Four FARC Hostages Dead, One Escapes in Colombian Military Operation
November 28, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story— Four men taken hostage over a decade ago by Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) were killed during a botched military raid in southern Colombia on Sunday. Colonel Edgar Yesid Duarte, Lieutenants Elkin Hernández and Alvaro Moreno and Sergeant José Líbio Martínez, who had been FARC hostages for between 12-14 years, were reportedly executed by the rebels as Colombian soldiers approached their encampment. Martínez had been the rebel group’s longest-held hostage before he was killed. Fellow hostage Sergeant Luis Alberto Erazo survived the firefight between Colombian troops and rebels, sustaining shrapnel injuries to the face as he escaped into the jungle. He was reunited with his family on Sunday after 12 years of captivity. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos strongly condemned the deaths of the four hostages killed on Sunday, but faces criticism from some families of kidnapped Colombians who said the military operation imperiled the hostages’ lives. On Thursday, Santos announced a new $3.7 million strategy to increase Colombian troops by at least 6,000 and police by 20,000 in an effort to bring an end to the country’s 50-year civil war.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican human rights lawyer Netzai Sandoval has asked the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate officials in the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón for war crimes.
- Mexican authorities arrested three alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel on Saturday and say the men have confessed to killing six people, including two bodyguards of Nuevo Leon governor Rodrigo Medina in June.
- Six escaped Mexican convicts were apprehended as they floated 60 miles of the coast of Puerto Vallarta after escaping island penal colony on the Islas Marias on Thursday on makeshift rafts.
- Latino Republicans in political office have faced increasing scrutiny to prove that their ancestors entered the United States legally.
- Margarita Cedeño, current first lady of the Dominican Republic, will run for vice president alongside presidential candidate Daniel Medina in the country’s presidential elections. Her husband, President Leonel Fernández, is ineligible to run for re-election.
- The U.S. Interests Section in Havana confirmed Friday that three shipwrecked Americans were returned to the U.S. after their sailboat ran aground in Cuban waters.
- The New York Post reported that Yele Haiti, the charity run by Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean, used only a third of its funds on disaster relief after the country’s devastating January 2010 earthquake.
- Thousands of protesters marched through Central American cities on Friday to protest violence against women.
- American citizen William “Wild Bill” Holbert, who confessed to a series of murders in Panama last year after five expatriates were found dead, returned to Bocas del Toro last week to reconstruct his crimes.
- A series of 700 minor earthquakes struck El Salvador during a 24-hour period on Thursday and Friday, damaging homes but reportedly injuring no one.
- A Venezuelan employee of news agency EFE was gunned down as he entered his office on Friday in Caracas.
- A reported 250,000 Colombian miners staged a national strike on Saturday to protest government policies they say privilege multinational corporations.
- The head of the EU delegation in Lima said that the regional bloc would support Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in his efforts to combat drug production and trafficking in Peru.
- The Chilean Senate on Friday approved the education budget after a 29-hour debate. The budget was opposed by students who have been striking for more than 6 months for greater investment in public education.
- Silvia Martínez, wife of Uruguayan national soccer team coach Oscar Tabárez, was attacked by assailants who threw a corrosive liquid on her face and arms. She was hospitalized for burns on Saturday.
- Retired Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo denied Sunday that he had been asked to head the country’s 2014 World Cup committee after Ricardo Teixeira stepped down.