August 25, 1999 |
President Andres Pastrana is trying to do everything right, but it's turning out all wrong. In his first year in office, Pastrana has improved Colombia's abysmal relations with the United States, which has nearly tripled anti-drug aid to his country. He has started peace talks to end 35 years of civil war and moved to straighten out eight years of mismanaged government budgets.
July 18, 1999 |
An escalation in fighting, requests for increased U.S. military aid and a growing skepticism about the government's conciliatory policy toward Marxist rebels culminated Saturday in an announcement that peace talks to end Latin America's longest-running guerrilla war have once again been postponed. Unable to agree on membership of an international commission to monitor the talks, which were scheduled to begin Monday, negotiators decided to put off discussions, a presidential spokeswoman said.
July 11, 1999 |
The Colombian government Saturday declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew for travel across more than 30% of the country, including the outskirts of Bogota, in an effort to contain a nationwide Marxist rebel offensive in which more than 70 fatalities have been reported.
June 25, 1999 |
High school graduation means more than parties and celebration for Colombia's young men. It is also a time to confront the draft, a year of obligatory military service without pay in a country where the government is involved in a war with three rebel groups. All male high school graduates, even those younger than 18, have faced a draft lottery similar to the one used in the U.S. during the final years of the Vietnam War.
June 21, 1999 |
The government and Colombia's largest rebel group have decided to start new peace talks July 7 to try to end decades of civil war. The setting of the meetings with the 15,000-strong Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will be announced July 4, the government peace commissioner, Victor G. Ricardo, said after meeting with the rebels. The two sides still have to agree on the membership of an international commission to verify agreements reached in the talks.
May 6, 1999 |
Government and rebel leaders are expected to announce an agenda for peace talks today in the first concrete achievement for President Andres Pastrana's dogged effort to negotiate an end to Latin America's longest guerrilla war. The expected announcement follows a surprise one-on-one weekend meeting between Pastrana and insurgent leader Manuel "Sure-shot" Marulanda, the leader of Colombia's oldest and largest guerrilla army--a dramatic move to get the stalled peace process back on track.
March 12, 1999 |
Just when Colombian President Andres Pastrana seemed on the road to keeping two crucial campaign promises--improving relations with the United States and ending Latin America's longest guerrilla war--those goals appear to be colliding.
January 20, 1999 |
Less than two weeks after inaugurating peace talks with President Andres Pastrana's government, Colombia's most powerful rebel group said it is suspending negotiations. The rebels said the government must take steps to dismantle right-wing paramilitary death squads. A government spokesman said the issue was independent of its talks with the rebels.
January 8, 1999 |
To the strains of the national anthem, the Colombian government and the oldest guerrilla movement in the Americas formally opened peace talks here Thursday aimed at ending a civil war waged for the last half a century. Despite the pageantry, there was disappointment from both sides that the guerrillas' legendary leader, Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, did not show up.
December 27, 1998 |
Despite the roles of Colombia's military in human rights abuses and the corruption created by the nation's role as one of the world's leading producers of cocaine, the United States is stepping up its involvement with the Colombian armed forces because it fears that they are losing a war to Marxist rebels who derive much of their income from drug trafficking.