November 19, 2012 |
BOGOTA, Colombia -- In what some analysts saw as an encouraging sign, Colombia's largest rebel group declared a two-month truce to take effect Monday night as peace talks resumed in hopes of ending the country's five-decade civil conflict. Ivan Marquez, a top commander and negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials FARC, said the truce was a goodwill gesture over the Christmas holidays. He spoke in Havana, where talks resumed this week after opening in Oslo last month.
July 6, 2012 |
MEDELLIN, Colombia - The actor's comb-over, the mincing walk, the flat speech cadence and murderous, reptilian glare are all too reminiscent of one of the most powerful criminals who lived. The large number of Colombian eyeballs glued to a new prime-time telenovela about the life and times of Pablo Escobar, highlighted by actor Andrés Parra's bravura performance, shows that the late drug narco still fascinates more than 18 years after he died on a Medellin rooftop in a shoot-out with police.
March 12, 2012
Ten years ago, peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia collapsed after the rebel group hijacked a plane and kidnapped a high-profile senator. Since then more than 20,000 rebels and paramilitary fighters have been killed in combat with military forces, according to the Washington Office on Latin America. Now, the FARC says it is ready to negotiate and has renounced its long-standing practice of kidnapping for profit. Its promise to end abductions and to release 10 soldiers and police officers held captive for more than a decade in jungle camps are significant and welcome developments - and something the FARC never agreed to in past peace talks.
September 16, 2011 |
Ask Arleth Mendoza whether she feels safer now that the Colombian government has demobilized right-wing militias and all but declared victory in its decades-long war with leftist rebels. Her husband, Antonio, a city councilman here who stood up for landless peasants, was gunned down in July, leaving their three children, all younger than 9, fatherless. "There was no warning, no threats. They killed him in cold blood," said the widow, who appeared still to be in shock six weeks later.
September 2, 2011
The United States has long considered Colombia its strongest ally in Latin America. Over the last eight years it has provided the Colombian government with nearly $6 billion as part of Plan Colombia, an ambitious anti-narcotics and counterinsurgency program that has often been held up as a model of cooperation. But recent reports in the Washington Post suggest that U.S. assistance intended to combat drugs and terrorism was diverted to Colombian intelligence officials, who used it instead to spy on judges, journalists, politicians and union leaders.
October 2, 2010
For many years now, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ? guerrillas who have waged civil war against the government since the 1960s ? have been falling behind the times. Living as they do in Colombia's vast forests, the FARC troops, made up mostly of poor peasants who are given guns, a bit of food and a smattering of pseudo-communist ideology, are often the last to get important updates about world events. For example, several American military contractors who were held hostage by the FARC until their rescue in 2008 recounted their futile efforts to convince their captors that the Panama Canal was no longer in the possession of the United States, or that the real reason for the U.S. embargo of Cuba was not to keep Americans from fleeing there.