Colombian Government, FARC Agree to Search for Tens of Thousands of Missing People
October 19, 2015 By Staff
Top Story — Colombia’s government and FARC rebels agreed Saturday to collaborate on finding the tens of thousands of people who have disappeared since the country’s armed conflict began more than 50 years ago.
The announcement addresses a key sticking point between the two sides in peace negotiations, which have lasted for nearly three years in Havana, Cuba. According to Colombia’s attorney general, 52,000 people have disappeared since the war began, but local victim groups say that number may be higher: between 70,000 and 100,000.
Representatives for both sides said they will create a special unit to search for the disappeared, and that they will release information to the families of the missing. They have also pledged to share information with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which will conduct its own searches for victims. Some 220,000 people have been killed during the war, the longest ever in Latin America.
President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the development as “another step for peace.” Officials have been holding peace talks in Cuba since November 2012, and are committed to a March 23 deadline for a final deal. Once an agreement is reached, it will have to be approved by Colombian voters before it can be ratified.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
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- Information acquired by Reuters has revealed that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan to limit migration into the country from Central America, dubbed “Frontera Sur,” has resulted in a 40% increase in migrant complaints of abuse by Mexican officials working in the National Migration Institute.
- In 2013, nine undocumented activists walked across the border from Mexico to the United States, demanding to be let in and granted asylum — a story that NPR’s Latino USA tells in full in their latest episode, The Dream 9.
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- Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has called for legal action against Lorenzo Mendoza, the billionaire CEO of the country’s largest private company, after state media broadcast his phone call with an economist who thinks Venezuela should receive a loan and “adjustment” plan from the International Monetary Fund.
- Two polls published on Sunday indicate that Argentine ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli could win the Oct. 25 presidential election outright — one week after a poll by the Poliarquia consultancy indicated that Scioli would likely face an opponent in a run-off.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff reiterated that she has no plans to fire Finance Minster Joaquim Levy, despite calls from the president of her own Workers’ Party that she do so. Levy faces pressure over the country’s spiralling recession and climbing inflation rates.
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