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Contributor PerspectivesJun 20, 2019 | 09:45 GMT
Italian journalists rally in Rome in defense of press freedom on Nov. 13, 2018.
Why Good Reporting Isn't Dead
Sometimes old journalists like myself feel for the Roman captives who called out to Emperor Claudius, "Ave Imperator, morituri te salutamus -- Hail, Emperor, we who are about to die salute you." Sometimes, though, a great scoop comes along to give our profession a stay of execution. It has just happened in Brazil, where disclosures published by The Intercept Brasil have severely wounded the country's new political establishment. In case you missed it, reporting by Intercept journalists Andrew Fishman, Rafael Moro Martins, Leandro Demori, Glenn Greenwald and Amanda Audi has exposed Brazil's much-vaunted anti-corruption investigation, "Operation Car Wash," to accusations that it was, in large measure, a political tool used to rig last year's presidential elections. For Brazil, it is Watergate times 10. This scoop came courtesy of a whistleblower who has put himself at risk. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the murders of 42 Brazilian journalists
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SnapshotsMar 26, 2019 | 19:51 GMT
Colombia: An Opposition Party Gives Peace a Chance
The terms of a peace deal to end Colombia's decades-old civil war might have a future after all, government opposition notwithstanding. On March 26, the Colombian Liberal Party began posting billboards across the country in defense of the previous administration's peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The text on the billboards said the Liberal Party backed the peace agreement and considered "a return to war to be a crass error." Because he needs extra votes to modify key parts of the peace agreement, President Ivan Duque has been courting members of the Liberal Party and Radical Change in the Senate and lower house, but the former's coordinated public opinion campaign suggests it will not provide him with unconditional support -- meaning there is a reason for members of FARC to avoid returning to violence.
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AssessmentsSep 12, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A farmer shows cocaine base paste made from coca leaves at a clandestine farm next to the Inirida River in Colombia during September 2017.
The Cocaine Ties That Bind Colombia and Venezuela
Colombia and Venezuela share the problem of the illicit drug trade, but the ramifications of such trafficking could not be more different for the next-door neighbors. From the United States' point of view, Colombian criminality and Venezuelan authoritarianism are two looming foreign policy problems that are linked by the cocaine trade and that require vastly different solutions. In Colombia, a spike in rural violence is likely to occur in the coming years as criminal groups contest areas abandoned by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in its peace deal. Some FARC leaders will likely return to a life of crime, exacerbating the violence already occurring. Over the border in Venezuela, government officials -- some under investigation by U.S. authorities in cocaine-trafficking and money-laundering cases -- will band together in the face of increasing internal threats to cling to power and preside over a political and economic meltdown that will
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SnapshotsMar 27, 2018 | 18:58 GMT
Ecuador: Colombian Drug Violence Spills Over
A spate of attacks against Ecuadorian security forces near the Colombian border is the latest sign that areas of post-insurgency Colombia will drive violence at home and abroad. On March 26, unidentified attackers -- believed by Ecuadorian authorities to be former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) -- damaged an army truck using an explosive device. The incident is the latest in a series of explosive attacks against army and police units in northwestern Ecuador. In 2018 there have been four separate attacks against Ecuadorian forces in Esmeraldas province, all believed to be carried out by the same former FARC militants.
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AssessmentsJul 18, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
FARC insurgents, flying a white flag of truce, head toward the Pacific coast city of Buenaventura, Colombia, to surrender their weapons to U.N. monitors. In agreeing to lay down its arms, the rebel group lost the power it once had to threaten the government. Some FARC factions have continued to pursue criminal interests.
Even a Stalled FARC Deal Has Jump-Started Colombian Stability
A little more than a year after a peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was struck, the rebels have officially surrendered their weapons to U.N. mediators, bringing the country's largest and longest-running insurgency a step closer to ending. But perhaps the most crucial challenge for the successful implementation of the peace agreement hammered out over a four-year span lies ahead. In exchange for the rebels' laying down their arms, FARC negotiators insisted that their leaders who face criminal convictions receive amnesty and that the group be integrated into the country's political process. To enact those concessions, several pieces of legislation must be approved by the Colombian Congress, where the margin of error for the ruling party is razor-thin.
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GuidanceApr 29, 2017 | 18:06 GMT
The Stratfor Global Intelligence Weekly for May 1, 2017
Global Intelligence: Week of May 1, 2017
For all the White House's efforts to downplay the 100-day benchmark of the Trump presidency, which came April 29, the president himself appeared to have been the most preoccupied with the public referendum on his performance that the date invited. The week was jam-packed with statements emanating from the White House in an attempt to show a series of demonstrable wins. And yet again, the world was left to decipher what was theater and what was real policy. On the domestic front, Trump's attempt to force a congressional vote on health care reform and strong-arm spending on the border wall predictably flopped with lawmakers more concerned with averting a government shutdown for at least another week. On the foreign policy front, the fate of NAFTA and the evolving U.S. policy on North Korea dominated the stage.
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AssessmentsJan 27, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Colombia’s Drug Growers Get Organized
Colombia’s Drug Growers Get Organized
After decades of operating outside the law, Colombia's largest insurgency is coming in from the cold. The government in Bogota is racing against the clock to implement its peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN) jockeys for a deal of its own. Meanwhile, other criminal groups in the country are taking heed of the changes unfolding, particularly those that produce the drugs underpinning Colombia's thriving black-market economy.
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ReflectionsSep 27, 2016 | 00:43 GMT
In Colombia, a Peace Deal Greatly Brightens the Security Picture
In Colombia, a Peace Deal Greatly Brightens the Security Picture
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government put pen to paper on Monday evening and officially agreed to end the armed conflict between them that began in 1964. The peace agreement will now be put to a national vote Oct. 2. If voters approve the accords -- most opinion polls show the deal passing -- the FARC will begin demobilizing in the coming months, and five decades of politically motivated fighting will cease by year's end. If voters reject the deal, the government's ability to end the violence will be much more uncertain.
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AssessmentsAug 26, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
Colombia's Trouble in Uprooting the Cocaine Trade
Colombia's Trouble Uprooting the Cocaine Trade
By the time Colombia's next president enters office, politically motivated violence in the country may have become a thing of the past, thanks to the government's recent peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But even if voters approve the final deal with the FARC, the end of the insurgency will eliminate only one of Colombia's security concerns. The manufacture and trade of illegal drugs, a major driver of instability in some areas of the country, will continue unabated. The illicit drug business, specifically the production and sale of cocaine, has troubled Colombia for some time. And though the FARC, which gets some of its funding from the drug trade, may demobilize, that aspect of the country's vast illegal economy will stay in place. Moreover, a recent shift in the government's strategy has made its fight against the illegal coca trade more difficult, raising the risk of regional
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AssessmentsAug 24, 2016 | 16:50 GMT
Colombia's president signed a peace deal with the head of the FARC militant group in Cuba on Aug. 23. The Colombian public must now approve the deal.
In Colombia, Militants and Government Finally Agree on Peace
On the night of Aug. 23, after four long years of peace talks, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a lasting ceasefire in Havana. The deal hopes to end more than five decades of civil war -- the longest sustained conflict in the history of the Americas. But implementation will not be easy and the coming months will be the real test for the durability of the agreement.
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AssessmentsAug 19, 2016 | 09:45 GMT
Investing in a Possible Colombian Peace Deal
Investing in a Possible Colombian Peace Deal
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hopes by year's end to finalize a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that would end five decades of conflict. The deal could open rural parts of Colombia for business, including for mineral extraction, tourism and agribusiness. But even if the peace agreements are implemented -- they will be put to a public vote first -- fostering the stability and trust needed to maximize industry will not be easy.
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AssessmentsJun 8, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
A member of the Venezuelan national guard stands watch at the Tachira River, at the Colombian border. Criminal activity, driven in part by smuggling, will persist in parts of the border region.
Surveying Colombia's Criminal Landscape
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are progressing toward a peace deal that is poised to end more than five decades of armed conflict. Over the next few months, the dialogue is expected to continue, advancing on the topics of a final cease-fire and the demobilization of the militants. A peace agreement with the FARC would significantly reduce politically motivated violence in the country. But criminal violence and illegal activities, including drug trafficking and extortion, will continue to pose isolated, localized risks to residents and foreign visitors in Colombia. Even as security improves in the country as a whole, areas of prevalent criminal activity will remain risky for the individuals and businesses operating there.
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AssessmentsApr 7, 2016 | 09:30 GMT
After Peace, Colombia Will Still Struggle
Colombia is at a historic juncture. After 52 years of fighting, the country is on the verge of a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC. But this historic deal will only solve some of Colombia's problems, which extend well beyond security. With oil prices low and likely to stay that way, Colombia has already entered one of its periodic bust phases, and the government will have to manage sluggish growth and a deteriorating economy. Amid this tough situation, the FARC deal – and related National Liberation Army (ELN) talks – will open up the ruling Social Party of National Unity to criticism from opponents.
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AssessmentsMar 30, 2016 | 23:35 GMT
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C), Colombian lead negotiator Frank Pearl (C-L), and the ELN guerrilla known as Antonio Garcia (C-R) are pictured with members of their delegations at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on March 30.
Another Rebel Group Takes Steps Toward Peace in Colombia
On March 30, the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s the second-largest leftist militant group, formally opened peace negotiations with the Colombian government. The formal talks, which will take place in Ecuador, cap a three-year process of preliminary negotiation and became possible when a faction of the ELN, the Domingo Lain Front, agreed to take part. If the talks are successful, political violence in Colombia should wane, but some risks from future criminal activity will remain.
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