academic site

rss .92
The Collective
Wednesday, January 14, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Guerrillas flee FARC camp with abductees -

Two guerrillas fled their camp Tuesday deep in the forests of southern Colombia with two kidnap victims that they used in exchange for their freedom, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.


The incident occurred at dawn, when two members left the camp with a 14-year-old boy and an adult man, both of whom had been kidnapped in December. The rebels brought the two victims to Medellin del Ariari in Meta Department, south of Bogota, the spokesman said.


Guerrillas now have escaped with kidnap victims five times in the past month.

This is quite fascinating, as these types of incidences seem to indicate that there are increasing numbers of FARC militants who do not see the FARC lifestyle as a viable long-term option. This has not been the case until recently. Of course, by the same token, the number of deserters relative to the overall force is still quite small. Still, this is noteworthy.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Colombia | Comments/Trackbacks (2) | | Show Comments here
Monday, January 12, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Colombian coffee growers to sue over US cartoon

Colombian coffee growers are brewing up a lawsuit over a U.S. comic strip joking that violence is so rampant there, maybe “there’s a little bit of Juan Valdez in every can” of the country’s java.

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation says it has consulted with U.S. lawyers and will sue “Mother Goose & Grimm” cartoonist Mike Peters “for damage and harm, detriment to intellectual property and defamation.”


Peters said Wednesday he loves Colombia, drinks its coffee daily and did not intend any offense.

“I had no more thought to insult Colombia and Juan Valdez than I did Pringles, Betty Crocker, Col. Sanders, Dr. Pepper and Bartles & Jaymes,” he said in a statement. “The cartoon is meant to be read along with the rest of the week as a series of which the theme is based on the fact that the inventor of the Pringles can had his ashes buried in one.

Here’s the offending ‘toon:

Somehow I don’t think that FEDECAFE has a case (and they need to get a sense of humor).

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Coffee, Colombia, Pop Culture | Comments/Trackbacks (0) |
Tuesday, December 30, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Unemployment climbs to 10.8 percent in Colombia.

According to the piece, that is up from 10.1% in October and up from 9.4% at this point last year.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, December 26, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Latin American Herald Tribune: Latin American Herald Tribune

The man suspected of being the commander of the 25th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group was killed in fighting with the army, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said.

Englio Gaona Ospina died in a clash with troops Wednesday in the mountains of the southwestern province of Tolima, Santos said.

Ospina was a key player in the FARC, acting as the link between the guerrilla group’s Eastern Bloc and the Secretariat, or central command, Santos said.

The guerrilla was “the link and the one in charge of coordinating communications,” especially with FARC commander Jorge Briceño Suarez, known as “Mono Jojoy,” Santos said.

El Tiempo’s write-up is here: Muerte de Enelio Gaona, ‘Bertil’, significa el fin del frente 25 de las Farc, dicen autoridades.

This is yet another in a long line of defeats for the FARC over roughly the past year. The question becomes now as to whether these blows are sufficient to start to kill the beast, or whether the beast simple will spring forth with new heads to replace those that have been removed.

On the one hand, it is indisputable that the Colombian state has had its best year ever in terms of fighting the FARC, whether in terms of the hostage rescue of Betancourt and other high profile captives, or the death or capture of a long list of major commanders. On the other, the guerrilla conflict in Colombia is both historically entrenched, as well as funded, in-part, by a nearly limitless source of cash (i.e., the drug trade).

While one would like to say that defeat is nigh, it is difficult to look at Colombian history and do so. Still, the situation does seem to be evolving in a new direction. So, stay tuned.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Colombia, Latin America | Comments/Trackbacks (0) |
Sunday, December 14, 2024
More Scenes from the Drug War: Arrest of Submarine King
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the LAT: In Colombia, they call him Captain Nemo

law enforcement officers here have dubbed him “Captain Nemo,” after the dark genius of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” They say the 45-year-old has designed and built as many as 20 fiberglass submarines, strange vessels with the look of sea creatures, for drug traffickers to haul cocaine from this area of southern Colombia to Central America and Mexico.


Administrative Security officials allege that Portocarrero helped invent “semi-submersibles,” as the narco-vessels are called, because they don’t dive and resurface like true submarines, but cruise just below the surface.

Portocarrero’s craft are difficult for counter-narcotics officials to detect on the open seas because their tiny wake creates a negligible radar “footprint.” Also, authorities say, the exhaust is released through tubing below the surface, frustrating patrol aircraft’s heat-sensing equipment.

Who says markets don’t lead to innovation?

This is part of a long-term cat-and-mouse game between narco-traffickers and the military/police of Colombia, the US and others. While this will shut down Portocarrero’s operation, and is therefore a success in the war on drugs, the bottom line is that someone else will emerge to take his place. Indeed, his operation underscores the lengths to which the narcos can and will go in their pursuit of their profits.

The usage of submersibles or semi-submersibles is nothing new in the drug fight. Here are some previous related posts:

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Colombia, War on Drugs | Comments/Trackbacks (1) | | Show Comments here
Saturday, December 13, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Whether one is dealing with the software bundled with Vista,, Gimp or that which came with my camera, it all sucks when it comes to printing photos. For one thing, it seems that none of the software designers conceived of the possibility that someone might want to print a custom-sized photo. What, you want 3×3 for a specific frame not 5×7? Well, sorry mate. Or, given the cost of ink and photo quality paper, you’d think it would be easier (indeed, possible) to print two different 5×7s, 4×6s, etc. on the same piece of ultra premium photo paper. Is that really too much to ask?

I would assume that it is my own ineptness that is the problem, except that I am, on balance, pretty computer proficient. Part of the problem appears to be the way that Vista deal with photo printing (either that or the way my Epson printer does) as no matter what software I use, the default for printing photos is the standard sizes with no options for custom sized prints or for printing more than one unique photo at a time on the same page.


Vista is the main culprit here, btw, and while I was able to trick into printing a 3.5 x 3.5 (by printing a 3.5×5 and then “Fit Picture to Frame” box I can find no way to print the exact custom size I want.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Colombia, Computer Stuff | Comments/Trackbacks (8) | | Show Comments here
Saturday, December 6, 2024
Betancourt on her Political Future
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AFP (AFP: Betancourt ‘convinced’ FARC hostages will be freed in 2024) comes a rather direct pronouncement from Ingrid Betancourt about her political aspirations:

She added that she was now set on a path that was taking her well away from the political ambitions she held years ago.

“I am not going to aspire to the Colombian presidency,” she stated flatly.

“I am not going to aspire to public office in Colombia. I don’t want to aspire to anything that has to do with politics in Colombia.”

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, November 30, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Betancourt makes Colombia return

Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt has made a surprise visit to Colombia for the first time since she was dramatically freed five months ago.

The French-Colombian politician has lived in Europe since her release from Farc rebels after six years in July.

Reportedly she had remained in Europe because of death threats and general safety concerns after her rescue.

There had been speculation that she might return to politics. My views on that topic have not changed and can be found in this post.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Colombia, Latin America | Comments/Trackbacks (1) | | Show Comments here
Monday, October 27, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Yesterday I noted the story of now ex-prisoner of the FARC, Oscar Tulio Lizcano and noted that there was some confusion over whether he was rescued or whether he escaped.

The BBC has the updated story, and it was the latter: Farc hostage escapes with guard

A former Colombian congressman who was held by left-wing guerrillas for more than eight years has escaped, along with a rebel who had been guarding him.

Oscar Tulio Lizcano said they escaped from a Farc camp in the jungle in western Colombia, and were found three days later by Colombian soldiers.


The army initially said that they had rescued Mr Lizcano.

However, in his first appearance since being picked up from the remote jungle province of Choco by the Pacific Coast, Mr Lizcano said he had fled his captors after persuading a Farc guerrilla to leave with him.

The two men wandered for three days through the jungle evading their pursuers before being picked up by security forces.

The BBC write-up suggests that the military may have stated that Lizcano’s freedom was the result of a rescue so as to distract from a scandal involving the disappearance of 11 civilians from a Bogotá suburb (Soacha), only to be found dead later in another part of the country. Three army colonels have been fired in the case. The AP reports:

The army chief, Gen. Mario Montoya, said he was removing the three colonels over serious indications of wrongdoing. He did not elaborate, or accuse them of involvement in the killings of the Soacha men, whose bodies were found in unmarked graves. Montoya also said he was turning over evidence to civilian prosecutors.

More from Colombia Reports: High army officials dismissed for Soacha disappearances.

El Tiempo’s write-up can be found here: Desnutrición, anemia y enfermedades parasitarias padece Óscar Tulio Lizcano.

Add this one to the long list of setbacks for the FARC. Lizcano was not as high value a prisoner as those rescued in July (i.e., Betancourt and the three Americans), but he was still a high level politicians (a member of the Congress). Further, the fact that the guard defected with him and helped him escape is yet another example of the seeming waning of cohesion within the FARC.1

Sphere: Related Content

  1. Not as dramatic as killing one’s boss (as was the case with Iván Ríos) or the reported attempted slaying of El Mono Jojoy. []
Filed under: Colombia, Latin America | Comments Off |
Sunday, October 26, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Bloomberg: Colombia Frees FARC Hostage Lizcano After 8 Years, Caracol Says

Colombian security forces rescued former lawmaker Oscar Tulio Lizcano today after he was held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for eight years, Radio Caracol reported in its online edition.

Another version states that Lizcano escaping (also via Bloomberg): Colombia’s Lizcano Escapes From FARC After 8 Years, Santos Says.

The BBC describes the situation as follows:

Colombia’s army says it has rescued a former member of Congress, Oscar Tulio Lizcano, from left-wing Farc rebels who abducted him in 2024.

The operation was conducted in the mountains of the region of Choco, in Tamana, San Jose del Palmar municipality, it said.


“The army and the police, in a joint intelligence operation, succeeded in rescuing Doctor Lizcano at 0815 in the morning (1315 GMT),” AFP news agency quoted an official as saying.

Lizcano was the Representative from the department of Caldas when he was kidnapped. He was a member of the Conservative Party.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Colombia, Latin America | Comments/Trackbacks (1) | | Show Comments here
Next Page »

Take a Look At This!

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics



Visitors Since 2/15/03

Powered by WordPress