first_img Obama “was expressive, determined, friendly,” Uribe affirmed. When he said a personal goodbye to Obama, the U.S. president was “very expressive” in promising that the free-trade agreement between their two countries would move forward quickly, Uribe affirmed. “Francisco (Sánchez) told me that they were going to give us a first installment. I told him, ‘Get started.’ We’re waiting to see what it’s going to be,” Uribe explained. “The risk here is for everyone, at all stages. I believe that this is a thesis that is beginning to be well received,” Uribe said in reference to drug trafficking. Uribe, who held bilateral meetings with Obama, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and other leaders, explained that he intervened in the larger forum on two occasions. Congressional Democrats, members of Obama’s party, continue to hold up the ratification of the free-trade agreement on account of human-rights violations and violations of labor-union rights in Colombia. Sánchez visited Uribe in Bogotá on Thursday, as part of a trip to Colombia and Peru. The Colombian president went on to affirm that U.S. Under-Secretary of Commerce Francisco Sánchez, during his recent visit to Bogotá, promised him a “first installment” of the free-trade agreement. “I expressly asked the European Union, the United States, and Canada to continue to list these groups as terrorists,” he went on to add, referring to the FARC. In one of his last international appearances before leaving office, Uribe wanted to send two concrete messages to world leaders: drug trafficking affects everyone, and the FARC, a Marxist guerrilla group, should continue to be considered a terrorist group. center_img Uribe confirmed that he spoke with Sarkozy personally about the case of Rodrigo Granda, a guerrilla leader whom Uribe released from prison in 2007 at the French president’s request. Uribe, who was also invited to a G-8 meeting in 2007, wanted to deliver a summary of the accomplishments of his administration, which is leaving office with high popularity and with the election of his successor, former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, who has promised to continue Uribe’s policies. Uribe reminded the G-8 leaders that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has removed Colombia from its “blacklist.” The free-trade agreement between the United States and Colombia, negotiated in 2006, was ratified by the Colombian Congress the following year but is still waiting for a green light from the U.S. Congress. By Dialogo June 29, 2010 Drug trafficking has ceased to be a problem limited to consumers and producers, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe declared at the G-8 summit, at which U.S. president Barack Obama assured him that the pending U.S.-Colombian free-trade agreement will be ratified. “The old division between producer countries and consumer countries no longer applies. We have 300,000 addicts in Colombia today. The developed countries, the traditional consumers, also have serious production problems,” Uribe explained to the leaders, as he assured the press following his invitation to the summit of rich countries (the G-8), held this year in Huntsville (Canada). Nevertheless, Uribe did not explain what he meant by a “first installment” of a treaty already negotiated as a single package by the two countries.last_img read more


first_imgBy Dialogo July 19, 2010 Chilean treasury minister Felipe Larraín said Thursday that he is not concerned about a 600-million-dollar deficit in a post-earthquake rebuilding plan, and he believes that any impact on the peso will be manageable. Larraín told Reuters in New York that the easiest way to close the gap, since the Congress rejected an increase in mining royalties, would be to make use of the profits from the copper boom kept in accounts abroad. However, he indicated, the administration could also opt for issuing more debt or for the sale of surplus government assets. Nevertheless, he reiterated that using the copper fund is not “a good way to deal with” the deficit and that it would have been better to obtain the money through the royalties. The administration has expressed concern that repatriating more dollars could create undesirable pressure on the exchange rate and on interest rates in the world’s largest producer of copper. “It’s certainly not something we can’t address. We can certainly deal with 600 million dollars when we have a sovereign-wealth fund of 11 billion dollars,” Larraín said during a visit to promote investment in Chile. “We’re concerned about the pressure on the currency, but we believe that we can sort things out (…) We hope to move forward without significant undue pressures, beyond those we have at present,” he added. The Chilean peso has fallen 4.8 percent against the U.S. dollar so far in 2010. In 2009 the peso rose 26.4 percent against the U.S. dollar. Chilean financial markets will be closed Friday for a religious holiday. Larraín predicts an inflation rate between 3 and 4 percent in 2010 and closer to 3 percent in 2011. The Chilean Congress last week rejected an administration proposal to adjust mining royalties in order to help pay for the 8.4 billion dollars that the central government is supposed to provide for rebuilding after the earthquake, in a significant political setback for President Sebastián Piñera. Nevertheless, the legislators on Wednesday approved the central part of a financing initiative that aims to pull together more than 3 billion dollars for the broader rebuilding package.last_img read more


first_imgBy Dialogo October 29, 2010 The sudden death due to a heart attack of former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner, who was sixty years old, led to sorrowful reactions from world leaders and organizations such as the UN, the EU, and the OAS, addressed especially to his widow, President Cristina Kirchner. U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted Néstor Kirchner’s “significant role in the political life of Argentina.” “On behalf of the American people, I offer my sincere condolences to the Argentine people and to President Cristina Fernández,” Obama declared in the statement issued by the White House. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his “sincere condolences.” “A friend of the United Nations, Mr. Kirchner was a national and international leader who believed in multilateralism,” he emphasized. The president of the European Union (EU), Herman Van Rompuy, said Wednesday that he was “deeply saddened” by the death of the sixty-year-old Kirchner, who died on 27 October of a heart attack. “Receive, dear president and friend Cristina, the affection of the entire Spanish people, which accompanies you in these moments of deep sorrow,” said the message sent to Fernández by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The Organization of American States (OAS) lamented the “unexpected” death Wednesday, at a meeting at which the ambassadors of member states observed a moment of silence in honor of his “life of dedication and work.” Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, very close to the Kirchners, lamented the “irreparable loss” of his death, sent a heartfelt message of condolence to his “dear Cristina,” and decreed three days of national mourning. “Ay, my dear Cristina … What sorrow! What great loss has Argentina and Our America suffered! Long live Kirchner forever!” Chávez wrote on the social network Twitter. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva decreed three days of official mourning and defined Kirchner as a “great ally and brotherly friend.” “I always had in Néstor Kirchner a great ally and brotherly friend. His role in the economic, social, and political reconstruction of his country and his efforts in our shared fight for South American integration were noteworthy,” he indicated. For his part, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera sent his “deepest and most heartfelt condolences to President Cristina Fernández and to all the people of Argentina.” Meanwhile, Mexican President Felipe Calderón lamented the death and characterized Kirchner as a “promoter of Latin American unity.” From Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos asked for a moment of silence for the “great loss.” Néstor Kirchner mediated in the recent establishment of diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela, to the point that he participated in the summit at which the two presidents, Santos and Chávez, agreed to resume ties, on 10 August. From Uruguay, President José Mujica was visibly moved and announced that he expects to attend the burial, along with the majority of South American leaders. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), headquartered in Los Angeles and known around the world for its fight against anti-Semitism and the Nazis, lamented the death. Kirchner “called for the investigation of the AMIA Jewish Center bombing” and advocated for human rights, the center indicated. The director of the IMF, Dominique Straus-Khan, emphasized that Kirchner “led Argentina” toward economic recovery following the severe financial crisis of 2001. “He will be greatly missed,” he affirmed. The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, expressed “great sadness” for this death that “leaves behind the memory of a man of action and conviction.” The Andean Community of Nations (CAN) expressed “its most heartfelt condolences,” while the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), of which Kirchner was secretary-general, said that his death “deprives Latin America of a key leader in building a region without exclusions.” Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and Costa Rica also expressed their condolences. Cuban leader Raúl Castro did the same, sending a message of “heartfelt condolences” to Cristina Kirchner and the “brother Argentine people.” For its part, the Peruvian government decreed a national day of mourning for 28 October. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that he was “deeply saddened” by the death of a man “deeply committed to his country and to advancing peace.” Finally, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, a former Catholic bishop, turned to a biblical phrase of consolation for Cristina Fernández. “I want to appeal to the Christian faith in order to remind her of Psalm 23, when it comforts us, faced with the immensity of the passage to our eternal dwelling place, with the sublime expression, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want,’” he said.last_img read more


first_img The right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), the chief opposition force in El Salvador, asked President Barack Obama for technology to prevent the country from becoming a territory of drug traffickers and corrupt politicians as “in nearby countries.” “We Salvadorans have the will, but we lack the technology that the United States has to prevent El Salvador from becoming a territory of drug traffickers, as is already happening, sadly, in nearby countries,” ARENA stressed in a letter addressed to the U.S. president and made public on 22 March. Obama was expected in San Salvador that day, for a two-day visit in which he met with President Mauricio Funes, whose administration is backed by the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a leftist former guerrilla group, to conclude a Latin American trip that already included Brazil and Chile. ARENA, which governed El Salvador between 1989 and 2009, stressed that the country also needs “technology that can support us in the search for transparency, in order to end the laundering of drug money and public funds.” The right-wing group also told Obama that “drug trafficking is stealing our freedom and the lives of our youth” and that “the unprecedented criminal violence we are experiencing in El Salvador is a result of territorial disputes among gangs and drug dealers.” The violence generated by gangs and general crime in El Salvador results in an average of eleven homicides a day. By Dialogo March 24, 2011last_img read more


first_img Ecuadoran and Peruvian Ministers of Defense, María Fernanda Espinoza and Pedro Cateriano, signed a cooperation agreement in Guayaquil, with the main goal of promoting the joint construction of coast guard patrol vessels in SIMA Peru and Ecuadoran state-owned ASTINAVE EP premises. The vessels will be initially constructed to have the capacity to participate in search and rescue missions, provide natural disaster relief, and support counter drug trafficking operations, as well as against other illegal activities that could take place in both countries’ coastal areas. The agreement, signed with the Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa as witness, intends to boost the Defense industry through joint projects, among which is scientific investigations and the construction of multi-purpose vessels for river use. The document has resulted directly from a meeting held by both countries’ presidents during the binational cabinet celebrated in Cuenca, Ecuador. During the meeting, both ministers agreed to favor Ecuador’s participation in Amazonia General Command, based in Iquitos, Peru, along with Brazil and Colombia, countries that perform military exercises and deployments aimed to work jointly in combat and against illicit activities in the Triple Frontier region. It was agreed to reinforce the Binational Border Commission, to establish an information exchange mechanism with Colombia, to continue cooperating in humanitarian demining, projecting the model at an international level, and support the creation of the South American Defense College in the UNASUR field. By Dialogo December 27, 2012last_img read more


first_img Anti-violence campaign By Dialogo October 30, 2013 Being involved with a man who works for organized crime can be dangerous, Borjas said. Women are victimized in different ways, Borjas said. The husbands or boyfriends of some women force them into dangerous activities, she explained. “ It is not uncommon for boyfriends, husbands or sentimental partners, who are involved in gangs, for example, to force their women to bring them drugs inside the penal centers where they are jailed. That’s when we see criminal involvement,” Borjas said. “ When these men dispute with each other, whether they are in jail or not, they settle their accounts and avenge themselves by killing each other’s women too,” Borjas said. “It is easier to kill them or their children as pay back.” The killing of Núñez was not an isolated case. The rate of killings of women – “femicide” has surged dramatically in Honduras in recent years. On average, one woman is killed every 18 hours. Between January and June 2013, there were 323 women killed in Honduras, according to the Violence Observatory, which is run by the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). That is an increase from the rate of killing in 2012, when 278 women were killed between January and June. In the entire year of 2005, 175 women were killed in Honduras. Women have been killed in different ways. Some, like Núñez Mendoza, were killed as they were driving. Other victims have been left on roadsides with their hands tied. Most of the victims were between the ages of 15 and 44. The victims included street vendors, lawyers, married women, and single mothers. In 2013, “the violent deaths of women have gone up,” said Grissel Amaya, who heads the Fiscalía Especial de la Mujer. “Almost two women are dying violently every day in the country.” Violence against women Organized crime initiations Sometimes, organized crime members kill strangers, women and men, as an initiation rite, Borjas said. “It has been known that criminals choose people who owe nothing to no one as targets,” Borjas explained. “They initiate killers with innocent people, that’s another reason why nothing is ever known behind the deaths of so many people that have no connection with drug trafficking or organized crime,” says the analyst. “It is an aptitude test of sorts.” Early on the evening of Sept. 9, 2013, Patricia Núñez Mendoza was driving her car through a heavily-populated Tegucigalpa neighborhood. She had just picked up her parents. Suddenly, a large SUV blocked her path. Three armed men stepped out and surrounded her car. One of the gunmen stood near her driver’s side door and fired a single shot, which penetrated her torso and ripped through her heart. “They are attacking us!” Núñez cried out. One of the gunmen, who was standing near the driver’s side door, fired a single shot Núñez’s mother screamed, “Help my daughter, help my daughter!” But it was too late. The gunshot killed Núñez instantly. Núñez’s distraught parents said they did not know why anyone would want to kill their daughter. Some women have been killed because they were involved with organized crime or engaged in other dangerous and illegal activities which would put their lives at risk, said Maria Luisa Borjas, a security analyst. “I don’t doubt some women participate in illicit activities,” Borjas said. “We have seen women participating in assaults, a video recorded a woman cold-bloodedly killing a security guard in a bank robbery recently, but they are the minority most certainly. The motives behind the murders of many women are unknown, Borjas said. center_img Different motives Drug trafficking The parents of Patricia Núñez have no answers regarding her death, and wonder if she was killed as part of organized crime initiation. She had no enemies, they said. Núñez had a good relationship with her boyfriend, and planned on marrying him. She was pursuing a Master’s degree and was not involved in any illegal activities, her parents said. Hi, my comment is as follows: when a large amount of drugs is seized, they claim to burn it. But not all of it is burned, rather about half is left to be sold. Maybe not you, but those who keep it and then distribute it to the other places underhandedly. That is my opinion. Núñez killing In other instances, drug traffickers force young girls and teenagers to sell small amounts of drugs busy regions of cities, Borjas said. Drug traffickers threaten the girls and teenagers with violence if they do not sell drugs. In recent months, organized crime operatives in Tegucigalpa abducted and killed a woman candy vendor because she refused to sell illegal drugs for them. In early September, just five days before the gunman killed Núñez, the United Nations and several Honduran community groups launched a campaign to reduce violence against women. The slogan of the campaign is “Brave men are not violent.” The campaign is part of a broader effort to fight violence against women in Latin America. Countries throughout the Americas are preparing to participate in “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,” which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 25, 2013. Victimization last_img read more


first_img Kidnappings in Haiti are often committed by gangs, Matul Romero said. Some Haitian gangs have formed alliances with transnational criminal organizations based in Mexico and Colombia, the security analyst said. The Sinaloa Cartel, led by kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is among the organized crime groups suspected of having alliances with Haitian gangs. Mexican security forces captured El Chapo on Feb. 22, 2014. Haitian gangs see kidnapping as a way to make quick money, the security analyst said. Kidnappers sometimes rape women victims, and often kill whoever they abduct, Matul Romero said. “The harshness of the kidnappings that occur in Haiti is similar to the express kidnappings in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Guatemala,” Matul Romero said By Dialogo April 07, 2014 Working with the community and the press Cooperation with a police officer from the United States has played an important role in the progress Haitian authorities have made against kidnapping rings. Haitian and U.S. authorities are cooperating in the fight against organized crime, primarily by sharing information. Robert Arce, a veteran police officer from the United States, worked with the Haitian National Police to fight kidnapping. Arce has more than 20 years of experience investigating kidnappings. He has worked with authorities fighting human trafficking and kidnapping in Mexico, Bosnia, and Iraq. Arce has also worked in the Antilles, where he helped security forces in that country “turn the tide on kidnappings,” according to a report published on March 5, 2014 in the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) blog “No Fear”. Arce served as an anti-kidnapping advisor for Haiti’s National Police under the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) from August 2012 to December 2013. Arce worked with an HNP anti-kidnapping unit that operates under the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ). The DCPJ recently sent some of its best officers to receive training in tactical operations and intelligence analysis in Colombia. Working together, the HNP and Arce developed a strategy to fight kidnapping more effectively. The strategy involves using cellphone records to track kidnapping suspects, and developing stronger ties between police officers and the community, so residents will be more willing to provide information to law enforcement agents. To help track cell phone calls, Haitian security forces purchased device which triangulates the origin of cellphone calls. The Stingray device cost $300,000 (USD). Arrests of kidnappers A strategy that is showing results The new strategy has helped security forces capture dozens of kidnappers. For example, on the night of March 21, 2013, at least 12 armed men entered the home of Pastor Patrick Villier, in the capitol city of Port-au-Prince. Villier was known for helping victims of the 2010 earthquake which devastated Por-au-Prince. The gang kidnapped Viller’s 12-year-old son. Police later found the boy’s body in a remote area of the city. He had been shot in the head. Working with information provided by the public, police arrested seven suspects, including the alleged killer. Within Port-au-Prince, kidnappers often operate in the Cité Soleil, Cité Militaire, and Bel Air neighborhoods. Kidnappers often transport victims in trucks or SUVs, while wielding high-powered firearms, La Razón reported. The HNP has about 10,000 officers. The government hopes to add another 5,000 officers to the HNP by 2016. About 2,440 UN police officers are part of the HNP, which was created in 1995. The UN has been recruiting Creole-speaking police officers of Haitian descent from Canada and the United States. There are 10 million people in Haiti.. The country has a population of 10 million people. The HNP was created in 1995. The HNP must continue to be vigilant in fighting kidnapping and other crimes, Matul Romero said. “The challenge for security forces is to be alert to outbreaks of violence in some neighborhoods, especially the poorest, where more than half of the abductions and murders reported take place. The police need more technological tools in the fight against crime,” according to Matul Romero. A need for continued vigilance International cooperation Haitian security forces made significant progress against kidnapping rings during the last four months of 2013, authorities said. From January to the end of September 2013, Haitian National Police (HNP) agents arrested 15 kidnapping suspects, according to published reports. From October through the end of December, police captured 72 kidnapping suspects, a five-fold increase. The number of kidnappings in Haiti decreased significantly in 2013, authorities said. In 2010, authorities recorded 121 abductions in Haiti. In 2013, authorities recorded 72 kidnappings. Security forces have continued to make significant progress against alleged kidnappers in 2014. For example, on March 12, 2014, a group of police officers dismantled the gang known as Base Galil, which was linked to at least 18 kidnappings in recent months. The gang collected about $2 million (USD) in ransom for those abductions, authorities said. The gang operated just north of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Haitian police officers and Arce worked hard to win the trust of the community. They spent countless hours talking to residents, and watched TV news shows to assess Arce and his team won the trust of the community. They worked closely with the people, spent hours talking to residents, and monitored Haitian TV stations and programs to assess the public’s willingness to cooperate with police investigations. Brunel Bienvenu, a Haitian-American police officer, worked closely with Arce. Bienvenu convinced local TV and radio news stations to create a 24-hour hotline which people could call to provide information about kidnappings. The hotline did not receive many calls at first. But as time went on and Haitian police gained the trust of the community, the hotline received more calls. Phone companies in Haiti are not required to share call records with security forces. Haitian police worked with the companies to develop methods to trace phone calls made by kidnapping suspects. The strategy Haitian police and Arce have developed is improving security, said Daniel Matul Romero, a security analyst at the University of Costa Rica. “The model that the U.S. police officer and his group have implemented is still operating in Haiti because it is an intelligence action that has shown results,” Matul Romero said. “The security situation can be described as relatively stable, which is also the result of better performance of the HNP. Between 2012 and 2013, there was a decrease by 21 and 53 percent, respectively, in the number of killings and kidnappings reported,” Sandra Honoré, the leader of MINUSTAH, told reporters on March 21, 2014. What the Haitian police is doing is valued. They are doing a wonderful jobs, keeping everyone safe, god bless haiti. Me encanta esa estrategia para capturar al secuestrador Kidnapping a ‘gang activity’: analystlast_img read more


first_img Can music help bring about peace in Colombia? Some of the most prominent musicians and singers in Colombia hope so. They banded together to record “Un paso por la paz,” a song which appeals for peace and harmony throughout the country. The song and an accompanying video were released in September. Carlos Vives, Juanes, Andrea Echeverry and about 60 other musicians from every region in Colombia participated in recording the song, which was inspired by “We Are The World,” the hit song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie which was released in March 1985 to raise relief funds for Africa. The lyrics of “Un paso por la paz” call on Colombians to imagine and sing for a country where war is finally a thing of the past. ‘Voices of the people’ The song has been well received on the radio and on the social networks. As of late September, the YouTube video has been watched nearly 350,000 times, and the hashtag #SoyCapaz has reached more than 7 million people on Twitter. To support the campaign, several Colombian companies have donated products such as milk and others have trained thousands of employees to publicize the “Soy Capaz” message in public places in major cities. The effort offers an opportunity to transmit a message to Colombians about the possibilities offered by a country without war. “A Colombia at peace will produce a new generation of Colombians,” said the members of the alternative rock band Pescao Vivo, who also took part in “Un paso por la paz.” “Maybe the changes won’t be seen immediately and will bypass this generation, which includes us, but when our children are born, they’re going to grow up with a different perspective on their country and that will change people’s mindsets and it will change Colombia. We’ll be more tolerant, less stressed, a generation that will stand up for itself in the eyes of the world, with a much deeper sense of love for Colombia.” I loved the song and the video. I feel so proud to be Colombian For peace, everything is welcome Everything that is done to achieve peace is welcome I simply liked it very much. I like the thing with the song 🙂 Peace is a concept that brings beauty to the soul based on healthy ideas. Good for the creators of such yearning for peace Whenever it’s for peace, it is an accumulation of efforts. I like it Precious and very meaningful. May God allow it to be carried out successfully for the good of that great country which we, the Puerto Ricans, love too.A I have always said that we have to give those guerrilla fighters peace, peace, they deserve every peace, peace that exists. They are a bunch of terrorists and people still don’t want to believe they just watch. Everything said is very interesting We love music, especially when the lyrics are positive. What a good idea! We should sing for religious tolerance, too!! =D I like it I love knowing that people are concerned about each other and this is an initiative which shows love for one’s brother. It is very educational To sing for peace is to sing for life This is really cool. We the Narcos rule You’re worth crap Dilma loses to Aécio in the second round of elections according to the polls. “ague”(incomprehensible) in Brazil “dimtodi”(incomprehensible) The FARC and the ELNs are not terrorists, you bunch of idiots! They are revolutionaries, the terrorists are those in favor of Uribe and the Colombian oligarchy led by beastly gringos!…. THE MUSICIANS’ ATTITUDE IS VALUABLE BECAUSE OF THEIR SOCIAL COMMITMENT TO PEACE. So they want peace in Venezuela and with you and your voice to be heard all over the world. Thank you for beautiful Venezuela THIS WEBPAGE IS ONE OF THE MOST VISITED BY CLAUDIA SANABRIA DE SUMASKI. SHE NEVER LEAVES THE WEBPAGE. SHE REALLY LIKES RECONQUISTA HOY, THAT IS WHY SHE SENDS YOU REGARDS TO ALL KISSES I’ve always like it. It’s like peace, you have to be at one with everyone else. there have already been too many deaths in the Americas Many people have died in Maturi because of the foolishness of the National Guard that doesn’t want to do anything Why don’t they get together and sing against prostitution, mafias, drug trafficking and hunger? That is a really good idea!! That’s how it should be for the clergy and the politicians. Get together and speak with one voice That was a wonderful idea. Colombia needs peace. We have lived through lots of pain and the death of many of our innocent compatriots. It is not fair, we don’t want more wars, we want peace…..I dream of a great Colombia, as a haven of peace and tranquility. Very positive for our country and to change the real imagery all of us those who love our country! share this article and, of course, the video with the song which is an example of our talent! By Dialogo September 29, 2014 While the government continues negotiations with the FARC, the Soy Capaz campaign is encouraging Colombians throughout the country to work for peace. The campaign brings together more than 120 private sector businesses, including several professional soccer teams, representatives from different religious congregations and 14 Colombian universities. The initiative has spread across social networks, such as Twitter, where public figures and ordinary people can use the hashtag #SoyCapaz to describe the actions and sacrifices that they are prepared to make in order to put an end to the armed conflict. “The song reflects the spirit of the campaign,” Benavides said. “The idea is that peace is a collaborative construction.” To produce the song, Benavides, who is a renowned producer in Colombia and abroad, recruited Carlos Vives, who agreed to write the lyrics in collaboration with the composer Andrés Castro. Artists quickly respondcenter_img The song represents a deep desire for peace among Colombians, said music producer Iván Benavides, who coordinated the project. “It’s a very powerful song that manages to convey a message,” he said. “The artists represent the different voices of Colombia. They are the voices of the people.” The song is part of the “Soy Capaz” campaign, an initiative introduced on September 8 by the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI). The initiative seeks to encourage reconciliation among Colombians as part of the effort to achieve an enduring harmony. Peace has been elusive in Colombia for more than 50 years, due to attacks by terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), as well as other illegal armed organizations. The battle has also had serious economic consequences. The fighting has cost Colombia about 230 billion pesos (113,240,891.08 USD) since 2004, according to Semana magazine. That is more than the country’s budget for 2014, which is nearly 200 billion pesos. The Colombian government is trying to end the conflict, through ongoing peace talks with the FARC in Havana. Federal government officials have also spoken about the possibility of holding similar peace talks with the ELN. ‘Soy Capaz’ encourages peace Next, Benavides began contacting dozens of artists throughout Colombia in order to try to coordinate the recording sessions. The response was immediately positive. “I thought it was an important opportunity to unite around the country, so that our talent could in some way serve to contribute to the musical memory of Colombia,” said Adriana Lucía, 33, a singer-songwriter who took part in the song. Lucía sings vallenato and porro, two Colombian musical genres. “Sometimes we artists are uncommitted and this is an opportunity to sing and talk about what’s happening in Colombia.” The project attracted artists of all ages. Ati Gunnara, 16, is an indigenous Colombian from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta who took part in the recording sessions. Leonor Gónzalez Mina, 80, a pop music singer from the Colombian Pacific, also participated. González Mina, who is known as “La negra grande de Colombia,” took part even though she had been convalescing at her home in Cali. A popular songlast_img read more


first_imgBy Dialogo October 06, 2014 Interagency cooperation, as a management tool of the government in socially vulnerable territories, has a long history in Colombia. This sort of cooperation among government institutions to aid regions affected by violence began during the administration of liberal politician Alberto Lleras Camargo (1958-1962), when the government operated the Multipurpose Groups, which brought together specialists whose mission was to travel to regions impacted by partisan violence and attend to their most pressing needs. These experiences continued with relative success, and found renewed expression in the National Rehabilitation Plan and its Regional Committees during the administration of President Virgilio Barco Vargas (1986-1990), when in addition to promoting social advancement in the regions that received aid, the government also worked towards getting those regions more involved in the national economy. Later, after several enriching experiences in this area, interagency cooperation found a new path through the formation in 2004 of the President of the Republic’s Coordination Center for Comprehensive Action, midway through the first term of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. The military, the police and all ministries were now included in this effort, which would also encompass oversight and international cooperation agencies, among others, with the goal of strengthening the government’s presence in territories under the influence of outlawed armed groups. In mid-October 2013, the idea of interagency cooperation received a strong push from the Strategic Renovation and Innovation Committee, CREI-3, under the “Sword of Honor” War Plan, which included the most important action items within the Armed Forces for the country’s current circumstances. While developing the CREI-3’s suggestion, the Commander’s Advisory Group, GAC, of the Ministry of National Defense – one of the driving forces behind the War Plan – advanced the formation of an Interagency Policy to manage agency consolidation in order to specify the government capabilities that could contribute to the National Policy on Consolidation and Rebuilding of the National Territory (PNCRT), in strategic, critical and grey areas. To carry out this policy, the GAC proposed integrating institutional technical capabilities (Comprehensive Action) with the government, the private sector, and international cooperation; to generate interagency actions (projects) at all levels, pursuant to government strategies and policies; and to formalize jointly responsible relationships among the actors involved in carrying out the policy While its role as an interagency coordination team is being formalized, the GAC is moving forward by working jointly with institutions such as the Administrative Department for Social Prosperity, the Special Administrative Unit for Territorial Consolidation, the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare, the National Police, the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation and, last but not least, the petroleum industry. Maybe s/he described something that already happened. Telling us how everything is planned, but leaving us a little short regarding what is next, what is being planned to equal or improve upon what was done in Jaikerazabi. One team In the last few years, the Seventh Division of the Army, with the support of a unit of Military Engineers, has been the driving force behind the idea of constructing nine indigenous towns in the departments of Antioquia and Córdoba, along a mountain chain that has been particularly affected by outlawed armed groups. The project has been a model of interagency management that has benefitted the indigenous reserves of El Pando (Caucasia), Vegas de Segovia (Zaragoza), Ciacoro (Apartadó), Nakirazabi (Dabeiba), San Andrés de Sotavento (Tuchín), Dokerazabi (Turbo), El Volao and Caimán Nuevo (Necoclí), which belong to the Zenú, Emberá and Tule peoples. In the middle of the warm tropical rain forest in northwestern Antioquia, in the town of Mutatá, a small indigenous village suddenly emerges from the mist. It is home to 84 “tambos,” or homes and other modern buildings for the good of the community, which the inhabitants call “the place where life flourishes with the perfume of flowers” (Jaikerazabi in the language of the Emberá, an ancient tribe indigenous to the area). From the air, the village – laid out according to the indigenous people’s world view – looks like a large board game with gigantic pieces in an extensive clearing in the jungle. The reality is a specific response to a collective dream in which the Armed Forces have participated since 2011, when an inter-institutional alliance was formed to construct, at the base of the wild Serranía de Abibe, a modern and permanent settlement for the Emberá-Katío, many of whom were displaced victims of violence, in order to aid their survival and development without harming their culture. Today Jaikarazabi, like the other nine, similar indigenous towns in that area of the country, is home to native peoples in an environment that includes a school, a playground, health clinic, a community center for meetings, a multipurpose athletics field, a center for the shaman, or traditional doctor, and walking paths. Jaikerazabi, which some have called “a refuge from the First World,” is the result of efforts undertaken in conjunction with the indigenous peoples, the Ministry of Defense, the Department of Social Prosperity (DPS), the Government of Antioquia, the department’s Bureau of Indigenous Affairs, the Corbanacol Social Foundation, the town of Mutatá, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), among others. It is successful evidence of interagency cooperation in action. The Ministries of Defense and Agriculture, as well as the Government of Antioquia, originally appropriated significant funding to the project, to which more funds were gradually added by other groups, such as the National Learning Service (SENA), indigenous councils, city halls of the relevant towns, and the Comprehensive Plan for Urabá, among others. The National Army, for its part, has left an indelible mark on the region. The indigenous towns refer to the then-Commander of the Seventh Division, General Hernán Giraldo, as the “godfather” of the movement, for making his flagship project the idea of creating modern living areas for native peoples. The Tule – in a moving rite of baptism – even granted him the distinction of becoming one of their children. This community, which received support from the government through the purchase of the land and grants of title to it, today has the happy opportunity to build a peaceful, planned territory, after learning in 2009 of a similar experience enjoyed by the Arahuacos of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. A long history and a new directionlast_img read more


first_imgThe Florida Bar Foundation sought the amendment as a way to increase IOTA revenues by broadening the types of institutions that may participate in IOTA.Under the plan, the Foundation, not the lawyer, will be responsible for initiating steps to implement the new rule and for monitoring usage of banks’ and financial services companies’ existing products available to non-IOTA depositors, in order to determine compliance with the IOTA rule.In accordance with the Foundation’s request, the court made the amendment effective July 14. However, the court said those institutions holding IOTA accounts and that elect to participate in the new rule are provided six months to comply with the new eligibility requirements.The new rule also charges the Foundation with the responsibility of determining the initial and continuing eligibility of banks, savings and loan associations, and investment companies to hold IOTA accounts in accordance with the criteria set forth in the rule.The old rule permitted only banks or authorized savings and loan associations to participate in IOTA. Under the new amendments, open-end investment companies will be allowed to qualify as eligible institutions in which IOTA accounts may be established. The amendment also allows the use of government money market funds for IOTA funds; however, only money market funds that are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are comprised solely of United States government securities are permitted. The court also said only those money market funds with a total asset value of at least $250 million would be eligible to participate.Executive Director Jane Curran said the Foundation will work directly with banks and savings and loan associations, which currently hold IOTA accounts, to implement the new rule and has launched an effort to keep lawyers and firms advised about the implementation of the new rules. (See question and answer column to the right.) The Foundation also will soon begin meeting with investment company representatives to promote the benefits of participating in IOTA and contact the Florida Bankers Association to again offer to work through it to educate and assist its members in implementing the new IOTA rule, Curran said.The Foundation also will contact the current IOTA banks holding the majority of large-balance IOTA accounts to:• Explain the new rule, including Foundation coordination on rule language with the FBA.• Offer assistance, including technical and reimbursement of reasonable up-front costs to modify sweep product remittance and reporting processes.• Provide an implementation schedule.• Identify eligible accounts.“We are going to approach the implementation almost the same way an agency would approach the implementation of a regulation,” she said.Curran said the Foundation also will soon select a financial services company to conduct product pricing surveys to assist the Foundation in determining initial and ongoing compliance with the interest and dividend requirement of the new rule.“This will not be an immediate change for banks,” Curran said. “It is our goal to make this successful with the least interruption in the practice of law for attorneys.”Curran said of the roughly 1,250 IOTA accounts with balances in excess of $100,000, the vast majority are at First Union, SunTrust and Bank of America.Under the current program total IOTA revenue will amount to about $11 million this year, and has been steadily falling since the mid-1990s as interest rates have waned and bank service charges have risen. At its peak, IOTA was generating about $19 million a year for legal aid, administration of justice, and law student assistance programs. Due to the combination of low interest rates and high service charges, the Foundation has been forced to reduce grants by 15 percent over the past two years. New IOTA rule could mean millions for the Foundation Mark D. Killian Managing Editor The Florida Bar Foundation may well generate another $17 million for legal aid now that the Florida Supreme Court has amended Bar rules to open the IOTA program to financial institutions other than banks and require those holding the trust accounts to pay interest rates or dividends commensurate with those offered to their non-IOTA depositors. July 15, 2001 Managing Editor Regular News “I think this is a heady time for this Foundation,” President Ham Cooke told the Foundation Board of Directors June 22 in Orlando, the first time the board has met since the court amended the IOTA rule June 14. “It is very, very good news, and I am extremely gratified and pleased by the court’s action.” Ham Cooke New IOTA rule could mean millions for the Foundationlast_img read more