mayo 21st, 2013
With presidential and congressional elections right around the corner, the U Party asked Cambio Radical to join forces and approach the race in 2014 as a united party.
The proposal was introduced by Senate president, Roy Barreras, who said “we have great interest in the U Party and Cambio Radical finding common ground and unity, we will be proposing formal conversations between directors (…) in order to hopefully appear as one party in defense of Juan Manuel Santos.”
“We are two parties that share everything, we share the goal of defending the Santos administration’s good purpose, of reelecting the President, we share the goal of peace, so we can share the goal of electoral strategy,” said Barreras, who is also the head of the U Party.
mayo 21st, 2013
A deficit of 12 million pesos and a group of 50 dogs in need of shelter, food, and medical attention, are endangering the future of the Orca Foundation, which for the past five years has worked to rescue animals and find them good homes.
Many of the dogs at Orca were abandoned by previous owners and are currently in poor health. The problem is more serious for larger breeds, because fewer people want to adopt them and their maintenance is more expensive. The organization is asking the community to step up and adopt larger breeds in need.
mayo 15th, 2013
A report published by the Washington Post revealed that the Farc guerrilla has intensified its recruitment of minors in an effort to bulk up their combat units, even as they sit at the negotiation table with the Colombian Government in Havana, Cuba.
According to Alma Viviana Pérez, director of the presidential Human Rights Program in Colombia, “as the guerrilla suffers blows from the Colombian Army and the desertion of its militants, the “tactic they have resorted to is the recruitment of minors”.
It’s unknown just how many children are a part of Farc, but it’s been suggested that there could be as many as 9,000. In the past 12 years, the Colombian Government has helped more than 5,000 children who have managed to escape the clutches of guerrilla groups, mainly Farc, and 500 of those minors are in special orphanages for former militants. “It’s a silent tragedy, one without concrete data,” says Maria Fernanda Cruz, coordinator of Merrcy Corps; she said the phenomenon has increased over the past three years.
Farc chiefs, meanwhile, have publicly denied committing war crimes and insist that children and teenagers join their ranks looking for an escape from conditions of extreme poverty.
mayo 15th, 2013
The Supreme Court sentenced former Congressman Cesar Perez Garcia to 30 years in prison for his role in the Segovia massacre, in which 43 people died. The Court found the 78-year old politician guilty of homicide, conspiracy to commit a crime and personal injuries for his participation in the massacre that occurred on November 11th, 1988, when Pérez was a representative for Antioqua in the House of Representatives.
Perez was accused of participating in the massacre to preserve his political influence in the area. He allegedly asked paramilitary chiefs, Fidel Castaño and Henry de Jesús Perez to take care of reducing the reach of leftists in that region. During the trial there was evidence suggesting that Perez didn’t just give the orders for the massacre, but also actively contributed to the creation of the paramilitary group known as “Death to Revolutionaries of Antioquia’s Northeast”.
mayo 14th, 2013
While there were three canonizations in Rome on Sunday and there are now 803 new Catholic saints, the presence of Colombians at St. Peter’s Square was hard to ignore. Flags, banners, posters and pendants with the face of Colombia’s first saint, Laura Montoya, were everywhere and the excitement and pride were almost palpable.
Italian Antonio Primaldo and 800 laymen known as the ‘martyrs of Otranto’, killed in the 15th century by Ottoman soldiers for refusing to convert to Islam, and Mexico’s Mother Maria Guadalupe García were canonized alongside the Colombian by Pope Francis in a ceremony that lasted more than three hours and needed 300 priests to hand out communion to the crowds. The ceremony was in Latin but the Spanish language was included often.
The relic of Mother Laura was brought to the altar by physician Carlos Eduardo Restrepo, who was cured of a perforated esophagus thanks to the new saint’s intercession.
mayo 14th, 2013
In the meeting between Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, and Pope Francis, the Pontiff made it clear that he supports peace in Colombia but revealed that, at least this year, he won’t be visiting the country. “Only the brave insist on goals to achieve peace, and those are the ones that are worthwhile, the Pope said to me during a private audience,” President Santos said. The meeting lasted 15 minutes. The Pope said he is following the Colombian armed conflict closely and views negotiations as a positive.
Mr Santos said he did formally invite the Pope to visit Colombia on his way to Brazil in June, but Pope Francis gave him two reasons why he won’t make it this year. For one, he feels he must be democratic and not show favoritism to Latin America just because he happens to be from the region; furthermore, he doesn’t like to travel very much and has another trip to the Middle East coming up as well.
President Santos was in Rome for the canonization of Mother Laura Montoya, Colombia’s very first saint.
mayo 11th, 2013
Colombia’s Minister of Agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo, turned his resignation in to President Juan Manuel Santos.
While he handed his letter in at least two months ago, Restrepo said he will remain in office until the Government and Farc come to an agreement on the issue of rural development.
mayo 7th, 2013
Vendors are reluctant to discuss it openly, but local authorities have received a number of complaints confirming that many of those working at the Minorista Plaza often fall victim to extortion and “vaccines”.
The plaza, which serves as workplace to hundreds of vendors, is an easy target for criminal gangs. According to Medellín’s Secretary of Security, Arnulfo Serna, authorities are planning to take aggressive action to reduce criminal activity at this location.
The plan includes educating the vendors and employees on how to effectively file complaints, which will hopefully assist authorities in bringing perpetrators to justice.
mayo 7th, 2013
I think I’ll end up crying,” says Alejandro Arango from Contento Films talking about Medellín and videos produced by the company to support the city’s candidacy to host the Youth Olympic Games, “Our city has so much to show.”
The ‘technical’ video was shown at Explora Park yesterday and includes aerial images of Medellín and its sporting, cultural and educational venues.
A ‘behind-the-scenes’ video is also in the works but is being kept confidential to avoid plagiarism. A third video, the one organizers call “the emotional one”, won’t be revealed until July, when the IOC announces the winner in Switzerland.
mayo 7th, 2013
A guest speaker at the Non-Violence Summit was Rogelio Alonso from Spain, who weighed in on Medellín’s reality.
“It’s unrealistic to think that violence will be eradicated tomorrow,” the expert said, explaining that the root of the problem is a subculture of hatred and vengeance, which can only be changed with the development of respect for human rights and democratic values. A reduction in homicides, for instance, is only a temporary solution to a problem that goes far beyond that.