0 for 3: anti-drug aid to Guatemala’s police Afraid to fight?
Mar 062010

  • On her six-country visit to Latin America this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed support for Argentine-British dialogue over oil drilling in the Falkland Islands (a step Great Britain has resisted); failed to convince Brazil to cast a Security Council vote in favor of sanctions on Iran; and “un-froze” all remaining aid to Honduras, including military aid, that was held up after the country’s June 28 coup. The un-freezing occurred even though, as Human Rights Watch noted, violent attacks on coup opponents continued in the month of February.
  • A handful of articles about Chile’s devastating earthquake explore the meaning of sending out the Army on its biggest internal-security mission since Gen. Augusto Pinochet left power.
  • Spanish judge Eloy Velasco is accusing Venezuela of facilitating collaboration between Colombia’s FARC guerrillas and Spain’s ETA separatist group — both on the U.S. and EU terror lists — on a range of activities including plots to assassinate Colombian presidents on visits to Spain. The judge’s indictment (PDF) focuses on a suspected ETA member living in Venezuela since 1989, Arturo Cubillas, who as of 2005 was an employee of the Venezuelan government’s Agriculture Ministry. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez rejected the charges. The indictment, which relies heavily on files recovered from the computer of deceased FARC leader Raúl Reyes, isn’t clear about whether the Venezuelan government knew about Cubillas’ alleged activities. Colombian President Álvaro Uribe cautioned on Thursday against jumping to conclusions: “The fact that it’s necessary to investigate a government official for participating in terrorism does not mean that that government or that state, are terrorist, or that they are participating in terrorism.”
  • The State Department’s International Narcotics Control bureau released its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. The report only includes 2009 coca-growing data for Bolivia; Colombia and Peru will have to wait until later in the year. The report is strongly critical of Bolivia for an apparent 50% increase in coca-growing from 2007 to 2009. The blog of the Cochabamaba-based Democracy Center offers a succinct analysis. The report also criticized Colombia, but praised Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. Praise for Mexico was tempered by concerns about cartels’ continued strength and the likelihood that narco-crime is moving increasingly south into Central America.
  • “The Obama administration’s newly released 2010 trade agenda gives little indication that the White House will quickly advance long-stalled pacts with Panama, Colombia or South Korea,” says CQ Politics.
  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, released her full report on the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia (PDF). She wrote that she is “deeply concerned about the widespread phenomenon of threats being made against human rights defenders and their families.”
  • After more than 11 years in captivity, FARC hostage Corporal Pablo Moncayo may finally be freed between the 12th and 14th of March. Colombia holds legislative elections on the 14th, though, and Defense Minister Gabriel Silva says that the military will not cease activities in any part of Colombian territory while electoral activities are occurring. So Moncayo may have to wait at least a few days more.
  • Thanks for Foreign Policy for publishing on Thursday a piece I wrote about Colombian politics now that President Uribe cannot run for a third term.
  • A little-noticed constitutional change last year could be interpreted as prohibiting former members of guerrilla or other armed groups from running for public office. The National Electoral Council must decide next week whether Gustavo Petro, the former M-19 guerrilla leader running a distant second in a February 27 opinion poll (PDF), can continue his campaign.
  • The Venezuelan Violence Observatory (OVV) found that only 9 people were arrested for every 100 murders committed in Venezuela between 2007 and 2009.
  • Ecuador’s El Comercio ran a very interesting analysis of how drug-trafficking corridors are shifting along the violent border between Putumayo, Colombia and Sucumbíos, Ecuador.
  • The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will hold a March 10 hearing on  ”U.S. Policy Toward the Americas in 2010 and Beyond.” The commander of U.S. Southern Command, Gen. Douglas Fraser, will give his annual “Posture Statement” before the congressional Armed Services Committees next week; he will be in the Senate on the morning of the 11th.

3 Responses to “Friday links (Saturday edition)”

  1. Traven Torsvan Says:

    Well that FARC laptop just keeps giving and giving new information every day!

  2. Jaime Bustos Says:

    In my opinion though the FARC laptop is a fraud, it might been have fed up with genuine documents. The truth is the Occident’s interests will oust Venezuelan president Chavez takes what it takes, sooner or later.

  3. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    I’m afraid I don’t share that opinion and none of Chavez’s reactions have done anything to help the matter. Perhaps if he were to react more like a statesman and less like a drama queen I would be inclined to trust him a bit more. As things are, he is a man of insults as opposed to a man of arguments. He and Uribe are very much alike in that regard.

    Now, it is my understanding that Colombia had previously sent the information about this case to Spanish authorities. It’s up to Spain to decide what to do with the information but I doubt it can be argued that the U.S. government is manipulating Spain’s judicial system or anything to that effect. If they see a reason to look into the matter as opposed to dismissing it out of hand, which was always a possibility, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

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