaine to the United States. Preliminary investigations have begun against dozens of others, including the president of Congress, Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez, who was implicated last week."

Este cochino racismo de siempre  4/21/2008 Renacientes 

Bill Clinton's Ties To Colombia Trade Deal Stronger Than Even Penn's  4/8/2008 Huffington Post: "Former President Bill Clinton has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars speaking on behalf of a Colombia-based group pushing the trade pact, and representatives of that organization tell The Huffington Post that the former president shared their sentiment. In June 2005, Clinton was paid $800,000 by the Colombia-based Gold Service International to give four speeches throughout Latin America. The organization is, ostensibly, a development group tasked with bringing investment to the country and educating world leaders about the Colombia's business opportunities."

Colombia’s Invasion of the United States - The Uribe Regime Sends an Army of Lobbyists and Infiltrators to Washington to Impose a “Free Trade” Deal  4/8/2008 NarcoNews: "Another top Clinton campaign aide – spokesman Howard Wolfson – is an owner of the Glover Park Group, to which the Colombian government pays a $40,000 per month retainer to lobby for the US-Colombia “free trade” agreement."

Wide Net Cast by Lobby for Colombia Trade Pact  4/8/2008 NYT: "There have been all-expense paid trips to Colombia for more than 50 members of Congress, featuring coffee tastings and dinner at a posh restaurant inside an old Spanish fort. The Colombian president has visited Washington to make personal appeals. Major corporations like WalMart and Citigroup are taking up the cause. And former Clinton administration officials have landed lucrative lobbying contracts."

Free-trade plan with Colombia likely to cause stir  4/7/2008 Houston Chronicle: "The Bush administration is set to force a vote in Congress this year over the Colombia free-trade agreement, a risky move in a presidential election year with the economy slowing down and voters souring on global trade. People inside and outside the administration expect the deal to be submitted to Congress as early as this week, setting in motion a "fast track" timetable that will require votes by September — just weeks before Election Day. A political fight is assured. The only question is, how bruising will it become?"

Colombia’s Uribe Regime Approaches Pariah Status in Washington - The Resignation of Mark Penn as Clinton’s Strategist Reveals a Long Overdue Rejection of a US-Colombia “Free Trade” Agreement  4/7/2008 NarcoNews: "That Uribe singled-out Obama is revealing: the Illinois senator’s rival for the Democratic nomination for president in the United States, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, also says she opposes the US-Colombia “free trade” pact. That clearly doesn’t worry Uribe: the Clinton organization has a long history of backing – politically and economically – the Colombian far right, its narco-politicians and paramilitary death squads, of whom Uribe is supreme leader. In 2000, then-US president Bill Clinton went on Colombian national TV to announce “Plan Colombia,” the multi-billion dollar US military intervention that keeps Uribe and his repressive regime in power to this day."

HRC Colombia ties don't stop with Penn  4/7/2008 Politico: "According to the Glover Park Group contract, which was disclosed to the U.S. Department of Justice last year, the firm was to work with ProExport Colombia, an entity of the Colombian Government Trade Bureau, in developing a strategy to promote the free trade agreement. The contract called for Glover Park to identify the key concerns of members of Congress, develop a comprehensive government relations strategy, and pinpoint reporters, academics, and business leaders who could help make Colombia’s pro-free trade argument, all in close coordination with Colombian government officials. The contract was set for five months, beginning on April 2, 2007. But it is not clear from public documents whether this is an ongoing effort. Glover Park’s report on the lobbying was to be addressed directly to the Colombian minister of trade and the Colombian ambassador to the United States, among other officials."

Clinton Adviser's Firm Fired by Colombian Government  4/5/2008 Bloomberg: "Colombia ended its contract with Burson-Marsteller because Penn's comments showed ``a lack of respect to Colombians,'' according to a statement on the government's Web site. Penn apologized yesterday for meeting with Colombian officials to discuss a free-trade agreement that Clinton opposes. Burson-Marsteller's contract to promote a free-trade deal with Colombia threatens to undercut Clinton's support among blue collar workers, a key constituency in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary that she must win to keep her campaign alive. Clinton and Democratic rival Barack Obama have both made trade agreements a top issue, saying they cost American manufacturing jobs."

Mark Penn and the Stealth Corporate Campaign - By Al Giordano  4/4/2008 NarcoNews 

Clinton Aide Met on Trade Deal - Penn Held Talks On Colombia Pact Opposed by Senator  4/4/2008 WSJ: "Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn't there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm. The firm has a contract with the South American nation to promote congressional approval of the trade deal, among other things, according to filings with the Justice Department."

Colombia's Uribe Says Passage Of Free-Trade Pact Is Critical  4/4/2008 WSJ: "Failure by the U.S. Congress to pass a free-trade agreement with Colombia this year would be a serious setback for Washington's closest ally in South America, President Alvaro Uribe said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I wouldn't know what to say. It would be very serious," said Mr. Uribe during an interview on the presidential plane Wednesday. Mr. Uribe said he can't understand why Congress would fail to pass the treaty, given that Colombia has a "historic friendship with the U.S." and, with U.S. help, has fought the hemisphere's "most serious terrorist threat." "

Uribe’s Attack on Obama - The Far Right’s Spokesman in Latin America Is Worried About What Could Be Long Overdue Changes in US Policy  4/3/2008 NarcoNews 

"However the Empire Decides" - Cocaine, Colombia and the Cartels  4/1/2008 Counterpunch 

Address by Elizabeth Garcia Carillo for Ecumenical Advocacy Days  3/31/2008 Renacientes: "As part of our advocacy efforts to stop the U.S. Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, ART hosted Elizabeth Garcia Carillo for a week of visits to key members of Congress in order to speak about the impact of the FTA on indigenous, Afro-Colombian and displaced populations. Elizabeth represents the Confederation of Tryona Peoples, and is a lawyer for the Process for Black Communities, an umbrella organization of Afro -Colombian communities and organizations."

Take Action to Stop the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The FTA is a Threat to Afro-Colombian Rights. Afro-Colombian grassroots organizations are opposed to the FTA  3/31/2008 Renacientes: "As President Bush rushes to pressure the U.S. congress for a favorable vote on the U.S.-Colombia FTA, under the guise of national security, we need you to take action and let your representative know that approving the FTA will sentence Indigenous and Afro-Colombians communities to a life of poverty and exclusion."

France ready to take in Colombia rebels - French PM Reiterates France Will Take in Colombian Rebels in Hostage Exchange  3/30/2008 AP: "In an apparent gesture toward rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, he referred to them as "political prisoners," although Colombia says they are terrorists. France made a similar offer to take in jailed FARC members in December, but is pressing ever harder for freedom for Betancourt, who holds dual French and Colombian citizenship. She has spent more than six years as a hostage in the Colombian jungle and is reported to be gravely ill. In Bogota, Colombian presidential spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velasquez welcomed France's offer to take in rebels, calling it "very important." Velasquez said Colombia's government will "fulfill its word" of freeing jailed rebels if the FARC releases hostages."

Reunión con Asistente de Congresista Meeks. Presentación del Proceso de Comunidades Negras en Colombia. Bogotá  3/26/2008 Renacientes: "Los afrocolombianos somos el 26% del total de la población colombiana, aunque los datos del DANE, después de un censo mal aplicado, afirman que somos el 10.6%. Los siguientes puntos dan cuenta de la situación actual de nuestra población."

Álvaro Uribe, Lord of the Shadows... and of Los Pinos  3/24/2008 NarcoNews: "Exiled in Miami, she declared last year to the newspaper El País that “the narco-state Escobar dreamed of in Colombia is more real than ever.” According to her, “drug traffickers prospered in Colombia not because they were geniuses, but because presidents were sold very cheaply.” Virginia Vallejo claims that Pablo Escobar idolized Álvaro Uribe. When the man who is now president was director of Civil Aviation, he granted dozens of licenses for runways and hundreds of permits for planes and helicopters, on which the drug trade’s infrastructure was built. “Pablo used to say,” she told the Spanish newspaper, “that if it weren’t for that blessed little boy, we would have to swim to Miami to get drugs to the gringos.” She confessed to the Spanish news agency EFE that Justice Minister Carlos Holguín represents the Cali Cartel’s share in the colombian government, and that presidential advisor José Obdulio Garviria is Pablo Escobar’s cousin."

Did U.S. Mercenaries Bomb the FARC Encampment in Ecuador?  3/23/2008 Global Research: "As diplomatic and military fallout from the March 1 Colombian raid into Ecuador escalate regional tensions, allegations from Ecuadorean sources link the unprovoked attack to the U.S. Manta airbase and charge the American mercenary firm DynCorp with piloting the planes that killed FARC commander Raúl Reyes and 24 others."

Colombia's Rebels Face Possibility of Implosion - Chief Threat Not Deaths, but Desertion  3/22/2008 WaPo 

Paramilitary Threats and Assassinations - Human Rights Takes a Beating in Colombia  3/21/2008 Counterpunch 

Extrajudicial slayings on rise in Colombia  3/21/2008 LA Times 

Colombian rebel leader murdered - Reflections on meeting with Raul Reyes  3/15/2008 Fight Back: "Raul Reyes, a leading member of the FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - was killed by the U.S. backed Colombian government March 1. Fight Back! asked Jess Sundin, who traveled to Colombia and met with Raul Reyes, to give her impressions of him and to speak about the significance of his slaying. Sundin is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and an important leader in Minnesota’s peace and justice movement."

Israel in Colombia – Part I  3/15/2008 Machetera: "The serial killer had plenty to say about “Zionism’s firmness…which has always been used to defend itself, invade and capture territory…From there, I returned convinced that it is possible to topple Colombia’s guerrillas.” Castaño died in 2004 and recent history remembers him for what he was: one of Colombia’s bloodiest paramilitary members. However, Castaño was not alone in his training in Israel. Salvatore Mancuso, another “historical leader” of United Colombian Self-Defense (AUC, 1997), was there as well, although he is presently in prison. In the middle of the 1990’s, Mancuso organized the paramilitaries of the “Harmonious Cooperative,” financed by Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who was at that time the governor of Antioquia."

Israel en Colombia I  3/13/2008 Rebelion: "No obstante, y acaso de un modo no tan invisible, quien también sintió regocijo fue el general Israel Ziv, ex comandante del regimiento de Gaza, y el de más alto rango entre los oficiales israelíes que ocupan tareas relacionadas con el entrenamiento de personal en el gobierno colombiano. Los nexos militares entre Israel y Colombia datan del primer lustro de 1980, cuando un contingente de soldados del Batallón Colombia “… uno los peores violadores de los derechos humanos en el hemisferio occidental, recibieron entrenamiento en el desierto del Sinaí por algunos de los peores violadores de los derechos humanos en Medio Oriente”, según el investigador estadunidense Jeremy Bigwood. Experto en utilizar la ley de Libertad de Información para liberar documentos censurados por el gobierno de Estados Unidos, Bigwood observa que el entrenamiento de los jóvenes paras colombianos no podría haberse dado sin el permiso expreso de las más altas autoridades de las fuerzas de defensa de Israel."

De las Guerrilleras Negras a Piedad Cordoba  3/8/2008 AfroCubaWeb: by Jesus “Chucho” Garcia

Panama Caught up in FARC Crisis - With Quarreling Neighbors and its Own Guerrilla Camps, Panama Is In a Tough Spot... and US Involvement Threatens to Make Things Worse  3/7/2008 NarcoNews 

The Upside-Down World of Bush and Uribe: Slandering Chávez and the FARC  3/6/2008 Colombia Journal 

Obama Glosses Over Colombian Attack in Ecuador; Clinton Calls for Escalation Against Venezuela  3/5/2008 Common Dreams 

Colombia Faces Military Border Blockade from Venezuela and Ecuador  3/5/2008 Guardian 

Ecuador president suggests Colombia wanted to prevent hostage release  3/5/2008 IHT: "Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa suggested Tuesday that a Colombian raid against guerrillas hiding in Ecuadorean territory was carried out to prevent the liberation of rebel-held hostages. Correa offered no proof to back up the claim, but said he agreed with speculation that Colombian authorities targeted top FARC leader Raul Reyes "and killed him to prevent a deal for the liberation of the hostages from going forward." Reyes was the key broker in a deal being negotiated by Ecuador to help release the hostages in March, Correa said after arriving in Brazil on a multination tour to win support for the condemnation of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. His first stop was Peru."

Raid leads to South American standoff  3/3/2008 CNN: "The tension deepened Sunday night, when the director of Colombia's national police force revealed evidence that he said showed links between Ecuador's government and the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has fought to overthrow the Colombian government for 40 years. He said Colombia obtained the evidence from computers it seized after killing the senior FARC leader."

COLOMBIA: Hostage Talks "Still Alive," Despite Diplomatic Crisis  3/3/2008 IPS: "European envoys met over the weekend with members of the FARC rebel group’s central leadership to discuss how to move ahead in the efforts to negotiate a humanitarian exchange aimed at securing the release of Ingrid Betancourt and the rest of the hostages held in the jungle by the guerrillas. "The negotiations are alive. Nothing has changed. Or everything has changed, except the negotiations," a European source told IPS, on condition of anonymity."

Documents show Chavez gave FARC $300 million, Colombia claims  3/3/2008 McClatchy 

The Black right wing’s agenda in Colombia  2/29/2008 AfroCubaWeb: by Jesus “Chucho” Garcia

Why Afro-Colombians Oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement  2/29/2008 AfroCubaWeb: by Marino Cordoba, founder of the Association of Internally Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) - "Colombia, South America is an important for African North Americans and other allies. Afro-Colombians comprise almost 40% of the Colombian population of around 42 million people. These Afro-Colombians are treated brutally by the Government and the Euro-Colombians. Now, the Colombian President Uribe needs the support of the Congressional Black Caucus to pass the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. So he accepts the proposal of some Afro-Colombians to create this phony Commission for the Protection of the 16 million Afro-Colombians. More than a million Afro-Colombians have been displaced from their homes and communities. Afro-Colombians are killed and forced into exile if they resist the sale their land. The Colombian government provides very few services and infrastructure for the Afro-Colombian community and Law 70 that gives Afro-Colombian rights to their ancestral lands is not implemented and the para-militaries under President Uribe is driving the Afro-Colombians from their land. Congressional Black Caucus member Gregory Meeks of New York and member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) deceived Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago and caused him to write a letter of support for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement and have it signed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus."

45 CONGRESISTAS DEL PARLAMENTO NEGRO ANALIZARAN EN CALI SITUACION DE LOS AFRODESCENDIENTES EN AMERICA LATINA  2/26/2008 Government of Colombia: "La reunión, que se realizará en Cali, Colombia, los días 14, 15 y 16 de marzo del presente año, se denominará: “Los desafíos del Parlamento Negro frente a la inclusión y la ciudadanía afrodescendiente en el contexto global”."

Candidates advised on Latin America  2/26/2008 Miami Herald: "The Clinton and Obama scripts on Latin America appear similar. Both oppose ratifying a free trade agreement with Colombia for now and support a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws that would legalize millions of undocumented migrants. On Cuba, both favor easing restrictions on family travel but condition most concessions on Havana first enacting democratic reforms. Unlike Clinton, Obama has said he would be open to a dialogue with U.S. foes like Cuba. He also has criticized Chávez for ''despotic tendencies'' and using oil revenues ``to stir up trouble.''"

Canada aims to push ahead with Colombia trade deal  2/22/2008 Reuters: "Canada plans to push ahead and negotiate a free trade deal with Colombia despite human rights concerns that have stalled a similar agreement between Bogota and Washington, signed over a year ago."

Colombia palm oil biodiesel plantations: A "lose-lose" development strategy?  2/18/2008 Food First: "Palm oil production for biodiesel is expanding rapidly in the global south. While not as prolific as Indonesia and Malaysia, Colombia is the fourth largest palm oil producer in the world and the largest in Latin America. The Colombian government—in collaboration with paramilitaries and palm agroindustries—is violently removing Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and peasant communities to expand monoculture palm plantations in an effort to demobilize paramilitaries and stimulate economic development in rural areas. With substantial financial backing from the US International Agency for Development (USAID) and the Colombian Agrarian Bank,2 and institutional support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB),3 the palm oil agroindustry is reaping large profits at the expense of the food sovereignty of small farmers and marginalized communities."

Colombian Paramilitaries and the United States: "Unraveling the Pepes Tangled Web"  2/17/2008 National Security Archives: "U.S. espionage operations targeting top Colombian government officials in 1993 provided key evidence linking the U.S.-Colombia task force charged with tracking down fugitive drug lord Pablo Escobar to one of Colombia's most notorious paramilitary chiefs, according to a new collection of declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive. The affair sparked a special CIA investigation into whether U.S. intelligence was shared with Colombian terrorists and narcotraffickers every bit as dangerous as Escobar himself."

Pacto con el diablo  2/16/2008 Semana, Colombia: "SEMANA revela documentos recién desclasificados en Washington que dejan en evidencia la relación de la CIA con los nacientes grupos paramilitares colombianos."

OAS PROMOTES CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPATION IN THE HEMISPHERIC AGENDA  2/8/2008 Media Newswire: "The organizations chosen by the Selection Committee to execute projects were: Federación Nacional de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades Afrocolombianas ( AFROAMERICA XXI ), of Colombia; Asociación Ecológica Santo Tomas A.C., of Mexico; Association Femmes Soleil d’Haiti ( AFASDA ), of Haiti; Corporación Participa, of Chile; Global Rights, of the United States; Asociación Tierra Nueva, of Paraguay; Movimiento Manuela Ramos, of Peru; and Participación Ciudadana, of the Dominican Republic."

Top Colombian cocaine chief 'Jabon' found shot dead  2/1/2008 AFP: "He was indicted by the US Justice Department on May 6, 2004, which called him the head of Colombia's most powerful cocaine cartel, allegedly responsible at the time for exporting 500 tonnes of cocaine worth 10 billion dollars to the United States. The indictment said the cartel used the paramilitary Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia forces to protect its drug routes and laboratories. The cartel collected its drugs in the Valle del Cauca region and then shipped them to the Pacific port of Buenaventura, where they were transferred to Mexican drug transporters for shipping via boats and aircraft to the United States, according to the indictment. Varela's death brings to an end the era of the three big Colombian cartels, with their once huge presence filled by numerous harder-to-detect small trafficking organizations, according to Colombian experts."

Colombia “Free Trade” Is Harmful By Dr. Keith Jennings  1/28/2008 Black Star News: "The Colombia “free trade” deal currently being promoted by the Bush Administration should be opposed by all those who seek justice and those who want the United States to regain some of its lost respect at the international level. The human rights situation in Colombia—Latin Americas’ third largest country—is appalling and should be clearly and unequivocally condemned by all members of Congress, but especially the Congressional Black Caucus given the abuses faced by the Afro-Columbians. The free trade agreement, as proposed, is not about fair trade and in effect would further exacerbate human rights violations and environmental degradation in Colombia. This agreement would continue the marginalization and social exclusion of Afro-Colombians, Indigenous Peoples and the poor. Furthermore, the consequential exporting of manufacturing jobs from the United States will continue to have a disproportionately destructive and detrimental impact on Black workers."

Dear Canada, Please Think Before You Ink  1/23/2008 Embassy, Canada: "In a letter to Canadian officials, U.S. Congressmen warn against rushing a free trade pact with Colombia, saying Colombians themselves aren't keen on it."

Delahunt expresa preocupación por financiamiento estadounidense a paramilitares  1/18/2008 Aporrea: "Caracas, 18 Ene. ABN.- El congresista estadounidense William Delahunt afirmó este viernes que está 'muy preocupado' por las confesiones de paramilitares desmovilizados colombianos sobre la recepción de financiamiento por parte de empresas estadounidenses."

Ganaron la izquierda y los liberales  10/29/2007 Vanguardia: "Con una alcaldía quedaron el Partido Verde Opción Centro, que conquistó la alcaldía de San José del Guaviare; el Movimiento Alas Equipo Colombia, que salió victorioso para dirigir la ciudad de Arauca, y el Movimiento Nacional Afrocolombiano “Afro”, obtuvo la alcaldía de Florencia."

Resultados Elecciones de Gobernadores 2007 - 2007 Gubernatorial Elections Results  10/28/2007 Georgetown: tiene lista de miembros ganadores del partido Movimiento Nacional Afrocolombiano

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks Releases a Joint Statement on the Massacre of Six Colombian Miners  10/20/2007 Earth Times 

6 killed by machete in Colombia gold mine massacre  10/18/2007 Reuters: "The murders of the six displaced Afro-Colombians came the same week as Colombia's Constitutional Court sat in special hearing to review measures taken by the government to protect Afro-Colombian communities from forced displacement. The court had found last year they were "persistent gaps" in specific attention, both in prevention and assistance."

Colombian Leader Disputes Claim of Tie to Cocaine Kingpin  10/3/2007 NYT: "President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia lashed out on Tuesday at claims in a new book that he had close ties to the cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. He said he never aided Mr. Escobar’s drug dealings or benefited from his political patronage. Mr. Uribe’s comments were in response to the book, “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar,” by Virginia Vallejo, Mr. Escobar’s former mistress. Ms. Vallejo repeats claims that Mr. Uribe, as head of the civil aviation authority in the early 1980s, helped Mr. Escobar’s cartel secure licenses for landing strips used to transport cocaine." See also Text of DIA report that Uribe was a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar

MINGA PARA ERRADICAR LOS CULTIVOS DE COCA PARA FINES ILICITOS EN EL TERRITORIO COLECTIVO DEL RÍO YURUMANGUI  9/30/2007 Renacientes: "Por siglos las comunidades negras han habitado el Territorio Región del Pacifico y desarrollado en el un proyecto de vida, sienten que hoy esta amenazado por megaproyectos, los monocultivos como la palma aceitera y por el avance de los cultivos para fines ilícitos; los últimos son factores que constituyen en la actualidad dos de los mayores riesgos para los derechos territoriales y ambientales de los afrocolombianos y para la diversidad biológica y cultural de esta rica, importante y estratégica bioregion."

Movimiento Nacional Afrocolombiano con la candidata a la alcaldía de Armenia, Ana María Arango A.  9/28/2007 Colombia Para Todos 

Stella Estrada - Írimo  9/16/2007 AfroCubaWeb: "Stella Estrada is an AfroColombian author living in Spain who has come out with Írimo, a novel inspired by Abakuá. The title is from the composition by el Gran Combo of Puerto Rico of that name, and is derived from Ireme, the Abakuá masked dancer who represents the ancestors, each having a particular function such as peace-keeper, initiator, or warrior."

The Octopus in the Cathedral of Salt  9/14/2007 Virginia Quarterly Review: [The Octopus is United Fruits, renamed Chiquita Brands to avoid the connotations of its monstruous history, some of which is discussed in this article. The Cathedral of Salt is a famous cathedral in Bogota.] - "Although the FARC is involved deeply in the business, it is the right-wing AUC that worked closely with the cartels to organize the smuggling system. Coca growers, who are usually poor peasants or campesinos, earn the least of all… In a front-page deal reached with the US government this year, Chiquita pleaded guilty to making millions of dollars in payments to a group on the State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations: the AUC. Lawyers for the company argued that they were forced into the making payments out of fear for the safety of its workers. Chiquita also admitted that they had a similar arrangement with the FARC. The result of the plea deal was a $25 million fine for a business that earned $3.9 billion in revenue in 2006, and there were no charges filed over the weapons shipment. It is not surprising that Chiquita Brands was forced to make protection payments to armed groups operating around their plantations, but that is not the entire story."

Traffickers Infiltrate Military in Colombia Officers Provided Secret Information On U.S. Navy Ships  9/8/2007 WaPo: "An investigation by the Colombian Defense Ministry has found that drug traffickers and rebels from the country's largest guerrilla group infiltrated the U.S.-backed military here, paying high-ranking officers for classified information to help elude capture and continue smuggling cocaine. The information obtained by the powerful Norte del Valle drug cartel included the secret positioning of U.S. naval vessels and aircraft in the Caribbean early last year, part of a carefully coordinated web designed to stop cocaine from reaching the United States, according to high-ranking Colombian military officials. The cartel is headed by Diego Montoya, who is on the FBI's list of most wanted fugitives… Colombian authorities have passed on their findings, particularly the navigational charts, to the Drug Enforcement Administration and other U.S. agencies. The Colombian military does not track the coordinates of U.S., Dutch or British ships on patrol, suggesting there had been a breach in American security… The investigation into the activities of rogue officers in the Third Division has shed light on a murky episode from 2006 that angered Colombian officials and raised questions among U.S. lawmakers. On May 22, a platoon of troops ambushed and killed 10 members of an elite, U.S.-trained team of policemen that was on a counter-drug operation in the town of Jamundi. Authorities now say that army Col. Bayron Carvajal and several soldiers -- all of whom were arrested last year -- were probably in the pay of the Norte del Valle cartel. "You can presume that Jamundi is connected to the penetration of the Third Brigade," Santos said, "because of where it happened, because of the ties to narco-trafficking."

Pure Art Women’s Association  8/21/2007 Global Goods Partners: "Pure Art is a company jointly owned by community associations made up of 600 Afrocolombian women from Patia, Colombia and a group of private investors. The Women of Patia, in collaboration with Foundation Chemones Colombia, started Pure Art to generate employment and income for woman headed households."

Bush, Colombia & Narco-Politics  8/8/2007 Consortium News: "The new disclosures also have brought back to public attention the Uribe family’s long history of ties to drug lords and paramilitary militias. Colombia’s Supreme Court announced in July that it was investigating Senator Mario Uribe, the president’s cousin and his point man in the Colombian Congress, for alleged links to the AUC. Several paramilitary leaders have said Mario Uribe was one of their allies and an intermediary with the government. He has denied any wrongdoing. But the family link to purported drug lords dates back several decades. As a young man and an aspiring politician, Álvaro Uribe lost his position as mayor of Medellín – after only five months on the job – because the country’s president ousted him over his family’s suspected connections to traffickers, according to media reports at the time. His father Alberto Uribe, a wealthy landowner, reputedly had been a close associate of the Medellín cartel and its kingpins, such as Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa brothers, who were personal friends. In 1983, Alberto Uribe was reportedly wanted by the U.S. government for drug trafficking when he was killed in a kidnapping attempt by the FARC. According to media accounts, his body was airlifted back to his family by one of Escobar’s helicopters. In the early 1990s, Álvaro Uribe’s brother, Santiago, was investigated for allegedly organizing and leading a paramilitary militia that was headquartered at the Uribe family hacienda. He was never charged and the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. But Santiago was photographed alongside Fabio Ochoa at a party even after the government had declared Ochoa one of the most notorious Medellín cartel kingpins. The incident with Santiago Uribe coincided with Álvaro Uribe’s eight years in the Senate, where he opposed extradition of drug suspects. His critics accused him of working for the Medellín cartel."

Colombia’s military hit by ‘top-level infiltration’  7/31/2007 FT: "Guerrillas and drug traffickers have infiltrated Colombia’s armed forces “at the highest level”, Juan Manual Santos, Colombian defence minister, has admitted. “We are aware that mafia groups are involved in this type of penetration,” Mr Santos said at a press conference on Monday. “Unfortunately, infiltration has reached a very senior level and there are a number of suspects.” More than 20 members of the armed forces are accused of collaborating with drug baron Diego Montoya, head of the Norte del Valle drug cartel based in western Colombia, who is alleged to have recruited retired military personnel to work in his cocaine-smuggling organisation. Seven have been arrested over the claims."

Gregory Meeks y Edgar Ulises Torres no representan a las comunidades afro-colombianas  7/7/2007 Colombia IndyMedia: por Marino Córdoba, Director Afrodes-USA - "Aunque afro colombianos arrodillados al poder y el dinero negocien con Uribe la sangre de miles y miles de muertos negros y defiendan su gobierno en Estados Unidos, nosotros, las víctimas, seguiremos diciendo quiénes son los victimarios. Aunque Uribe nombre ministros y generales negros, si no se resuelve de raíz la tragedia de nuestro pueblo y se respetan sus derechos integrales no callaremos nuestras voces."

Entrevista con Carlos Rosero: "¡nadie se salva solo y nadie salva a nadie!.  6/13/2007 Renacientes: "El Tejido de Comunicación habló con el líder afro, Carlos Rosero, quien es integrante del equipo de coordinación nacional del proceso de comunidades negras – PCN, acerca de la situación que viven sus comunidades en medio del conflicto armado y las políticas neoliberales que afectan día a día la pervivencia de su pueblo."

Massacres and paramilitary land seizures behind the biofuel revolution  6/4/2007 Guardian: "Four years ago Colombia had 172,000 hectares of palm oil," President Alvaro Uribe told the Guardian. "This year we expect to finish with nearly 400,000." "Four years ago Colombia didn't produce a litre of biofuel. Today, because of our administration, Colombia produces 1.2m litres per day." Investment in new installations would continue to boost production, he added." [Uribe is listed in a declassified DIA report as an important Columbian narco-trafficker.]

Biofuel gangs kill for green profits  6/3/2007 London Times: "The paramilitaries are not subtle when it comes to taking land,” said Dominic Nutt, a British specialist with Christian Aid who recently visited Colombia. “They simply visit a community and tell landowners, ‘If you don’t sell to us, we will negotiate with your widow'."

COCOMACIA manifiesta su apoyo decidido a las justas demandas de los indigenas del Chocó  5/30/2007 IndyMedia, Colombia: "El pueblo negro representado en la COCOMACIA manifiesta su apoyo decidido a las justas demandas de la Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Chocó."

Afrocolombians displaced: with the backing of the United States, corporations kill and steal for Black land  5/1/2007 Color Lines: "Institutionalized racism has been reinforced by decades of internal displacement due to economic pressures and an internal civil war. From 1940 to 1990, the urban percentage of Colombia's population grew from 31 percent to 77 percent. AfroColombians joined this internal migration in hopes of gaining a better standard of living. Those hopes were dashed, and instead, Murillo says, "They joined the ranks of the urban poor, living in the marginal areas of big cities such as Cali, Medellin, and Bogota. Currently, most AfroColombians are living in urban areas. Only 25 percent, approximately three million people, are still based on the land." Those who remain in rural areas find themselves caught in the country's deadly civil war between government forces, insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries (who are politically linked to Colombia's conservative politicians including President Alvaro Uribe)."

Alleged Hit Man Worked at US Embassy  4/25/2007 AP: "A retired army colonel accused of conspiring to assassinate President Alvaro Uribe's most vocal critic worked for the U.S. Embassy two years ago… Villate also was accused before his embassy job - when he was still in the military, in mid-2004 - of spying on leaders of Cali's public employees union in what the union described as an assassination plot. That scandal was widely publicized at the time, and remains under criminal investigation. The U.S. Embassy conducted normal background checks before hiring Villate that "did not turn up any derogatory information about him," Louis said in a later statement." [Uribe was revealed in a declassified DIA memo to have been a "close personal friend" of Pablo Escobar and a "narcosenator" prior to assuming the presidency.]

Colombia – Palm Oil and the consequences of development  4/20/2007 International Cry: "We were told of one case where paramilitaries displaced 25,000 people and stole from them, 30,000 hectares of land. This land was cleared and African palm plantations were sown as the paramilitary said it was not collective property. The international community challenged this and ordered the companies to return the land to the rightful owners. This was ignored. In the last 20 years, more than 3 million people have been displaced. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian people are killed by the government, paramilitaries and guerrillas."

Colombia paramilitary scandal widens  3/13/2007 LA Times: [But no one talks about the declassified Defense Intelligence Agency memo that called Uribe a narcosenator in the 80's, a close friend of Pablo Escobar.]

Censo afrocolombiano 2005/ AfroColombian Census  2/16/2007 YouTube 

Did "Bogotá Connection" Embassy Leaks Doom U.S. Spy Plane in Colombia?  2/15/2007 Narco News 

Paramilitary Ties Implicate Colombia's Political Elite  12/19/2006 Washington Post: "In what has been heralded as a decisive moment in Colombia's shadowy, decades-long conflict, a powerful paramilitary commander is to appear in a special court Tuesday to account for crimes that include massacres and assassinations. Salvatore Mancuso's testimony will be the first by a top death-squad leader in a Colombian courtroom, and it is being touted by the administration of President Álvaro Uribe as evidence that the wheels of justice are turning. Rather than rejoicing, however, the Uribe government has found itself in the awkward position of being implicated in the wrongdoing. Over the past several weeks, Colombians have been gripped by revelations of ties between paramilitary fighters and several congressmen close to the president, as well as some officials in his administration. The scandal now threatens to unravel his authority. Uribe won reelection in May after cultivating his reputation as a workaholic technocrat -- someone who would be relentless against corruption and illegal armed groups. But lately, he has joined a cast of lawmakers, intelligence service operatives and mid-level government bureaucrats in publicly denying ties to the paramilitary groups, which for a generation the military used as a proxy force to battle guerrillas… Since three congressmen were jailed last month for collaborating with paramilitary groups, investigators have opened official probes into six more members of Congress and three former lawmakers. The most prominent is Sen. Álvaro Araújo, whose sister, Maria Consuelo Araújo, is the country's foreign minister. The senator has even admitted meeting with Rodrigo Tovar, a paramilitary commander who prosecutors say has been running a drug-trafficking group while negotiating with the government. Another senator, Miguel de la Espriella, publicly detailed how he and dozens of other lawmakers met with paramilitary commanders in 2001. At the meeting, they signed a pact cementing an alliance designed to lead to disarmament negotiations, which death squad commanders hoped would help them avoid extradition to the United States on drug charges and hold on to land and other possessions. The talks began after Uribe won office in 2002. "The interests of these men is personal, that they don't lose property and that they don't get extradited," said José Mejia, a former political officer in Tovar's paramilitary group who gave up his weapons this year. "What they're looking for is that they don't get tried for massacres and narco-trafficking." [A possible cousin of the CIA station chief Tovar who organized the massacre of 500,000 Indonesians in the early 60's.]

Colombia to expose militia's reach  12/5/2006 CSM: "In Colombia's corridors of power, the tension is almost palpable. People worry and wonder who might be the next target in a widening probe into connections between politicians and the country's powerful right-wing militias that used terror and intimidation to impose their will on the population. Six pro-government lawmakers face questioning by the Supreme Court this week over their alleged links to paramilitary forces in their home provinces in a scandal that is rocking the country's political establishment to its core."

Colombian senator faces down paramilitaries  11/25/2006 LA Times: "Some may object to his politics, but few question the courage of leftist Colombian Sen. Gustavo Petro, whose five-year campaign to prod the government into investigating elected officials' links to illegal paramilitary groups finally bore fruit this month. Colombia's Supreme Court issued arrest orders for three sitting members of Congress and one former member as well as an ex-governor on charges including murder, electoral fraud and diversion of public funds in collusion with right-wing militia leaders. All charged are from the northern state of Sucre and all but the ex-governor, Salvador Arana, are behind bars. Arrests of as many as 20 more Congress members may take place soon, officials said this week. From the floor of the legislature, Petro, a former guerrilla, has declared repeatedly that members of Congress are up to their necks in illegal activities with the right-wing militias in Sucre state and has called on President Alvaro Uribe's government to investigate them. It has come at great personal risk in a country where opposition to the militias often is a death sentence. The Supreme Court also faces retribution for issuing the orders, as does Prosecutor General Mario Iguaran for requesting them."

Colombia arrests Telesur reporter for rebellion  11/20/2006 Reuters 

Devil's on the Loose - Evil Hour in Colombia  10/8/2006 Counterpunch: "With the understanding that the two party system in Colombia is mostly a system that serves the country's elites (with occasional inclusion of the non-white and peasant members of the population), Hylton details the relationship of the rest of Colombian society--the Afro-Colombians, indigenous and other disenfranchised groups to the bourgeois democracy that is Colombia."

Colombia’s Coca Survives U.S. Plan to Uproot It  8/19/2006 NYT: ''Jon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, echoing other analysts, estimates that the drug war has cost American taxpayers upward of $40 billion annually in recent years, though there is no comprehensive government tally of all its state and federal spending. Today that money goes for patrol boats, prisons, police departments and extradition flights to bring drug kingpins to trial in the United States — not to mention a dedicated federal bureaucracy.''

Palenque San Basilio, Bolivar, Maroon Community in Colombia  5/19/2006 YouTube 

Colombia’s Secret Narco-Police - Claims of Collaboration with Drug Traffickers and Paramilitaries Sting the Country’s DAS Security Service and Support Allegations of DEA Corruption Published in Narco News  4/29/2006 NarcoNews: "Though it has barely registered in the U.S. press, a national scandal is currently unfolding in Colombia, where a jailed high official of the Administrative Department for Security (DAS, in its Spanish initials) has been speaking freely with journalists about the extensive collaboration between the secret police agency and right-wing paramilitary groups. Rafael García lost his post as DAS’ information technology chief after being charged with taking bribes from rightwing paramilitaries and narcos (often, one and the same). He now claims that DAS has been working for years, at least since Uribe’s 2002 election, in conjunction with the paras and their narco allies, sharing documents and intelligence to help kill and intimidate activists and unionists, help powerful drug traffickers avoid prosecution and murder informants. And investigative journalists in Colombia have verified and shed more light on a number of these claims."


The Empire and the Cia against Latin America [First part]  4/23/2006 ANNCOL 

Colombia: New York Chapter Issues Call for Support  3/29/2006 Colombia Support Network 

Alleged Former Paramilitary Named Military Commander  3/22/2006 NarcoNews: "A general who is believed to have once been a member of a right-wing terrorist group now heads Colombia's armed forces. Just days before signing a trade agreement with the U.S. which will accelerate the sell-off of Colombia’s land and resources to foreign corporations, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe appointed General Mario Montoya to head Colombia’s armed forces. Uribe brought in Montoya, long a favorite of the U.S., to help rehabilitate the military’s image following a hazing scandal. Montoya, however, has his own dark past – throughout a long career, working to consolidate resource-rich areas, the general has frequently been charged with working hand in hand with right-wing paramilitaries. At the press conference announcing Montoya’s promotion, Uribe said “In this moment of our Nation’s history we need triumphant commanders. We don’t need commanders to justify defeats” and called for “a final victory” -- giving Montoya a clear go-ahead to use any means necessary to crush resistance in Colombia."

Informant weighs in on U.S. law enforcement corruption in Colombia  3/18/2006 NarcoNews: "Vega told Narco News that between 1997 and 2000, the FBI and DEA each employed him as an informant in separate investigations focused on the North Valley Cartel leadership. At the same time, Vega claims, he also worked as a foreign counterintelligence source for the CIA. During the course of those DEA and FBI investigations, Vega claims he discovered the operations were being compromised by corrupt players within both DEA and U.S. Customs — a federal law enforcement agency whose investigative arm has since become U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security. U.S. Customs, too, was involved in targeting Colombian narco-traffickers during the same period that Vega was working with the FBI, DEA and CIA in Colombia. Vega claims that ICE did have access, at one point, to much of the information about the informants and cooperating sources within the North Valley organization that had been cultivated through the separate FBI and DEA investigations. Vega alleges that agents in the DEA office in Bogotá as well as someone within U.S. Customs were leaking information about ongoing U.S. law enforcement investigations to key players in the Colombian National Police (CNP). Vega says those CNP officials were aligned with North Valley narco-traffickers. In the wake of the information being leaked, there was a bloodbath, Vega says, with numerous informants and cooperating sources being assassinated in the aftermath. Similar allegations are made in the Kent memo."

El precio de la justicia - Los herederos de El Mexicano le entregaron a E.U. 80 millones de dólares a cambio de que no los persigan. ¿Debería ser ese dinero para Colombia?  3/9/2006 Cambio 

Rightwing Narco's Family Paid $83 Million to the U.S. to Avoid Prosecution  3/9/2006 NarcoNews: "the Colombian newsmagazine Cambio (owned and directed in part by former drug legalization supporter Gabriel García Marquéz) has dug up a juicy tidbit of its own. In this week’s issue, whose cover reads “The Price of Justice,” the magazine reveals that on January 31 of this year the U.S. Justice Department received the last $1.3 million of an $83 million payment from the family of slain Colombian paramilitary boss and narco-trafficker Gonzalo “The Mexican” Rodríguez Gacha. In return for the massive payment, the family – Rodríguez’ widow and seven of his “heirs” – received immunity from prosecution, which they were facing from the Jacksonville, Florida U.S. District Court."

Bogotá DEA Corruption Allegations Interect with Covert FBI, CIA Activity in Colombia - New Document Unravels More Mysteries in Kent Memo; Narco-Trafficker, Informant Drop the Dime on Suspected DEA Foul Play  3/6/2006 NarcoNews: “Specifically, the narcotics traffickers in Colombia were infusing acrylic with cocaine and shaping it into any number of commercial goods,” Kent states in his memo. “The acrylic was then shipped to the United States and Europe where, during processing, the cocaine was extracted from the acrylic.” Informants working with Fields and other Florida agents sent samples of the cocaine-laced acrylic to the DEA, but the agency’s chemists couldn’t figure out how to extract the cocaine. As a result, the Florida agents decided to have the informants come to the United States with a sample of the acrylic, so they could walk the DEA’s chemists through the extraction process. “Agents contacted the Bogotá [DEA] Country Office to discuss the informants’ planned travel and their bringing cocaine out of Colombia infused in acrylic,” the Kent memo alleges. “They were advised that the best tact was for the informants to carry it out themselves.” But when the informants got to the airport to leave for the U.S., they were arrested. A DEA agent in Bogotá, it turns out, had told Colombian officials to “lock them [the informants] up and throw away the key,” according to the Kent memo. The Bogotá agent then claimed that he had no idea the Florida agents had given the informants permission to transport the cocaine. Kent’s memo does not name the Bogotá agent allegedly responsible for double-crossing the Florida agents and their informants. But Narco News sources claim Pena is that agent. “His [Pena’s] misrepresentations were backed by another agent in Bogotá,” Kent alleges in his memo. “The informants were imprisoned for nine months while the accusations flew back and forth. Once it was determined that the agents in Bogotá were lying, the informants were released. One of the informants was kidnapped and murdered in Bogotá where he had gone into hiding.”

Danilo's war - The story of one officer's rise and fall in Colombia's drug wars illustrates the challenges police face.  3/6/2006 St Petersburg Times: published 1/05 - "Sensing their days were numbered, the cartel bosses were looking to get out of the business and cash in their assets. So, one by one they approached U.S. law enforcement agents to explore cooperation deals in return for reduced jail time. Mutual suspicion over who would be the next to turn set off a bloody vendetta between the potential snitches in the valley. Hundreds died. Eventually, Gonzalez realized that the time had come to make his own pitch for survival. Early in 2003 he contacted a Colombian fashion photographer in Miami, Baruch Vega, who had worked for years as a U.S. government informant. Gonzalez offered to mediate the surrender of the entire cartel. "There's a lot of people willing to cooperate with information," he told Vega, who tape-recorded their conversations. During hours of discussions, Gonzalez admitted to knowing "every drug trafficker, almost without exception," but he insisted he had an explanation. "In one or another form I received information from them," he said. He claimed that since leaving the police he had dedicated himself to raising cattle and had never been directly involved in drug trafficking. He was willing to meet with U.S. officials and discuss surrender terms. "If there's something that has to be resolved I am willing to do it," he said. "Otherwise I can never live in peace.""

New Documents Shed More Light on Alleged DEA Corruption in Colombia  2/22/2006 NarcoNews 

Colombia’s census could mis-count Afro-Colombians  1/31/2006 Black Britain 

DEA is caught in the chicken coop in Bogotá corruption case  1/22/2006 NarcoNews: "From what I can see, the fox that has supposedly been sent back into the chicken coop to count the chickens now has a few feathers sticking out of its snout."

Doubt cast on AP story's claim of “No Wrongdoing” in DEA corruption scandal  1/17/2006 NarcoNews: "Although the AP story headline seems to imply that the corruption charges are a dead issue, at least one former high-ranking DEA official contends the allegations are, in fact, very credible. In addition, representatives of the two watchdog agencies charged with investigating the corruption, to date, don’t seem to have their stories straight about the status of their investigations, based on comments made to Narco News. Narco News published its exclusive story on Jan. 9 based on a leaked memo drafted by Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent. In the memo, Kent alleges that DEA agents in Bogotá assisted narco-traffickers, engaged in money laundering, and conspired to murder informants."

DEA Responds to Narco News Story, Says It Will Investigate Agents in Colombia  1/13/2006 NarcoNews 

Leaked Memo: Corrupt DEA Agents in Colombia Help Narcos and Paramilitaries  1/9/2006 NarcoNews: "Internal Justice Dept. Document Alleges Drug Trafficking Links, Money Laundering and Conspiracy to Murder"

Colombia rebels in Cuba for talks  12/13/2005 BBC: "Rebel representatives from the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian authorities will hold several preparatory meetings throughout the week, ahead of the opening of formal exploratory talks on Friday. Diplomats from Spain, Norway and Sweden are expected to attend. The ELN and the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) have been involved in a 40-year conflict with state forces and right-wing fighters."

Colombian communities under siege - Afro-Colombian leaders speak out!  10/5/2005 SF Bay View: by Willie Thompson, el unico. "When Afro-Colombians began filing for collective land titles, they were massacred by Colombia’s U.S.-funded military working in close collaboration with brutal illegal paramilitaries, creating massive displacement. Paramilitaries are now illegally occupying these lands, growing, among other things, coca plants used for cocaine. This has triggered U.S. funded aerial chemical fumigations, poisoning this most bio-diverse ecosystem in the hemisphere as it creates new waves of Afro-Colombian displacement. The United Nations has called Colombia ”a humanitarian catastrophe,” in which Afro-Colombians are now disproportionately impacted."

Colombia 3 here to stay despite government fury  8/7/2005 The Post, Ireland: continuing a tradition that dates back to the Irish who fought alongside Bolivar.

UNHCR urges aid for displaced people in Colombia's south-west  6/7/2005 Reuters 

More than 1,000 people flee fear of clashes in Colombia's north-west  5/20/2005 Reuters: "The internally displaced people (IDPs), mostly Afro-Colombians, say they fled because they were afraid of fighting between the Colombian army and various armed groups operating around the Buey River, a tributary of the Atrato River in the north-western Chocó province. Some say they left after they saw a helicopter overhead and were afraid they would be shot at if mistaken for rebels. Others complain of having nothing to eat back home, having run out of supplies due to the unrest. According to the IDPs, these fears and conditions have provoked the displacement of the entire Afro-Colombian population in seven communities – San Jose de Buey, La Vuelta, Curuchí, San Antonio de Buey, Aurobuey, Chibugá and Mansa."

Afro-Descendants Marginalised and Ignored  5/19/2005 IPS: "There are almost four times as many people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean than indigenous people, yet the poverty and discrimination they suffer are largely ignored, despite the fact that they are just as severe, or even worse, than the conditions facing the region's aboriginal inhabitants. The indigenous population, which comprises an estimated 40 million people, has taken on an increasingly active political role in Latin America. By contrast, the 150 million Afro-descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean have extremely limited political power and lack cohesive organisations to represent their interests. Their situation also receives far less attention in international forums and academic research… In Brazil, the white population is 2.5 times wealthier than the black population; in Colombia, 80 percent of Afro-descendants live in extreme poverty; and in Cuba, the only country in the hemisphere with a socialist economic system, blacks are largely relegated to the worst housing and the poorest paid jobs, according to studies conducted in these countries."

CREOLE CULTURE AND LANGUAGE IN THE COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN  5/9/2005 Indymedia: "The present paper envisages the Afro-Caribbean Ethnia of San Andres in a developmental process. Once this aspect explicated and clarified, the most relevant cultural aspects are illustrated. The family, the possession of the land, gastronomy, religion, public administration and party politics, music and dancing, and the oral tradition are some of the main characteristics which will be taken into consideration, amongst others. One of the most important manifestations of any culture is language. In this case, the Afro-Caribbean people of San Andres and Old Providence coexist with the presence of several languages. Three of these languages are spoken and/or understood by the Creole people. Two of these languages come from a European heritage, the other is the product of cultural syncretism within African, Caribbean, and Anglo-Saxon elements in the context of a culture with an Afro-Caribbean air. Some central aspects of the Caribbean Creole language, with an English based lexicon, in the environment of the Archipelago of San Andres and Old Providence."

More than 2,000 Afro-Colombians displaced by violence  5/8/2005 AFP: "More than 2,000 people, many of them children, have been displaced by fighting in the north-western Colombian coast, several United Nations agencies said here. Most of them belong to communities of Colombians of African descent living in the Bojaya region, on the Pacific coast, according to the officials."

CREOLE CULTURE AND LANGUAGE IN THE COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN  5/8/2005 Colombia IndyMedia: By: Oakley Forbes, Archipielago Movement for Ethnic Native Self Determination (AMEN-SD)

Army unit wiped out in Colombia’s main oil region  4/8/2005 ANNCOL: "Guerrillas kill elite battalion commander and 16 of his troops in one of this year’s most deadly daylight attacks. A US-led attempt to run the rebels out of the important oil region of Arauca seems to have failed."

Disarmament, Extradition and Amnesty - The Future of Colombia's Paramilitary Death Squads  2/18/2005 Counterpunch: "Born and raised in the slums of Medellín, Diego Fernando Murillo became known in the crime world as a ruthless killer. In 1992, he narrowly escaped Colombian authorities when his boss, Pablo Escobar, went into hiding. The resulting manhunt eventually killed Mr. Escobar but launched Diego Murillo's career in the Colombian drug world. After switching alliances between various drug cartels, he has arrived at the top of the pyramid power structure of Colombia's right wing paramilitary forces, known as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC)." [Kinda like the career of his ally President Uribe, who is reported by the DIA to have been a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar.]

COLOMBIA & IRAQ: HALLIBURTON MAKES THE CONNECTION  2/6/2005 WW4 Report: "The Bogota daily El Tiempo recently reported that the US military contractor Halliburton has recruited 25 retired Colombian police and army officers to provide security for oil infrastructure in Iraq. One of the men, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the officers met in Bogota on Dec. 2 with a Colombian colonel working on behalf of Halliburton Latin America, who offered them monthly salaries of $7,000 to provide security for oil workers and facilities in several Iraqi cities. The claim was confirmed by a Colombian government source, said El Tiempo, but denied by a Halliburton representative in Bogota. US media have reported that former soldiers from Chile, South Africa and Spain are being recruited to beef up Iraqi security forces. Halliburton, the oil services giant once run by US Vice President Dick Cheney, has won billions of dollars in Iraq contracts, but has been accused of overcharging and accounting irregularities."

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