On December 9th, 2013, then mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro was dismissed from his post and subsequently banned from holding public office for 15 years.1 Petro was a former M19 guerrilla and longtime opposition leader who was known for being the highest ranking former guerilla in Colombia. The man who made the decision to fire Petro due to ‘gross mismanagement’ was Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez, who has a reputation for doing away with leftist politicians.
In Colombia, the search for political peace by the government has been paralleled by a search for the truth by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Since the peace talks between the Colombian government and guerrilla group began, the latter of these two groups has called for the formation of a truth commission.
The presidential election in Colombia this past Sunday, May 25th, resulted in no official victor. As mandated by national law, a presidential candidate must win a majority vote of 50%.1 Thus, the two front runners, incumbent Manuel Santos and challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, will compete in a June 15th runoff election after winning 25.6% and 29.3% of the vote, respectively.
Colombians’ decision to reject the deal that would bring peace to their country after 52 years of armed conflict shocked the Colombian government, the FARC rebel group, and the world on October 2. In late September, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos signed the accord with rebel leader Timoleón “Timochenko” Jímenez and then put the deal to a popular vote, expecting an easy win over his opponents who were calling for Colombia to say “no” to the deal.
On Sunday, incumbent Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos won re-election. Santos defeated his run-off opponent, fellow conservative Oscar Ivan Zuluaga 51% to 45%.1 His victory was a comeback in nature, after emerging from the first round 500,000 votes behind Zuluaga. Yet on June 15th, Santos won by almost one million votes.2
With the death of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez on April 17, 2014 the world has lost one of its most beloved authors. Fortunately, his works live on in countless libraries, bookstores, cinemas, internet pages, and the minds and hearts of millions.
The last report of the Americas Barometer Insight Series, authored by Ana Maria Montoya, focuses on Colombians' perception of the conversion of the FARC into a political party.
In 2010, as part of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Law of 2009, the Colombian government announced the ambitious goal to bring internet access to half a million Colombians.1 Since the program’s implementation in 2011, the advances in internet access are astounding making Colombia the online government leader in Latin America.2 They plan to eventually provide each citizen with their own piece of “digital real estate;” including an email account, access to their digital medical records and major financial transactions.3 The overarching ob
Twenty-two years in a maximum-security prison was deemed sufficient punishment for the favored hitman of former drug kingpin of Colombia, Pablo Escobar, on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. John Jairo Velásquez, also known by his nickname, “Popeye,” was released early from a prison located 100 miles north of Bogotá, Colombia, a place where he had confessed to atrocities far more numerous than the one murder for which he had spent his time serving.
On September 22nd and 23rd, the United Nations held its first annual International Conference on Indigenous Villages. Indigenous representatives from around the world gathered in New York City to discuss indigenous rights in order to bring equality to a group of people that have been oppressed and discriminated against since colonization. The indigenous population of the world totals 370 million people, which constitutes 5% of the total world population and they represent about one third of people living in poverty.1