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TOPIC: colombia


Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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Karabakh Ceasefire, Zelensky’s UN Speech, Charly In Paris

👋 *سَلام

Welcome to Wednesday, where ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani officials agree to a ceasefire, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a passionate speech at the UN General Assembly, and King Charles III kicks off his first official visit to France. Meanwhile, Ekaterina Mereminskaya in Russian independent news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii looks at how Moscow’s manipulation of energy prices for its short-term stability may jeopardize the long-term financial health of Russia’s oil and gas sector.

[*Salaam - Persian]

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With The Migrants Forced To Face The Perils Of The Darién Gap Journey

The number of migrants and refugees who have passed through the Darien Gap reaches historic figures. So far this year, it is estimated that 250,000 migrants and refugees have crossed through the dangerous Darién jungle, mainly from countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Haiti.

NECOCLÍ — It is 7 in the morning at the Necoclí pier. Hundreds of migrants and refugees pack their goods in garbage bags. Then, they wait for their name to be called by the company that organizes the boats that will take them to Capurganá or Acandí.

Necoclí, a small Colombian fishing town on the Caribbean coast, has become the hub from where daily masses of people fleeing their countries set out for the Darién Gap — a tropical jungle route beset with wild animals and criminal gangs that connects Colombia to Panama. The journey to the UN camps in Panama can take up to seven days, depending on the conditions along the way.

In May this year, the US revoked Title 42, an emergency restriction imposed during the Trump administration. While on paper the order was meant to stop the spread of Covid-19, in practice it served to block the flow of migrants by allowing border officials to expel them without the opportunity to request asylum.

The termination of Title 42 has seen a dramatic increase in the number of migrants and refugees seeking the "American dream". According to the UN, more than 250,000 people have used the Darién Gap this year, over half of them Venezuelans.

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Pink Cocaine: Is There Fentanyl In Mystery "Dirty Drug" From Colombia?

Also known as 'Tuci,' the "designer drug" has been spreading in Latin America and globally over the past decade. But it's looking more and more like a dirty mix concocted by Colombian dealers with potentially devastating effects, particularly if it contains the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Updated Sep. 11, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.

BUENOS AIRESThe "menu" of options, sent via WhatsApp, arrived like it always did, Josefina (not her real name) recalls. Only this time there was something that caught her eye besides the constantly increasing prices. "Tuci," it said.

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Julio Borges

Don't Be Fooled By The Myth Of Venezuelan And Cuban Doctors

Like Cuba, Venezuela churns out doctors who are poorly trained and overworked. Colombia then lets them practice medicine in the country in yet another senseless gesture of political goodwill toward Venezuela.


BOGOTÁ — Venezuela's self-styled Bolivarian Revolution is a big-old scam. A scam in every way that has hoodwinked everyone, friend and foe, workers and employers alike. Lying is the system's very backbone.

Like a sinister fairy tale, thousands of youngsters seeking opportunities have fallen for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's deceptive promises, and none more so than those lured into becoming one of the state's Integrated Community doctors (or MICs). They dreamed of a career in medicine, but all they have had is a big dose of indoctrination from a ruthless system that has trained them not as medics but as party militants.

I say this in response to reports on social media that Venezuelan community doctors might be allowed to work in Colombia. The Colombian College of Medicine has already warned of the risks of certifying medical degrees given by institutions controlled by the Maduro regime. Its recent statement declared that "the academic training — in theoretical, practical and technical terms — of the MICs is highly deficient and precarious, as their trajectories have not regrettably produced the high educational and professional standards required of a health sector professional."

What folks in Colombia might reasonably ask is, what is wrong with doctors trained by the Venezuelan state practicing medicine in their country? More doctors save more lives, right? There is a logic to that, but the warning given by the College of Medicine is much closer to facts on the ground.

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Brigitte LG Baptiste

You, Me And 65 Million Chickens: Shifting To Sustainable Food Production, Without The Guilt

Industrial-style farming should certainly be reimagined, but not with a guilt-ridden assault on the livelihoods of millions of farmers, herders and fishermen.


BOGOTÁ — The bones of 65 million chickens eaten every year will leave a mark on the planet, with scientists and diggers citing them one day as evidence of our existence, alongside radioactivity and microplastics. That was the conclusion of a study from the University of Leicester in England, on the ecology of a planet dominated by human settlements.

Chickens, boiled, roasted and shredded, represent perfectly what we are doing to the planet, in material and symbolic terms. Mass violence isn't the preserve of terrorists, to be sure.

Over 5,000 years, this essentially flightless bird, originally from India, according to the Audubon Society, has become the main source of animal protein for people across the world. With their legs tied, caged or sitting in baskets, these birds eventually made their way to the most remote Amazon settlements and to our country's highlands.

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Camilo Pardo Quintero

Sexual Violence In War: Listening And Healing — And Never Again

Three women who were victims of sexual violence during the Colombian Civil War recount their stories of struggle and survival. They speak up in the hopes that the judiciary will open a new case to bring justice to them and many more survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated during the conflict.

BOGOTA – Jennifer, Ludirlena and Diana suffered a living death at the hands of their aggressors. It was their self-love and resilience that saved them, after experiencing sexual violence during the nation’s civil war.

The Colombian government forgot about these women. But now, they are champions in a battle towards justice and dignity. With different perspectives, they manage to find a connection, something that will unite them forever: advocating so that no one else experiences what they endured.

All sides in the war perpetrated sexual violence. But in the case of these three women, it was specifically the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and United Self-Defences of Colombia (AUC) paramilitary groups who exerted power over their bodies, through the cruelty of their crimes.

These were not isolated incidents and, to the shame of our society, they remain a massive, forgotten outrage.

According to official records, during the war in Colombia there were 15,760 victims of sexual violence. Of that total, 61.8% were women, and another 30.8% were young girls and teenagers. Unfortunately, underreporting plays a significant role in these numbers. Organizations such as the Network of Women Victims and Professionals, the collective Focal Groups - Men Victims of Sexual Violence and the British organization All Survivors Project estimate that the real number may be as much as three times higher.

The three protagonists in our story show how armed conflict has marked the lives of thousands of women in Colombia. They are three voices among many that have come together to demand the opening of a "macro-case," or investigation into sexual violence through Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which would uncover the patterns of sexual and gender-based crimes among armed groups which have devastated entire communities.

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Héctor Abad Faciolince

How Can Colombia's President Petro Still Sympathize With Russia?

Colombia's leftist president claims Russia and the United States act in "much the same" way in the world, disregarding the fact that only one of those states poisons or throws critics out the window.


BOGOTÁ — Life is full of silly little things that barely merit an argument, let alone a row. Yet people will knife each other for a soccer team. It happens the world over, in Manchester, Barcelona and Munich, as if humans had a vital need for antagonism that must, in the absence of war, find an outlet in sports.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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As long as these fans (or "fanatics," like those in politics and religion) whistle and scream and shake their fists without hitting anyone, I'm happy for people to drain their primitive urges this way. If violence is to be physical, let it remain at the level of gestures, and we can thank these matches for helping defuse, in broadly "peaceful" terms, our hidden ire and beastly instincts.

For thousands of years, humanity massacred itself for far bigger motives than soccer, even if they too were often the toxic fantasies and vile imaginings of somebody's mind. Wars over race and religion — with apologies to any racist or zealots among our readers — were inexcusably trivial, though not of course in their calamitous consequences.

I meant in their motives and justifications, like soccer violence. It is and always was crass to declare one race to be superior to another, as it is to attribute singular qualities to a soccer team. If one team is better, it is very likely for its generous finances, track record and organization, and there is nothing intrinsically superior in a team called the Barça, Real Madrid or the Kiev Dynamo.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin

Niger Closes Airspace, Pakistan Train Crash, Barbenheimer Records

👋 Bula!*

Welcome to Monday, where Niger closes its airspace after rejecting its neighbors’ ultimatum to reinstate the ousted president or face military intervention, Russian shelling leaves three dead in Kherson and the Kharkiv region and “Barbenheimer” breaks new box office records. For our special Summer Reads edition of Worldcrunch Today, we feature an article by Manfred Klimek in German daily newspaper Die Welt — and three other stories from around the world on food and wine.


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food / travel
Juan Manuel Ospina

Medellín: When Tourism Booms Are Bad For A City

Tourism has become big business in Medellín, Colombia, but it may also be fueling the city's worst sociocultural traits and encouraging drugs and abusive sex work.


BOGOTÁ – I seldom manage these days to visit my hometown and birth province, Medellín in Antioquia, because of work or for any number of other reasons. But the city will never cease to surprise me for, as I keep telling friends, we're a hard lot in Antioquia — for better or worse — and won't suffer mediocrity. Like every other bombastic claim, there is a bit of truth to this.

I am particularly struck by the way tourism has flourished in the city — if it isn't a passing fad. But it is a shoddy type of tourism, I must say: opportunistic, and eagerly fueled by local businesses. They see tourism as a new gold rush, which also fits nicely into local folk's natural inclination to be welcoming and receptive.

While their hospitality is undoubtedly sincere, so is their business sense. Where there's money to be made, we're on it. The mid-20th century president, Alberto Lleras Camargo, used to say that tourism turns regions into prostitutes. He feared local communities would end up selling themselves to anyone with money, burying their culture and souls, and sacrificing themselves on the altar of the insatiable idol of profit.

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In The News
Yannick Champion-Osselin, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Valeria Berghinz

Israel Pulls Out Of Jenin, Releasing Fukushima Waters, Hottest Day

👋 ¡Bonos díes!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where violence continues in the West Bank despite Israel pulling out of Jenin, Independence Day celebrations are marred by deadly shootings in three U.S. cities, and the world sees its hottest average temperature ever. Meanwhile, we look at how the death of a 27-year-old Polish woman in Greece has sparked a deluge of racist and sexist reactions back in Poland.

[*Asturian, Spain]

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Catalina Ruiz-Navarro

What Really Saved The Kids In The Colombian Jungle? Maybe It Was Faith

Much has been said about how the children's local culture helped them survive 40 days stranded. But there are indigenous people in Colombia who believe "natural spirits" watched over them, keeping them safe until it was time for them to be found.

BOGOTÁ — "Miracle, Miracle, Miracle!" were the first words Colombian soldiers said after finding 13-year-old Lesly Mucutuy and her younger siblings, Soleiny Mucutuy, 9, Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy, 4, and Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy, 1. The indigenous children had been lost for 40 days in the dark, dank forest of the southern Colombian department of Guaviare.

The children were on a plane which crashed on May 1; they weren't found until June 9. Their mother died soon after the crash.

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