Colombia News | Colombia Reports Latest news from Colombia 2019-01-21T20:57:57Z https://colombiareports.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Emily Hart <![CDATA[UN urges international support for Colombia in getting justice for Bogota terrorism victims]]> https://colombiareports.com/?p=190696 2019-01-21T20:57:57Z 2019-01-21T20:50:57Z The UN urged member states to “cooperate actively” with Colombia’s authorities in order to bring to justice those responsible for last week’s terrorist attack in Bogota. The statement by the…

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The UN urged member states to “cooperate actively” with Colombia’s authorities in order to bring to justice those responsible for last week’s terrorist attack in Bogota.

The statement by the UN’s Security Council calls on member states to “cooperate actively with the Government of Colombia and all other competent authorities,” “in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.”

“Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”

UN Security Council

While not formally accepting responsibility, the ELN on Monday justified the attack on the General Santander police academy on Thursday, claiming that the school and the cadets killed and injured in the car bomb attack were “legitimate” military targets.

President Ivan Duque on Friday ruled out resuming peace talks with the guerilla group, which he had suspended upon taking office last year. Until then, Cuba had hosted the peace talks, which is why ELN members are on the island.

Colombia’s foreign minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, claimed that the UN’s statement supports his government’s demand that Cuba, host country of peace talks between the government and the ELN, should extradite rebel peace negotiators.

“The Cuban government has an obligation to comply in the fight against terrorism.”

Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo

ELN justifies Bogota terrorist attack


Foreign correspondents were not notified about the press conference called today, 21 January, by Trujillo and Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos until shortly before the event, effectively disallowing access and questions.

Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez, said on Twitter that his country would act only in strict accordance with the protocols of the peace talks, including those taking effect in the case of a rupture of the talks, which were agreed upon by Duque’s predecessor Juan Manuel Santos.


Duque wants Cuba to violate international agreements and surrender ELN peace negotiators


According to the Colombian government, their demand does not constitute a breach of protocol. They argue that the current administration never agreed to sit down with the guerrillas and that, in any case, “protocols should not shield terrorism.”

The attack and its aftermath have deepened divisions in Colombia, where most had been in favor of resuming peace talks with the ELN, hoping for a negotiated end to the 54-year armed conflict.

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Adriaan Alsema https://colombiareports.com <![CDATA[We are the resistance and we will prevail]]> https://colombiareports.com/?p=190692 2019-01-21T13:30:46Z 2019-01-21T13:23:16Z The vast majority of people in Colombia have consistently been in favor of peace. Don't let the crazies tell you otherwise.

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The vast majority of people in Colombia have consistently been in favor of peace. Don’t let the crazies tell you otherwise.

After more than 50 years of war, political violence and terrorist attacks, there is hardly a person left who understands why the country’s corrupt elites and guerrillas insist on justifying violence.

There may be division between the fanatics on the left and the right you see on the news, but the vast majority of people don’t give a shit about politics and just want to live in peace.

We just want to go to work in the morning, come home at night and dedicate our free time to our families, friends and hobbies, just like the people in normal countries we see on TV.

We want to be left alone and not be bothered by fanatical bullshit. We want to dance salsa and eat chorizos. We are the majority and we resist violence.

We are the people, Colombians and immigrants, who are sick of the fanatics’ miserable excuses to perpetuate the violence that has all but destroyed this country. We are the people who don’t vote against peace or for corrupt politicians.

We don’t understand how kids have become military targets just because they want to be cops when they grow up. We don’t understand why our leaders are assassinated because they defend our communities’ rights.

We have been taken hostage by the crazies whose fanaticism is what you see in the news. We, the people in the middle, are caught in the crossfire between rival war-mongers we do not understand.

It took us four years to convince the FARC to leave us in peace and promote whatever their political ideal is like the rest of us, through the ballot box or not at all.

We have yet to convince the ELN and the “uribistas” to do the same, and eventually we will.

We are devastated by Thursday’s terrorism attack and are petrified by the systematic killing of our leaders, but we will not be defeated or recruited.

We are the resistance. We want peace and we, not the political fanatics, will prevail. Don’t let the crazies tell you otherwise.

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Adriaan Alsema https://colombiareports.com <![CDATA[ELN justifies Bogota terrorist attack]]> https://colombiareports.com/?p=190691 2019-01-21T14:53:34Z 2019-01-21T11:38:48Z Colombia’s ELN rebels on Monday justified last week’s terrorist attack in Bogota that cost the lives of 21 people as “legal within war law.” In a statement, the guerrillas did…

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Colombia’s ELN rebels on Monday justified last week’s terrorist attack in Bogota that cost the lives of 21 people as “legal within war law.”

In a statement, the guerrillas did not assume explicit responsibility for the attack on the General Santander police academy, but said “the realized operation on such installations and forces is legal within war law.”

The Academy of the National Police is a military installation; it is where the officials who later carry out combat intelligence, carry out military operations, actively participate in the counter-insurgency war and militarily respond to social protest receive instruction and training.

ELN leadership

The guerrillas said that “in our camps, that are bombed in the case of any neglect, combatants and officials are also trained.”

According to the ELN leadership, the military bombed guerrilla camps on Christmas day when the rebels were upholding a unilateral ceasefire.

So, it is quite disproportionate that while the government attacks us, it suggests that we can not respond in legitimate defense.

ELN leadership

The ELN asked President Ivan Duque, who ended peace talks on Friday, to rethink his position on refusing to talk to the guerrillas, whose leaders have been in Cuba for talks since last year and have repeatedly urged the president to resume peace talks he suspended when taking office in August last year.

President Duque, we would like to reiterate that the path of war is not Colombia’s future, peace is, and we therefore remind you that the best thing for the country is to send your delegation of dialogues to the table, in order to give continuity to the Peace Process and to the construction of the agreements that we brought from the previous Government; a path of political solution to the conflict supported by the majority of Colombian society and the international community.

ELN leadership

The attack on the police academy further deepened divisions in Colombian society where the majority of people supported a negotiated end to the 54-year-old armed conflict ahead of the attack, but were opposed by Duque and his conservative and far-right political allies.

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Adriaan Alsema https://colombiareports.com <![CDATA[Colombia’s defense minister announces internal investigation over terrorist attack]]> https://colombiareports.com/?p=190688 2019-01-20T23:58:33Z 2019-01-20T23:47:50Z Colombia’s defense minister on Sunday announced an internal investigation into possible security failures that reportedly allowed a car bomb to enter Bogota’s police academy where it killed 21 people. Defense…

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Colombia’s defense minister on Sunday announced an internal investigation into possible security failures that reportedly allowed a car bomb to enter Bogota’s police academy where it killed 21 people.

Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said that the defense ministry would investigate the claims after investigating who is behind Thursday’s terrorism attack.

The investigation into the bloodiest terrorism attack in Colombia in 15 years that spurred President Ivan Duque to end peace talks with guerrilla group ELN has been marred by misinformation by Botero and Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez.

Botero and Martinez had claimed that the attacker forced its way into the General Santander police academy while evidence suggests the car bomb entered the school campus without alert and that no alarm was raised until after the fatal explosion.


Car bomb entered Bogota police academy without raising any suspicion: reports


“The first thing is the safety of the Colombian people, after that there will be an internal investigation and that issue will be looked at.” said the defense minister.

More irregularities

The only piece of evidence that supports the authorities’ claim that the ELN is behind the attack also contains irregularities, a group of journalists working for foreign media, including Colombia Reports, found out on Sunday.

According to the authorities, a hand that was found at approximately 150 meters of the blast belongs to prime suspect Jose Aldemar Rojas, who allegedly died in the attack.

The ID number in the forensics report, however, does not match the ID number of the alleged senior ELN guerrilla.

According to Rojas’ national registry file, the suspect’s ID number is 14318507. The hand-written forensics report on the fingerprints, the only evidence linking the suspect to the attack, erroneously said Rojas’ ID number is 13318507.

According to the National Police database, the man who authorities claim is a senior ELN guerrilla has no criminal record.

Terrorists and Duque further divide Colombia

The attack and Duque’s subsequent decision to end peace talks with the ELN have raised social tensions in Colombia unseen during the peace process.

Former President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Juan Manuel Santos was booed by supporters of his political rival, controversial former President Alvaro Uribe, in Bogota during a march against terrorism promoted by the government and Duque’s party, the hard-right Democratic Center party.

In Medellin, a stronghold of the so-called “uribistas,” an anti war activist that took part in the march was assaulted.

Despite the promotion, many people stayed home after stating on social media they “don’t march with Uribe,” a former associate of the Medellin Cartel who has been accused of forming a death squad in the 1990s.


Colombia divided: thousands march against terrorism as others stay home in protest against war

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Adriaan Alsema https://colombiareports.com <![CDATA[Colombia divided: thousands march against terrorism as others stay home in protest against war]]> https://colombiareports.com/?p=190685 2019-01-20T20:59:51Z 2019-01-20T20:58:01Z Thousands of Colombians hit the streets on Sunday to march against terrorism while many stayed in to protest against President Ivan Duque’s decision to end peace talks with ELN rebels.…

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Thousands of Colombians hit the streets on Sunday to march against terrorism while many stayed in to protest against President Ivan Duque’s decision to end peace talks with ELN rebels.

A terrorist attack that took 21 lives in Bogota on Thursday and Duque’s subsequent announcement he would end the peace talks with the guerrillas he blames for the attack have deepened divisions in Colombian society.

The divisions caused tensions in Bogota and Medellin between supporters of the president and anti-war activists taking part in the march.

Former President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Juan Manuel Santos was booed by supporters of his political rival, controversial former President Alvaro Uribe, in the capital.

In Medellin, a stronghold of the so-called “uribistas,” an anti war activist that took part in the march was assaulted.

Many stayed home after stating on social Media that that they “won’t march with Uribismo” or because they were afraid of outbreaks of violence.

Unlike previous protests against the mass killing of social leaders, Sunday’s protests failed to draw major crowds despite a major advertisement campaign by the government.

Duque told protesters in Bogota he wanted to honor “a Colombia that doesn’t want more violence, a Colombia that wants to construct itself over peace with legality.”

Ombudsman Carlos Alfonso Negret urged that “we must unite for peace and not war” and urged to “continue looking for  dialogue with the ELN because we may never lose hope.”

The president has refused to continue to talk with the ELN, claiming that the 54-year-old rebel group is behind Thursday’s terrorist attack, the deadliest in 15 years.

Ahead of the attack, polls indicated that most Colombians were in favor of the talks and widely rejected Duque. The president’s apparent attempts to use the terrorist attacks to reactivate armed conflict spurred many to stay home.

Some centrist and leftist political leaders had urged to join the march in an attempt to unify the deeply divided country, but also failed to muster significant support.

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