Sunday, November 27, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

For the handful of readers who only frequent PoliBlog and do not read Outside the Beltway unless I link to my writings there, I felt I should share the very sad and shocking news of the passing of James Joyner’s wife, Kimberly Webb Joyner.  She died in her sleep last night of unknown causes.

James posted an account and tribute to Kim this morning.

I have known James for over thirteen years and knew Kim as well.  My heart aches for James, Katie, and Ellie.

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Thursday, November 24, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

A Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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Saturday, November 19, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Longer posts:

Quick Takes:

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Saturday, November 5, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Cross-posted to OTB.

Yesterday evening Twitter lit up with reports out of Colombia that the leader of the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the most significant guerrilla group in Colombia’s seemingly endless struggle with insurgents, was killed by the military.

The BBC reports:  Top Farc rebel leader Alfonso Cano killed in Colombia

The leader of Colombia’s left wing Farc rebel group, Alfonso Cano, has been killed in a military raid, President Juan Manuel Santos has confirmed.

He called it the most devastating blow to the group in its decades-long insurgency and urged it to disband.

Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said Cano was killed in an operation in mountains in Colombia’s south-west.

This is a major development and will be a serious blow to the FARC.  However, the degree to whether this will cripple the FARC remains to be seen.  First, the FARC is a cellular organization that does not rely upon a central leadership.  Second, the FARC is driven by drug profits at the moment and some cells are more thoroughly involved in the drug trade than are others.  This activity will continue.  Third, historically speaking the FARC and like groups in Colombia have been able to cause trouble for the Colombian states and its citizens even as small groups.

As the sidebar to this story noted:

Alfonso Cano was only the second commander-in-chief the Farc have had in 47 years and the only one to be killed in combat. So the psychological impact of his death for the Marxist rebel movement is huge. However, it is unlikely to destroy the group, or indeed, even cause a serious interruption in its operations.

It is worth noting that this is yet another example of success by the Colombia state against the FARC.  Some highlights include:

March 2024:   A raid over the border into Ecuador that killed Raul Reyes (a key FARC commander) and garnered a large amount of intel about FARC operations is obtained.

May 2024: FARC founder and leader, Pedro Marin (aka Manuel Marulanda) dies.

July 2024:  The army rescues the FARC’s most high profile hostages:  presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt (who had been kidnapped in 2024) and 3 US government contractors (along with a dozen others).

September 2024:  High level FARC commander, El Mono Jojoy is killed in combat.

And these are only the most major stories.  It has not been a good 3.5 years for the FARC (indeed, it has been its worst 3+ span in its history, which has spanned 5 decades).

More on recent on the FARC during this span of time (in reverse chronological order):

Filed under: Colombia | Comments Off|
Tuesday, November 1, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Miami HeraldColombia sees peaceful vote, former rebel new Bogotá mayor

Gustavo Petro, a former leftist rebel and socialist legislator, is the new mayor of Bogotá after corruption-weary Colombians took to the polls on Sunday.

With 84 percent of the vote counted, Petro, 51, had a comfortable lead in the hotly contested race, beating out former Mayor Enrique Peñalosa and former legislator Gina Parody.

Campaigning on a platform of rooting out graft and taking basic services to the poor, including providing subsidized water, Petro won 33 percent of the vote versus Peñalosa’s 25 percent and Parody’s 17 percent.

Amongst Petro’s challenges include governing after winning only a third of the vote.   He does fit the general (although not perfect) pattern of electing center-left candidates to this office.

It is worth noting that the mayor of Bogota is the arguably the second most important politicians in Colombia after the president.

On a personal note:  I interviewed Petro when I was doing my dissertation research back in the 1990s.

Filed under: Colombia,elections | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Colombia President scraps spy agency after scandals

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has officially dissolved the country’s intelligence agency, the DAS, after a series of scandals.

Mr Santos said most DAS staff were being transferred to other government departments.

The organisation has been mired in controversy for years.

Last month its former head, Jorge Noguera, was sentenced to jail for 25 years for collaborating with paramilitary death squads.

Noguera led the Administrative Security Department (DAS) from 2024 to 2024, under former President Alvaro Uribe.

He was found guilty of allowing right-wing paramilitaries to infiltrate the service, and helping them to murder an academic activist.

Of course, two key questions remain:

1)  Does this amount to an actual disbandment of the organization or is it just an organizational reorganization? In other words:  will some of the actual functions of the DAS go away or will this mean a real change?


2)  Will this scandal ever touch former President Uribe?

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