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Geopolitics

Down But Not Out: Why Colombia’s FARC Guerillas Just Won't Go Away

On the 10th anniversary of the abduction of Ingrid Betancourt, the Marxist guerillas, although weakened militarily, continue to sow trouble in Colombia. They survive thanks to drug trafficking -- and refuse the government’s conditions for negotiation.

Resisting is what the FARC does best (SMORENO2007)
Resisting is what the FARC does best (SMORENO2007)
Marie Delcas

BOGOTA Ten years ago, on Feb. 23, 2002, Colombia's Green party presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, was taken hostage by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an armed Marxist organization that is considered the oldest guerilla group in South America. Three days earlier, Bogota had put an end to peace talks that had been going nowhere for three years. War resumed – and in fact continues to this day. Ingrid Betancourt was freed by a well-executed military operation in July 2008.

In 2002, the FARC was holding some 60 hostages. By now, that number is down to 11. The others having been freed by the army or released by the guerillas. Four were shot at point blank range by the hostage takers on Nov. 26, 2011. Like his predecessor Alvaro Uribe, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos refuses to negotiate for the release of the hostages still in captivity, even though these are all soldiers captured in combat.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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