March 9, 1998 |
Despite intermittent rain and a campaign of harassment by guerrillas, Colombians went to the polls Sunday in surprising numbers to vote in an election that pitted traditional machine politics against a new wave of independent candidates. Nearly 46% of the registered voters cast ballots, a large turnout for Colombian congressional races. Four years ago, fewer than one-third of those registered voted for lawmakers.
December 6, 1997 |
Suspected drug traffickers have kidnapped President Ernesto Samper's press secretary and a radio reporter, a radio network said. The RCN network said two people describing themselves as members of "the Extraditables" telephoned to say they were holding the spokesman, William Parra, and an RCN reporter, Luis Eduardo Maldonado. "The Extraditables" was the name of a shadowy group formed by late Medellin drug lord Pablo Escobar.
October 21, 1997 |
U.S. drug czar Barry R. McCaffrey met with President Ernesto Samper, breaking a two-year freeze on top-level U.S. contacts with the Colombian leader. Neither would comment afterward, but Colombia's ambassador to Washington, Juan Carlos Esguerra, said McCaffrey reiterated U.S. demands that Colombia reinstate extradition "without conditions" of criminals wanted in the U.S.
October 3, 1997 |
Colombian President Ernesto Samper is the target of a new probe into his alleged financial dealings with the Cali drug cartel, judicial sources said. A preliminary investigation, opened by the Committee of Accusations of the House of Representatives, focuses on charges that Samper used his post as head of the Development Ministry in 1991 to raise campaign funds for political cronies, the sources said.
June 17, 1997 |
Although President Ernesto Samper said his government is willing "to open a new door to peace" following Sunday's release of 70 soldiers and marines held by guerrillas, officials moved quickly to lower expectations that any negotiated settlement with insurgents is near. "It would be pure euphoria to think that" Latin America's longest civil war is close to ending, said Foreign Minister Maria Emma Mejia.
April 10, 1997 |
President Ernesto Samper has raised the stakes in the nation's drug war by calling for an end to the constitutional ban on the extradition of cocaine traffickers and other criminals. The move, which could clear the way for jailed Cali cartel traffickers to be put on trial in the United States, must still be approved by Congress. Analysts say the issue is certain to be the subject of heated debate. U.S.