FARC Reaffirms Commitment to Reconciliation and Truth in Colombia

Bogota, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) The National Political Council of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons (FARC) party affirmed that it will work tirelessly for reconciliation, truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition in Colombia.

During a political statement after its meeting this weekend, the Council expressed support for the 'Public Declaration issued by our National Political Council, regarding the non-appearance of Jesus Santrich at the Supreme Court of Justice.'

On July 1, former guerrilla commander Santrich abandoned his security scheme and left the territorial space of training and reincorporation of Tierra Grata, located in La Paz municipality, department of Cesar (northeast).

On July 9, he had to appear at the Supreme Court to testify on charges of drug trafficking by the United States which the Colombian Prosecutor's Office attributed to him.

Instead, two of his lawyers arrived. They said they did not know where his client was.

His case (that of Santrich) and that of other members of this Council who abandoned their responsibilities with the party and the Havana Agreements, pass to our Ethics Commission, according to the statutory procedure, the National Political Council of that party said in a statement.

He also called on 'the departmental and local leaderships of the rose party, as well as all their militants, to reaffirm our principles, unity and trust in their national leadership. We are a legal party, with legitimate driving instances we must all respect.'

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Whereabouts Colombian ex-guerrilla Jesús Santrich Still Unknown

Bogotá, July 3 (Prensa Latina) The authorities are unaware today of the whereabouts of ex-commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and recently inaugurated as a congressman, Jesús Santrich, who allegedly abandoned his security scheme.

However, the fact that his whereabouts are unknown or that he has left his security scheme does not represent an offense, points out newspaper El Espectador.

The newspaper emphasizes that having protection from the National Protection Unit does not mean a restriction of mobility. Santrich, according to said Unit, abandoned his protection scheme in the last hours (...) and at this moment his whereabouts are unknown.

Local media reported that in the place where he was there was a note addressed to one of his bodyguards in which he announced that he would visit one of his sons in Valledupar.

However, Santrich's son denied his father had visited him and said he does not know his whereabouts.

El Espectador reports that on July 9, Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte, real name of Jesús Santrich, will be investigated before the Supreme Court of Justice, which investigates him for conspiracy to commit a crime for drug trafficking purposes.

Santrich left the security scheme and left the territorial space of training and reincorporación of Tierra Grata, in the municipality of La Paz, department of Cesar (northeast), at 1 am on Sunday.

The ex-guerrilla still has a week to appear, otherwise he would be prosecuted in his absence.

The leaders of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common urge Santrich to reaffirm with his presence the commitments acquired under the peace process.

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Colombian Paramilitary Gunned Down on Venezuela's Border

Caracas, Jul 1 (Prensa Latina) The political protector of the Venezuelan border state of Tachira, Freddy Bernal, reported that during a confrontation between the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) and the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations Corps (CICPC), a Colombian paramilitary was gunned down.

The Venezuelan leader posted on his Twitter account on Sunday that the paramilitary belonged to the criminal gang known as El Paisa and La Linea, based in Colombia.

Bernal reported that the armed action occurred in the Aguas Calientes sector in Pedro Maria Ureña municipality, located in the Tachira demarcation, bordering Colombia.

Bernal, who is also the National Coordinator of the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP), congratulated through Twitter the personnel who participated in the action.

The procedure is part of the deployment of the Citizen Security Device that the Bolivarian government is carrying out, he said.

Bernal said that the different State security agencies remain alert and deployed in the border area, to stop the incursion of armed groups outside the law and ensure peace and tranquility of the Venezuelans.

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Agüero leads Argentina into Copa América last eight

Sergio Agüero fired Argentina into the last eight of the Copa América as they beat Qatar 2-0 to finish as Group B runners-up in Brazil.

The two-time world champions were on the brink of elimination after collecting just a point from their first two games but kept their quest for a first title since 1993 alive.

It took the South Americans just three minutes to open their account against the tournament debutants at Arena do Grêmio in Porto Alegre.

A sloppy defensive pass went straight to Lautaro Martinez who fired beyond Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb from 15 yards.

Argentina dominated the match but invited side Qatar, the Asian champions, were almost level at the interval when Hassan Al-Haydos was a mere inches away from converting a cross at the back post.

The Albiceleste finally put the game to bed in the 82nd minute when Agüero made up for several squandered chances to rifle an effort across goal and into the back of the net.

Qatar's defeat sees them finish bottom of the group, with their only point coming in a fightback 2-2 draw with Paraguay.

James Rodriguez of Colombia competes for the ball with Santiago Arzamendia of Paraguay ©Getty Images
James Rodriguez of Colombia competes for the ball with Santiago Arzamendia of Paraguay ©Getty Images

Colombia had already claimed top spot in Group B ahead of their clash with Paraguay but made it three wins from three with a 1-0 win at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

A second-string side lined-up as Carlos Queiroz took the opportunity to rest players for the quarter-finals.

The only goal of the game came in the 31st minute when midfielder Gustavo Cuéllar slid the ball under Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto Fernández.

Luis Díaz thought he had doubled the lead in the second half but the goal was ruled out after a Video Assistant Referee review.

Paraguay, who have two points, face a nervy wait to find out if they have done enough to progress out of Group B with one of the two best third-placed records.

They will only go through if tomorrow's Group C match between Japan and Ecuador is a draw.

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Colombia come to life in second half to beat Argentina 2-0

Before the opener in Salvador, Colombia had a dismal record against Argentina, having failed to beat them in the last 12 years.

But they did not let the past dictate their performance at Fonte Nova Arena, convincingly outplaying the Albiceleste for a 2-0 victory.

The first-half proved unmemorable as neither side had a shot on target, with Lionel Scaloni's men particularly lacking tempo and struggling to get the ball forward in their first competitive fixture since their elimination at last year's World Cup.

Colombia's Roger Martinez broke the deadlock in the 71st minute after picking up a long pass from James Rodriguez, before substitute Duvan Zapara doubled the lead from close range in the 86th minute to secure the deserved victory.

Manager Carlos Queiroz lost Luis Muriel to injury after 15 minutes, making way for the welcome addition of Martinez, but will no doubt be pleased with his competitive debut in charge of the Colombians.

Argentina, meanwhile, the runners-up in 2015 and 2016, will be hoping for more from star man Lionel Messi in their next game against Paraguay on Friday.

Colombia go on to face Qatar, one of the two guest nations at the tournament, on Thursday.

In the night's other game, Venezuela and Peru shared a goalless draw after two goals from Peru were disallowed following VAR reviews.

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UN Expresses Concern about Assassinations of Leaders in Colombia

Guillermo Fernandez, joint representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that the number of assassinations of social leaders in Colombia is high and continues to increase.

When presenting a report on the situation of social leaders in the country, Fernandez said that 115 human rights activists were assassinated in 2018 and so far this year, 76 reports have made and 26 assassinations have been confirmed.

The document, which was presented in La Guajira, in northeastern Colombia, pointed out that 24 departments are affected by political violence, and the highest incidence is reported in Antioquia, Cauca and Norte de Santander.

According to the report, local media also reported an increase in threats and attacks on journalists in 2018.

'Until November 2, 2018, three homicides, 200 threats and 477 aggressions against the media had been reported, seriously affecting the exercise of the freedom of speech,' the document added.

In that regard, Fernandez called on the Colombian Government to strengthen the guarantees for human rights advocates and social leaders.

Regarding the presence of the State in the territories, the UN office said that 'it has been noted that on occasions, the States is only present through the Army, so it has to carry out tasks that are not appropriate of its institutional responsibility'.

The main reasons why Colombian leaders are assassinated, according to the study, are supporting the Peace Agreement, denouncing criminal actions or favoring the replacement of illegal crops.

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Third win in a row for Cuba

On the third day of the competition, Cuba won a third time in a row, beating Colombia 31:24. Colombians now have one win out of three games. At the end of the first half, the Colombians had a chance to catch the rivals when they reduce the difference to 10:12.

At the 37 minute the the score was even 16:15 in favour of Cuba but exactly here islanders scored four times and decided the outcome of the match.

The man of the match from Colombia was Wiliiam Romero Diaz, the scorer og 6 goals. As for goalkeeper of Cuba Magnol Suares, he saved 15 shots and became the best for the second time.

On day four, June 12, Cuba plays against Azerbaijan and Colombia against India.

William Romero Diaz, Colombia: I’m satisfied with my game today, the coach didn’t let me play a lot in the previous game, so I proved that I am able to do good for the team, however I’m not satisfied with the team play. I hope that we’ll be able to show that Columbia truly has a great team and very good players of handball.

Magnol Suares Fiss, Cuba: This game was the best for us. The teams game was very good in defence and attack, we were really concentrated for this game.

Cuba beat China 30-24 on day 2

Cuba earned a shock 30-24 win over Group A top seeds China on the second day of the International Handball Federation (IHF) Emerging Nations Championship in Georgia.

China started with impressive intensity but a 19th-minute breakaway goal from Omar Toledano turned the momentum and by halftime Cuba led by three.

China fought back but were hampered again when Zhaopeng Li – who made the score 18-18 with his seventh goal of the game – was given a suspension that allowed Cuba to retake the lead with an extra man.

Although the Central Americans were set back by a red card for Adonys Jesus Garcia, they earned an impressive win, thanks in no small part to goalkeeper Magnol Suarez Fiss, who made three penalty saves.

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Bulgaria maintained their 100 per cent record with a 38-35 victory over the United States.

It looked as if wild cards the United States would be overwhelmed when Bulgaria, top seeds in Group B, raced into a commanding lead with seven goals without reply.

But the Americans slowly closed the gap and by halftime they led 17-16.

The favourites reasserted their dominance, though, and with Kristian Vasilev scoring 11 of their goals, they eventually took victory.

Hosts Georgia also made it two from two as they inflicted another heavy defeat on Malta, 39-13.

The home players filled their boots against a weak Maltese side – Giorgi Arvelodi Dikhaminjia scored eight, Giorgi Tskhovrebadze six and Nikoloz Kalandadze six.

South American champions Colombia got their first win on the board with a 35-30 victory over Azerbaijan.

They roared into a 6-1 advantage after seven minutes but Azerbaijan rallied and trailed 17-15 at the interval.

In an ill-tempered match which saw four red cards handed out – two for either side – Azerbaijan took the lead in the second half but were stopped from pulling too far ahead due to good saves by keeper Julian Alberto Villa Arango.

Powered by the goals of Sebastian Restrepo, Colombia regained control late on to earn their first Emerging Nations Championship victory.

Britain also earned their first win in Tbilisi, beating India 38-28.

After a tight first half, which Britain shaded 16-13, the European side took full control in the second 30 minutes as Sebastian Edgar scored an impressive 14 goals.

The final game of the day between Nigeria and Ireland was an entertaining affair which ended in the tournament's first draw – 31-31.

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Colombia: FARC Leader Jesus Santrich Freed at Top Court's Order

Colombian President Ivan Duque, meanwhile, said he supported the efforts of the Attorney General to keep Santrich in prison.

Colombia's Prosecutor office announced Thursday the release of Jesus Santrich, less than a day after the country's Supreme Court ordered his release, the latest development in a legal saga concerning his detention and possible extradition to the United States.

RELATED: Supreme Court of Colombia Orders Release of Jesus Santrich

From prison, Santrich went to the headquarters of the People's Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia (FARC). They will give a press conference soon from the headquarters.

After that, he will go to the Colombian Congress to take his position as an elected lawmaker.

Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, better known as 'Jesus Santrich', a former guerilla leader was arrested in Bogota April 9, 2018, following an extradition request from the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) for alleged drug trafficking.

This crime, according to U.S. authorities was committed after he, as part of the now-disarmed FARC, and President Juan Manuel Santos signed the nation's peace deal Nov. 24, 2016, which would be in violation of the accords, which state that such crimes would be dealt as part of the special tribunal JEP only if they were committed before the signing of the agreements.

Ante el montaje infame del Estado en su intención de hacer trizas la paz, se impuso la justicia y la verdad. Celebramos con regocijo la libertad de nuestro camarada Jesús Santrich. Seguimos luchando por la paz de Colombia!

Before the infamous assembly of the State in its intention to destroy peace, justice and truth were imposed. We celebrate with joy the freedom of our comrade Jesus Santrich. We continue fighting for the peace of Colombia!

Santrich and his party have maintained that no such crime was committed after the 2016 agreement and that the FARC leader has congressional immunity and could not be prosecuted under by normal courts. 

The JEP had already come out against Santrich's arrest and called for his release. 

The top court blamed the Colombian prosecutor's office's incompetence for unfounded arrest and for overlooking Santrich's congressional immunity. 

The high court said that the ex-leader of the FARC has immunity in spite of not having taken office as a congressman and that he can keep his seat in Congress until his extradition process to the United States is resolved.

Referring to the illegal nature of Santrich's detention, FARC has issued several statements asserting that the peace accord, as well as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, have been the “subject of multiple attacks meant to undermine their character, limit their scope and ignore their capacities” by the Colombian government.

Since the signing of the agreements in 2016, former FARC members have been facing persecution by right-wing elements and hitmen all over Colombia and being killed at alarming rates despite having laid down their arms in search of peace.

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