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Columbia,FARC rebels to start peace talks

waltky

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Henry de Jesus Lopez was captured in Buenos Aires...
:clap2:
US requests Colombia Urabenos 'gang leader' extradition
28 December 2012 - Prosecutors in the United States have requested the extradition of one of Colombia's most wanted drug dealers, detained two months ago in Argentina.
Henry de Jesus Lopez Londono, known as Mi Sangre or My Blood, is the alleged leader of the Urabenos gang, which operates in northern Colombia. Argentine media reported that he was due to be released on 2 January unless there was a formal extradition request. Lopez entered Argentina with a false passport, police said.

The 41-year-old Colombian posed as a Venezuelan businessman, travelling for work. He was arrested with his wife and 10 bodyguards in Buenos Aires on 30 October. Henry Lopez insists that he has been the victim of "a complot". He was officially notified of the request made by a court in southern Florida, official Argentine news agency Telam said. The extradition process is expected to last four months.

Former paramilitary

Officers from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Colombian police and the Argentine police force had been tracing him for months prior to his arrest, tapping his phone, tracking his cars via satellite and infiltrating his inner circle. They said he, his wife, two children and bodyguards had constantly moved between five different residences.

According to police, Mi Sangre had arrived in Argentina two years earlier, but had travelled between Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay arranging drug deals. They said that only minutes before his arrest he had met a member of the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, for whom he provided much of the drugs.

BBC News - US requests Colombia Urabenos 'gang leader' extradition
 

waltky

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How ya gonna 'follow the money' if it's hidden an' ya can't find it...

Colombian rebels’ hidden cash sparks explosive debate
Wed, May 04, 2016 - Do Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have a multibillion-dollar fortune from kidnapping and drug trafficking stashed in foreign bank accounts?
That question has triggered an explosive debate in Colombia just as it tries to turn the page on the half-century conflict between the government and the Marxist rebel group. The FARC’s ill-gotten gains have long been a subject of scrutiny, but the issue was blown wide open again when The Economist put a number on the guerrillas’ alleged fortune. The British weekly reported that the FARC had assets of US$10.5 billion in 2012, citing an unpublished study by government analysts.

The article opened a new rift between the FARC and the government even as negotiators from both sides work to hammer out the final details of a peace accord at long-running talks in Havana. “What a joke that Economist story. They should check their sources and not believe stories about the insurgency’s imaginary fortune,” the FARC’s chief peace negotiator, Ivan Marquez, wrote on Twitter. “No human being takes up arms against an unjust regime to get rich.” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had a very different take. “I don’t have the slightest doubt... [that the FARC] probably have money somewhere,” Santos said.

At the height of its strength in the 1990s and 2000s, the FARC made huge amounts of cash kidnapping wealthy citizens for ransom, operating illegal mines in territory under its control and running a large chunk of the drugs trade in the world’s largest cocaine-producing nation, but it is hard to pin down exactly how much. “Estimating the FARC’s resources will always be a matter of speculation,” said Gustavo Duncan, a Colombian academic who researches the guerrillas’ involvement in drug trafficking.

Several experts on the conflict and sources close to the rebels dismissed the estimate published by The Economist as exaggerated, but beyond the matter of the exact amount, “what’s important is the availability of those resources as part of the peace negotiations,” Duncan said. “That money should serve to pay reparations to victims of the conflict and not to fatten personal fortunes,” he said. The rebels for their part insist they have no money, a claim political analysts tend to reject. “It’s important that the FARC declare what they have. Their position is to say they have nothing, that they’re poor, but that’s an exaggeration, because we know they’ve lived off of kidnappings, extortion and drug trafficking,” said Frederic Masse, a specialist in conflicts and peace negotiations at Colombia’s Externado University.

Colombian rebels’ hidden cash sparks explosive debate - Taipei Times
 

waltky

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Peace in 52 yr. Colombian guerilla war within grasp...

FARC, Colombia reach bilateral cease-fire deal as peace within grasp
June 22, 2016 -- The Colombian government under President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC rebel group on Wednesday announced the warring sides have reached a deal on a bilateral cease-fire that could lead to the end of the 52-year conflict.
Peace talks have been taking place between the government and the FARC in Havana, Cuba, since 2012. The sides said they were able to overcome the most contentious aspect of the peace negotiations: the disarmament of the 7,000-strong guerilla group and details over the transition of its members into civilian life. In the early 2000s, about 17,000 militants fought for the FARC.

Santos will travel to Havana on Thursday for a ceremony in which FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño -- also known as Timoleón Jiménez or Timochenko -- will attend. "Tomorrow will be a great day! We worked for a Colombia at peace, a dream that becomes reality," Santos said Wednesday. Cuban President Raul Castro, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Norway Foreign Minister Borge Brende, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will also attend, as well as representatives from the United States and the European Union. More than 220,000 people have died and some 5 million have been internally displaced due to the Colombian conflict since the FARC's founding in 1964. The militant rebel group, known officially as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been involved in drug-trafficking, kidnapping and other illicit activity to fund its insurgency campaign.

Santos recently said he hopes a peace deal will be enacted by July 20, which would end the longest-running conflict in the Western hemisphere. A previous negotiation deadline of March 23 was missed over the issue of disarmament. "The delegations of the national government and the FARC-EP inform to the public that we have successfully reached an agreement on a bilateral and final ceasefire and cessation of hostilities; decommissioning of weapons; security guarantees and the fight against criminal organizations responsible for homicides and massacres or that target human rights defenders, social movements and political movements, including the criminal organizations that have been labeled successors of paramilitarism and their support networks, and the prosecution of criminal conducts that threaten the implementation of the agreements and the construction of peace," the full joint statement by the government and the FARC reads.

Colombia still faces the threat of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, rebel group. The Colombian government stalled formal peace talks with the guerilla group that were to begin in May over the issue of kidnappings. The ELN is made up of up to 3,000 members but officials estimate the group's numbers are waning.

FARC, Colombia reach bilateral cease-fire deal as peace within grasp
 

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