“Comandante Ramiro” was nowhere in the official photos of the June 1 inauguration of El Salvador’s new president, nor did his name appear in any news reports. “Ramiro” is the nom de guerre of José Luis Merino, a Marxist guerrilla commander turned political mandarin and underworld fixer with the ear of the president and unaccountable control over hundreds of millions of Venezuelan petro-dollars. Read full story
The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine, InSight Crime, 26th May 2014
On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against less than fifty guerrillas in the tiny community of Marquetalia. The aim of the operation was to stamp out once and for all the communist threat in Colombia. The result was the birth of the longest running communist insurgency in Latin America: The FARC. Read full story
The FARC 2002-present: Decapitation and Rebirth, InSight Crime, 26th May 2014
In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia’s new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of a war that would shatter the rebels’ hopes of a military victory. Read full story.
She Survived a Bazooka Attack. What She’s Doing Now Could Change a Country’s Fate: Interview with Aida Avella, Ozy, 29th April, 2014
Aida Avella’s political career has taken her from the smoking wreckage of a bazooka attack in Bogotá to a perfume counter in Geneva. Now, just months after returning to Colombia from 17 years in exile, she’s pitched herself into the sharp end of a presidential election campaign. Read full story.
Norte Del Valle Cartel Profile, InSight Crime,
The Norte del Valle Cartel (NDVC) emerged out of the breakup of the infamous Cali Cartel to became the wealthiest and most powerful Colombian drug trafficking organization of its day. Read full story.
Colombia’s invisible war: interview with Jesus Emilio Tuberquia, Toward Freedom, 28th August 2012
For 15 years the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community has struggled to survive amidst persecution, conflict and atrocity. Jesus Emilio Tuberquia is the communty’s legal representative and one of its founders. Read full interview
Alvaro Uribe Profile, Colombia Reports, 11th November 2011
Senator-elect and Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has been the single most influential and divisive figure in the country’s politics of the century so far. Read full story
The local elections have highlighted the increasing divisions between rural and urban Colombia and the political struggle between powerful interest groups according to Adam Isacson, director of the Regional Security Policy Program at the Washington Office on Latin America and expert on Colombia. Read full story
Rodrigo Guerrero Profile, Colombia Reports, 25 October 2011
Cali Mayor Rodrigo Guerrero is a public health expert who has survived a fraud and corruption scandal that hinted at the murky underbelly of Cali politics. Read full story
Gustavo Petro Profile, Colombia Reports, 24th October 2011
Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro was voted into office on October 30, 2011, 30 years after the start of his political career in which he has tread the path from guerrilla leader to presidential candidate and now mayor of Colombia’s capital city. Gustavo Petro has become widely recognized as the unofficial voice of the Colombian democratic left. Read full story
Luis Perez Profile, Colombia Reports, 24th October 2011
Veteran political campaigner Luis Perez has never been far from controversy. In the 2011 elections Perez failed in his fourth bid to become the mayor of Medellin, losing to political rival Anibal Gaviria by less than 3% of the votes, while gaining a criminal investigation for his alleged ties to criminal groups. Read full story
Anibal Gaviria Profile, Colombia Reports, 24th October 2011
Medellin’s Mayor Anibal Gaviria was voted into office in 2011. Gaviria, the former governor of Antioquia, is the son of one of Colombia’s most powerful political, business and publishing dynasties. Read full story
Gina Parody Profile, Colombia Reports, 24th October 2011
Enrique Peñalosa Profile, Colombia Reports, 24th October 2011
Green Alliance presidential candidate Enrique Peñalosa is a centrist politician whose twin concerns of urban planning and security have left him with friends and enemies on both sides of the political divide.
In 1995 the Cali Cartel was the world’s largest and most powerful criminal organization. However the actions of one insider helped bring the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers’ drug trafficking empire crashing down. Colombia Reports speaks to William Rempel, author of a new book about Jorge Salcedo – cartel security chief turned DEA informant. Read full story
Medyan Daireh, a Brighton-based Al Jazeera journalist who has previously covered conflicts in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Turkey and Kosovo has just returned from a stint in Libya. He covered the uprising against Colonel Gadaffi, spent weeks living with the rebels and visited all of the rebel-controlled areas. SchNEWS took the opportunity to get his views on the rebels’ struggle and the situation in Libya. Read full interview
In Climate Wars, Gwynne Dyer, a Canadian journalist, lecturer and military historian, presents a series of bleak futures, each portraying a world teetering on the edge of civilisational collapse as a result of climate change. But these scenarios aren’t merely fictional creations, they are part of Dyer’s geo-political analysis of climate change based on extensive research and interviews with scientists, think-tanks, environmentalists, politicians and military analysts from around the world. Read full interview
This week SchNEWS spoke to former Guantánamo detainee, Omar Deghayes, now back in England after finally being released in March 2008. Omar spent six years in prison camps, one at Bagram and the rest at Guantánamo. He was never charged with a crime and had no trial,Omar was visiting Afghanistan in 2001, and went to Pakistan when the US bombing started – there he was handed to the US by bounty hunters, as was the case for many Guantánamo detainees. The physical results of his maltreatment and torture include being blinded in one eye by pepper spray. Read full interview