At least 23 people have died in one of Bogotá’s largest jails after what the authorities are calling a mass breakout attempt amid rising tensions over coronavirus. Colombia’s Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said 83 inmates were injured during a riot at La Modelo prison. Inmates at prisons across the country held protests on Sunday against overcrowding and poor health services during the coronavirus outbreak.
Colombia’s Supreme Court ordered the capture of a former FARC rebel commander-turned lawmaker on Tuesday after he failed to appear for questioning about U.S. drug-trafficking charges, in a fresh blow to the country’s landmark peace deal. Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, known in Colombia by his war alias Jesus Santrich, was one of 10 former FARC commanders to become lawmakers under the terms of the 2016 peace deal.
President-elect of Colombia Ivan Duque was sworn into office on Tuesday vowing to unite the divided nation and ‘make corrections’ in a peace accord with Marxist rebels. Duque faces the challenges of implementing the historic accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and dealing with strained relations with Washington over cocaine production.
Conservative political newcomer Ivan Duque was elected President of Colombia and vowed to unite the country following a divisive campaign. The campaign focused on a controversial 2016 peace deal with leftist rebels the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Duque said he will change the peace deal which he originally opposed.
At least 17 people have died in Colombia following a landslide triggered by heavy rains. The early morning landslide hit at least eight homes on Easter Sunday and blocked a stretch of the Pan-American Highway in the community of Rosas, roughly 630 kilometers southwest of Bogota. At least 25 other people were still buried in the mud and debris, local media reports said. Military forces were deployed to affected areas to help in the recovery efforts.
New figures from the UN show that Colombia continues to break records for cocaine production. The increasing cocaine production continues despite a peace deal signed in 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The UN warned that the production levels could harm peace-building efforts. Most cocaine produced by Colombia ends up in America.
A car bomb exploded at a police academy in Colombia’s capital Bogota on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and wounding over 50 in an attack that prompted fears of a return to the country’s violent past. Nine of the deceased were cadets at the academy, police said. It was the deadliest attack in Bogota since the government struck a 2016 peace deal with the Marxist FARC rebel group.
Colombians failed to elect a president outright during elections on Sunday, leading to a runoff vote between opposing front runners, conservative Ivan Duque and former mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro. This is the first election since the government signed a peace agreement with the Farc rebel group in 2016, polarizing political opinion across Colombia.
The goal of Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, to end the longest running Latin American war is being threatened by the National Liberation Army (ELN), after the breakdown of a cease-fire, Tuesday. Within hours of the breakdown, the ELN had blown up a national pipeline, thrown grenades at soldiers, and killed a Colombian soldier.
Former FARC leader Jesus Santrich was arrested in Colombia on Monday in a US drug trafficking investigation. The former peace negotiator reportedly planned to export $320 million worth of cocaine to the US. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says he will not hesitate to sign an extradition order if irrefutable proof of Santrich’s guilt exists.