After 10 Soldiers Killed, Colombia Resumes Bombing of FARC

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visits soldiers injured in a FARC attack in the Cauca region.(Photo: Effraín Herrera)
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visits soldiers injured in a FARC attack in the Cauca region.(Photo: Effraín Herrera)

Top Story — At least 10 Colombian soldiers were killed and 17 injured Wednesday in an attack carried out by FARC rebels, which prompted President Juan Manuel Santos to reinstate air raids against the guerrilla group that had been halted in March.

Santos declared the attack an explicit breach of the unilateral ceasefire the FARC announced in December. “The incident was the product of a deliberate, not fortuitous, attack by the FARC,” said Santos after he met with military commanders in the city of Cali. The attack occurred in Colombia’s Cauca province, and was the deadliest assault by the FARC since the ceasefire was declared.

Santos’ move to allow bombings on FARC camps is a significant setback to the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC, which began in 2014 and continue in Havana, Cuba. Santos did not suspend peace talks altogether, however, saying the attack highlights “once more the need to accelerate the negotiations and put an end to this conflict.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Mexico’s highest court has ruled in favor of a pre-trial detention policy known as the “arraigo,” and while critics contend the policy violates the civil rights of detainees, who can be held without charges for up to 80 days, the law will only apply to those accused of organized-crime related offenses when a reform takes effect in 2016.
  • Toyota has announced it will build a $1 billion auto plant in Mexico, where it will employ some 2,000 workers in the central state of Guanajuato.

Caribbean

  • Puerto Rico’s beleaguered power authority PREPA on Wednesday announced it had secured another 15 days’ worth of emergency lending, which will help it avoid a default as it works to renegotiate some $9 billion in debt, highlighting the troubled fiscal condition of the commonwealth’s government.
  • Following the historic announcement that the U.S. will remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, the two countries will hold talks over the status of a pair of wanted fugitives who are currently living in Cuba, where they were granted asylum.

Central America

  • Lawyers representing Costa Rica have argued at the International Court of Justice in the Hague that Nicaragua repeatedly disrespected a border treaty related to a disputed wetlands area known as Isla Portillos in Costa Rica and Harbor Head in Nicaragua.
  • El Salvador, a country with some of the harshest anti-abortion legislation in Central America, routinely incarcerate women for upwards of 50 years over miscarriages and stillborn births, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
  • Mexican-American photographer James Rodriguez captures the scars of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war — which ended nearly 20 years ago, but the effects of which still reverberate across the country — in photos featured in The New York Times’ Lens blog.

Andes

  • Ecuador’s booming economy may not last long, owing in no small part to the precipitous fall in global oil prices, according to an analysis by Al Jazeera reporter Harris Whitbeck.

Southern Cone

  • Brazilian Workers’ Party Treasurer João Vaccari Neto was arrested on Wednesday almost one month after being officially charged over his role in the multi-billion dollar kickback scheme at the partially state-run oil giant Petrobras, which has rocked the South American country since it was revealed in November.
  • Pedro Barrientos, a former Chilean officer under dictator Augusto Pinochet, has been ordered to stand trial for the torture and murder of popular folk singer Victor Jara by a U.S. judge.
  • Supermodel Gisele Bündchen has received a “blitzkrieg of tributes” in her native Brazil following her retirement announcement from the catwalk after 20 years.

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