Piedad Cordoba Highlights Fidel Castro's Legacy at Sao Paulo Forum

Bogota, Jul 9 (Prensa Latina) Former Colombian Presidential Candidate Piedad Cordoba today highlighted the legacy of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, as the founder of the Sao Paulo Forum.

In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina, the renowned lawyer, politician and former senator noted the significance of the 24th edition of the Sao Paulo Forum, to be held in Havana from July 15 to 17.

On the meeting of the main progressive parties and organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, she noted that the best tribute to Fidel Castro is to continue the struggle and move forward along the path of those like him who have been determinant in the history of the Forum.

Asked about the significance of the meeting in the current situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, Cordoba underlined that the Sao Paulo Forum is the hope for our continent at present.

Above all, after the shift to the right in the balance of forces that has taken place in the region and in light of the intention by the Pentagon and the White House to continue their plans to destabilize alternative and progressive projects, she explained.

Regarding the venue of the event, she said that Havana 'offers an incentive and support to continue along the path of transformations that many parties and movement from all over the continent and other parts of the world have for long vindicated and fought for.'

'We will meet at the house of Fidel Castro, founder of the Forum and a vital beacon for those who believe in Latin American integration; hundreds of parties, movements and organizations that struggle for justice and human rights will meet to revitalize ourselves and be able to continue the struggle,' Cordoba stressed.

Cordoba, who is also the representative of the Colombian movement Poder Ciudadano (Citizen's Power), called on all participants in the Sao Paulo Forum to further strengthen the ties of brotherhood.

'Very tough times will come for us, Colombians, in light of an imminent reconfiguration and intensification of the domestic war that is more serious than the one that we have already had,' she noted about her country's sociopolitical situation.

She underlined that the meeting in the Cuban capital will be an opportunity to express solidarity to other peoples of the region who need it, like Venezuela and Ecuador.

Finally, the outstanding advocate of peace and the rights of the excluded in Colombia pointed out that the Forum must issue a declaration of solidarity with former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, currently indicted and persecuted by the government of Lenin Moreno, she stated.

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Colombia Wins 3-0 Over Poland in World Cup

After a loss against Japan Colombia wins big against Poland.

Goals from Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao, and Juan Cuadrado gave Colombia a convincing 3-0 win on Sunday against Poland, who were eliminated from contention at the World Cup before their last Group H match.

RELATED: Mexico: At Least 16 Fans Dead Within 24 Hours of World Cup Win

Japan and Senegal, who both picked up wins in their first games, drew 2-2 earlier on Sunday and are in a battle with Colombia to qualify for the knockout stage.

Mina headed home from close range in the 40th minute when midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero caught the Poland defense off guard from a short corner with a smart clipped pass to James Rodriguez who whipped it in first time with his left foot.

Quintero's defense-splitting pass then gave captain Falcao, who missed the 2014 tournament due to injury, his first World Cup goal in the 70th, while Rodriguez got his second assist five minutes later when he set up Cuadrado to make it 3-0.

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Colombia: UN Condemns Leaders' Murder After Double Homicide

At least 100 social leaders have been killed since January, the Institute of Study on Peace and Development (Indepaz) and the Patriotic Mach reported.

The United Nations condemned the rising violence targeting Colombian social leaders after police discovered the bodies of two missing activists in Santander, Colombia Saturday.

RELATED: Four Social Leaders, Activists Killed in Colombia in 24 Hours

The remains of Bellavista’s 37-year old president of the Community Action Board (JAC), Isaac Navarro Mora, and Hector Santiago Anteliz, 52, were found riddled with bullets abandoned on the roadside in Teorama Saturday morning.

Authorities report both Navarro and his wife, Luz Bella Reyes, were kidnapped Friday night following a social event. Police say that though they are pursuing multiple lines of investigation, they believe the pair were killed by motorcyclists and rogue members of Colombia's former guerrilla groups.

In response to Santiago’s death, also a JAC president, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees tweeted, “We condemn the homicide of Héctor Santiago Anteliz, 52 years old, president of the JAC of San Jose, Teorama, in Norte de Santander. In 2018, we have documented 9 defenders' homicides in this department. #NiUnoMas #colombia #DDHH.”

At least 100 social leaders since January, the Institute of Study on Peace and Development (Indepaz) and the Patriotic Mach reported in a study released earlier this month during the Agrarian Summit.

According to the figures of the document, January was the month in which more murders of leaders reached 27 followed by March with 21, May 18, February 17 and- according to teleSur’s Manuel Jimenez, within the first 5 days of June, 7 leaders had already been killed.

Arauca, Cauca, Antioquia, Norte de Santander, Santander, Valle del Cauca, Nariño were described as the most dangerous for social leaders, registering the highest number of murders.

Multiple human rights organizations have urged the Colombian government to implement more effective measures to preserve the lives of social leaders.

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There was no “Miracle”: hard-line, right-winged tendency wins in Colombia

Ivan Duque —inexperienced politician with lack of communication, and protégé of former President Alvaro Uribe— has just won the presidential election in Colombia. The denounced fraud was not finally investigated. Several problems were reported; namely, irregularities in more than 800 polling tables, a million dollar buying of thousands cards and a paramilitary presence in 237 “risky” municipalities in the country.

If we add the “benevolence” of electoral authorities to these facts, the political apathy of 56% of all voters, and the citizens’ hate to everything smelling politics, then we can find the logic behind the wide margin with which Duque (53,95%) defeated left-wing representative Gustavo Petro (41,73%).

Ivan Duque faces now huge challenges. Let’s see how he handles everything: the pressure of being Alvaro Uribe’s protégé, the extreme right-winged forces of the Democratic Center Party, the peace agreement (he is now talking about reforms, not annulment), and the reform of justice so they can avoid the Constituent. It would meet the social urgencies to approve the implementation of land reform and eradicate corruption, which seems really tough given the sort of people surrounding Duque.


Anyway, the left as well as progressive forces around them may join forces and create a bloc that protects the life of former members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army), social and peasant leaders, who are being systematically assassinated.

They should be careful with some forces joining the progressive bloc as there are suspicions about leaders who deter votes and then their stance coincides with that of the right’s programs.

Remember that after the first round of the general elections and being released the numbers where Colombia Humana —Petro’s political party—, and Coalicion Colombia (CC) earned a higher number of votes than the right led by Duque, the leader of the alternative movement CC, Sergio Fajardo, urged to vote blank instead of calling for the unity of all anti-corruption forces or defending social justice. This fact weakened significantly the democratic trend.

Several analysts warned Alianza Verde and Polo Democratico that this candidate had been encouraged by Alvaro Uribe (ideologist of the right-wing tendency) and would certainly claim compensation: to divide the democratic process.

It is important to point out that the left has its weakness. The right seems to be stronger as all those who criticized Alvaro Uribe joined forces and left behind their differences. Thus, the extreme right-wing led by Andres Pastrana, Cesar Gaviria, and Vargas Lleras, among others, worked together to endorse Ivan Duque’s candidacy.

The neoliberal society has all the legislative power in Colombia with 85 representatives out of 100. Its mayors represent more than 90%. They handle voting nationally and have all the means to pay voluntary officials, guarantee food, hand over propaganda, and provide transportation to voters. Summing up, there is a lot of money for the “dynamic” process.

There is no freedom of information in Colombia. All the media are owned by six families. All of them follow the same script of support to their representative. There has been propaganda on terror as they accused Gustavo Petro of being a guerrilla man. Petro was said to transform Colombia into a new Venezuela.

Nonetheless, the left had its own living candidate. And despite the upcoming storm, there is always hope to find similar conditions for all candidates in the future.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Cubans starred Good Performances in Eppe Grand Prix

Reynier Henriquez and Yunior Reytor were the best-ranked Cubans in the 2018 FIE Epee Grand Prix of Cali, Colombia, won by Olympic monarchs: Frenchman Yannick Borel and Hungarian woman Emese Szasz-Kovacs.

Henriquez finished 12th after beating 15-13 Ukrainian Igor Reizlin and 15-14 Swiss Alexis Bayard before losing 13-15 to Korean Jung Jinsun.
Meanwhile, Reytor (13) reached the round of 16 by defeating 15-9 French Alex Ava and 15-5 Colombian Andres Campos to then lose 15-10 to Korean Park Sangyoung, who was one of the bronze medalists of the tournament.

The other two members of the Cuban squad were the current national champion Luis Enrique Paterson and veteran Ringo Quintero, who both lost in the first round.

The best performance of the women was achieved by the current local monarch Jiselle Franco, who ranked 32, better than Ceyli Mendoza (46), Yana Gavilan (52) and Yamilka Rodriguez (58).
The 2018 FIE Epee Grand Prix of Cali was attended by around 200 fencers from 25 nations.

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Cuba to host Colombia’s peace talks with ELN

Colombia and the ELN rebels said on Saturday that they will move peace negotiations to end more than five decades of war to Cuba, after original host Ecuador pulled its support for the talks.

The Andean nation has been at war with the National Liberation Army (ELN), founded by radical Catholic priests, since 1964. 

The government of outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos and the ELN started formal talks 15 months ago in Quito.

Last month Ecuador, then one of six guarantor countries, said it would not host the negotiations as long as the guerrillas continued to wage attacks. 

The ELN is well known for kidnapping and for bombing oil and military infrastructure.

Ecuador's decision came after two Ecuadorean journalists and their driver were killed by a group of former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, the majority of whom demobilized under a 2016 peace deal negotiated in Havana.

Fifth cycle of talks

"After jointly examining the options to restart talks as soon as possible, we have decided to continue the fifth cycle of talks in the city of Havana, Cuba, beginning next week," the two sides said in a joint statement.

Negotiations will continue to focus on agreeing a new ceasefire, the statement said. The two sides' first-ever ceasefire ended in January and was followed by a period of increased violence and a six-week pause in talks.

Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the FARC peace deal, has repeatedly expressed his gratitude to Cuba for hosting those negotiations, which lasted four years.

Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Norway and Venezuela are the five remaining guarantor countries for the ELN negotiations.

Colombia's long conflict between the government, rebel groups, paramilitaries and crime gangs has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced million

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba, Norway Say Colombia-FARC Peace 'Living Difficult Moments'

Recent developments, including the killings of former FARC fighters and arrest of its future representative Jesus Santrich, have put the process at stake.

The Cuban and Norwegian governments, which sponsored the talks and the subsequent peace agreement between the Colombian government and the former insurgent group FARC, expressed their concerns about the current state of the implementation of the peace process in the country amid the persecution and killing of former members of the former guerrilla group as well as the recent arrest of congressmen-elect Jesus Santrich.


Colombia: FARC Warns Peace Deal at 'Most Critical Point' After Leader Arrest

“We express our concerns about the recent events related to the peace process,” said a statement signed by both governments, which also called on Colombian authorities to “guarantee the protection of the final agreement... and secure the strict observance of the deal, including the provisions related to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, designed to guarantee truth, justice, repairment and non-repetition.”

The Alternative Revolutionary Forces of the Common, the new political face of the FARC, back tracked on their presidential campaign as their leader Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko” suffered from health issues and the party decided the government wasn't providing the party members with the ideal security conditions.

The situation escalated when Jesus Santrich, a former FARC commander, was arrested on drug trafficking charges by DEA's order, who accused him of taking part in a business network intending to export 10 tons of cocaine into the United States, and may now face extradition.

"With the capture of our comrade Jesus Santrich, the peace process is at its most critical point and is threatened to be a true failure," said Ivan Marquez, future representative and number two of the FARC, said at a press conference in Bogota last week. He also demanded Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos "keep his word" regarding the peace process.

Interpol's red alert accuse Santrich of participating in the drug trafficking network between June 2017 and April 2018. His defense filed an Habeas Corpus appeal but it was rejected by Bogota's Superior Tribunal.

Also, the activities of groups claiming to be FARC dissidents who oppose the peace agreement and have refused to demobilize, are being used to discredit the peace agreement despite FARC leadership distancing itself from them and rejecting their actions.

One of those groups, the Oliver Sinisterra Front led by Guacho, recently kidnapped and murdered three Ecuadorean journalists reporting on the violence situation on the border between both countries.

Colombia: Gov't to Meet Peace Sponsor-Nations After FARC Leader Arrest

Added to that, some in the Colombian government claim that the former insurgent group wasn't honest about their assets and accused it of running a money laundering chain of stores, which sparked riots and looting in several cities of Colombia. FARC leadership flatly reject such accusations and said they have made all their assets available and have welcomed any government audits.

According to the communique by Cuba and Norway, the peace process is “living difficult moments,” and reminded that “is important that the involved parties and the international community reaffirm their support to the process and the enforcing and observance of the agreement.”

They also recommended speeding up the actions aimed at guaranteeing the full reintegration and reincorporation of FARC's former fighters into civil society and reiterated their compromise to reach a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.

Gloria Ospina, director of the Colombia in Peace Fund, was dismissed from office on April 9 after being accused of irregularities in managing the economic resources provided by the international community for the peace process.

The peace process has been heavily politicized and is one of the main discussion points for all candidates in the May 27 presidential elections. Most of them support the continuance of the process, including leftist Gustavo Petro, but the right-wing protegee of Alvaro Uribe, Ivan Duque, has said the agreement needs serious restructuring.

  • Published in Cuba

Bogota: Trump hurts Cuban pockets deeply

Donald Trump's Havana policy has another pretty negative aspect: multiple expenses imposed on those who must firstly travel to Colombia aimed at carrying out visa procedures to reach the United States.

El Nuevo Herald journalist Catalina Ruiz Parra narrated on Wednesday the odyssey suffered by those people to obtain it.

The main concern of those travelers lies in the high costs imposed on them.

For example, the consular authorities request their hotel booking in Bogota and their last six months bank statements with a minimum balance of $2,000.

In addition, they must pay their food and transportation expenses for a nearly 3-week stay, because it is mandatory to arrive 10 days before the interview.

The Herald journalist said that “the visa study” in the US embassy in Bogota costs $52 and if it is approved, there is another $82 charge.

In the face of the scene described, some hotels and private citizens offer those Cubans less expensive options.

Add to this that they must pay for travel insurance covering accident, disease and baggage loss, as well as lab tests, medical appointment, fingerprinting, interview and passport/visa collection.

It also includes the amount of $820 for one or two people and a 10-day stay.

Journalist Catalina Ruiz Parra warns in her article that “travelers must verify the information well before choosing any option to avoid being victim of a scam”.

Hence here another example of how those who have been advising Donald Trump's Cuba policy express their irrational and clumsy performance.

One of them, Marco Rubio, Florida's far-right Republican senator.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff


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