Alvaro Uribe

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Deal Will End 52-Year War, but Hurdles Remain

FARC, Colombian government made major announcement Wednesday

(Newser) - Its 52-year span makes it the Americas' "longest-running war," reports the New York Times , and after four years of negotiations, it will come to an end, at least assuming all goes according to plan. Colombia's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC, on... More »

Colombian Prez Comes Down With Swine Flu

(Newser) - President Alvaro Uribe has the swine flu and officials are contacting other South American governments whose leaders attended a recent summit along with the Colombia leader, authorities said today. The 57-year-old Uribe began feeling symptoms Friday, the same day as a meeting of South American presidents in Bariloche, Argentina, and... More »

Five Leaders Who Liked Bush Better

(Newser) - Not all foreign leaders prefer Barack Obama to George W. Bush. Joshua Keating of Foreign Policy lists five heads of state who probably miss Dubya:
  • Silvio Berlusconi. "The conservative Christian from Texas and the lecherous billionaire" were good buddies; Bush hosted the Italian president often at his ranch
... More »

Obama: 'Terrible Precedent' if Honduras Coup Stands

(Newser) - President Barack Obama today declared that the US still considers Manuel Zelaya to be the president of Honduras and assailed the coup that forced him into exile as "not legal." "It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we... More »

Colombia Nabs Top Drug Lord

US will seek to extradite Daniel Rendon

(Newser) - Colombian police nabbed their nation's top drug lord today, and the country's president "is breathing easy," a rep told AFP. Daniel Rendon, 43, alias Don Mario, had a $2 million price on his head after allegedly swapping drugs for weapons from leftist FARC rebels. Now that he's in... More »

Tony Blair Tapped for US Medal of Freedom

Former prime minister was staunch US ally

(Newser) - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a staunch ally of President Bush on the war in Iraq, is to receive the highest US civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Blair, who is now an Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet—Russia, the US, the EU and UN—will... More »

Palin Meets World Leaders

(Newser) - Sarah Palin sought to ease concerns about her foreign policy experience by holding her first-ever meetings today with heads of state, the New York Times reports. Palin sat down for private conversations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and also with Henry Kissinger and national security... More »

Palin Reconsiders, Lets Press Tag Along at UN Meetings

VP originally allowed only photographers, TV crew at sessions with world leaders

(Newser) - Sarah Palin gave in to protests from reporters today and allowed them to observe meetings with world leaders at the United Nations, the AP reports; her staff had earlier said only photographers and a TV crew would be invited to sessions with Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai and Columbia's Alvaro Uribe. A... More »

Red Cross Cries Foul Over Colombia Deception

Objects to symbol use in hostage rescue

(Newser) - The Red Cross chided the Colombian government today for its "deliberate misuse" of the Red Cross symbol during a mission to rescue hostages, the BBC reports. “If authenticated, these images would clearly establish an improper use of the Red Cross emblem, which we deplore,” a spokesman said... More »

Military Doc: Contractors In Good Condition

Freed Americans "in great spirits" at Texas military base

(Newser) - The three American hostages rescued after more than five years in captivity in Colombia are in good physical and psychological shape, the Washington Post reports. The defense contractors, who arrived at a military base in Texas last night, were held by Colombian rebels in “very cruel and very spartan”... More »

Betancourt Hails Release as a 'Miracle'

Freed hostage praises 'perfect' operation, still wants to be president

(Newser) - For Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian politician freed after more than 6 years in captivity, her release yesterday was a “miracle.” Colombian soldiers, posing as NGO officials, tricked FARC rebels and rescued Betancourt and 14 other hostages without gunfire. “There is no historical precedent for such a perfect... More »

Contractors' Families Prepare for Joyous Reunions

Three men expected to arrive in Texas after Colombian ordeal

(Newser) - The families of three military contractors captured by Colombian rebels more than five years ago had no inkling they were about to be freed, McClatchy Newspapers reports. "It's a miracle today," said Amanda Howes, niece of Thomas Howes. Her uncle and his fellow former captives, Marc Gonsalves and... More »

'Mom, You Don't Have to Cry Anymore'

Betancourt reunited with family; US contractors on their way home

(Newser) - Ingrid Betancourt embraced her family today after six years of captivity in the Colombian jungle, the Washington Post reports. "Mom, you don't have to cry anymore," said Betancourt, one of 15 hostages freed from FARC rebels. "This is a miracle." Betancourt appeared thin but healthy at... More »

Trickery Brings Colombia Hostages to Safety

Betancourt, others freed by soldiers posing as aid workers

(Newser) - A simple ruse led to the freedom of the high-profile hostages held for years by Colombia's FARC rebels, Reuters reports. Government soldiers duped guerrillas into believing they were humanitarian aid workers and offered to fly the hostages from their jungle hideaway to meet with FARC boss Alfonso Cano. Instead, they... More »

Chavez: US Confrontation 'Inevitable'

But Venezuelan leader receives steadying advice from Castro

(Newser) - With the US distracted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been busy amassing a Latin American power bloc to blunt Washington’s influence. But the firebrand leader, who calls President Bush “the devil” and the US “the empire,” is receiving level-headed... More »

Murder Capital Transforms Into Cultural Haven

Medellin, Colombia, replaces crime with safety and security

(Newser) - Once the world's most dangerous city, Medellin, Colombia, is now a relatively safe and culturally vibrant haven for its 2.1 million residents. In 1991, Medellin recorded 6,349 homicides, or nearly 18 per day; today, thanks to improved security under the administration of president Alvaro Uribe, the rate is... More »

Bookish Past Might Not Help Rebel Leader

Colombia's new reality will put dogmatic FARC head Cano to test

(Newser) - Though Alfonso Cano, the new commander of Colombia’s FARC rebels, is a bookish intellectual, don’t expect a new push towards government negotiations, sources tell the Washington Post. Cano, who turned to Marx in college after a middle-class upbringing, would be uniquely suited to push peaceful political action—but... More »

Fame Hinders Chance of Freedom

As international cause, Colombian hostage is valuable to rebels

(Newser) - The daughter of a beauty queen and a diplomat who once enjoyed a charmed existence in fashionable Parisian quarters, Ingrid Betancourt is now a hostage in a Colombian jungle who is sometimes chained by the neck to a tree. The Wall Street Journal profiles the plight of the former Colombian... More »

Sun Setting on FARC Rebellion

Key link to past now dead, and Colombia's efforts at last paying off against rebels

(Newser) - FARC chief Manuel Marulanda’s death might not be a fatal blow to Colombia's Marxist rebels, but the Economist sees an organization on the way out anyway. In its mid-'90s heyday, FARC boasted a force of 19,000 soldiers that threatened Bogota, the capital; today, the group is fragmented, with... More »

Quake-Hit Colombians Hunker Down

Rumble killed 11 and wounded 54; 5,000 face damaged buildings

(Newser) - After Saturday’s 5.6-magnitude quake which sparked landslides, hundreds of Colombians gathered in temporary shelters yesterday, reluctant to return home for fear of further shake-ups, Reuters reports. Colombia’s Red Cross reported 11 deaths and 54 injuries, with some 5,000 facing damaged homes and other buildings. President Alvaro... More »

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