May 9, 2000 |
Failing to push through a plan to dissolve Congress, Colombia's interior minister resigned Monday rather than face the possibility of being forced out. Nestor Humberto Martinez, who as interior minister spearheaded the government's plan to annul the legislature through a national referendum, stepped down just minutes before the opposition-controlled Congress was to debate removing him from office.
May 6, 2000
A human rights activist was found shot dead in Colombia's northwestern region, which is dominated by right-wing paramilitary groups, authorities said. Police said Jesus Ramiro Zapata's bullet-riddled body was found Thursday outside Segovia in Antioquia province. Police said Zapata, 42, a teacher who headed the Segovia Human Rights Committee, was abducted by gunmen a day earlier. Friends and family members blamed a paramilitary death squad for the slaying of Zapata.
April 30, 2000 |
In a quest for legitimacy that could mark a new phase in peace efforts, 4,000 members of Colombia's most powerful rebel army massed at San Vicente del Caguan to launch a new political party. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, also brought in hundreds of civilians from rebel-controlled areas to the ranching town in the southern demilitarized zone.
April 7, 2000 |
Suspected paramilitary gunmen executed 21 unarmed residents of a small town in an oil- and cocaine-producing region near the Venezuelan border Thursday, officials said. The shootings by the men, most in camouflage uniforms, occurred in two poor barrios of Tibu, said Ruben Sanchez, the local delegate of the federal human rights ombudsman's office. Police confirmed his account.
February 19, 2000 |
At least 27 people died in the latest outbreak of political violence across Colombia, including 20 peasants who were shot and hacked to death by members of a right-wing paramilitary death squad, authorities said Friday. News of the killings came a day after the government, which is engaged in year-old peace talks with the country's leading Marxist guerrilla force, said it was preparing to launch negotiations with Colombia's second-largest leftist rebel group as well.
May 30, 1999 |
President Andres Pastrana picked a close political ally Saturday to replace the defense minister, who resigned in protest of the government's handling of peace talks with Marxist rebels. Pastrana chose Luis Fernando Ramirez, 40, a former Labor minister and longtime political collaborator, to replace Rodrigo Lloreda, whose departure Wednesday triggered a short-lived crisis in the military.