At least six people were killed earlier today after a car bomb was detonated in the Colombian city of Buenaventura.
The incident occurred close to the mayor’s office, and damaged a local attorney general office, as well as several taxis in the street. Al Jazeera reports that at least twenty people were wounded, although other news services, such as the Christian Science Monitor, said there were at least forty injured.
The head of the country’s armed forces, General Freddy Padilla, blamed the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) group for the attack, saying that “[s]urely this was the FARC.” However, nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the blast. Read More…
The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, announced on Tuesday that “We will freeze relations with Colombia.” He attributed the decision to “new aggression by the government of Colombia.” Further, he said, “I’ve ordered to withdraw our ambassador from Bogota, to withdraw our diplomatic personnel.”
This diplomatic move follows claims by Colombia that amongst weapons its military has captured from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are AT4 anti-tank rockets manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics of Sweden. Colombia further alleges that the weapons were first sold to Venezuela before being given to the FARC.
“This is not the first time that this happens,” Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos said. “In several operations in which we have recovered weapons from the FARC, we have found powerful munitions and powerful equipment, including anti-tank weapons, from a European country that sold them to Venezuela and that turned up in the hands of the FARC.” Read More…
Slumping economies in the United States, Spain and Japan are causing reverberations in the countries of Latin America as migrant workers send less money home.
The Inter-American Development Bank reported that for the first time since they began tracking remittances in 2000, remittances to Latin America declined in the fourth quarter of 2008, dropping 2% relative to the fourth quarter of 2007.
In January, remittances declined further, with Colombia experiencing a 16% drop relative to 2008, Brazil suffering a 14% decline, Mexico 12%, and Guatemala and El Salvador each falling 8%.
These numbers come as 2008 saw an average 10% increase in remittances. Nearly US$70 billion was sent back to families in those areas in 2008. Read More…
Thousands of people in Pastos, Colombia have been ordered to evacuate after the Galeras Volcano began to “explosively” erupt, according to reports. According to Colombia’s Institute of Geology and Mines, the eruption began at about 7:10 p.m. local time (00:10 GMT). An estimated 8,000 people have been affected.
“[There is a] large amount of ash” falling from the sky, said Eduardo Alvarado, Pastos’s provincial governor, adding that those “who live in urban areas, remain in their homes.” The government in the area has been put on red alert and the Red Cross has also been called in to assist in aiding refugees. So far there are no reports of injuries damages, or deaths.
Galeras, which sits on the Colombian, Ecuador border, has a recent eruption which was in 2008, but there were no injuries or deaths. In 1993, nine people were killed in an eruption. It’s the most active volcano in Colombia and has been erupting regularly for at least a million years.
While it was just a joke, the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia doesn’t find a recent “Mother Goose and Grimm” comic terribly funny.
In what the coffee growers association calls “an attack on national dignity and the reputation of Colombian coffee,” the characters in a comic strip by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters call into question the relationship of Colombian coffee growers and the crime syndicates of Columbia.
The cartoonist is being sued not only for “damages [to] the intellectual heritage” of the coffee, but also “moral compensation. A public manifestation,” to the tune of $20 million.
General Mario Montoya resigned on Tuesday amid a widening scandal surrounding the Colombian armed forces. An investigation showed that the military personnel under his command had been inflating their successess against rebels by killing innocent civilians and claiming the bodies as enemy insurgents killed.
Montoya is the highest-ranking official to lose his job over the scandal, which last week forced President Álvaro Uribe to dismiss 20 officers from the army’s leadership corps. Read More…
Íngrid Betancourt, a former Senator in Colombia who was being held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) until her rescue as part of Operation Jaque, has called for FARC to release all its hostages.
“We want freedom for everyone,” said Betancourt while speaking to a crowd of thousands in Paris, France. This was followed by chants of “Libertad“, the Spanish word for freedom. Read More…