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Colombia Revolts

NEWS
June 17, 2001 | From Associated Press
The government and Colombia's largest guerrilla faction swapped dozens of ill prisoners Saturday, an exchange that they hope will encourage peace talks to end a 37-year conflict. Hours after authorities freed 11 rebels from jail and flew them into guerrilla territory, presidential peace envoy Camilo Gomez flew to the same rebel-dominated southern region and received 29 government servicemen in return.
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NEWS
June 13, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
Marxist rebels have killed at least 10 far-right paramilitary fighters in clashes in a coca-growing region in southern Colombia, and police said the toll could climb as high as 50. The fighting between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the nation's largest rebel force, and the anti-communist vigilante United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia took place over the weekend near San Jose del Guaviare, capital of jungle-covered Guaviare province. "Some neighbors . . .
NEWS
May 14, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
The army said it had repelled a major offensive by leftist guerrillas in fighting that left 41 rebels and three soldiers dead. The offensive in seven states, which involved more than 2,000 rebels, began Friday, but fighting was still raging in Antioquia, Boyaca, and Norte de Santander states, army Cap. Luis Hernandez said. The rebels were on the retreat on those three fronts, Hernandez said. Most of the guerrillas killed were from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
NEWS
May 13, 2001 | From Associated Press
Skirmishes across Colombia left 22 leftist rebels and two soldiers dead Saturday, the army said. In Tolima state, soldiers killed six members of the National Liberation Army--Colombia's second-largest rebel group--after rebels kidnapped seven people at a roadblock, army Capt. Luis Hernandez said. One soldier died and two were injured in the rescue operation, which took place 70 miles northwest of the capital, Bogota, Hernandez said. The hostages were freed unharmed.
NEWS
April 13, 2001 | T. CHRISTIAN MILLER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Ricardo Villalba has big plans for the coleo, the traditional Colombian rodeo where cowboys compete to see how many times they can flip a steer. Villalba envisions a day when the event spreads across all of Colombia. He sees crowds thronging by the thousands to packed stadiums. He even imagines a world coleo championship. But first, he has to overcome one problem: Colombians are increasingly frightened to leave their homes.
NEWS
March 30, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
The government began a complete withdrawal of its troops from a leftist rebel stronghold, hoping to encourage a resumption of peace talks with the nation's second-largest guerrilla force. Military officials said 1,000 of an estimated 3,000 soldiers had left the territory as part of the withdrawal, which may be a step toward granting the National Liberation Army, or ELN, a demilitarized enclave.
NEWS
March 27, 2001 | SEBASTIAN ROTELLA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Weakened by bullet wounds, his empire crumbling, Luiz Fernando da Costa has spent weeks fleeing a military strike force in the jungles of eastern Colombia. But the Brazilian drug lord, nicknamed Fernandinho Beira Mar (Freddy Seashore) for the coastal slum near Rio where he was born, is still dangerous. During the years when he became a new breed of crime boss, forging an unprecedented alliance with Colombian guerrillas, the only weapon Da Costa needed was a telephone.
NEWS
February 27, 2001 | NORMAN KEMPSTER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Colombian President Andres Pastrana urged the Bush administration Monday to send an envoy to peace talks with the South American country's largest and most dangerous rebel organization despite a long-standing U.S. policy of refusing to deal with the insurgents. "It is important that the United States be there to directly exchange points of view," Pastrana told a small group of reporters at breakfast before meetings on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
NEWS
February 10, 2001 | RUTH MORRIS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
With this country's peace process hanging by a thread, President Andres Pastrana emerged Friday from two days of meetings with the most powerful rebel chief to present a broad but vague agreement to resuscitate talks. At a joint news conference, Pastrana and reclusive guerrilla leader Manuel Marulanda outlined a face-saving accord guaranteeing the resumption of peace talks after a two-month rupture.
NEWS
February 9, 2001 | RUTH MORRIS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
President Andres Pastrana ventured into the heart of rebel territory Thursday for a high-stakes meeting with Colombia's most powerful guerrilla leader in an attempt to salvage the country's battered peace process. The talks ended inconclusively, with plans by Pastrana and the rebels' taciturn veteran commander, Manuel Marulanda, to meet again this morning. "It was a very productive meeting," Pastrana told a throng of reporters as he emerged from the seven-hour encounter.
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