Colombian Military Kills 22 FARC Rebels; Santos Praises Attacks
September 20, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Colombian military killed 22 left-wing guerrillas Sunday during an offensive that involved an aerial raid and ground troops near the country’s border with Ecuador, according to the Colombian authorities.
The government “dealt a serious blow” to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels operating in the region, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said.
“Up to now, 22 narcoterrorists have been killed,” Rivera said in a phone call to President Juan Manuel Santos made public to local media, according to AFP.
The attack occurred in the Putumayo region close to the town San Miguel, where eight policemen died earlier this month in a FARC attack.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos praised the operation and said the military strike was “the biggest blow in recent times” to the FARC, according to The BBC.
Santos, who before being inaugurated said he was open to talks with the country’s left-wig rebels, has continued the hardline policy of his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe, in dealing with the FARC.
The FARC have stepped up their attacks since Santos’ inauguration, killing 40 security officers so far this month in a series of rebel attacks that some analysts say are intended to force the government into peace talks.
“This shows the country, but above all those bandits, that our people are not under their control, but to the contrary, responding with incisiveness,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in a phone conversation with Rivera, according to CNN.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Chances for immigration reform have dimmed with the upcoming mid-term elections, prompting Democrats to push a measure that would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrant students as a way to energize Latino voters. President Barack Obama said he is backing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to attach the so-called DREAM Act to an overall defense authorization bill this week.
- The largest newspaper in Ciudad Juárez asked the border city’s warring drug cartels Sunday for a truce after the killing last week of its second journalist in less than two years.
- The bodies of six kidnapped police officers, most of them dismembered, were found Sunday in a ravine in the Mexican state of Guerrero, bringing to eight the death toll from a mass abduction of policemen, officials said.
- Four Cuban political prisoners will be released and sent to Spain, bringing to 36 the number of dissidents liberated and sent abroad under an agreement between President Raul Castro and the Catholic Church, according to a statement by the church.
- Haiti held its second presidential debate ever Saturday, a sparsely attended event that was short on detailed responses from the candidates and disrupted by multiple power blackouts.
- Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic are investigating claims that an evangelical pastor in the Caribbean nation sexually abused 30 children.
- Honduras’ military says one of its helicopters has crashed during an exhibition for children and the pilot has died.
- President Barack Obama, faced with skyrocketing violence and evidence of growing drug cartel power in Central America, for the first time has named three of the region’s countries, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua, to the U.S. government’s list of major drug-trafficking nations.
- Hundreds of coca growers in Peru have seized control of a thermoelectric plant in the country’s interior, cutting off electricity to the estimated 430,000 people who live in Ucayali province.
- A poll in Peru says two women are the front-runners in the Oct. 3 election for Lima’s mayor, a post to which only men have been elected since the city was founded in 1535
- Venezuela’s political opposition is at a critical crossroads, trying to win control of the National Assembly for the first time in Hugo Chavez’s 11-year presidency.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner met to discuss the fate of ex-guerrilla Sergio Apablaza, whom the Argentine president was contemplating granting potential asylum.
- A child pornography video found in a Paraguayan prison was apparently filmed there after inmates blackmailed the families of the children involved.
- The Homeless World Cup kicked off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this weekend, providing a forum for 48 men’s and women’s teams to compete.
- Wedding planners in Argentina are adapting their business for gay couples, now that same-sex marriage is legal.
Image: ideas4solutions @ Flickr.