Tag Archives: Juan Manuel Santos

Colombians reject Santos’ peace accord with the FARC guerrillas

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Colombians have rejected the charade between Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC terrorists, that was designed and directed by Fidel and Raul Castro. Well done Colombia!.

The City Paper Bogota

When the polls closed at 4 pm across Colombia, more than 34,8 million were eligible to cast their vote in the historic peace plebiscite. With a “Yes” or “No” on the ballot, voter turn-out was steady through-out the day despite a rainy start in most of the country. The Colombian capital had 12,078 booths set up to receive voters from 8 am onwards.

Colombians residing in 56 countries also cast their votes to accept or reject the Final Accord signed on September 26 between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla.

The first bulletin from the Civil Registrar came in 15 minutes after the polls officially closed reporting “Yes” with slight margin of votes (33,873) over “No” (30,070). By bulletin No.4 at 4:20 pm “Yes” had 1,623 316 and “No” 1,605 554.

Due to the heavy rain affecting much of the coast from Hurricane “Matthew” only 2,500 voters turned out in Santa Marta, than an expected 9,000.

In order for “Yes” to win and ratify the final accord with FARC more than 4,536,993 votes were needed. Colombia’s Constitutional Court approved the peace plebiscite on July 18 and lowered the voting threshold to 13% of the national total registered voters.

By 4:30 pm the “Yes” vote was narrowly surpassing “No” with 50,9% versus 49,9%. The voting threshold was met with the official bulletin No.6 at 4:40 pm with “Yes” leading marginally with 5,235 558 votes over “No” with 5,234 986 – a difference of just 546 votes.

In the Colombian capital Bogotá “Yes” surpassed “No” by 600,000 votes.

By bulletin No.8 at 4:50 the tide had turned against “Yes” with 91% of all voting across the country counted – “No” with 50,10% or 5,811 512 votes over “Yes” with 5,786 783 (49,89%).

By bulletin No.10 at 4:55 pm “No” maintained its narrow lead with 6,255 373 votes against “Yes” with 6,203 480.

The peace plebiscite aimed to break voter apathy regarding the peace process with FARC and that has lasted almost four years in Havana, Cuba, but an hour after the polls closed some 12 million Colombians had cast their votes.

After more than a half century of conflict, the plebiscite sumed up in one question the original six points of an agenda agreed upon by both sides in August 2012. On Monday, September 26, President Juan Manuel Santos signed with FARC’s “Timochenko” the 57-year-old revolutionary Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, the final accord during a televised ceremony in Cartagena and attended by 15 presidents and the U.N Secretary General Ban-Ki moon.

Colombia’s security forces confirmed that there were no reports of violence during the voting day Sunday.

By 5:10 pm the National Registrar released bulletin No.11 with “Yes” heading towards defeat with 6,270 730 votes (49,77%) and “N” with 6,328 501 votes (50,22%).

By the time bulletin 15 was released with the total national vote count at 99,25% “Yes” had lost the day by 62,350 votes (49,75%) with 6,346.055 votes and “No” coming in with 6,408 350 votes or 50,24%.

Upon receiving the news that “No” clinched victory Sunday, the FARC tweeted “We don’t have a plan B”. During the peace signing ceremony in Cartagena “Timochenko” assured Colombians that their objective is to form a political party and not return to war. On this historic Sunday “Timochenko” released the following tweet: We are convinced that all Colombians can overcome their difficulties and smile with hope for the future.”

With the large voter turn out Sunday across Colombia and a clear rejection of the peace agreement with the oldest guerrilla insurgency in the world, the political future of the 65-year old President Santos appears to be uncertain. Upon receiving news of the “No” victory, Santos called an emergency meeting at the Presidential Palace Casa de Nariño with all his ministers and chief peace negotiators. President Santos has staked his presidency on a “Yes” victory and mandate for peace.

All polls leading to voting day gave “Yes” a decisive victory over “No”.

In Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia’s second largest city “No” won with 60% of the votes.

In voting overseas, Colombians gave “Yes” a mandate with 40,907 votes (54%).

The head of state is expected to address the nation at 7:00 pm as a political crisis looms.

The war with FARC has claimed 260,000 lives during more than a half century of conflict. The future for the 13,000-strong guerrilla now appears uncertain. With the peace signing of their maximum commander “Timochenko” and Santos, FARC fighters were beginning to move to U.N.-monitored “verification zones” in order to hand-over their weapons and begin the process of reintegrating back into society.

The “No” victory at the polls Sunday October 2 means the 197-page Final Accord with FARC cannot be implemented.

Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela

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By Jerry Brewer  MexiData.Info

Cuba maintains one of its largest intelligence networks in Venezuela (and in Mexico). The late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela preferred direct access to Cuba’s security service, as indicated by cables that were released and sent from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to the State Department.
The Cuban security apparatchik remains a key source of Venezuela’s training for its military, and its domestic and foreign security services, as well as for the development and support of people and groups with terror agendas, and to restrain and inhibit opposition to the repressive leftist governments of Venezuela and Cuba.
Many blind eyes and ears are enraged when offered a peek under the espionage umbrella that reports what some believe are old cold war diatribes designed to punish rogue nations for anti-U.S. sentiments.
One good example is the skillfully exploited situation, the charade, by Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.
The efforts to end more than 50 years of conflict in Colombia, through the latest peace talks that began in November of 2012, in Cuba, clearly demonstrate the terrorist group’s desire to gain power and political office; to be forgiven for their atrocities; and to not surrender their arms.
To simply summarize and give credence to this rebel farce, Ivan Marquez, the lead negotiator of FARC, said that people shouldn’t hold high expectations for the peace talks. This as Marquez must see Colombia’s heightened frustrations with the FARC, and its empty words, shenanigans and murderous agenda.
In March, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos agreed to halt aerial bombing in recognition of a unilateral cease-fire called by FARC at Christmastime. However, he subsequently ordered air assaults to resume in response to a rebel attack that killed ten soldiers in April.
Since then both sides have carried out attacks, with the FARC renewing offensive operations and sabotaging roads, pipelines and utilities. Last week four soldiers were killed in northeastern Colombia when a helicopter dropping off troops was destroyed by explosives detonated remotely by the FARC.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, U.S.-based social scientists held a negative view of truces involving violent groups and gangs, believing that those kinds of agreements legitimized gangs, reinforced the authority of their leaders, deepened cohesion among their rank and file, and actually reproduced – rather than reduce – violence. Their perceptions had much merit as evidenced by MS-13 and other gangs in Latin America.
On June 24, U.S. President Barack Obama publicly stated for the first time that the U.S. government “can communicate and negotiate with hostage takers.” This will certainly add many new victims worldwide to at least the minimum of a vast multi-million dollar illicit business of kidnapping and extortion. Kidnap and Ransom insurance (K&R) is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide.
To further complicate the situation and continue the threat, Cuba and Venezuela are joined by Iran with a close and cooperative relationship against the U.S., and in support of terrorist groups and states. Much of this cozy relationship is facilitated though intelligence exchanges, and Cuba’s staunch and highly successful human intelligence network.
This network skillfully and masterfully controls Venezuela’s people via document control and logistics to forge travel documents and facilitate rogue agent travel through borders. Cuba has recently proven to remain adept at harboring terrorists and facilitating weapons movement in violation of UN sanctions.
In an act of profound bewilderment, The White House recently announced that Cuba will be removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. This “despite its ties to Marxist, jihadist, and other separatist terrorist organizations,” as stated in a Breitbart News lead last April 14.
President Obama said that Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism in six months,” despite the presence of almost every senior official of the FARC. President Obama also claimed that the Cuban government had “provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”
Regarding Venezuela, as with Cuba, there is a curious amnesia by President Obama and his advisors as to the misery and violent oppression, imprisonment, murder and disappearances in both nations. It certainly must not mean that U.S. intelligence has failed, for the international media is constantly rife with examples.
Estimates are that around 10,000 highly violent militant grassroots groups, called colectivos, have received training by Cuban security officials along Venezuela’s border with Colombia. They define themselves “as the defenders of revolutionary socialism,” and are a real threat to citizens that reject revolutionary rule and government abuses.
To demonstrate the reality and importance of this strategic and highly tactical operational training and development venue by Cuba, Raul Castro has sent in high-ranking officers – that include generals, commanders, and officials from Cuba’s Interior Ministry.
Cuba and the rogue Venezuelan government’s facilitation with terrorists must be stopped. Even the U.S. DEA has shown direct and growing criminal drug ties between Colombia’s FARC guerrillas and Hezbollah. The Cuban and Venezuelan government’s illicit criminal nexus must be a top priority of astute democratic government’s intelligence in the Western Hemisphere.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at www.cjiausa.org.

Andrés Oppenheimer: Maduro’s campaign strategy: a border war with Colombia?

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Eager to divert attention from a world-record inflation rate, massive food shortages and other self-inflicted economic problems that could lead to an opposition victory in the Dec 6 legislative elections, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is pulling a trick of last resort for embattled demagogues: reviving a dormant territorial controversy to stir nationalist passions.

It seems too crass, too obvious. But Maduro, whose popularity has plummeted to about 20 per cent, seems to have concluded that resurrecting an old border controversy with neighboring Guyana and, more importantly, a border conflict Colombia, will change the conversation in Venezuela away from the shortages of meat, milk and coffee, or from the sky-high inflation rate, which according to a new Bank of America report is likely to reach 172 per cent this year.
Maduro’s previous political excuses, including blaming Venezuela’s economic disaster on an alleged “economic war” by US-backed oligarchs, are no longer working. After 15 years in power, during which much of Venezuela’s private sector has been decimated and corrupt pseudo-revolutionaries have become immensely rich, it’s becoming increasingly harder for Venezuela’s radical leftist regime to blame others for the country’s collapse.
Earlier this week, Maduro announced that he will call for a “civic-military union” to confront an “international manoeuvre from the right to provoke Venezuela with border problems.” The alleged “manoeuvre” was led by ExxonMobil and Guyana, which announced a significant offshore oil find in a bid called by Guyana in ‘disputed’ waters in the Caribbean, Maduro said.
Shortly after ExxonMobil’s announcement, Venezuela issued a decree on May 26 claiming the Caribbean waters where the oil discovery took place as its own. But Maduro’s decree went a step further: it announced four “operational defence areas” to defend Venezuela’s sovereignty in several disputed areas, including an area that is claimed by both Venezuela and Colombia.
That, in turn, led to a formal protest by Colombia, whose president, Juan Manuel Santos, said that Maduro’s decree amounted to a “violation of Colombia’s rights,” and demanded that Venezuela immediately “rectify the content” of its decree.
Many political strategists speculate that Maduro might find an eager sparring partner in Santos. Colombia’s president, who made his mark by improving relations with Venezuela during his first term, might profit politically from escalating border tensions with Venezuela ahead of Colombia’s October elections for governors and mayors, they say.
“Santos is politically weak right now, and could benefit from playing the nationalist card,” says Mauricio de Vengochea, a Miami-based political consultant who advises politicians in Colombia and Venezuela. “We can’t forget that there is a big anti-Maduro sentiment in Colombia.”
In addition, Santos no longer needs Venezuela as much as in the past to reach a peace agreement with Colombia’s FARC guerrillas. Unlike late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Maduro doesn’t have as much leverage with the guerrillas, which allows Santos to take some distance from Venezuela without endangering his peace negotiations with the FARC, some argue.
A border skirmish between Venezuela and Colombia in coming months, most likely started by Venezuela, is not unthinkable, political insiders in both countries tell me.
Less than 30 years ago, on Aug 9, 1987, the two countries almost went to war when the Venezuelan frigate Libertad confronted a Colombian navy ship over disputed waters. Maduro’s May 26 decree that included disputed waters under Venezuela’s “operational defense areas” amounted to a similar Venezuelan provocation, many Colombians say.
My opinion: Maduro’s electoral strategy to win the Dec 6 legislative elections — in addition to a dubious election process in which he will monopolize television time, keep opposition leaders in jail under phony charges, and prohibit European Union and Organization of American States observers from watching the vote — will be to escalate border tensions with Guyana and Colombia.
Venezuela’s neighbors and Washington should not allow one single life to be lost over these artificially resurrected border conflicts. When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff visits Washington next week, President Barack Obama should cite the danger of a senseless border war in her neighborhood as one of his major arguments to convince her to step up Latin American pressure on Maduro to stop behaving like a tropical, 19th-century tyrant.
Inflating a dormant border conflict to stir nationalist passions is the oldest trick in the demagogues’ manual. But it has worked before, and Maduro is showing that, now that his blame game against the “US-backed oligarchy” has lost steam, he will use it as his main strategy to retain absolute power.

Stabroek News