Tag Archives: Colombia

Fronteras Desk In Colombia: Key US Ally Debates Peace Accord With FARC Guerrillas

This story was produced by Marfa Public Radio/West Texas Public Radio and Fronteras: The Changing Americas Desk. Fronteras is a reporting collaboration of NPR member stations in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California focused on the US-Mexico border. ———-

The image on a Bogotá home suggests violence has been raining down on Colombia for too long. (Lorne Matalon)

The image on a Bogotá home suggests violence has been raining down on Colombia for too long. (Lorne Matalon)

BOGOTA, Colombia—A peace deal is expected to be signed in March 2016 between the government of Colombia, a key ally of the United States in South America, and the largest guerrilla movement among several that have fought for decades to topple the Colombian state. The guerrilla group is known as FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The U.S. has spent billions of dollars in Colombia backing the government against the FARC and another guerrilla group known as the ELN, the Spanish abbreviation for the National Liberation Army, under the terms of Plan Colombia.

The plan is a multibillion-dollar security package, the majority of which has been deployed to combat drug trafficking, though critics of the government in Colombia are unhappy that much of the assistance from the US went to the Colombian army, which has been accused in the majority of human rights abuses during the armed conflict.

President Barack Obama welcomed his Colombian counterpart in early February. Now, Mr. Obama is pledging to push Congress to grant financial support for the peace talks. But in Colombia, the path to peace is under intense debate.

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Haitian Police Chief Battles Widespread Corruption

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Haitians line up outside a gov't building to get identification cards needed to cast ballots in an upcoming election.

As Haiti’s president-elect Rene Preval takes power, the man who must try to keep order during this transition is considered a reformer and rarely grants access to Western media. Mario Andresol is the recently appointed chief of the Haitian National Police.

Andresol has started a purge of the force. At considerable risk, he has arrested dozens of officers he says are involved in drug trafficking, organized kidnapping rings and politically motivated killings. His efforts to clean up the police force have made him a symbol of reform.

“The system is corrupted,” Andresol says. “The system is spoiled. You cannot have a new government in the same system as we have now. Unfortunately, everyone only thinks about elections and how to become president. And yet at the same time, our system that we have now, the establishment, is spoiled, and corrupt.”

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Panama, Colombia & the Darien Gap

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You can travel by car from Alaska to South America, but you can’t drive the whole way. The road ends in southern Panama. You then have to take a ferry to Colombia. Colombia’s president would like to change that. He wants to build a 50-mile highway that would connect Colombia with its neighbor to the north. But the proposed road would cut through a jungle in Panama known as the Darien Gap, and many Panamanians worry what that road might bring. Lorne Matalon reports for The World from Panama.

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Jungle Highway Plan Spurs Security, Eco Fears in Panama

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A boatman on Rio Tuira, Darien, Panama

It is a unique piece of biodiversity, a 60-mile-wide (100-kilometer- wide) emerald wilderness bordered by two oceans. It is the Darién Gap of Panama (see pictures), a landmass linking North and South America and straddling the Panama-Colombia border.

The Darién got its name because it is the only gap in the 16,000-mile (26,000-kilometer) Pan-American Highway, which stretches from Alaska to Patagonia.

But Colombia’s President, Alvaro Uribe, says he wants that gap closed and has requested that Panama pave a road through the Darién to complete the Pan-American Highway.

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