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August 10, 2002 | From Associated Press
Mourners in ragged clothing wept and placed flowers Friday over the caskets of 14 Colombians who were killed when a rebel mortar shell struck Bogota's skid row just before this week's presidential inauguration. Hundreds of people milled around the caskets, which were placed on the sidewalk of this impoverished neighborhood. Seven of the coffins contained bodies that had not been identified. One woman looked among them for the body of her son, who was apparently decapitated in the blast.
April 13, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrated his return to Long Beach after 14 years with a fourth-place finish. Montoya won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 1999 but then left for Formula One racing in 2001 and, six years later, NASCAR stock car racing. He's back in IndyCar with Team Penske. The Colombian started 16th, was sent to the back of the 23-car field for improperly entering the pits when they were closed but then gained several spots thanks to a multicar crash midway through the race.
September 26, 1996
Compliments for the well-researched article "Cocaine Crackdown Has Colombians Fearing War," Sept. 22. Here in the U.S. we complain long and bitterly about the damage drugs bring upon our society. However, your article goes far at illuminating the price Colombia (and, by inference, other countries in similar circumstances) pays for its drug eradication program. In essence, the illegal trade in drugs in the U.S. has created a "narcotraficante" monster that challenges the Colombian government for power, undermines the authority of the state and causes untold amount of economic destruction.
October 27, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombian rebels have freed former U.S. Marine Kevin Scott Sutay after holding him hostage since June, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which handled the release. Sutay was backpacking in eastern Guaviare province when he was seized by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. He is said to be in good physical condition, according to a Red Cross statement. The rebels initially described Sutay as a "mercenary," but announced their intention to release him last month.
Two Colombian nationals were depicted Wednesday as drug traffickers who were captured on videotape using an inventive scheme--molding cocaine and fiberglass into kennels--to ship the drug into the United States. But as the federal trial for Henry Bustos and Harold Satizabal began in U.S. District Court, defense attorneys warned jurors that a key witness in the case is a federal informant they described as a "lying crack fiend" who was paid nearly $100,000 by federal authorities to be a snitch.
July 2, 1990 | From Times staff and Wire reports
Two Colombians wanted on U.S. drug-trafficking charges have been extradited from Colombia and flown to the United States to stand trial, the U.S. Marshals Service said in Washington. Luis Carbacas, 60, is charged with leading a drug ring in North Carolina, and Rafael Juliao, 42, is charged with cocaine distribution in New York City. They will stand trial in the respective states.
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.
May 7, 1989 | WILLIAM OVEREND, William Overend is a Times staff writer who has covered the growing cocaine problem since 1976.
THE FORMER OUTLAW drug prince, in T-shirt, jeans and a hippie ponytail, sits in his small house near Marina del Rey, recounting his career. In the space of a decade, he has seen firsthand an upheaval in the cocaine scene in Los Angeles. Marty, one of the names he uses, was one of the most active Westside coke dealers in the late 1970s. His customers included some of the most famous actors and rock stars in Los Angeles. He cruised the city in rented limousines, dined at the most expensive restaurants, bought a few small businesses and condos and basked in the status then attached by many to anyone with a constant supply of coke.
December 13, 2012 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
YARUMAL, Colombia - The unusually high incidence of early-onset Alzheimer's disease in this isolated cattle town has thrust it to the forefront of global efforts to find a cure for the debilitating malady. Next spring, 100 residents of this region in northwestern Colombia who are known to carry a mutant gene linked to the disease will begin taking a therapeutic drug produced by the U.S. biotechnology firm Genentech. The five-year clinical trial, called the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative, will cost $100 million.
May 14, 1994
Two Colombian nationals were each sentenced to nearly 16 years in federal prison Friday for their roles in conspiring to ship cocaine-laced dog kennels into the United States. A defense attorney for one of the accused had argued that FBI agents had entrapped the two men and encouraged them to commit the crimes.
September 23, 2013
Oscar Espinosa Chepe Cuban economist fell out with Castro Oscar Espinosa Chepe, 72, a high-level Cuban economist and diplomat who broke with Fidel Castro's government in the 1990s and was imprisoned for dissident activities, died Monday at a hospital near Madrid, where he had been undergoing treatment for chronic liver disease. Espinosa was one of 75 writers and political activists locked up in 2003 during the Black Spring, a notorious crackdown on dissent that provoked international criticism and EU sanctions lasting five years.
August 30, 2013 | By Alice Short
Patricia Engel sets her first novel in late '90s Paris, where recent college graduate Lita del Cielo arrives to take language classes for a year. It's a respite of sorts as she attempts to forestall the expectations of her Colombian immigrant parents, who arrived in the U.S. with nothing and built a Latin food empire in short order. Twenty-year-old Lita is to live in the House of Stars, a crumbling old mansion on the Left Bank. Her landlord, an elderly onetime countess named Séraphine, props herself up on a huge sleigh bed to receive visitors and dispense advice to the "well-bred debutante boarders" who have come to Paris to "study" but seem to spend most of their time in pursuit of love.
August 9, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia - With the public's patience wearing thin, pressure is mounting on the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group to make substantive progress in peace talks that have bogged down over how to fashion a political role for the insurgents. On Saturday, the two sides will complete their 12th bargaining session in Havana since the negotiations began in October. Only the first of six bargaining issues on the agenda - an agrarian reform initiative - has been settled, and observers see little chance of a breakthrough on the second: the mechanics of the rebels making the transition from warfare to post-conflict democracy.
July 26, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Long before Mexico descended into its "drug war," the phrase itself was invented in another country. In the 1980s the underground industry that processed coca into cocaine and shipped it northward to U.S. consumers transformed Colombian society. It created powerful drug barons who became public villains and icons, and it saw a country and its public institutions nearly consumed by a culture of violence. Juan Gabriel Vásquez's deeply affecting and closely observed new novel takes up the psychic aftermath of that era, as residents of Colombia's capital, Bogota, struggle to make sense of the disorder and dysfunction that's enveloped their daily lives.
June 23, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
Cali, COLOMBIA - It's a long way to go for dance lessons, but that's why French law student Graziella Giacomarra has traveled 6,000 miles to Cali, to learn some of salsa's most intricate and high-energy steps. This month at the Sondeluz dance studio on the second floor of a drab commercial building, Giacomarra was hot-stepping to a blistering, brass-driven salsa beat, her feet blurring in close unison with those of her teacher, Luz Ayde Moncayo. It was the eighth week of classes for the 24-year-old Lyon native who hopes to someday be an agent for professional dancers.
May 29, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia - Venezuela recalled its ambassador and ended its participation in peace talks Wednesday after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with the losing opposition candidate in Venezuela's recent presidential election. Santos received losing candidate Henrique Capriles at the presidential palace in Bogota. Capriles has charged that the Venezuelan presidency was stolen from him in the April 14 election by the apparent winner, Nicolas Maduro, the late President Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor.
April 9, 1989
Five people have been arrested in Canada, and 1,100 pounds of cocaine worth more than $200 million was seized in one of the largest drug seizures in Canadian history, police said. O'Neill Pouliot, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police drug officer in Ottawa, said three Colombians, two men and a woman, were arrested in Montreal and bags of 95%-pure cocaine seized. Two other Colombians, the pilot and co-pilot of a small plane that allegedly took the drugs into Fredericton, New Brunswick, were arrested earlier in Toronto.
May 10, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Chinese and U.S. agents seized more than 300 pounds of cocaine smuggled from Colombia, authorities said. Nine people were arrested. The suspects include two Colombians held in Hong Kong, along with suspects from Hong Kong and mainland China.
May 26, 2013 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - In a milestone first step in efforts to end Latin America's longest-running insurgency, Colombia's largest rebel group and the government said Sunday that they had reached an agreement on land reform, the first of six points that could make up an eventual peace deal. The agreement on agrarian reform, considered a crucial element of any broader accord, is a boost for President Juan Manuel Santos, who last summer took the risky political move of restarting peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
April 15, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia - Nohra Padilla spent her childhood at a garbage dump here in Colombia's capital before going on to organize the city's poor recyclers. Now the activist, who travels the world giving talks about waste management, has won one of the world's most prestigious environmental prizes. Padilla is a 2013 winner of the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Prize, which comes with a $150,000 cash award, the group announced Monday. She helped organize and formalize the work of 5,000 poor trash collectors and recyclers who spend most nights fanning out over Bogota's streets to cull recyclable paper, plastic, glass and metals for resale.
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