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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 142,605

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Uruguay Says Guantanamo Inmates In Uruguay Can Leave Whenever They Wish

Uruguay Says Guantanamo Inmates In Uruguay Can Leave Whenever They Wish

MONTEVIDEO, Dec 8 ( BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS) -- The detainees from Guantanamo Base in Cuba that arrived in Uruguay on Sunday as part of an agreement with the US, "can leave the country whenever they wish", since they come as 'refugees', announced President Jose Mujica.

In an interview with the Ecuadorean government television channel, Mujica revealed that Uruguay did not accept the US demand that the six detainees freed from Guantanamo must remain in the country for at least two years.

"For me, the institute of refugee is one of the most noble institutions that makes humanity viable. Because there will always be people that want, need to run away" said the Uruguayan leader. He added that Guantanamo "is not a jail, it's a kidnapping nest, because a jail means some rule of the law system; the presence of prosecutors; some magistrate's decision, whatever it is, and a minimum reference to some legal point of view.

"Of that there is nothing".

Mujica said that if this situation had been in some other country, human rights organizations and the UN would be very much mobilized, but "the big are the big" in clear reference to the US.

However he pledged to continue criticizing the US interventionism and 'abuses', but at the same time admitted he would feel a 'coward' if he didn't do something for the imprisoned in Guantanamo, particularly when "there is a president (Obama) who wants to finish with this great miserable mess he received; to turn a back on him would be cowardice when one thinks this way".

More:
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/wn/newsworld.php?id=1091645

Argentina Plaza de Mayo group finds junta-era child


5 December 2014 Last updated at 02:29 ET
Argentina Plaza de Mayo group finds junta-era child

An Argentine campaign group says it has found another child of political prisoners detained and killed under junta military rule in the 1970s.

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo organisation says the total number of children it has found is now 116.

The group's president, Estela Carlotto, said the young person they found was raised in the home of a doctor.

The junta snatched hundreds of babies from their opponents and gave them to sympathisers to bring up.

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo was formed to reunite biological parents and grandparents with hundreds of children born in prisons and torture centres.

The organisation said the parents of the "116th child" found were a student couple, named Hugo Alberto Castro and Ana Rubel.

They were kidnapped in 1977 and taken to the largest interrogation and torture centre in Argentina, the infamous naval training school, ESMA, which lies just outside Buenos Aires.

More:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30341617

Medellin crime lord gets house arrest just in time for Christmas

Medellin crime lord gets house arrest just in time for Christmas
Dec 8, 2014 posted by Piotr Wojciak



Another top boss of the Oficina de Envigado, considered one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Colombia, has been released from prison and put on house arrest over the weekend.

A judge from Valledupar, a city in northeastern Colombia, announced this weekend that the request of Freyner Alfonso Garcia Ramirez, alias “Carlos Pesebre” to change his prison sentence to house arrest will be granted.

Pesebre is one of the leaders of the notorious Oficina de Envigado paramilitary organization, dedicated to drug-trafficking, extortion, money laundering and contract killing. The Oficina is named after the municipality of Envigado in the south of Medellin were it was born.

On the request of the defense, the judge granted Pesebre house arrest explaining that the subject is “the head of a family and jurisprudence must ensure the protection of children.” This means that the kingpin, sentenced to nine years of prison for criminal conspiracy, will walk out of jail on December 9 and spend the upcoming Christmas at home.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/medellin-crime-lord-gets-house-arrest-just-time-christmas/

Friendship bridge over Dajabon Massacre River

Friendship bridge over Dajabon Massacre River

Central American town prospers as a trading hub between Dominican Republic and Haiti despite a haunting past.

Joe Jackson Last updated: 06 Dec 2014 13:53


[font size=1]
The bustling Dajabon border crossing opens Dominican markets to Haitians [Joe Jackson/Al Jazeera]
[/font]
Dajabon, Dominican Republic - Signs of the nearby Haitian border materialise long before one reaches this remote frontier town.

Women walk with buckets of goods on their heads. Men balance bulbous loads across motorcycle handlebars. Soldiers guard intermittent checkpoints on the main road.

A 388km border divides the island of Hispaniola into two countries: the Dominican Republic - which occupies the eastern two-thirds - and Haiti.

Trade and security are ubiquitous issues along the boundary of these former Spanish and French territories with a history of post-colonial conflict.

In Dajabon - home to about 25,000 people - the brown waters of the Massacre River separate the town from its larger Haitian counterpart, Ouanaminthe. The river's name stems from a colonial era slaughter of French buccaneers, but it ran red with blood again in 1937 after the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the mass killing of Haitians.

More:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/12/friendship-bridge-over-dajabon-massacre-river-2014122123024593550.html

Latin American nations launch 2020 land restoration plan

Latin American nations launch 2020 land restoration plan
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Sun, 7 Dec 2014 22:18 GMT
Author: Megan Rowling

LIMA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Latin American and Caribbean countries will begin restoring over 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2020, backed by up to $365 million of new financing, governments and their partners said on Sunday.

Under the "Initiative 20x20", Mexico plans to restore 8.5 million hectares of land, Peru 3.2 million hectares, Guatemala 1.2 million hectares and Colombia 1 million hectares. Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica and two regional programmes will account for the rest.

The total of 20.5 million hectares represents an area larger than Uruguay, and is 10 percent of the 200 million hectares that could be restored in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to research groups. More land may be added to the initiative in the future.

The land restoration programme will help avoid deforestation, plant new trees, store carbon, make agriculture more productive and improve people's livelihoods, according to a statement from the initiative.

“Land restoration in the region is an essential element to promote equity, poverty reduction (and) alternatives for development in poor rural areas as well as a mechanism to achieve a low-carbon, more resilient future,” said Gabriel Vallejo, Colombia's minister of environment.

More:
http://www.trust.org/item/20141207221808-zed0k/

New versions of events surrounding General Alzate’s capture surge

New versions of events surrounding General Alzate’s capture surge
Dec 5, 2014 posted by Robin Llewellyn

Doubts continue to grow over inconsistencies between accounts of the capture of General Ruben Dario Alzate by the FARC. While the general claims to have been captured at gunpoint by FARC guerrillas in the hamlet of Las Mercedes, local accounts claim that he left the community peacefully.

Politicians and security experts have been asking why the general came to be unarmed and without a security escort in one of the Colombian regions most vulnerable to guerrilla influence.

Former president Alvaro Uribe first broke the news of the general’s capture, using a version of events allegedly provided by a soldier present at the scene. This version of events claimed that FARC guerrillas emerged from the houses to surprise the unarmed general who had visited the hamlet to discuss development projects. Alzate was reportedly searched and then forced to board a boat.

That version of events was supported by the General’s account after his release.

Speaking on 1 December, Alzate claims that he visited Las Mercedes to discuss an alternative energy project that would have installed turbines in the Atrato River to generate electricity. He misinformed the army over his route and destination, and then dressed in civilian clothes and proceeded unarmed in order to develop trust in the community. After entering the village at 4PM on November 16 his group was surprised by four FARC guerrillas carrying rifles, led by alias “Chaverra” of the 34th Front.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/new-versions-events-surrounding-general-alzates-capture-surge/

The latest drug trafficking gadget: the torpedo

The latest drug trafficking gadget: the torpedo
Dec 5, 2014 posted by Robin Llewellyn

A semi-submersible, four meter long “torpedo” which could traffic 200 kg of cocaine to central America has been seized by the navy on Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Colonel Carlos Mario Diaz, Commander of the Second Marine Brigade, told the Associated Press that the seizure is the first of its kind in Colombia.

The vessel can be powered by electric batteries or diesel, and Diaz described it as “a semi-submersible torpedo — four meters long by two wide, which has an internal capacity to accommodate approximately 200 kg of cocaine hydro-chloride”.

The torpedo was constructed out of PVC and fiberglass, and could navigate for ten hours. It was discovered during an operation against three camps of a renegade group of the Rastrojos criminal group, but no arrests have yet been made. The organization historically controlled drug-trafficking routes up the Pacific coast, but in 2013 suffered devastating set-backs at the hands of law-enforcement agencies and through attacks by the rival Urabenos gang.

The camps had the capacity to house 30 people. A longboat with an Ecuadorian registration plate was found with the torpedo.

http://colombiareports.co/latest-drug-trafficking-gadget-torpedo/

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
History of the Rastrojos:

~ snip ~

In December 2004, the Catatumbo Bloc of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) demobilized under an agreement signed with the government of President Álvaro Uribe. The Catatumbo Bloc was created in the late 1990s when several local paramilitary groups merged and were then incorporated into the AUC. The leader of the Bloc was Salvatore Mancuso, who would later also become the head of the AUC. The Bloc’s objective was to gain control over Norte de Santander, which had been dominated by the FARC’s 33rd Front for decades. The Bloc quickly made its presence felt in 1999 with the massacre of 20 people in La Gabarra in the municipality of Tibú. Over the next five years, the group, in collusion with the Colombian Army, waged a campaign of terror in its effort to cleanse the region of guerrillas. During this period, more than 5,000 people were killed, over 200 were disappeared and some 40,000 forcibly displaced.1

The Catatumbo Bloc was killing so many people that government officials working in collusion with the paramilitaries pressured the militia group into concealing the magnitude of the violence it was perpetrating. According to Mancuso, the Bloc began building large ovens in order to incinerate the bodies of its victims. The first oven was constructed in 2001 and 98 corpses were cremated. Hundreds more bodies were incinerated during the ensuing years.2 Meanwhile, at the same time that the Catatumbo Bloc was waging its dirty war in Norte de Santander, it was also consolidating its control over drug trafficking activities in the region. Coca cultivation was abundant in the remote rural zones and it has been estimated that the value of the cocaine produced in the Catatumbo region amounts to $8 million a week.3

When the Catatumbo Bloc demobilized at the end of 2004, control over the region’s drug production and trafficking fell into the hands of those paramilitaries who refused to participate in the demobilization process. Within a couple of years, these former AUC fighters had formed a group known as the Black Eagles. Meanwhile, another neo-paramilitary group called Los Rastrojos had been formed in southwestern Colombia by former AUC fighters and ex-members of the Norte de Valle drug trafficking cartel. Los Rastrojos quickly expanded their presence throughout the country from six departments in 2008 to 22 two years later.4

The group arrived in Norte de Santander in 2009 and the relative peace that the region had enjoyed following the demobilization of the AUC was shattered. The number of murders soared that year as Los Rastrojos sought to violently displace the Black Eagles and seize control of the region’s lucrative drug producing and trafficking operations. The principal town in the Catatumbo region, Ocaña, experienced 40 selective assassinations in 2009, according to Captain Sergio Jiménez of the local detachment of the National Police. The number of killings in Ocaña halved the following year due to an increased presence of state security forces and the fact that Los Rastrojos had succeeded in their quest to defeat the Black Eagles and become the dominant neo-paramilitary group in the region. Ultimately, many members of the Eagles switched sides and joined the ranks of the newly dominant group. During this period, members of another neo-paramilitary group, Los Urabeños, originally formed in northwestern Colombia, also established a presence in the northern part of the Catatumbo region and in the department of Cesar. Many of the local members of Los Urabeños are former fighters from the AUC’s Northern Bloc.

More:
https://nacla.org/news/2012/2/10/shifting-contours-colombia%E2%80%99s-armed-conflict

The latest drug trafficking gadget: the torpedo

The latest drug trafficking gadget: the torpedo
Dec 5, 2014 posted by Robin Llewellyn

A semi-submersible, four meter long “torpedo” which could traffic 200 kg of cocaine to central America has been seized by the navy on Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Colonel Carlos Mario Diaz, Commander of the Second Marine Brigade, told the Associated Press that the seizure is the first of its kind in Colombia.

The vessel can be powered by electric batteries or diesel, and Diaz described it as “a semi-submersible torpedo — four meters long by two wide, which has an internal capacity to accommodate approximately 200 kg of cocaine hydro-chloride”.

The torpedo was constructed out of PVC and fiberglass, and could navigate for ten hours. It was discovered during an operation against three camps of a renegade group of the Rastrojos criminal group, but no arrests have yet been made. The organization historically controlled drug-trafficking routes up the Pacific coast, but in 2013 suffered devastating set-backs at the hands of law-enforcement agencies and through attacks by the rival Urabenos gang.

The camps had the capacity to house 30 people. A longboat with an Ecuadorian registration plate was found with the torpedo.

http://colombiareports.co/latest-drug-trafficking-gadget-torpedo/

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
History of the Rastrojos, formerly part of the AUC paramilitary (death squad) :

~ snip ~

In December 2004, the Catatumbo Bloc of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) demobilized under an agreement signed with the government of President Álvaro Uribe. The Catatumbo Bloc was created in the late 1990s when several local paramilitary groups merged and were then incorporated into the AUC. The leader of the Bloc was Salvatore Mancuso, who would later also become the head of the AUC. The Bloc’s objective was to gain control over Norte de Santander, which had been dominated by the FARC’s 33rd Front for decades. The Bloc quickly made its presence felt in 1999 with the massacre of 20 people in La Gabarra in the municipality of Tibú. Over the next five years, the group, in collusion with the Colombian Army, waged a campaign of terror in its effort to cleanse the region of guerrillas. During this period, more than 5,000 people were killed, over 200 were disappeared and some 40,000 forcibly displaced.1

The Catatumbo Bloc was killing so many people that government officials working in collusion with the paramilitaries pressured the militia group into concealing the magnitude of the violence it was perpetrating. According to Mancuso, the Bloc began building large ovens in order to incinerate the bodies of its victims. The first oven was constructed in 2001 and 98 corpses were cremated. Hundreds more bodies were incinerated during the ensuing years.2 Meanwhile, at the same time that the Catatumbo Bloc was waging its dirty war in Norte de Santander, it was also consolidating its control over drug trafficking activities in the region. Coca cultivation was abundant in the remote rural zones and it has been estimated that the value of the cocaine produced in the Catatumbo region amounts to $8 million a week.3

When the Catatumbo Bloc demobilized at the end of 2004, control over the region’s drug production and trafficking fell into the hands of those paramilitaries who refused to participate in the demobilization process. Within a couple of years, these former AUC fighters had formed a group known as the Black Eagles. Meanwhile, another neo-paramilitary group called Los Rastrojos had been formed in southwestern Colombia by former AUC fighters and ex-members of the Norte de Valle drug trafficking cartel. Los Rastrojos quickly expanded their presence throughout the country from six departments in 2008 to 22 two years later.4

The group arrived in Norte de Santander in 2009 and the relative peace that the region had enjoyed following the demobilization of the AUC was shattered. The number of murders soared that year as Los Rastrojos sought to violently displace the Black Eagles and seize control of the region’s lucrative drug producing and trafficking operations. The principal town in the Catatumbo region, Ocaña, experienced 40 selective assassinations in 2009, according to Captain Sergio Jiménez of the local detachment of the National Police. The number of killings in Ocaña halved the following year due to an increased presence of state security forces and the fact that Los Rastrojos had succeeded in their quest to defeat the Black Eagles and become the dominant neo-paramilitary group in the region. Ultimately, many members of the Eagles switched sides and joined the ranks of the newly dominant group. During this period, members of another neo-paramilitary group, Los Urabeños, originally formed in northwestern Colombia, also established a presence in the northern part of the Catatumbo region and in the department of Cesar. Many of the local members of Los Urabeños are former fighters from the AUC’s Northern Bloc.

More:
https://nacla.org/news/2012/2/10/shifting-contours-colombia%E2%80%99s-armed-conflict

Uruguay leader confirms Guantanamo deal, chides US on Cuba

Source: Agence France-Presse

Uruguay leader confirms Guantanamo deal, chides US on Cuba
AFP
December 6, 2014, 6:36 am


Montevideo (AFP) - Uruguayan President Jose Mujica confirmed Friday that his country would take in six Guantanamo inmates, using the occasion to urge President Barack Obama to lift the US embargo on Cuba.

In an open letter published the day after Uruguayan media reported the prisoners would be transferred by the end of the year, Mujica confirmed the deal -- though without giving a date -- and called on Obama to end the "unjust and unjustifiable embargo on our sister republic of Cuba."

The leftist leader called the move a humanitarian gesture for "human beings who were suffering an atrocious kidnapping at Guantanamo."

Mujica has faced criticism at home since announcing in March that the South American country would take in the inmates in an effort to help Obama fulfill his long-delayed promise to close the prison.


Read more: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/world/a/25702948/

Bolivia Adds Five New Lines to World's Highest Cable Cars

Bolivia Adds Five New Lines to World's Highest Cable Cars
World | Agence France-Presse | Updated: December 05, 2014 04:51 IST



La Paz, Bolivia: Bolivia will invest $450 million to build five new lines for its innovative cable-car system, the highest in the world, President Evo Morales said Thursday.

Morales made the announcement at the launch of the second line of the sky-high public transport system, which is changing the daily commute for residents of La Paz, the world's highest capital.

The second line runs 7.3 kilometers (4.5 miles) from La Paz to the nearby city of El Alto, where the region's international airport is located.

La Paz sits at 3,600 meters (11,800 feet) above sea level, and El Alto at 4,000 meters.

An initial line spanning 2.6 kilometers was inaugurated in May.

The cable cars cross through the Andes Mountains and offer stunning views of snow-capped Illimani, one of Bolivia's highest peaks.

More:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/bolivia-adds-five-new-lines-to-world-s-highest-cable-cars-630171?curl=1417739861
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