Understanding Colombia’s Armed Conflict: A Series for Colombia Reports

1504388_10152775220162408_1621929184215240779_oI recently wrote a five-article series for Colombia Reports on understanding the armed conflict in Colombia. Each article examined a different aspect of the dynamics of Colombian history and society which have played some role in the current violence between the leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitaries, and the armed forces.

Among the causes, I examined the history of political exclusion, inequality, and the weak/corrupt state institutions.

Other factors which have aggravated the situation have been drug trafficking and international actors, including the United States and multinational corporations.

4 Gitmo detainees repatriated to Afghanistan; 132 to go

From the Guardian:

The US announced on Saturday the release of four more prisoners from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. The four men were repatriated to Afghanistan.

Paul Lewis, the Defense Department’s special envoy for the closure of Guantánamo, said: “This repatriation reflects the Defense Department’s continued commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo in a responsible manner.”

The men, who had been in the camp for more than 10 years, were named as Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir. They had been cleared for transfer for some time and are not considered to represent security risks in Afghanistan, where US troops are still deployed.

Earlier this month, 6 detainees from Guantanamo Bay were released and sent to Uruguay. Also from the Guardian:

Uruguay’s president, José Mujica, agreed to accept the six men – four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian – as a humanitarian gesture and said they would be given help getting established in a country with a small Muslim population.

USAID tried to create anti-govt hip hop in Cuba with Serbian music promoters

Earlier this year, it was revealed that USAID had attempted to create a “Cuban Twitter” with the aim of regime change in the Caribbean island. This week, another similar initiative from the US development agency was revealed.

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Senate releases report on CIA torture, described as ‘brutal’ and ‘ineffective’

The Guardian:

The CIA’s post-9/11 embrace of torture was brutal and ineffective – and the agency repeatedly lied and misled the White House, Congress and the public about its usefulness, a milestone report by the Senate intelligence committee released on Tuesday concludes.

…The investigation that led to the report, and the question of how much of the document would be released and when, has pitted chairwoman Feinstein and her committee allies against the CIA and its White House backers. For 10 months, with the blessing of President Barack Obama, the agency has fought to conceal vast amounts of the report from the public, with an entreaty to Feinstein from secretary of state John Kerry occurring as recently as Friday.

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Interview with The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson



On Wednesday afternoon, I attended some panel discussions hosted by the Premio Gabriel García Márquez de Periodismo, a yearly festival that celebrates Spanish-language journalism. The list of panelists included Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker, whose work I started following after I read his biography of Che Guevara. He’s a seasoned journalist who has covered Latin American politics for decades, writing profiles of people like Fidel Castro, Augusto Pinochet, the King of Spain, and Gabo himself. He’s also covered conflicts around the world in Africa and the Middle East, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given his experience in the region, I wanted to get his take on US decision to strike ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He was in a bit of a rush, but was kind enough to give me a short interview after the panel discussion. Here’s what he said: Continue reading

First piece for Latin Correspondent


My first piece for Latin Correspondent was posted earlier this week.

In it, I write about several Colombian government officials who have fled the country to avoid prosecution for their actions while in office. Three of them were part of former President Uribe’s administration, and were allegedly involved in some very serious crimes.