Juan Manuel Santos.
Colombia, Latin America: Week in Review

Colombian Military Kills 22 FARC Rebels; Santos Praises Attacks

September 20, 2010 By Staff

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

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

  • A new book launched last week traces the history of New York City’s Hispanic community. Roque Planas reports.
  • Cuban-American composer and bassist Israel “Cachao” López is the subject of Monday’s PBS “American Masters” series. See the video here.
  • Molly O’Toole shares some images from her recent 852-mile, 72-hour trip across the Southwest border, from San Diego, California to Arizona and back in this photo essay.
  • At a recent talk in Washington, D.C. with Janet Napolitano and Hispanic leaders, hopes for immigration reform faded, while the Obama administration emphasizes advances in security. Raisa Camargo has more.
  • The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States is on the decline. Read about it at Alison Bowen’s blog, Beyond Borders.
  • The extradition of key Colombian paramilitary leaders to the United States is disrupting a historic amnesty program intended to demobilize units and deliver basic information, such as the location of bodies, to victims’ relatives. ProPublica explains in this investigative report.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • 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.


Central America


Southern Cone

Image: ideas4solutions @ Flickr.

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