Polar Bear

They call me Mr Sunshine
Verified Military
Aug 14, 2006
I don't know much about Colombian negotiation's, but I do know in the past the US Embassy there worked very hard to get our citizens released.
This has got to made a shitty situation worse

Colombian leader ends Farc talks

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has broken off negotiations on a prisoner exchange with the left-wing guerrilla group Farc.

Mr Uribe said he blamed the group for Thursday's bombing in Bogota that left more than 20 people injured.
"The only road open to us is the military rescue of those kidnapped," Mr Uribe said.
Farc is holding more than 3,000 people hostage, including some 60 politicians and foreigners.
The president's response to Thursday's bombing in the capital was swift and unequivocal, the BBC's Jeremy McDermott says.
Mr Uribe slammed the door on the possibility of sitting down with Farc and discussing a prisoner exchange.

"We cannot continue the farce of a humanitarian exchange [of prisoners] with the Farc," he told reporters in Bogota.
Instead, Mr Uribe said he was considering a military rescue of the hostages.
The news is a bitter blow to the family of those held by the guerrillas, some of whom have spent more than seven years in captivity, our correspondent says.
The most high-profile of the Farc prisoners is Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate who also has French citizenship.
Ms Betancourt's mother wept when she heard Mr Uribe's comments.
Farc - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - is the largest rebel group in Colombia. It has been fighting the government for more than four decades. The government in Bogota is continuing, however, with talks in Havana with the second rebel group, the ELN.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/10/20 22:30:19 GMT

It should have happened long ago. Kidnapping is one of the main ways they make their money.
Good for them, it's about time. Sounds like it's gonna be killin' time for the Colombian SF guys and perhapse *ahem* some foreign advisors that will be conducting the rescues. rebels kill at least 16 police in attack

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Hundreds of leftist rebels bombarded a remote police station with makeshift mortars during a pre-dawn attack in northern Colombia Wednesday, killing at least 16 officers, authorities said.
The six-hour assault in the village of Tierradentro, 230 miles [360 kilometers]northwest of Bogota, was the bloodiest since President Alvaro Uribe was re-elected in May in a landslide that endorsed his get-tough policy with the rebels.
At least 10 police officers were missing and four civilians wounded, said Jairo Lopez, the top security official for Cordoba state, where the attack occurred. He said about 450 guerrillas took part in the attack.
Authorities blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC.
The attack came two weeks after Uribe called off talks with the FARC over a possible prisoner swap, blaming the rebels for a car bombing that injured 23 at a military base in Bogota.
Attack helicopters and warplanes were called in to help defend the police station and repel the rebels, said Gen. Jorge Ballesteros, commander of the air force.
National police said 16 officers were killed. The army and police commanders flew to the combat zone, from which troops barred journalists at midday, saying fighting was persisting.
The Defense Ministry said the army clashed with the guerrilla column as the rebels withdrew and had recovered the bodies of three guerrillas.
The FARC, which has been fighting the government for more than four decades, released a statement Tuesday night reaffirming its desire for a prisoner swap that would free some 60 hostages in exchange for some 500 rebels.
"These events show that the desire for peace on the part of the FARC does not exist," said Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos.
The Tierradentro police station was recently built on orders of the president, responding to residents' fears that rebels were preparing a campaign to seize control of the mountainous coca-growing zone.
The basis for cocaine, coca has long fueled the country's conflict, funding its warring factions.
Cordoba state is a traditional stronghold of landowner-backed militias known as paramilitaries, which have nominally disbanded under a 2004 peace deal with the government.
The FARC insists the paramilitaries remain intact and has unleashed a series of attacks across Colombia in recent days, setting off car bombs and downing electrical towers.
Colombia is one of the largest recipients of U.S. military aid, getting some $600 million a year. Uribe has used the funds to create new counterinsurgency units, buy UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and boost the number of police and soldiers across the country.
He has also implemented a strategy of setting up police outposts in every municipality of the country, reversing a previous government policy that had abandoned much of the countryside.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Bogota bomb kills 2, injures 5 bomb kills 2, injures 5

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- A jeep carrying explosives went up in flames just south of the capital of Bogota, killing two passengers and injuring five, authorities said.
The apparent accident late Thursday, which authorities believe may have pre-empted a planned terrorist attack by leftist rebels, comes a day after 17 police officers and two civilians were killed during a guerrilla raid on a remote hamlet in the country's northwest.
Two other car-bombings, one of them deadly, have occurred in the past two weeks.
Col. Wilson Laverde, police commander in Cundinamarca state where the blast occurred, told Caracol Radio the explosives were likely intended to be used to carry out a bombing in the nearby town of Fusagasuga, about 50 kilometers south of the capital, or Bogota.
He did not say what amount or what type of explosives were found in the car.
Two weeks ago, 23 people were injured when a car bomb went off at military university in Bogota, an attack President Alvaro Uribe blamed on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The attack prompted the hard-liner president to break off peace overtures with the leftist rebel group, Latin America's oldest and most potent insurgency.
A similar blast also blamed on the group occurred Saturday outside a military base in western Colombia, killing an army sentry and the driver of a taxi where the explosives were planted.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Colombia Court Orders Officials Arrested

[/FONT][FONT=geneva,arial][SIZE=-2]Thursday, November 9, 2006


(11-09) 19:47 PST BOGOTA, Columbia (AP) --
Colombia's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered three legislators arrested for their alleged ties to the country's far-right paramilitaries.

The court said in a statement it had issued warrants for the arrests of the three lawmakers — Sens. Alvaro Garcia and Jairo Merlano and Rep. Erik Morris. They had been questioned by the court in October after their names appeared in a computer owned by the right-hand man of one of Colombia's biggest paramilitary leaders, Rodrigo Tovar Pupo.

Pupo, better known as "Jorge 40," controls much of Colombia's Caribbean coast.

All three legislators are solid supporters of President Alvaro Uribe, whose administration has been trying to negotiate peace deals with the far-right paramilitaries. The majority of the groups' leaders are in jail awaiting trials and more than 30,000 fighters have put down their weapons.

Garcia is accused of murder for his role in "organizing, promoting, arming and financing" paramilitaries and a massacre of 20 people in 2000, the court said in a statement.

Merlano is accused of belonging to the paramilitaries and taking money from the groups for his 2002 electoral campaign.

Morris was governor of the department of Sucre, a stronghold of Pupo's forces, from 1998 to 2000.

The paramilitaries surged in the 1980s as landowners and drug-traffickers created their own private armies to fight leftist rebels in their country and extend their control across much of Colombia's countrys
Many years ago (many, many :eek: ) I lived in Colombia as an exchange student, before it became too dangerous for programs such as those to continue sending students there.

It's a beautiful country with wonderful people.

Each new headline breaks my heart and, at the same time, makes me incredibly angry at those creating chaos and misery there. :mad:
Colombia nabs rebel suspected in US kidnappings

I hope they get some info out of this guy...

Colombia nabs rebel suspected in U.S. kidnappings
Mon Nov 20, 3:48 PM ET

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Colombia police have captured a suspected Marxist rebel they are investigating for the murder of a U.S. contract worker and the kidnapping of three more in 2003, authorities said on Monday.

National Police Director Luis Alberto Gomez said the suspect, whom he did not name, was captured along with 17 others who formed part of a guerrilla column responsible for several attacks in the southwest of the country.

Rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC -- the country's largest Marxist guerrilla group -- shot down the U.S. contract plane while it was on a mission to eradicate illicit drug crops over jungles three years ago.

A Colombian army officer and one U.S. worker were shot dead and three other Americans, Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Mark Gonsalves, were captured. The FARC says they are still alive, but have given no recent proof of their well-being.

"We managed to pinpoint one of the presumed authors of the 2003 murder of the army officer and the American who were killed when their aircraft was shot down," Gomez told reporters after displaying the suspected rebels in a police lineup.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has pushed back the FARC and reduced violence from the country's four-decade conflict with the help of millions of dollars of military aid from Washington, which brands the FARC drug-trafficking terrorists.

The Americans are among the 62 key hostages the guerrillas want to exchange for their fighters locked up in government prisons. Former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian national, is among the FARC hostages.

Hundreds of hostages have been held by the guerrillas for as long as eight years.

Uribe has expressed willingness to discuss a prisoner swap but wants the FARC to halt attacks before any negotiations and has ordered his troops to search out and rescue rebel kidnap victims from their jungle camps.

The FARC, which authorities say has around 17,000 fighters, began as a peasant army in the 1960s that took up arms to address inequalities between rich and poor in Colombia.

Fresh plea for Colombia hostage

The mother of the kidnapped Colombian ex-presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, has appealed again for the government to intervene in the case.

Yolanda Pulecio said the only hope for her daughter - abducted four years ago - was if President Alvaro Uribe renewed talks with guerrilla group Farc.
The president broke off contact with the Farc in October, after blaming the group for a bomb attack in the capital.
Mrs Betancourt is one of about 60 political hostages held by the Farc.
'Broken promise'

Speaking on French radio, Ms Pulecio said she was opposed to a military rescue of the hostages.
She said the only hope of seeing her daughter alive again was by the signing of a humanitarian agreement with the rebels, which President Uribe had been promising for five months before he decided to call off talks with the rebels.
Farc - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - is the largest rebel group in Colombia. It has been fighting the government for more than four decades.
The government in Bogota is continuing, however, with talks in Havana with the second rebel group, the ELN.
AUC is Farc rival as to say. How this country has not caved in is beyond me. (Read US Support)

Colombia probe names Uribe allies

Prosecutors in Colombia have named six politicians they want to question over alleged links to right-wing paramilitary groups.

The men are members of President Alvaro Uribe's governing coalition, and include the foreign minister's brother, Senator Alvaro Araujo.
The move comes after three other politicians, also allies of Mr Uribe, were detained earlier this month.
Correspondents say that the scandal has rocked the political establishment.
The four senators and two congressmen are accused of conspiracy to commit crime, the Supreme Court said in a statement.
Four other politicians from northern Colombia are already awaiting trial on charges ranging from funding the paramilitaries to ordering murders.
'Extortion and massacres'
The developing investigation follows the seizure by police of a laptop computer belonging to the right-hand man of one of the leaders of the right-wing United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).
The AUC is accused of drug-trafficking, extortion and the massacre of civilians.
Authorities found detailed accounts of the AUC's activities along Colombia's Caribbean coast and its alleged dealings with local politicians.
The paramilitaries were created by landowners and drug-traffickers to combat left-wing rebels and anyone suspected of being their sympathiser.
The AUC is currently engaged in a peace process with the government. This has led to more than 33,000 fighters surrendering their weapons.
Most AUC leaders are now in jail awaiting trials in which they face a maximum of eight years in prison under the terms of the peace process.

Colombia press outrage at paramilitary links

Leading newspapers in Colombia have expressed their shock and outrage at allegations that national and local politicians have been in the pay of right-wing paramilitaries and organised criminal gangs.
Commentators are angry, believing that links between politicians and criminals, including major drugs traffickers, which were exposed in the 1980s and 90s, appear to be worse than ever.
Some have classified the latest case in which the Supreme Court first ordered the arrest of three congressmen, then widened the inquiry to five of their political associates, as "the tip of the iceberg". El Espectador speaks of "this carousel of death and corruption which has taken hold in many parts of the country".

The worst evils which eat away at our nation's democracy
El Espectador

It says the "revelations of such unholy alliances between the political class and the paramilitaries are ever more surprising".
The El Espectador editorial says one of the accused has been charged with "crimes as grave as deciding on a massacre and killing an electoral witness".
It welcomes "the valiant decision of the Supreme Court", describing it as "a breath of fresh air for a country which usually lets sleeping dogs lie".
"These unprecedented allegations could well prove to be just the tip of the iceberg... they are among the worst evils which eat away at our nation's democracy."
El Nuevo Siglo concurs: "The detention order for the three congressmen is just the tip of the iceberg which could well set off a domino effect among the political class in many regions." The paper says paramilitary leaders admit they have been responsible for the election of 35% of congress members "and there's been no repercussions".

The macabre wedding between paramilitaries, politicians and landowners in many regions
El Tiempo

"These political-paramilitary networks include functionaries at all levels who don't only wield political, social and institutional control but bleed the public dry of millions."
El Nuevo Siglo is encouraged that some MPs are being investigated "for their participation, directly or indirectly, in massacres and selective killings", believing it could eventually herald the end of "para-politics".
'Stinking stew'
El Tiempo publishes an investigative report revealing how its journalists visited the department of Sucre and discovered a murky world of political and paramilitary links in which murder was widespread.
People were told who to vote for and threatened with death if they rebelled. The report names a number of people who were killed for refusing to accept local abuses.
An El Tiempo editorial describes the Supreme Court case as one of "unprecedented gravity".
"The stinking stew which has been uncovered in Sucre - just the tip of the iceberg of the macabre wedding between paramilitaries, politicians and landowners in many regions - at least shows that justice is being done, however late."

The laxity in judging and rejecting the ties between politics and crime is part of this country's sad history
El Pais

El Tiempo calls on the government to ensure the return of land and property stolen from tens of thousands of Colombians by the iniquitous links between politics and crime.
"The government must make this an issue of the highest priority."
An editorial in El Pais - headlined Politics and Ethics - says that hundreds of thousands have been affected by politicians and criminals in cahoots.
"And it has all been justified by the argument about the need to help the state in its fight against the guerrilla movements." "The laxity in judging and rejecting the ties between politics and crime is part of this country's sad history."
Going to get worse before it gets better
Colombian rebels kill 17 soldiers

Left-wing Farc rebels in Colombia have killed 17 soldiers in the north-east of the country, the army has said.

It said an army patrol was ambushed in Norte de Santander province near the Venezuelan border late on Thursday.
It said reinforcements were sent to the area to flush out the rebels and the operation was under way. So far there has been no comment from Farc.
The latest attack is one of the deadliest since the re-election of President Alvaro Uribe in May.

Earlier this month, some 200 suspected Farc rebels launched an attack on a police station, killing 16 policemen and a civilian.
Mr Uribe, who has vowed to crush the rebels by the end of his term in 2010, has boosted spending on the military and launched major offensives against guerrillas.
He broke off talks with the rebels after a car bomb attack in the capital Bogota injured more than 20 people in October. Farc - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - is the largest rebel group in Colombia. It has been fighting the government for more than four decades.

Colombia group ends peace process

The men were transferred from a low-security prison last week

Colombia's right-wing paramilitary leaders have pulled out of a peace process with the government over their transfer to a high-security prison.

A spokesman for the paramilitaries said the pull-out reflected a lack of confidence in the government.
On Friday, the 59 leaders were moved to a tougher facility over concerns that they were planning illegal activities.
The paramilitaries - established 20 years ago to combat left-wing rebels - signed up to the peace deal in 2004.
The pull-out came after more than three hours of talks between paramilitary leaders and government peace negotiator Luis Carlos Restrepo.
"This is simply a matter of ending a process where there is no confidence, (a process) filled with tricks, no honour of agreements and where there is no commitment," Ernesto Baez, a spokesman for the paramilitaries, told television station CMI.
However, correspondents say it remains unclear what impact the leaders' declaration will have, given that they have already turned themselves in to the authorities.

The paramilitaries agreed to a peace deal in 2004

The United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) - an umbrella group for right-wing paramilitaries - were created by landowners and drug-traffickers to combat left-wing rebels.
They are accused of drug-trafficking, extortion and killing civilians.
Since the peace process began in 2004, more than 30,000 fighters have disarmed. Leaders face a maximum of eight years in prison under the terms of the deal.
But President Alvaro Uribe has accused them of ordering assassinations from their cells ,and there were also rumours that a jail break was being planned, the Associated Press news agency reported. The move comes amid an ongoing scandal linking Colombian lawmakers to the group. Prosecutors have named six politicians - members of Mr Uribe's governing coalition - that they want to question over the alleged links.
This is one of the reasons things will never change down there. The circle of violence is not being broken.

Colombia conflict draws in minors

By Jeremy McDermott
BBC News, Medellin

Many Colombian child soldiers have fled dysfunctional family homes

Colombian children are still being recruited by the warring factions in the country's civil conflict, a report by Unicef and the government has found.
Even worse is the news that they are entering the ranks of the illegal armies as young as eight years old.
Children are in the front line of Colombia's 43-year civil conflict.
The new report is based on interviews of minors that had left the fighting, either by desertion or by being captured by the security forces.
The report, which has been produced by Unicef working with the Colombian People's Defender's Office, makes disturbing reading.
The average age at which minors are recruited fell in 2005 from 13 to just 12 years of age.
Females, who make up to 30% of the ranks of the guerrilla armies, suffered the worst abuse, with over half raped or forced to have sexual relations, often with commanders.
The report also showed that the minors were capable of great violence.
Many admitted to killing, mutilating and even torturing enemies.
Recruitment of minors was occasionally forced but more often children wanted to escape oppressive or dysfunctional home lives, attracted by the status of wearing a uniform and carrying a gun.
A significant percentage joined out of vengeance and ended up killing a parent or relative.
What is clear is that the violence is affecting a whole generation of Colombia's youth, particularly those that live in the countryside where the war rages. There is no end to the fighting in sight and Colombia will see problems in the future as these children grow into adults traumatised by and hardened to violence.

Colombia fighter gives testimony

Colombian right-wing paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso has begun testifying before a special tribunal.

As he was led into the court, relatives of those killed by the paramilitaries held banners demanding justice.
Mancuso's appearance before the tribunal investigating hundreds of civilian deaths at the hands of paramilitaries is part of a peace deal.
His group is involved in drug smuggling and in a long-running conflict with state forces and left-wing rebels.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in four decades of fighting and many more have been displaced.
Mancuso is the first high-ranking member of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) to give testimony as part of the 2003 peace deal which has led to the demobilisation of thousands of paramilitary fighters.
His appearance in court has been highly anticipated in Colombia.
In a testimony expected to last several days, Mancuso is expected to confess involvement in various crimes and name politicians involved in deals with the paramilitary forces.
His testimony so far has not been made public.
In 2003, Mancuso was sentenced in absentia to 40 years in prison for his part in a 1997 massacre.
Under the peace deal reached with the government, paramilitary fighters are eligible for reduced jail terms - of no more than eight years - if they give details of their involvement in torture, killings and other crimes. The peace deal has been criticised by human rights activists who say it amounts to an amnesty.
Colombia political scandal widens

Ms Araujo resigned as her father and brother were investigated

Colombian prosecutors have ordered the arrest of the father of an ex-minister following an inquiry into links between politicians and right-wing militias.

Alvaro Araujo Noguera, a prominent former politician, is charged with helping to kidnap a political rival.
His daughter, Maria Consuelo Araujo, resigned as foreign minister when her brother was accused of the same crime.
Several allies of President Alvaro Uribe have recently been arrested over alleged ties to paramilitary groups.
Colombia's former intelligence chief was also charged last week with murder and collaborating with right-wing militias.
Jorge Noguera, head of the Administrative Security Department (DAS), resigned in October but has denied any wrongdoing.
Ms Araujo announced her resignation 10 days ago, saying she was stepping down in order to help prove the innocence of her father and brother, Senator Alvaro Araujo.
Cocaine trade
Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries are accused of drug-trafficking and some of the worst atrocities in the country's long civil conflict.
Mr Uribe was re-elected last year and has been popular for reducing crime.
He has backed a clampdown on leftist rebels and overseen the disbanding of thousands of right-wing paramilitaries. The militias were formed in the 1980s to fight Marxist guerrillas but both sides have been involved in the cocaine trade. Tens of thousands of civilians are known to have died in the 40-year conflict between the state and left-wing rebels.

Mass graves uncovered in Colombia

Over 200 bodies have been found over the past 10 days

Colombian authorities have uncovered the mass graves of more than 100 people believed to have been killed during the country's long-running civil conflict.
Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said he was horrified by the discoveries near the town of La Hormiga, in the southern province of Putumayo.
The government was told of the graves after a peace deal with the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).
The right-wing paramilitary group has been blamed for many massacres.
Described by the UN as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, the conflict between state forces, including the AUC, and left-wing rebel groups, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), has left tens of thousands of Colombians dead.
The 105 people discovered in 65 mass graves late on Friday near La Hormiga, the largest so far found, are believed to have been killed during the war.


Quick guide to the conflict

This small town near the border with Ecuador was an AUC stronghold dominating an area known for its coca crops, the raw material for cocaine, through which the group financed itself.
Colombia's attorney-general, Mario Iguran, told reporters that most of the victims had been local peasants killed by both the AUC and Farc.
Both sides have been accused of killing civilians they believe to be aiding their enemies.
"We are horrified at this cruelty driven by the insatiable lust for land," Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said.
Judicial authorities have now exhumed a total of 211 bodies near La Hormiga over the past 10 days. A further 10,000 victims are believed to be buried across the country. However, a lack of resources has hampered efforts to exhume mass graves and it may take years before the bodies are exhumed and the true number of victims is known.