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.

  • Published in World

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.

SOME THOUGHTS

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.

  • Published in Sports

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.

RELATED:

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.

RELATED:
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

 

  • Published in Specials

Life and Works of Legendary Gabriel Garcia Marquez Digitalized, Now Freely Available

Marquez was introduced to Marxist teachings while he was in secondary school in Zipaquira, where teachers had been taught Marxist theory under President Alfonso Lopez’s leftist government of the 1930s.

University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center which acquired the legendary Latin American writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's works two years ago has digitalized the collection, making it available to the public for free. 

RELATED: How Fidel and Gabriel Garcia Marquez Shaped World Literature

A Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) contributed to the searchable, online archive which consists of nearly 27,500 items from Garcia Marquez's papers possible. 

The digital archive includes manuscript drafts of the legendary writer's published and unpublished works, research material, photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, clippings, notebooks, screenplays, printed material, ephemera, including an audio recording of Marquez's acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, the Harry Ransom Center's website noted. 

Part of the collection bought by the Ransom Center for US$2.2 million hasn't been digitized, including the 10 drafts of García Márquez’s final, unfinished novel, “We’ll See Each Other in August." A chapter from the novel was published in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in 2014, shortly after García Márquez’s death at age 87. 

But a 32-page draft section of the projected second volume of García Márquez’s memoirs is available online that covers the years the Nobel Laureate spent in  Europe and then Mexico City, where he died. 

"Often estates take a restrictive view of their intellectual property, believing scholarly use threatens or diminishes commercial interests," Steve Enniss, the director of the Ransom Center, told the New York Times.

“We are grateful to Gabo’s family for unlocking his archive and recognizing this work as another form of service to his readers everywhere."

The Colombian writer most known for his iconic works like Hundred Years of Solitude, Chronicles of a Death Foretold was also a fierce critic of the U.S. imperialism. Marquez, lovingly called as 'Gabo' by many, had close ties to the revolutionary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. Fidel, known to be an avid reader, also acted as an unofficial copy editor to the Colombian Nobel Laureate, 

"He even became one of the first reviewers of Gabo’s books," Stephanie Panichelli-Batalla, a Marquez scholar said, according to Jacobin. 

The legendary author was fascinated by Fidel’s socialist model for Cuba, considering it ideal for neighboring countries to adopt across the continent. He considered himself more "a sympathizer than a real militant." 

Marquez was introduced to Marxist teachings while he was in secondary school in Zipaquira, where teachers had been taught Marxist theory under President Alfonso Lopez’s leftist government of the 1930s.

"When I was young,” Marquez told the New Left Review in the April 1983 issue, “he (grandfather) would regale me with horrifying accounts of the last civil war that free-thinkers and anti-clerics waged against the conservative government. My grandfather also told me about the massacre of the banana workers which took place in Aracataca the year I was born. So you see my family influenced me toward rebellion rather than toward upholding the established order."

  • Published in Culture

FARC Leader to Run as 2018 Presidential Candidate

Londoño, known as Timochenko, was nominated as the political group's 2018 presidential candidate by a majority vote.

The Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons has announced Rodrigo Londoño, popularly known as Timochenko and former leader of the guerrilla group, as their candidate in the 2018 Colombian presidential election as the group awaits the legalization of its newly established political party by Colombia's National Electoral Council, according to Caracol Radio.

RELATED: Timochenko Considers Quitting Leadership of FARC's New Party

Until this process is complete, the FARC will be unable to advance with the formal registration of their presidential candidate and congress people.

The decision to nominate Timochenko was made in a majority vote by FARC members, despite their belief that his chances of reaching the presidential palace are minimal.

However, they expressed their desire to have a candidate run in next year's presidential election, forming political coalitions in the process that would eventually run a candidate with greater chances of winning in future campaigns. FARC members noted that this would entail a transitional government aimed at consolidating peace throughout the country.

FARC representatives also stated that in the coming days they will officially announce Pablo Catatumbo, Ivan Marquez and other members who will run for congressional seats, according to Caracol Radio.

RELATED: FARC Leader Timochenko Recovering Well in Cuba

With Timochenko at its head, the FARC faces many obstacles as it attempts to transform from a guerrilla group into a political party, with members pointing to the lack of will shown by the administration of Juan Manuel Santos to carry out true peace as social leaders and FARC members continue to be targeted by paramilitary forces and the Colombian military.

However, the former guerrilla leader said he would uphold his commitment to peace and signaled he would work closely with the two commissions set up in order to re-structure the party.

“Just like all of you, what motivates me is that the (peace) process moves forward,” he reiterated.

  • Published in World
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