Colombia

The Farc, Chavez and the Colombian dilemma

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The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Farc, has existed since the late 1940s. But it has rarely received the kind of worldwide attention it has today.

In part, that is the result of an international campaign for the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt, the French-born presidential candidate, who has now been a Farc hostage for a number of years. But the real reason for the new focus on the Farc is more sinister and more far reaching.

Unlikely partners

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The peculiar marriage between Hugo Chavez and Bush's man in the Americas - President Uribe of Colombia - has onlookers scratching their heads.

The once tense relationship seems now to be blossoming with the unprecedented courting of Chavez as a mediator for the Colombian armed conflict, and now the energy cooperation between the two countries is far from the Bolivarian principles of grassroots revolution.

Letter From Colombia

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The rise of the first left opposition in Colombia for 20 years is having an impact throughout Colombian society, argues Paul Haste

President Uribe's supporters in congress have recently proposed a "presidential coup" aimed at closing congress to avoid the opposition taking control.

It is an indication as to how far to the right political debate is in Colombia. The interior and justice minister thought the proposal "interesting", but it also reflects a concern among this elite that for the first time in decades a leftist opposition is rising.

Living to Tell the Tale

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Márquez's magical world offers hope for the real one.

Gabriel García Márquez's memoirs, or at the least the first volume of them, will be published in early November. It's a strange piece of autobiography, because Márquez has already become a kind of legend. His status as a writer must be unique - he has become almost indistinguishable from the world he has created and the people in it. The Gabriel he writes about, and the Colombia in which he grows up, both seem very familiar and very immediate.

Colombia: Industrial Relations, Paramilitary Style

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War on Want and Justice for Colombia organised a mock execution of 13 British trade union leaders and several MPs outside parliament recently, in a demonstration of solidarity with the terrorised Colombian trade union movement.

Timed to coincide with a closed meeting of Colombian donors hosted by the British government, the event highlighted the plight of Colombian trade unionists, and asked why the British government has consistently chosen the wrong line on Colombia.

Last year 184 trade unionists were assassinated in Colombia while 4,000 civilians were killed for political reasons. Around 400,000 people were also displaced with most forced into stark poverty. In education alone, 27 teachers and lecturers were assassinated in 1999, rising to 83 in 2002.

Let My Brothers Go

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Three Irish Republicans are facing a show trial in Colombia.

On 11 August 2001 my brother Niall Connolly was arrested at Bogota airport along with Jim Monaghan and Martin McCauley. Having visited an area ceded to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by the then Colombian president Andreas Pastrana as part of the now stalled Colombian peace process, the men were initially detained on suspicion of carrying false documentation. The three were then transferred to a military compound near the US embassy, where a number of forensic tests were carried out on their clothing and belongings.

Colombia: A War Conceived in Washington

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President Andres Pastrana has announced the end of the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

His latest declaration to the people of Colombia had a ring of deadly finality as he authorised General Fernando Tapias, head of the Colombian Armed Forces, to retake the demilitarised zone with immediate effect.

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