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August 1, 2012 | By Chris Kraul and Jenny Carolina Gonzalez, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - Like their U.S. counterparts, Colombian presidents customarily give accountings of their performances in addresses that resemble the State of the Union speech. But the speeches President Juan Manuel Santos has been giving in several cities to mark his two years in office are also an exercise in damage control, analysts say, to restore his plummeting popularity and counter sniping by his still-popular predecessor, ex-President Alvaro Uribe. A poll commissioned by Semana magazine showed Santos' approval rating has fallen to 47%, with 48% of those polled disapproving his performance.
July 11, 2011
Colombia's decades-long armed conflict has left tens of thousands dead and forced more than 3.6 million people off their land. Last month, President Juan Manuel Santos vowed that despite its troubled past, the country was "not condemned to 100 years of solitude," as was the fictional nation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's epic novel. To avoid that history, Santos has embarked on implementing the Victims and Land Restitution Law. The ambitious measure, signed into law in June, calls for restoring up to 4.9 million acres (an area nearly the size of New Jersey)
July 15, 2009 | Chris Kraul
The government-ordered killing of a hippopotamus that escaped from the ranch once owned by the late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar has raised an outcry among Colombian animal rights groups. The hippo, nicknamed Pepe, was killed last month near the town of Puerto Berrio, about 100 miles northwest of Bogota. An environmental agency in Antioquia state ordered the hippo killed as a health risk and menace to farmers and fishermen, and the national Environment Ministry approved the killing.
February 26, 2003 | T. Christian Miller, Times Staff Writer
The U.S. government contract worker allegedly killed by leftist rebels after his plane crashed in southern Colombia this month was a decorated former soldier, according to family members and U.S. officials, and he was buried with full military honors. Thomas John Janis, 56, was found shot in the head at close range about a mile from the wreckage. Janis was on a joint mission with three other Americans and a Colombian when their plane went down Feb.
December 10, 2003 | Jim Barrero, Times Staff Writer
Golden goals by Brazil and Colombia on Tuesday did the trick to put the South American teams in the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. Duda scored twice -- the first in the 83rd minute to tie the score and the second five minutes into overtime -- to give Brazil a 2-1 victory over Slovakia in the tournament for under-20 teams. Brazil will play Japan on Friday.
February 20, 2000
Your Feb. 15 editorial, "Explain Colombia Aid," as well as the aid itself, is at best fuzzy. How long do you think the promoters of the drug business will take to produce a counter to the $1.3 billion that we propose to give? Their coffers are full, courtesy of these United States of America. That we do it with the best of intentions counts to many of us. However, the results are gut-wrenching. Colombia, a traditional jewel of democracy in Latin America, is destroyed by the drug business and by the communist insurgency financed by the drug businessmen.
May 31, 2010 | By Jenny Carolina Gonzalez and Tracy Wilkinson, Special to The Times
Juan Manuel Santos, a veteran defense minister and political heir to conservative President Alvaro Uribe, surged well ahead in voting Sunday in Colombia's hard-fought presidential election but fell just shy of winning the simple majority that would have given him the office. Belying most preelection polls, Santos won more than twice as many votes as his nearest rival, former Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus, an eccentric underdog whose novel, colorful campaign had put him in serious competition with the better-established Santos.
April 7, 2010 | By Chris Kraul
Standing amid hundreds of African oil palms, their gray and desiccated fronds drooping to the ground, Edgar Barrera shakes his head and speaks of their death sentence. "What we have is a technological disaster, an economic disaster and a social disaster," said Barrera, superintendent of the Bucarelia company's 12,000-acre African palm grove. Barrera is referring to a mysterious, fast-spreading and deadly disease called "PC" that has devastated African palm plantations here in the Magdalena River valley area 200 miles north of Bogota, the capital, and elsewhere in Colombia.
In an attack blamed on leftist rebels, mortars rained down on Colombia's presidential palace and downtown neighborhoods Wednesday just moments before President Alvaro Uribe, who has vowed to crush the guerrillas, took the oath of office nearby. Uribe swore before the nation's Congress to restore order to the war-torn nation, apparently unaware that several blasts had just rocked historic downtown Bogota, killing at least 14 and wounding 69.
August 5, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia -- In a radio interview Monday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos backed away from a self-imposed deadline of November for completing a peace accord that is being negotiated in Havana with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Negotiators, who are now attending their 12th session, which ends Saturday, have reached agreement on just one of six major points -- the section on agrarian reform -- that will make up a final deal. It took the better part of seven months to hammer that out. “If in November we haven't finished entirely, we'll see where we are, and if we have to prolong the talks a couple of months, we'll extend them," Santos told Caracol Radio in Bogota.
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