lunes, 16 de junio de 2014

Guerrilla captain held in Colombia, camp destroyed

Colombian forces caught in recent days a captain of the Marxist National Liberation Army (ELN) who had fixed a satellite dish on his hideout to watch the World Cup, after a tip-off, media reported on 15 June. The detained, a guerrilla dubbed El Mocho Elkin and presumed head of the ELN's Luis José Solan Sepúlveda Front, had discarded the ELN's security protocols and put a dish on his hideout, described as "a comfortable house in spite of being in the forest" in Morales in Bolívar. The dish "attracted attention," though police only began to investigate the house after being tipped off by one of El Mocho's soldiers, Bogotá's Radio Santa Fe reported. He told authorities El Mocho irritated subordinates by telling them to bring food, drink, "women...and fine liquors" for him to enjoy through the World Cup period. Separately, the National Police chief Rodolfo Palomino rectified on 15 June the identity of a captain of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reported as killed a day earlier, and said forces had shot his chief security aide instead. General Palomino said tests identified the victim as the fighter dubbed Óscar Pino, head of security for the front commander Román Ruiz initially thought killed. Colombian troops were also reported to have destroyed a FARC camp in the district of Tarazá, run by the FARC's Front 18. The camp was "abandoned three days" before but may have been mined or booby-trapped as explosives were defused, El Colombiano reported on 16 June.

Colombians reelect their President

Juan Manuel Santos Calderón was reelected on 15 June as President of Colombia with just under 51 per cent of all votes cast, and vowed to pursue peace talks with the country's two communist guerrilla forces to end decades of civil war. With just over 99.2 per cent of votes counted late that day, the state registry counted 7,776,200 votes for Mr Santos and 6,881,490 for his conservative rival, Óscar Iván Zuluaga, El Colombiano reported. The daily observed that the President won a clear victory in the capital Bogotá and in northern regions on the Caribbean coast. The broadcaster Caracol provided a colour-coded map of the country, indicating the two candidates' respective votes in different departments. While the defeated candidate congratulated the President, his ally and mentor, the former president and Senator-elect Álvaro Uribe, alleged there had been fraud. He said in Medellín that the victory was the result of the "biggest fraud in history" including monies being given out to local officials, mayors and parliamentarians as incentives or to hand out to voters. In unspecified cases Mr Uribe said, communist guerrillas had threatened to kill those voting for Zuluaga, the broadcaster Caracol reported. Like similar electoral fraud claims on the American continent, his claims would be difficult to prove. Foreign dignitaries and heads of state swiftly congratulated the President in any case and wished him well in his efforts to end conflict in Colombia. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro, whose government is aiding the Colombian peace talks, said the choice on 15 June had been between "peace and no peace" and Colombians had "clearly taken the path of peace," Caracol reported.