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Old 05-18-2007   #41
NDD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
Hi NDD--

I am somewhat confused by your last post. Can you elaborate?

My own sense is that we tend to agree on parts of the picture and disagree over nuances.

Cheers

John
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Old 05-18-2007   #42
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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Sensationalist rhetoric at it's finest. There are so many inaccuracies in that article it is hard to believe they are even talking about the same country.
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Old 05-18-2007   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDD View Post
Sensationalist rhetoric at it's finest. There are so many inaccuracies in that article it is hard to believe they are even talking about the same country.
Could you clarify?
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Old 05-19-2007   #44
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Just a couple:

Not a "domestic spying program" - there was no program. Some people wandered off the reservation - and they will go to jail for it.

He didn't fire them to "contain the scandal" - a couple of them weren't even fired, they didn't have to be. He asked for two resignations. When he named Naranjo Chief - the rest of them had to go by custom. It looks like the thing was done by a Sergeant with the knowledge of a Major and a Colonel.

The implication that Gaviria's phone was tapped because he was a political opponent of Uribe's is incorrect in my view - they are implying that Uribe ordered the tap, as he would be the one to benefit. They neglect to mention the other recent event that could have been the motive for the tap (among others).

The whole thing was apparently done to prove that the paras were still running their illegal operations from inside jails. If Uribe is tied to the paras, why would he do such a thing?

Mancuso has yet to prove any of his accusations regarding Santos.
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Old 06-05-2007   #45
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Default Colombia Begins Freeing Rebels

5 June LA Times - Colombia Begins Freeing Rebels by Chris Kraul.

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President Alvaro Uribe on Monday began releasing 193 jailed rebels, including a leader who was kidnapped in Venezuela in 2004 and turned over to Colombian authorities.

For nearly five years, Uribe had refused to swap any of the hundreds of guerrillas in Colombian prisons for the estimated 3,000 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and other groups.

But Uribe has launched a bold — some say desperate — gambit to appease national and international critics who say he isn't doing enough to ease the hostages' plight. During this country's four-decade-long civil war, previous Colombian presidents exchanged prisoners for hostages...
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Old 06-05-2007   #46
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And then this happens


Colombia rebels kidnap local police commander

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BOGOTA, June 5 (Reuters) - Colombian guerrillas kidnapped a local police commander even as President Alvaro Uribe announced he had freed a jailed rebel leader to try to broker the release of rebel-held hostages, authorities said
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The kidnapping took place as Uribe was announcing the release of Rodrigo Granda, a top guerrilla commander who the government freed to act as a negotiator to try to broker an agreement between the government and the FARC.
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Old 07-08-2007   #47
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Default Caldern's Offensive Against Drug Cartels

8 July Washington Post - Calderón's Offensive Against Drug Cartels by Manuel Roig-Franzia.

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... Calderón is betting his presidency on a surge of Mexican troops -- one of the country's largest deployments of the military in a crime-fighting role -- to wage street-by-street battles with drug cartels that are blamed for more than 3,000 execution-style killings in the past year and a half. Sending more than 20,000 federal troops and police officers to nine Mexican states has made Calderón extremely popular; his latest approval ratings hit 65 percent.

But as the campaign drags into its eighth month and the death toll mounts, Calderón is facing a growing cadre of critics, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights representative in Mexico, who opposes the use of the military in policing. Calderón is also contending with foes in Mexico's Congress who want to strip him of the authority to dispatch troops without congressional approval. The Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights organization, has faulted him as quick to use the military but slow to reform Mexico's corrupt police...
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Old 07-26-2007   #48
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Default Report Cites Rebels' Wide Use of Mines In Colombia

26 July Washington Post - Report Cites Rebels' Wide Use of Mines In Colombia by Juan Forero.

Quote:
Colombia's largest rebel group, already accused of executing 11 civilian hostages last month, faced a new allegation Wednesday: A report by Human Rights Watch said the group has dramatically escalated its use of land mines, to the point that more people are killed or maimed by the devices here than in any other country in world.

The report, nearly a year in the making, said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been fighting the state since 1964, has sown antipersonnel mines throughout the country to slow an increasingly offensive-minded army. The impact of FARC mines, as well as those laid by a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, has been devastating: The devices killed or hurt 1,113 people last year, nearly a third of them civilians, according to government tallies based on reported incidents...
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Old 09-04-2007   #49
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ISN Security Watch, 3 Sep 07: Colombia, Israel and Rogue Mercenaries
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Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos has acknowledged that Bogota had quietly hired a group of former Israeli military officers to advise local defense officials on their counter-insurgency tactics against leftist Fuerza Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas...

....Israeli advisors - reportedly consisting of three senior generals, a lower ranking officer, an unnamed Argentinean officer and three translators - were hired under a reported US$10 million contract by the Colombian Defense Ministry to advise on how to improve the army's intelligence gathering capabilities. Santos reportedly approached former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami last year about the deal.

The Israeli group operates from Tolemaida in Cundinamarca Department, 240 kilometers from the capital Bogota, where the Colombian army runs its "Lancero" counterinsurgency training course, with Colombian army instructors being assisted by US military personnel.....
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Old 09-04-2007   #50
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I was wondering this morning if you were going to post that JB.
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Old 09-15-2007   #51
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Default Diary secrets of Dutch woman fighting for FARC

Diary secrets of Dutch woman fighting for FARC

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COLOMBIAN forces have captured the intimate diary of a Dutch woman who joined the country's Marxist rebels, in which she gives a rare view of life with the guerrillas deep in the jungle.

In July, elite troops swept into the camp of a commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), known by the alias of Carlos Antonio Lozada.

He was wounded in the firefight and carried off by bodyguards, while women in the unit, who were bathing at the time, had to flee into the jungle in their underwear.

As the troops sifted through the camp, they came across two surprises. The first was Lozada's laptop computer, which held a treasure trove of intelligence, including confidential army plans of counter-guerrilla operations, revealing the extent of FARC infiltration into the military.

The second surprise was two battered notebooks, the journals of a guerrilla, written in Dutch.
...
http://news.scotsman.com/internation...?id=1460942007
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Old 09-18-2007   #52
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IHT, 17 Sep 07: Mexican Drug Gang Attacks Government Intelligence Network
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....Natividad Gonzalez, governor of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, said federal intelligence officers were tipped off that alleged members of Mexico's Gulf drug cartel "wanted to kidnap two or three agents" prior to the attack last Tuesday in the state capital of Monterrey. Two officers were killed and two more wounded in the ensuing shootout.

Federal police rounded up about a dozen members of a family believed to work for the cartel in connection with the shootout. The clan, dubbed "The Pedraza Dynasty" by Mexican newspapers, may have learned of the agents' identities from local policemen, Gonzalez said.

Intelligence agents have been targeted for assassination before, but the attack showed that traffickers not only knew who the agents were but also wanted to take the heavily armed officers alive, Gonzalez said....
It appears their police anti-corruption drive isn't being too sucessful.....
Quote:
“You can change the people and not change the institution,” said Ernesto López Portillo Vargas, executive director of the Institute for Security and Democracy, an independent group that studies police corruption issues. “This is the big risk.”
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Old 09-26-2007   #53
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USIP, 25 Sep 07: New Hopes for Negotiated Solutions in Colombia
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This working paper analyzes recent peacemaking efforts between the Colombian government and two of the remaining armed guerrilla groups—the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces-Popular Army (FARC-EP) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). It evaluates the demobilization process with the paramilitary umbrella organization known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), and current efforts to implement the Justice and Peace law that regulates the paramilitary process. The paper analyzes the roles of third-party actors—primarily the church, civil society more broadly, and the international community—in peace initiatives. In Colombia, these roles include pressuring for peace, setting the stage for peace accords, establishing spaces for dialogue and democratic discussion, creating the mechanisms for conflict resolution necessary for a sustainable peace, facilitating or mediating peace processes themselves, and implementing and monitoring peace agreements.

While in Colombia and elsewhere peace is usually negotiated between the government and one armed group at a time, this paper underscores that where there are multiple armed actors involved, it makes sense to approach peacemaking in a more comprehensive way. The paper underscores the need to be attentive to the ways that the dynamics within and between each set of armed actors impact the prospects for peace with other armed groups. The USIP conferences on which this paper is based for the first time brought together in Washington, D.C. participants in and analysts of current peace efforts with the AUC, FARC-EP, and ELN. This paper underscores the need to continue to put the experiences of each armed group into dialogue with each other and the need to anticipate the impact (and potential impact) that negotiations and agreements with one sector will have on the other groups and on the prospects for a sustainable and comprehensive peace....
Complete 42 page paper at the link.
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Old 10-11-2007   #54
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ICG, 11 Oct 07: Columbia: Moving Forward with the ELN?
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....Due to its reduced military capability, many in Colombia believe the ELN is no longer a threat, will eventually disappear on its own, and hence the government is under no pressure to conclude the negotiations. This reasoning is flawed. While the ELN is more a “party in arms” than an insurgent army, it is not defeated. Insurgent groups rarely just go away. The ELN has shown a capacity to survive and revive after coming close to demise. In addition, a peace agreement would be highly beneficial, not only politically for Uribe but also for the ELN, which, however, must find answers to a number of serious questions.

Some of its fronts are in a more favourable situation than others. Some interact with other illegal armed groups, in particular the FARC, while others are at loggerheads with them; their financial solidity and grip on local communities differ a great deal. The movement risks implosion or fragmentation as well as the possibility that it could not fully implement a ceasefire, since its internal cohesion is weak. Since the death in 1998 of its leader, Spanish priest Manuel Pérez, Nicolas Rodríguez, alias “Gabino”, is responsible for political and military unity, but there are rifts within the COCE itself. Antonio Garcia is allegedly more hardline than Pablo Beltrán and Ramiro Vargas. The interests of Francisco Galán, who is not a COCE member and has spent a decade in prison, from where he has been working for a peace agreement, are not the same as those of the still active commanders.....
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Old 10-12-2007   #55
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Man, I love the ICG. And how appropriate that I'm sitting here at my desk reading this report while sipping on some fine imported Colombian café. Many thanks, sir. I'm finding it hard to stay abreast of what's happening in Colombia while also devoting most of my attention to OIF (and my job, and LSAT studying, and exercise, and the opposite sex...)
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Old 11-16-2007   #56
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CSIS, 12 Nov 07: Back From the Brink: Evaluating Progress in Columbia, 1999-2007
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....It is no secret that Colombia is beset by difficult problems. Illegal armed groups and powerful drug gangs, often working together, continue to challenge the rule of law in parts of the country. The presence of these violent elements fuels other problems: crime, human rights abuses, poverty, and a weakening of governance. Taken out of the context of Colombia’s history, these challenges might be seen as nearly insurmountable.

In fact, however, Colombia’s current situation represents a major improvement over what it had been only eight years ago. During the 1990s, a confluence of highly negative factors threatened to drag the country down. By 1999, Colombia’s stability was at stake, with guerrillas and paramilitaries threatening to overwhelm the weakened capabilities of the state, violence spiraling out of control, and the economy in free fall.

Colombia’s emergence from this grave crisis constitutes a success story. It is, however, a story that is not well known, despite the fact that billions of dollars in military and economic assistance from the United States helped bring Colombia “back from the brink.” Successful foreign policy initiatives normally have no shortage of executive branch or congressional leaders claiming authorship but, curiously, not in the case of Colombia. Despite strong bipartisan support for an emergency supplemental package for “Plan Colombia” approved during the Clinton administration in 2000 and vigorously continued during the Bush administration, assistance to Colombia, as well as approval of a trade promotion agreement with Colombia signed late last year, is now a topic of considerable debate.

This report by the CSIS Americas Program provides a timely and useful point of reference in understanding the difficult issues at stake in Colombia and the U.S.-Colombia relationship. It analyzes the factors that took Colombia to the verge of unraveling in the late 1990s and how the country began to make its way back from instability. Then the report evaluates the impressive progress made between 1999 and 2007 across a broad spectrum of difficult issues, as well as the thorny problems that persist.....
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Old 12-06-2007   #57
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Default Interestingly Enough. . .

. . .I'm writing a research paper right now (or, perhaps, I should be writing) for my agricultural development class on counter-narcotics and development strategies in Colombia.

Most of the stuff I've seen from development groups is that they consider Plan Colombia a pretty big failure. The combined approach of alternative development and forcible eradication has alienated a lot of small farmers (whose marginalization over the last sixty years is the cause of the Colombian insurgency) and seriously undermined development. The guerillas are on the run, but coca production is not down, and the development people are even more wary than ever of working with the Colombians, and charge the US with putting too much pressure on Colombia to attain coca crop reduction targets, and too little emphasis on sustainable long term development. Simple eradication is not sustainable, and unsustainable "development" is really just relief. . .

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Last edited by MattC86; 12-06-2007 at 05:05 AM. Reason: moronic typos, etc.
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Old 01-03-2008   #58
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From the Jan-Feb 08 Military Review:

Threat Analysis: Organized Crime and Narco-Terrorism in Northern Mexico
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Organized crime syndicates are modern enemies of democracy that relentlessly engage in kidnapping and assassination of political figures, and traffic not only in addictive and lethal substances, but also increasingly in human beings. To create an environment conducive to success in their criminal interests, they engage in heinous acts intended to instill fear, promote corruption, and undermine democratic governance by undercutting confidence in government. They assassinate or intimidate political figures and pollute democratic processes through bribes and graft in cities along both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. In the long term, such actions erode individual civil liberties in America and Mexico by undermining both governments’ abilities to maintain societies in which the full exercise of civil liberties is possible. This danger is ominously evident on the Mexican side of the border, where 86 percent of those responding to a poll in Mexico City in 2004 said they would support government restrictions of their civil rights in order to dismantle organized crime, and another 67 percent said militarizing the police force would be the only way to accomplish this. These views suggest that an extremely unhealthy sociopolitical environment is evolving at America’s very doorstep. We should see this not as a collateral issue associated with the War on Terrorism, but as a national security issue deserving of the same level of interest, concern, and resourcing as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This article provides an ethnographic analysis of narco-terrorism, narcocorruption, and human trafficking in the northern states of Mexico, and an overview of Mexican organized crime and its destabilizing effect on Mexico’s attempts to create a functioning, uncorrupt democracy.....
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Old 01-22-2008   #59
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NYT, 22 Jan 08: Mexico Hits Drug Gangs With Full Fury of War
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These days, it is easy to form the impression that a war is going on in Mexico. Thousands of elite troops in battle gear stream toward border towns and snake through the streets in jeeps with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on top while fighter jets from the Mexican Navy fly reconnaissance missions overhead.

Gun battles between federal forces and drug-cartel members carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers have taken place over the past two weeks in border towns like Río Bravo and Tijuana, with deadly results.

Yet what is happening is less a war than a sustained federal intervention in states where for decades corrupt municipal police officers and drug gangs have worked together in relative peace, officials say. The federal forces are not only hunting cartel leaders, but also going after their crews of gunslingers, like Gulf Cartel guards known as the Zetas, who terrorize the towns they control.....
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Old 01-23-2008   #60
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BBC, 23 Jan 08: Colombia's Campaign to Win Rebel Minds
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As the hostage crisis continues in Colombia, the government is stepping up its efforts to bring another group of people back from the country's jungles: the guerrillas themselves.

New figures show that a record number of illegal fighters - nearly 3,200 - demobilised last year under a government scheme which offers immunity and benefits.

In the words of Colombia's deputy defence minister, Sergio Jaramillo, "Some countries have had amnesties for a few months, but Colombia is perhaps the only one with a permanently open hand."....
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