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August 2009

August 10, 2009

THE MIAMI HERALD - The Myth of U.S. Bases in Colombia

THE MIAMI HERALD - The Myth of U.S. Bases in Colombia

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By Andres Oppenheimer - What's most surprising about South America's growing uproar over Colombia's plans to allow U.S. military bases on its territory is that there may be no such thing in the making but rather a major Colombian PR blunder.

I, for one, was surprised to hear in an interview with Colombia's Foreign Minister Jaime Bermdez that there will be not one single centimeter in Colombian territory in which there will be a U.S. military base. Virtually all press reports I had read on my way here suggested that, following Ecuador's recent order to close the U.S. anti-drug base in Manta, the Pentagon is talking with Colombia about setting up U.S. anti-narcotics bases in Colombia. Earlier in the week, key South American countries, including Brazil and Chile, had expressed concerns about the alleged U.S. military bases in Colombia, and agreed to discuss the issue at an Aug. 10 summit of South American countries in Ecuador.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said that he will not attend the summit because Colombia is likely to be the target of a coordinated attack over the issue. Ecuador, the host country, broke relations with Colombia over a 2008 attack by Colombian troops to a FARC guerrilla camp in Ecuadorean territory. Uribe left Tuesday for Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, in a last-minute effort to explain the nature of ongoing U.S.-Colombian military cooperation talks.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez had said that he has alerted his colleagues in the region about the danger that these new gringo military bases pose to Venezuela. 
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August 20, 2009

BUSINESSWEEK - Colombian Ambassador: After Health Care, Free Trade Agreements

BUSINESSWEEK - Colombian Ambassador: After Health Care, Free Trade Agreements

by Steve LeVine - For at least a couple of months, free-trade agreements negotiated during the Bush administration have appeared stuck in Congress. And that’s not only because health care and cap-and-trade have sucked all the air out of the room in terms of what gets discussed in the House and Senate. Democratic opposition to the pending Colombia, Panama and South Korea agreements has also seemed to deflate the wishes of Ron Kirk, President Obama’s trade representative.
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August 19, 2009

REUTERS - Clinton says Colombian deal will not create bases

REUTERS - Clinton says Colombian deal will not create bases

By Deborah Charles - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new U.S.-Colombia security pact that has angered some South American nations is aimed at fighting drug trafficking and terrorism and will not create U.S. bases in the Andean nation, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday. The proposal to allow U.S. forces to use up to seven Colombian military installations has fueled tensions in the Andes, where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his leftist allies oppose U.S. influence. But Clinton sought to ensure critics like Chavez that the United States did not have ulterior motives with the bases. "The agreement does not create U.S. bases in Colombia," Clinton said in a news conference with Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez. "The United States does not have and does not seek bases inside Colombia."
A senior State Department official said the plan combines a number of existing cooperation agreements relating to counter-narcotics, defense and security.
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August 19, 2009

Remarks Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermdez

Remarks Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermdez

Treaty Room Washington, D.C.  SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, and it’s a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome the foreign minister of Colombia to the State Department.  I’ve had the opportunity of meeting with him before on several different occasions, but it is always an important time when we are able to discuss the many issues between us.

Colombia is an important ally of the United States, and our partnership is based on mutual respect and mutual interest, and it’s a partnership that enhances the security and prosperity of both of our countries. Today, the foreign minister and I had a very productive discussion about how we will strengthen and deepen that partnership.

We discussed a wide range of common concerns. I asked that we have a chance to really explore our many different agenda items, and I thanked the foreign minister for Colombia’s leadership on both regional and global issues, including their contribution in Afghanistan, where Colombian troops will soon be helping the people of Afghanistan build a more peaceful and stable country.  We’re very grateful for their service and sacrifice.

 
We also greatly appreciate the role Colombian police are playing in Haiti and Colombia’s efforts to train security forces in the region, particularly in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. We discussed the ongoing situation in Honduras. The United States supports the peaceful restoration of democratic and constitutional order in Honduras, with President Zelaya’s return as president to finish his term.  We continue to believe in the need for a negotiated solution and feel that President Arias’s plan was an excellent one for resolving this crisis. So once again, we call on the parties to avoid steps that increase division and polarization in Honduras and needlessly place people at risk.

The foreign minister and I also discussed the bilateral defense cooperation agreement that our governments hope to sign in the near future. This agreement ensures that appropriate protections are in place for our service members.  It will allow us to continue working together to meet the challenges posed by narco-traffickers, terrorists, and other illegal armed groups in Colombia.  These threats are real, and the United States is committed to supporting the Government of Colombia in its efforts to provide security for all of its citizens.

I want to be clear about what this agreement does and does not do.  First, the agreement does not create U.S. bases in Colombia.  It does provide the United States access to Colombian bases, but command and control, administration, and security will be Colombia’s responsibility, and any U.S. activity will have to be mutually agreed upon in advance. The United States does not have and does not seek bases inside Colombia.

Second, there will be no significant permanent increase in the U.S. military presence in Colombia. The congressionally mandated cap on the number of U.S. service members and contractors will remain and will be respected.

And third, this agreement does not pertain to other countries.  This is about the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia regarding security matters within Colombia. Our hemisphere faces a number of pressing challenges, from the economic crisis to the climate crisis to public health concerns, such as H1N1 virus, to narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. These all demand our attention and our collaboration. And so the United States and Colombia are committed to working together and to making it possible for us to deliver results for the people of our two countries.  So once again, I want to thank the foreign minister for his visit and invite him to say a few words.

FOREIGN MINISTER BERMDEZ: (Via interpreter)  I want to say good afternoon to everyone, and first of all I want to thank the Secretary of State for hosting me here today along with my delegation.  I thank her, as always, for the generosity she shows when we come to visit and for the goodwill in our meetings.

The United States and Colombia enjoy a very close relationship, just as our personal relationship is a close one, and we hope and pray that this will continue in the future for the benefit of both our peoples.  We have discussed a very broad, very far-reaching agenda, an agenda that includes all kinds of topics like clean energy, the fight against terrorism, the fight against narco-trafficking, technology.

As you all know, Colombia has suffered greatly as a result of narco-trafficking and terrorism, two issues that unfortunately go hand in hand and to a certain degree have become synonymous.  This is a very serious threat that we are all facing, and we in Colombia know this full well, unfortunately. And also unfortunately, many times in different parts of the world, countries speak out against atrocities that are committed or they speak out against the assassination of people as a result of terrorism or narco-trafficking.

Unfortunately, not all of them are willing to lend the same hand when it comes to cooperation.  In the United States, we have found a partner who provides us with cooperation, who also provides us with very effective friendship and leadership in this area. It is important to be able to carry out efforts such as these everywhere.  Drug trafficking is something that we will make sure is going to stop, and it is only when everyone is cooperating that we will be able to achieve this. Colombia wants this completely, and we know that the United States will help us towards this goal, because this is something that is going to be of benefit to all of us, both regionally as well as on our entire continent, and eventually for the entire globe.

Colombia does not just ask for cooperation; we also offer cooperation whenever we can. As I have said, we have suffered, and we have learned from the lessons as a result of this suffering.  Therefore, we want to be able to help all those through global programs and anywhere where it is possible for us to provide our experience. We are doing this in Haiti, with Mexico, with Guatemala, with Panama.  We are delighted that we will soon be signing agreements with the United States on this very topic, and we hope that we will be able to embrace such agreements regionally as well in the future. Once Colombia is free of all these scourges that we are now suffering, everyone will benefit as a result.  I thank you, Madame Secretary, for this meeting today, for your kind words, and I look forward to continuing to work on our very broad agenda.

MODERATOR: We’ll take a few questions.  The first question is for Andrea Mitchell of NBC.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary, on another subject, what have you learned since your husband’s return from North Korea about the state of that regime, of Kim Jong-il, his health, the succession, and the possibility that this could, while a private mission, become a circuit breaker and open the door towards renewed negotiations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, the briefing that my husband and those who traveled with him have provided to us is extremely helpful because it gives us a window into what’s going on in North Korea.  But our policy remains the same.  Our policy is consistent.  We continue to offer to the North Koreans the opportunity to have a dialogue within the Six-Party Talk framework with the United States that we think could offer many benefits to the people of North Korea.  But the choice is up to the North Koreans. They know that we are committed to the goal of full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. So we’re exploring with our Six-Party partners, as well as other international partners, what additional steps could be taken to begin the framework discussions once more.  But it’s going to be up to the North Koreans to determine.

QUESTION: But what have we learned from that window?  What window has been opened?  You used the phrase "window."

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, right.  Well, that is up to us to determine whether there are some opportunities and some insights that can be used to try to create this positive atmosphere. But it’s truly up to the North Koreans.

MODERATOR: Next question, Sergio Gomez, from La Prensa.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary and also Mr. Bermdez, despite the explanations, the agreement has generated some turmoil in the region.  Specifically, President Chavez insists that it’s an aggressive plan and has announced that he will purchase even more weapons from Russia, and also place around seven new bases in the Colombian border. Do you think this agreement is, like, starting an arms race in the region?  Are you concerned about it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think I very clearly described what it is and what it isn’t.  I certainly hope that anyone who is speaking out about the agreement will take the time to understand that this is built on years of agreements between the United States and Colombia. Plan Colombia is a commitment that the United States made going back three administrations, if I’m not mistaken, to assist Colombia in its courageous struggle against the narco-traffickers.  And I think what the foreign minister said is really important. We all should be cooperating with one another. We should all be supporting each other in the fight against terrorists and the fight against criminal carters and drug traffickers, because they are so disruptive and damaging to the fabric of society. The assassinations, the intimidation that goes on is not just a threat to the country in which it occurs, but it’s a threat to everyone. So I believe that any fair reading of what it is we are discussing is about our continued commitment to assist Colombia.  It has nothing to do with other countries, and I only hope that people will actually take the time to understand that.

FOREIGN MINISTER BERMDEZ:  (Via interpreter) I just wanted to point out that I want to reiterate that what Colombia needs is more effective mechanisms of cooperation.  And this mechanism in particular with the United States is one that we have had for a very long time already. It is building on a number of mechanisms that we have been working on, and so the principles contained therein are very clear: the principle of sovereign equality of states, the principle of non-intervention, and the principle of the territorial integrity of states. These are very important tenets, and I think it would be extremely good to have more agreements not just with the United States, but with other states in the same vein.

MODERATOR: The next question, Kim Ghattas from BBC.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much.  I have two questions, if I may briefly.  The first one is about Lockerbie.  I was wondering how concerned you were about the fact that the man who was convicted for killing more than 180 Americans over Lockerbie may be released, and how much pressure are you putting on the Scottish authorities to convince them to not release him? And also briefly on Afghanistan, there’s an upsurge in violence ahead of the elections, and lots of reports of fraud and ballot-buying.  And I was wondering where does that leave the legitimacy of the results of those elections? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well as to the first question, the United States has made its views known over a number of months and we continue to make the same point that we think it is inappropriate and very much against the wishes of the family members of the victims who suffered such grievous losses with the actions that led to the bombing of the airline. And we have made our views known to the Libyan Government as well.  I take this very personally because I knew a lot of the family members of those who were lost, because there was a large contingent from Syracuse University. So during the time that I had the great honor of representing New York, I knew a lot of these families. I talked with them about what a horror they experienced.  And I just think it is absolutely wrong to release someone who has been imprisoned based on the evidence about his involvement in such a horrendous crime.  We are still encouraging the Scottish authorities not to do so, and hope that they will not.  With respect to Afghanistan, we have made a number of statements over the last several days supporting the electoral process, speaking out against the uptick in violence. I think one way you can view the violence is an effort by the Taliban to intimidate people from actually voting, to try to create an atmosphere of violence and fear that will keep people away from the polls.  And there are problems with this election, as there are with any election, but we still believe that it is the right of the people of Afghanistan to pick their own leaders.  And we are encouraging them to come out and vote.  And we’ve worked very hard over the last months to provide the security with the help of a lot of our ISAF partners and others who are present in Afghanistan.  And we’re going to hope that the election goes well.

MODERATOR: Last question to Maria Luisa Rossel.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good afternoon, Madame Secretary, (inaudible) Bermdez. Madame Secretary, the State Department has said in different occasions that Venezuela has not done enough to cooperate in the fight against drugs in the region.  Some experts believe that that’s the reason why President Chavez has criticized so much and strongly the agreement that your countries are going to sign sooner.  So I wonder if you agree with that opinion, and why other governments, like the Brazilian Government for example, has also have some concerns about the agreement? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t want to speak for any other government.  They can certainly express their own views.  But I do want each person who speaks out about this agreement to understand what it is and to recognize what it is not. It is certainly a bilateral agreement with very clear recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty and all of the other key principles that the foreign minister mentioned.  So I hope that as more is learned, there is not just an awareness of the relationship that the United States and Colombia have had for many, many years and our continuing cooperation on what we view as not just a threat to the two of us, but a threat to the whole region. But I would also ask that more countries actually help us, help us in this fight. Don’t just stand on the sidelines, and certainly don’t contribute to the problems by doing and saying things that undermine the efforts that our governments are taking to try to protect the entire region from the scourge of narco-traffickers.  So I think that people are free to say what they will, but the facts are very clear here.  This is a continuation of a partnership that we believe and the Colombians believe have helped to make life better for the people of Colombia. That has nothing there’s nothing more than that; that we want to make it possible, as it now is, for people to be free from intimidation and violence in Colombia, when not so long ago that was you couldn’t say that.  And I really applaud the Colombian Government, President Uribe’s leadership for what they have done against a really ruthless enemy.  Thank you all.

MODERATOR: Thank you  

U.S.- Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement Text

 
 
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August 11, 2009

El Fondo por la Paz de Colombia anuncia la la Celebración de su Primer Aniversario

El Fondo por la Paz de Colombia anuncia la la Celebración de su  Primer Aniversario

The Colombian Peace Fund -El Fondo por la Paz de Colombia - anuncia la Celebración del Primer Aniversario y la Entrega de dos subvenciones de $10,000,000 de Pesos Colombianos a los ganadores de la segunda convocatoria ao 2009 para las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro que prestan servicios directos a las familias y personas desplazadas internamente por el conflicto interno en Colombia.

Lugar  
Hall de las Amricas
Organización de los Estados Americanos
17th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington DC, 20006
 
Fecha   
Octubre 2 del 2009

Hora      
6:30 PM.
Colombian Peace Fund (CPF) o Fondo por la Paz de Colombia, es una fundación sin ánimo de lucro, creada  por Colombianos y Colombianos Americanos que residen en la ciudad de Washington DC., bajo el titulo 501(c)(3) del código de impuestos del servicio interno de rentas de los Estados Unidos. Los objetivos principales del CPF son lograr que los colombianos y amigos de Colombia que viven en el exterior, no olviden la crisis humanitaria que se vive en el país generada por el conflicto  interno de más de cuatro dcadas obligando el desplazamiento de millones de personas y que la han convertido en la segunda crisis humanitaria más grande del mundo despus de Sudan. El CPF recauda fondos a travs de donaciones individuales y empresariales para otorgar estos fondos recaudados a Organizaciones Sin nimo de Lucro u Organizaciones No Gubernamentales (ONGs) que están prestando servicios directos a las personas desplazadas en Colombia en las áreas de Salud, vivienda, educación y/o capacitación laboral.

La selección de ONGs que están prestando servicios directos a las personas desplazadas en Colombia se realiza a travs de una convocatoria o Concurso en la cual las ONGs llenan un formato, el cual, es posteriormente revisado por voluntarios profesionales residentes en el área Metropolitana de Washington, DC. Estos voluntarios no pertenecen a la junta directiva y conforman el Comit Evaluador. Para obtener más información acerca de las ONGs que han recibido fondos del CPF por favor visite la página de Internet www.colombianpeacefund.orgwww.fondopazcolombia.org  y dirigirse a la sección de información general de propuestas. 

August 10, 2009

NYT - Unasur Agrees to Summit on US Bases in Colombia

NYT - Unasur Agrees to Summit on US Bases in Colombia

South American presidents expressed deep concerns Monday with a planned U.S. military expansion in Colombia, but failed to reach consensus on a joint statement rejecting U.S. long-term leases on Colombian bases. The leaders agreed to hold a presidential summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, later this month to discuss the matter after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez raised it during a ceremony to inaugurate Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa as temporary president of the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, of Brazil, Cristina Fernandez, of Argentina, Evo Morales, of Bolivia, Fernando Lugo, of Paraguay, and Ecuador's Correa also expressed unease with the plan.

''I don't want to sabotage your ceremony Rafael ... (but) we are very worried,'' said Chavez, who added that he believes the bases will destabilize the region. ''This could provoke a war in South America,'' Chavez said. During his weekly television and radio address Sunday the Venezuelan president told his military to be ''ready for combat'' in case of a Colombian provocation.

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August 10, 2009

REUTERS - FACTBOX-Friction between Colombia and its neighbors

REUTERS - FACTBOX-Friction between Colombia and its neighbors

Colombia's conservative President Alvaro Uribe stayed away from a summit in Ecuador on Monday where South American leaders criticized Bogota's plan to host U.S. soldiers at seven bases for counter-narcotics operations. Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva suggested a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama to calm tempers, while the region's leftists such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez called Uribe a traitor and said the plan could spark armed conflict.
Following are some facts about Colombia's often thorny relations with its neighbors:

  • Coffee exporter Colombia's vast borders with its five land neighbors -- Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela -- cover some of the world's most rugged terrain and are ideal hiding places for the country's many guerrillas, paramilitary fighters and drug traffickers.
  • The longest frontier is the 1,375-mile (2,200-km) border between Venezuela and Colombia. The two nations also share hundreds of years of volatile history. After both were liberated from the Spanish by Venezuelan freedom fighter Simon Bolivar in the 19th century, they were at the center of a short-lived nation known as Gran Colombia that also included Ecuador and Panama.

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 http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN1045816620090810

August 10, 2009

TIME- Chavez: Military Should Prepare for Conflict

TIME- Chavez: Military Should Prepare for Conflict

By AP / CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER President Hugo Chavez told his military to be prepared for a possible confrontation with Colombia, warning that Bogota's plans to increase the U.S. military presence at its bases poses a threat to Venezuela.

Chavez has issued near daily warnings that Washington could use bases in Colombia to destabilize the region since learning of negotiations to lease seven Colombian military bases to the United States. (Read "Venezuela's Potty-Mouth President.") "The threat against us is growing," Chavez said Sunday. "I call on the people and the armed forces, let's go, ready for combat!". The former paratroop commander said Colombian soldiers were recently spotted crossing the porous 1,400-mile (2,300-kilometer) border that separates the two countries and suggested that Colombia may have been trying to provoke Venezuela's military. "They crossed the Orinoco River in a boat and entered Venezuelan territory," Chavez said. "When our troops arrived, they'd already left."

In Bogota, Colombia's foreign ministry issued a news release denying reports that soldiers crossed into Venezuela, after a revision of troop movements by the Colombian military. Chavez said Venezuela's foreign ministry would file a formal complaint and warned Colombia that "Venezuela's military will respond if there's an attack against Venezuela." Chavez said he would attend this week's summit of the Union of South American Nations in Quito, Ecuador, to urge his Latin American allies to pressure Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to reconsider plans to increase the U.S. military presence.

"We cannot ignore this threat," Chavez said during his weekly radio and television program, "Hello President."

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August 10, 2009

THE EXAMINER - Move over Disney World... the happiest place on Earth is in Colombia

THE EXAMINER - Move over Disney World... the happiest place on Earth is in Colombia

 
Somewhere near the bottom of my deceptively potent Mandarino cocktail, I realized that the happiest place on Earth is not in Orlando, Florida, but Chia, Colombia.
More specifically, the happiest place on Earth, at least Friday night, was Andrs Carne de Res. This restaurant/bar/nightclub is a combination of Applebee’s on steroids and your favorite steakhouse on HGH and your favorite dance spot on a six-pack of Red Bull. Outside, there are Christmas lights strung through trees and Moulin Rouge-style windmills. Inside, the dcor includes large dangling lighted hearts, butterflies, traffic signs, clocks, posters, video screens, festive party decorations, mannequins hanging from rafters, musical instruments, and well, you get the idea.
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August 6, 2009

La Embajada de Colombia estará cerrada para atención al pblico el 7 de Agosto

La Embajada de Colombia estar&aacute; cerrada para atenci&oacute;n al pblico el 7 de Agosto<p><font color="#000000"><img style="margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 10px" alt="" title="" src="files/images/Banco%20de%20Imagenes/presidencia%20logo.jpg" width="250" align="right" border="1" height="67" />Por motivo de las celebraciones de la Batalla de Boyac</font><font color="#000000">&aacute;</font><font color="#000000">,
la Embajada&nbsp; de Colombia estar&aacute;
cerrada al pblico el dia viernes 7 de Agosto.</font><br />
</p>

Por motivo de las celebraciones de la Batalla de Boyacá, la Embajada  de Colombia estará cerrada al pblico el dia viernes 7 de Agosto.

August 3, 2009

THE GAINESVILLE SUN - UF student group seeks to help Colombian kids

THE GAINESVILLE SUN - UF student group seeks to help Colombian kids

By Juliana Jimenez - Pablo could have had anything he wanted for Christmas - toys, clothes, money. But he had something else in mind. University of Florida graduate student Angelica Suarez, 25, told 8-year-old Pablo, a boy from the slums of Medellin, Colombia, to ask for whatever he wanted, and his "friends" from UF would do anything to get it for him.
"I want a hug," Pablo said, and Suarez says his answer changed her life. A year before Suarez met Pablo, when she was vice president at UF's Colombian Student Association, she found she "had a very big problem," she said. "I didn't like throwing parties for no reason."
COLSA was renowned for its parties, which attracted scores of people and raised hundreds of dollars, she said.
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August 3, 2009

NYT- Above the Clouds in a Secret Colombia

NYT- Above the Clouds in a Secret Colombia

 
By MATTHEW FISHBANE- AS crampons crunched ice, our guide, Rubará, raised his traditional woven sisal-thread handbag by his face and asked me to snap a photo. We were climbing above 17,000 feet, just shy of the summit of the Ritacuba Blanco, a glaciated peak shaped like a soft-serve ice cream cone, at El Cocuy National Park in Colombia. Aquamarine-hued icicles hung from the maw of a crevasse and, far below, clouds blanketed the Orinoco Basin.
The landscape stretched across dozens of ice-capped peaks and deep cirque valleys. Moraine lakes, formed by the natural erosion from glaciers’ unhurried flow and retreat, shimmered in mineral hues. Nearly 30 miles away, we could just make out the telltale church spire of the town of Soatá. Save for a photographer friend and one other guide on the ice field, no other people were in view. The February day was bright. I’d finally caught my breath.
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August 3, 2009

NYT - Venezuela Still Aids Colombia Rebels, New Material Shows

NYT - Venezuela Still Aids Colombia Rebels, New Material Shows

By SIMON ROMERO - CARACAS, Venezuela Despite repeated denials by President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan officials have continued to assist commanders of Colombia’s largest rebel group, helping them arrange weapons deals in Venezuela and even obtain identity cards to move with ease on Venezuelan soil, according to computer material captured from the rebels in recent months and under review by Western intelligence agencies.
The materials point to detailed collaborations between the guerrillas and high-ranking military and intelligence officials in Mr. Chávez’s government as recently as several weeks ago, countering the president’s frequent statements that his administration does not assist the rebels. We do not protect them, he said in late July. 
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August 20, 2009

Bogotá. Colombia es Pasión confirió el título Colombianos de Corazón a la periodista y presentadora de CNN ngela Patricia Janiot.

Se trata de un reconocimiento a los colombianos y extranjeros que por su destacada posición en el escenario intelectual, deportivo, cultural y empresarial a nivel nacional e internacional contribuyen al fortalecimiento de la imagen de nuestro país en el exterior. Doa Lina Moreno de Uribe y la Gerente de Colombia es Pasión, María Claudia Lacouture, hicieron entrega del reconocimiento en el Salón Bolívar del Palacio de San Carlos.

Esta distinción se ha entregado tambin al ex presidente Bill Clinton; al empresario, Germán Efromovich; a los deportistas Camilo Villegas y Radamel Falcao García; al entrenador de la Selección de Argentina campeona del Mundial del 86 en Mxico, Carlos Salvador Bilardo, y a los artistas Miguel Bos y Fonseca, entre otros.

  

August 13, 2009

The Colombian National Government  reports:

President of Colombia, lvaro Uribe Vlez, and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermdez Merizalde, will attend the upcoming meeting of presidents of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to take place in Argentina. The agenda will be diverse and the reunion does not imply a condition on the agreement between Colombia and United States towards succesfully fighting drug trafficking and terrorism.  

Spanish Version
 
El Gobierno Nacional se permite informar:

El Presidente de la Repblica, lvaro Uribe Vlez, y el Canciller Jaime Bermdez Merizalde, acudirán a la próxima reunión de presidentes de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur), que tendrá lugar en la Repblica Argentina. La agenda será diversa y la reunión no implica condición para el acuerdo entre Colombia y Estados Unidos, a fin de enfrentar con más xito el narcotráfico y el terrorismo.

 

August 10, 2009
Quito, agosto 10 de 2009 (MRE). Deseo hacer unas referencias respetuosas a los Seores Presidentes. Quiero, en primer trmino,  hacer referencia a la frase del Libertador Simón Bolívar que está inscrita en piedra a la entrada del Palacio de San Carlos, sede del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia: Cada Estado debe darse el rgimen que quiera y el resto de los Estados, respetar esa condición.

En este momento, hay profundas diferencias al interior de nuestra región, pero dentro de esa diversidad, tiene que primar el respeto y, por consiguiente,  debemos trabajar en lo que estamos de acuerdo y no, en lo que nos divide. El verdadero logro de Unasur es que todas las visiones  tengan cabida. Nuestra verdadera labor es lograr la unidad en la diversidad y en el pluralismo ideológico.

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Seores Presidentes, quiero hacer unas precisiones, reiterando lo planteado por el Presidente Uribe a los mandatarios que visitó recientemente: No ha habido, ni habrá bases militares extranjeras en Colombia. Ni las hemos pedido, ni los Estados Unidos piensan instalarlas.

Las bases son colombianas,  enteramente bajo jurisdicción  colombiana. Se permitirá un uso y acceso limitado a ciertas bases para realizar actividades acordadas contra el narcotráfico y el terrorismo, acatando el Derecho Internacional y con respeto a la soberanía de los Estados, sin afectar a Terceros Estados y en desarrollo de las Convenciones Multilaterales de lucha contra las drogas, contra la delincuencia transnacional organizada y contra el terrorismo, de las cuales somos parte todos los Estados Miembros de Unasur.

Colombia no acepta la propuesta de Bolivia en los trminos que está concebida, por las razones anteriormente expuestas, como tampoco permite que desde Unasur se pretenda excluir en forma selectiva la cooperación que, en el marco del Derecho y las obligaciones internacionales, brinden Estados democráticos a países de la región.

Sin embargo, estamos de acuerdo en que se convoque a una reunión de ministros de Relaciones Exteriores y de Defensa para que, en un espíritu de diálogo respetuoso, se analicen los acuerdos de cooperación militar suscritos en la región, en virtud de la autonomía que tienen los Estados de disear sus políticas de seguridad y defensa, y las situaciones de tensión que se originan en el tráfico ilícito de ramas, la actividad de grupos armados ilegales, y el armamentismo.
 
Si aprovechamos este espacio con transparencia, eficiencia  y respeto, podremos generar una atmósfera de confianza que contribuya a aliviar las indeseables tensiones que vivimos.

 

 

August 10, 2009

Bogotá, August 9, 2009 (MRE). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is allowed to communicate:

1 - Regarding the information published in the media today about the alleged crossing of the border by members of the Colombian security forces, the Ministry of Defense contacted the Commander of 28th Brigade of the  National  Army Command posted in Puerto Carreno - Vichada.
 
2 - The commander of the brigade, after making contact with all units under his command and the Marine battalions number 40 and 50 that guard the Orinoco river in the departments of Vichada and Guainía, confirmed the Ministry of Defense National that such information is not true  

August 4, 2009

The President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jaime Bermudez, will begin tomorrow a tour of several South American countries. The main objective of this tour, in which they will meet with other Heads of State, is to discuss the risks associated with terrorism in Colombia and UNASUR related matters. In accordance to the President’s directions, the tour shall be discreet in any declarations made to the public and the media and, as such, declared as mute.

President Uribe and Minister Bermudez are expected to meet with the presidents of Peru, Alan Garcia; Chile, Michelle Bachelet; Brasil, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva and Paraguay, Fernando Lugo. The agenda with the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay is yet to be defined.
 

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Spanish Version
 
El Presidente de la Repblica, lvaro Uribe Vlez, inició este martes una gira por varios países de Suramrica, en la cual se entrevistará con jefes de Estado para abordar los temas del terrorismo en Colombia, sus riesgos y los asuntos relacionados con Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur).
La gira será prudente en declaraciones a la opinión pblica. El Presidente Uribe viajó acompaado del Canciller Jaime Bermdez.  El Mandatario colombiano se reunirá hoy con sus homólogos de Per, Alan García, y de Bolivia, Evo Morales (8:30 p.m. hora local).  El dia mircoles 5 de agosto sostendrá reuniones con los presidentes de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, y de Paraguay, Fernando Lugo.  El jueves, el Presidente Uribe se reunirá con sus homólogos de Uruguay, Tabar Vázquez; Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, y Brasil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

 

 

August 24, 2009

LBC - Colombia Trade Pact: Free Stimulus

LBC - Colombia Trade Pact: Free Stimulus

By Benjamin Wolf  - The economic role of the United States in the Western Hemisphere is at a crossroads. But the proposed U.S.-Colombian Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), currently stalled in Congress for the second year, will expand a robust market for American goods and strengthen an important strategic ally. Failure to pass the bill will further undermine the United States’ tenuous economic influence in the hemisphere at a time of increasing competition from across the globe. We can no longer afford to sacrifice this sound policy at the altar of partisan politics.

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