In 1980, the M-19 guerrilla movement stormed a diplomatic reception in Bogotá and kidnapped US envoy Diego Asencio, holding him and several other ambassadors hostage for two months before flying them to Cuba and releasing them. It was one of a number of audacious stunts pulled by the guerrillas in a crusade against the Colombian establishment and the “Yankee imperialists” they claimed were propping it up.
Small wonder that four decades on, the US government is one of many actors viewing the May 29 presidential election in Colombia, its closest ally in South America, with trepidation.
Part of the reason is that Gustavo Petro — who is on track to win according to recent polls — is a former member of the M-19.… Seguir leyendo »
When Félix Chero knelt before Peru’s president Pedro Castillo last Sunday and swore to serve as the country’s justice minister he became the 46th minister in the Castillo government in just eight months.
Since taking office last July, the president has rattled through four cabinets, four prime ministers, three foreign ministers and two finance ministers. Chero is his third justice minister. No Peruvian president has made so many cabinet changes in their first year in office — and there are still four months to go.
“The word ‘chaos’ no longer seems strong enough to describe the country’s political situation”, says John Youle, executive president of ConsultAndes, a local political risk advisory group.… Seguir leyendo »
Seen from above, the Canaima National Park in south-east Venezuela presents a magnificent landscape. Giant table-top mountains rise out of the lush green jungle. Dark rivers snake through the undergrowth.
A Unesco World Heritage Site, the park is a haven of biodiversity and home to Angel Falls, the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
The aerial view looking west, however, is rather less attractive. The land is pockmarked with bare, brown patches of earth — tell-tale signs of mining activity. Dirt tracks cut through the forest to makeshift camps. Environmental destruction, clearly visible from the air, blights the west bank of the River Caroní, the border of the park.… Seguir leyendo »
It was one of the most memorable days in Colombia’s recent history. As a glorious Caribbean afternoon melted into twilight on September 26, 2016, five small planes swooped over the historic port of Cartagena trailing plumes of red, blue, yellow and white smoke in their wake — the colours of the national flag and the colour of peace.
In the streets below, people dressed in white waved white handkerchiefs as president Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londoño, better known by his nom-de-guerre Timochenko, signed an agreement to bring Latin America’s longest and bloodiest civil conflict to an end.
The men used a pen made from a bullet to put their names to the document.… Seguir leyendo »