by the El Reportero staff
COLOMBIA: The government was delighted by a huge and unprecedented march in Cali on 12 April to protest against terrorism. The government did its best to appear not to have organised the march, though the march was led by the defence minister, Juan Manuel Santos, and the mayor of Cali.
The government needs all the public support it can muster in the face of the snowballing para-political scandal. On 11 April another three federal deputies were indicted by the supreme court for their links with the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) and the supreme court, which is leading the investigation into the parapolitical scandals, appears to be treating seriously claims by a leftwing senator, Gustavo Petro, that leading politicians in Antioquia had close links with the AUC. President Alvaro Uribe and his ministers dismiss Petro as a “terrorist in a suit.”
Chile’s big push to solve Bolivia’s demand for ocean outlet hinges on Peru’s agreement
Chile has been working hard to solve neighbouring Bolivia’s longstanding demand for restitution of access to the sea. Sovereign access was wrested from Bolivia by the Chileans during the War of the Pacific of 1879-84. Bolivia, under the strongly nationalistic rule of Evo Morales, seems willing to accept a less-than-perfect solution. The problem is whether Peru, inevitable third party in this matter, will acquiesce as long as Chile remains apparently determined not to cede on territorial issues with its southern neighbour.
Institutional meltdown as referendum approaches
Ecuador’s chronically weak state institutions buckled in March, as a debate over constitutional authority spilled over into the streets. It has yet to be satisfactorily resolved; as this edition went to press 57 deputies fired by the supreme electoral court (TSE) were still determined to return to congress, despite their alternates having now taken their place in the legislature. Meanwhile, the referendum on a constituent assembly, the trigger for the latest bout between the government and the opposition, is due to take place on 15 April, and President Rafael Correa has started to fret that blank or void votes could thwart his plans.
Chávez says Castro taking back good part of govt duties
According to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has almost completely recovered from surgery he had last year. He said he has taken back a “good part” of duties governing the country, unofficially.
President Hugo Chavez, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has almost completely recovered from surgery he had last year. He said he has taken back a “good part” of duties governing the country, unofficially.
Castro has not been seen in public since he underwent emergency intestinal surgery that forced him to hand over power temporarily to his brother, Raul Castro, on July 31 last year.
Officials on the communist-run island insist Mr. Castro, in power since 1959, is recovering and will resume his duties.
Still apparently too weak to give one of his legendary speeches, Mr. Castro, 80, has in recent weeks taken to writing editorial columns in the state-run media denouncing his long-time ideological foe, the United States.