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The Ika and Kogi are tribes in the
Amazon rain forest of Colombia. They are described by Wade Davis in
his 1997 book: "One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the
Amazon Rain Forest." The U'wa tribe lives in the rain forest of
(SFC, 5/12/97, p.T8)(SFC,10/22/97, p.C2)
The 32 Provinces of Colombia include: Antioquia; Arauca;
Bolivar; Boyaca; Cauca; Cundinamarca; Meta; Narino; northern Cesar;
Putumayo; Quindio (Armenia); Santander; southern Caqueta, Vaupes
58Mil-60Mil Researchers in
2009 reported that a snake named Titanoboa cerrejonensis (titanic
boa from Cerrejon) lived in Colombia about this time and stretched
42 to 45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds.
200BC-1700 The Tairona civilization thrived over
this period. A city (Teyuna) later known as Ciudad Perdida (lost
city) east of Santa Maria, Colombia, was established around 800. Its
ruins were only rediscovered in 1972 and made public in 1975.
250 In Colombia Lord of Sipan,
a pre-Columbian ruler died around this time. His remains were
discovered in 1987 and hailed as one of the country's most stunning
archaeological finds. In 2017 Peruvian authorities revealed the
reconstructed face of the Lord of Sipan.
800 The Tairona peoples of
Colombia made Ciudad Perdida their capital from about this time
until the arrival of the conquistadors.
1300-1400 In Colombia the people of San Agustin,
pressed by aggressive invaders, were forced to leave their lands and
take refuge in the Amazon and Orinoco regions about this time. They
left behind some 500 stone statues carved in accordance to their
1509-1520 The Spanish colonized the area of Nueva
Granada (modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela).
1524 Nov 14, Pizarro began his
1st great expedition near Colombia.
1533 Cartagena de Indias
(Colombia) was founded by Spain and served as a major port for the
trade of slaves, gold and cargo.
(SSFC, 5/18/03, p.C12)
1536 A Spanish
conquistador noted oil seeping in the countryside of Colombia.
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-1)
1537 Popayan, Colombia, was
(SFEC, 11/10/96, p.T10)
1575-1625 Some of the U’wa tribe (Colombia),
pushed up against the timber line at 12,000 feet, threw themselves
off the Cliff of Truth rather than submitting to the Spanish
conquistadors. Legend held that U’wa Indians led by Chief Guaiticu
committed mass suicide to protest Spanish colonialism. A historical
record was lacking.
(SFC, 4/25/97, p.A3)(SFC,10/22/97, p.C2)(WSJ,
1575-1625 The Tairona civilization, coerced by the
Spaniards to convert to Christianity, fled from their coastal
settlements and moved to the mountains of Colombia. They were
skilled masons, farmers, weavers and goldsmiths. They had
established the city now known as Ciudad Perdida (lost city) east of
Santa Maria in the 5th century BCE, whose ruins were only
rediscovered in 1975. The indigenous Arhuaco, Assario, and Kogi
Indians are thought to be their descendants.
(WSJ, 7/28/97, p.A16)(AM, 11/04, p.19)
1676 King Carlos II of Spain,
having successfully outlawed a drink suspected of leading to
homicides, inattentiveness at church and moral turpitude, warned his
colonial rulers in Bogota of a drink "that is, beyond all
comparison, more dangerous and which goes by the name of
aguardiente." In 1988 Gilma Mora de Tovar's authored, "Aguardiente
and Social Conflicts in 18th Century New Granada,"
1700 The Spanish crown
monopolized the aquardiente industry in Colombia.
1708 Jun 8, The San Jose, a
62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon, was trying to outrun a fleet
of British warships off Colombia's Baru peninsula, when a mysterious
explosion sent it to the bottom of the sea with gold, silver,
emeralds and 600 men. 14 men survived. In 1979 Sea Search signed a
deal with Colombia giving Sea Search exclusive rights to search for
the San Jose and 50 percent of whatever they find. In 1982 Sea
Search announced to the world it had found the San Jose's resting
place 700 feet below the water's surface, a few miles from the
historic Caribbean port of Cartagena. In 1984 Colombian President
Belisario Betancur signed a decree reducing Sea Search's share from
50% to a 5% "finder's fee." By 2007 the treasure was valued at more
than $2 billion. In July, 2007, Colombia’s highest court ruled that
the ship must first be recovered before an international dispute
over the fortune can be settled. In 2007 Carla Rahn Phillips
authored “The Treasure of San Jose: Death at Sea in the War of the
Spanish Succession." In 2015 experts confirmed that they found the
San Jose on November 27 in a place never before referenced by
previous research. The Remus 6000, an underwater autonomous vehicle
operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, assisted in
(AP, 6/3/07)(AP, 7/6/07)(WSJ, 1/31/07, p.D6)(AP,
1741 Mar 4, English fleet under
Admiral Ogle reached Cartagena, Colombia.
1741 Sep 17, In Colombia Blas
de Lezo (b.1689), Spanish admiral, died of typhus four months after
leading Spaniards in resisting a siege by a combined British force
under the command of Admiral Edward Vernon.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blas_de_Lezo)(SSFC, 10/18/15, p.P5)
1752 In Colombia the village of
San Agustin was founded Alejo Astudillo. Attacks by indigenous
people destroyed it. A new village was founded in 1790 by Lucas de
Herazo and Mendigana.
c1770 A monastery was built in
Cartagena, Colombia, that served as the seat of the Inquisition
Tribunal for Spain. It later became the Hotel Santa Clara.
(SSFC, 5/18/03, p.C12)
1781 In Colombia the Comunero
Revolt was the most serious revolt against Spanish authority before
the war for independence. The most important uprising began among
artisans and peasants in Socorro (in present day Santander
Department). The imposition of new taxes by the viceroy stimulated
the revolt further.
1783 Jul 24, Simon Bolivar
(d.1830), was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He was a soldier and
statesmen who led armies of liberation throughout much of South
America, including Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Peru and
Bolivia, which took its name from Bolivar. Bolivar, called "the
Liberator," was a leader in Venezuela for struggles of national
independence in South America. He formed a Gran Colombia that lasted
8 years but broke apart into Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.
Bolivar died of tuberculosis.
(AHD, p.148)(SFC, 6/14/97, p.E3)(AP,
1808 Sep 12, Jose Celestino
Mutis (b.1732-1808), Spanish naturalist, died in Santa Fe de Bogote
(Colombia). He spent 40 years on his unfinished work “Flora de Nueva
1810 Jul 20, Colombia declared
independence from Spain.
1819 Jan 17, Simon Bolivar the
“liberator" proclaimed Colombia a republic.
1819 May 23, Bolivar’s
revolutionary commanders met in the deserted village of Setenta,
Venezuela, and planned a march across the Andes to attack Spanish
forces in New Granada (Colombia).
(ON, 3/05, p.1)
1819 Aug 7, South American
liberator Simon Bolivar defeated Spanish forces under Gen. Jose
Barreiro in New Granada (Colombia) at the Battle of Boyaca. The
revolutionary army entered Bogota Aug 10.
(HNQ, 9/12/99)(ON, 3/05, p.2)
1822 May 24, At Battle of
Pichincha (Ecuador) General Sucre (1795-1830) won a decisive victory
against Spanish forces. Shortly after the battle, Sucre and Bolivar
entered the newly-liberated Quito and Sucre was named President of
the Province of Quito, which formed Gran Colombia with Venezuela and
1822 Jul 26, Simon Bolivar and
Jose de San Martin held a secret meeting in Colombia.
1828 Aug 27, Simon Bolívar
proclaimed himself dictator of Gran Colombia through the "Organic
Decree of Dictatorship".
1828 Sep 25, Conspirators broke
into the presidential palace in Bogota in an attempt to murder Simon
Bolivar, who escaped thanks to the help of his lover, Manuela Sáenz.
1828 The Republic of Gran
Colombia fell apart due to political rivalries between its
constituent provinces. Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela became
(ON, 3/05, p.2)
1830 Dec 17, Simon Bolivar
(b.1783), called "the Liberator," died of TB in Santa Marta, in
Colombia. He was a leader in Venezuela for struggles of
national independence in South America. He formed a Gran Colombia
that lasted 8 years, but broke apart into Venezuela, Colombia and
Ecuador. In 2006 John Lynch authored “Simon Bolivar: A Life."
(AHD, p.148)(SFC, 6/14/97, p.E3)(AP,
12/17/97)(Econ, 7/1/06, p.77)
1851 Slavery was abolished in
(Econ, 8/1/09, p.34)
1854 Daniel Florence O’Leary
(53), Irish-born personal secretary to Simon Bolivar, died in
Bogota. After Bolivar’s death (1830) O’Leary served in a diplomatic
capacity for the Venezuelan and British governments in Bogota. In
1879 his memoirs were published by his son.
(ON, 3/05, p.2)
1874 Laura Montoya (d.1949) was
born in Colombia. She founded the Congregation of the Missionary
Sisters of the Immaculate Mary and was beatified in 2004.
1899-1902 The civil war known as the War of the
Thousand Days took place in Colombia, beginning in1899 and ending in
1902. Some 100,000 of Colombia's four million people perished in the
conflict, mostly from disease. Colombia had been plunged into
bankruptcy and subsequent civil war in 1899 after three years of
steep declines in world coffee prices.
1902 Sep 17, US troops were
sent to Panama to keep train lines open over the isthmus as
Panamanian nationals struggled for independence from Colombia.
1903 Jan, The Hay-Herran Treaty
with Columbia would have given the United States the land and the
right to build a canal across Panama, but Columbia refused to ratify
1903 Mar 14, The Senate
ratified the Hay-Herran Treaty which guaranteed the US the right to
build a canal at Panama. The treaty promised Colombia $10 million
plus $250,000 annually for a zone 6 miles wide.
(HN, 3/14/98)(ON, 1/00, p.2)
1904 Feb 3, Colombian troops
clashed with US Marines in Panama.
1906 Jan 31, A magnitude 8.8
quake off the coast of Ecuador and Colombia. It generated a tsunami
that killed at least 500 people.
1911 The El Tiempo newspaper
was founded by Eduardo Santos. Santos later served as a president of
(SFC, 4/23/99, p.D8)(SFC, 12/8/01, p.A23)
1913 Dec, Konrad Preuss
(1869-1938), German anthropologist, arrived in Colombia to study to
pre-Columbian statues at San Agustin. He stayed until 1919 and
brought back to Germany a number of the statues and a great quantity
of ancient ceramics and other items, which he reproduced and
documented in his book, “Arte Monumental Prehistórico" (1931).
1914 Apr 8, The US and Colombia
signed a treaty concerning Panama Canal Zone.
1920 Apr 12, In Colombia the
firm Nacional de Chocolates was founded. In the 1970s three of the
largest holding companies in the country bought stock from each
other in order to protect themselves from hostile takeovers. The
newly formed Antioquean Syndicate was composed of: Suramericana de
Seguros, Nacional de Chocolates, and Cementos Argos.
1927 The Colombia coffee
federation was set up to act as a buyer, marketer, technical advisor
and banker to Colombia’s coffee farmers.
(Econ, 10/1/05, p.37)
1928 Mar 6, Gabriel Garcia
Marquez, Columbian-born novelist and Nobel Prize winner (1982), was
born. In 2009 Gerald martin authored “Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A
6/7/09, Books p.J1)
1928 Dec 6, The Colombian army
killed a number of banana workers of the United Fruit Co. in Cienaga
near Santa Marta. Estimates of the dead, taken by train and cast
into the sea, ranged from 47 to as high as 2,000. The exact number
of casualties has never been confirmed.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_massacre)(Econ, 4/26/14, p.90)
1933 In Colombia the Palacio de
San Francisco, begun in 1918, was completed in La Candelaria, the
historic section of Bogota.
(SSFC, 3/4/07, p.G4)
1934 Feb 27, Compania de
Cementos Argos was founded in Medellin, Colombia. In 1936, the
factory began production and it issued its first dividend in 1938.
1935 Jun 24, Carlos Gardel,
Argentine tango singer, died with 17 others, including three of his
guitarists, when the propeller plane they were traveling in collided
with another on takeoff from Medellin, Colombia, and burst into
1939 In Colombia the Museo de
Oro (Museum of Gold) opened in Bogota.
(SSFC, 3/4/07, p.G4)
1948 Apr 30, The charter of the
Organization of American States (OAS) was signed in Bogota,
1948 Apr 9, In Colombia
politician Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Ayala (b.1903) was assassinated
during his 2nd presidential campaign.
1948 Peruvian politician Victor
Raul de la Torre, following the rise of a dictator, found refuge in
a Colombian embassy in Lima for 6 years as army tanks surrounded the
(Econ, 8/25/12, p.26)
1948-1958 This period in Colombia is known as “La
Violencia." Over 200,000 people were killed in massacres by the 2
rival parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals.
(SFC, 12/18/00, p.A11)
1949 Pedro Antonio Marin (aka
Manuel Marulanda) took up arms after Colombia’s Conservative Party
henchmen began slaughtering supporters of the peasant-backed Liberal
(SFC, 1/7/99, p.A8)
1949 Mother Laura Montoya
(b1874), teacher and spiritual mother to Colombia's indigenous
peoples, died. In 1914, she and five other women set out on
horseback into forests for their mission. They made up the core of a
new religious order, the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the
Immaculate Virgin. By 2013 the Sisters worked in 21 nations. In 2013
she was canonized as a saint by Pope Francis.
1953 Jun 13, Gustavo Rojas
Pinilla (1900-1975) began serving president of Colombia and
continued to 1957.
1953 In Colombia a domestic spy
agency was created during the government of Gen. Gustavo Rojas
Pinilla. In 1960 it reconstructed as the DAS by President Alberto
1954 In Colombia fewer than
24,000 people, 3% of landowners, held 55% of all farmland.
(Econ, 9/18/10, p.51)
1956 Jul 7, Seven Army trucks
loaded with dynamite exploded in middle of Cali, Columbia, killing
1,100-1,200. 2000 buildings were destroyed.
1956 In Colombia the
Conservative and Liberal politicians agreed to share power.
(Econ, 10/31/15, SR p.4)
1957 May 10, Gabriel París
Gordillo (1910-2008) began serving as President of Colombia and as
Chairman of the Colombian Military Junta Government following the
1957 Coup d'état. He was succeeded in August, 1958, by Alberto
1958 Aug 7, Alberto Lleras
Camargo (1906-1990) began serving as President of Colombia and
continued to August 7, 1962.
1960 Colombia’s a domestic spy
agency, created in 1953, was reconstructed as the DAS by President
Alberto Lleras Camargo.
1962 Aug 23, A Colombian DC-3
plane crashed in the Choco jungle killing two Americans, the first
Peace Corps volunteers to die in service, as well as 36 Colombians.
(SFC, 8/25/11, p.A3)(SFC, 7/31/14, p.A14)
1962 The Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia began guerilla action.
(SFC, 4/17/96, p.A-8)
1964 Colombian army troops
descended on peasant militias who set up the self-styled Independent
Republic of Marquetalia. Manuel Marulanda and Pedro Antonio Marin
led survivors and co-founded the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC). Disaffected peasants and Communist intellectuals
founded FARC in an effort to share power and to fight poverty and
(SFC, 1/7/99, p.A8)(SFC, 2/22/02, p.A19)(WSJ,
1/16/03, p.D8)(Econ, 7/17/04, p.36)
1965 Oct 30, A fireworks
explosions killed 50 in Cartagena, Colombia.
1967 The book "A Hundred Years
of Solitude," by Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez (b.1927),
was published in Spanish.
1968 Aug 22, Pope Paul VI
arrived in Bogota, Colombia, for the start of the first papal visit
to Latin America.
1969 Fernando Botero,
surrealist Colombian painter, created "The Butcher's Table," a pig's
head laughing at his own slaughter.
(WSJ, 3/17/00, p.W12)
1970 Aug 7, In Colombia Misael
Pastrana (1923-1997), a member of the Conservative Party, began
serving as the country’s 31st president. He was elected by a margin
of 63,000 votes. Some who favored his opponent, Gen’l. Gustavo Rojas
Pinilla, formed the M-19 rebel group and waged war for almost 2
decades before they disarmed in 1989.
1971 Opportunity International,
a non-profit organization with Christian roots, began lending to the
poor in Colombia.
(Econ, 11/5/05, Survey p.4)
1977 Emile Rogier Heier (d.1997
at 55), Belgian-born foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, was
released from a Colombian prison. He returned to the US and began
his book "Down in Colombia" (2003). He later wrote "Lester Leaps
In," a biography of the jazz saxophonist Lester Young.
(SFC, 9/18/97, p.C2)
1978 Jul 3, The Amazon Pact was
established. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru,
Suriname, and Venezuela signed the Amazon Pact, a Brazilian
initiative designed to coordinate the joint development of the
1978 In Colombia Hector Jose
Buitrago (32) founded a criminal band called the Buitraguenos. It
later became the Self-Defense Forces of Casanare, or ACC, one of
many right-wing factions that united under the paramilitary umbrella
group known as the AUC.
1978-1979 Three of the largest holding companies
in Colombia bought stock from each other in order to protect
themselves from hostile takeovers. The newly formed Antioquean
Syndicate was composed of: Suramericana de Seguros, Nacional de
Chocolates, and Cementos Argos.
(WSJ, 1/16/97, p.A12)
1979 Sep 14, Colombia signed an
extradition treaty with the US, but Colombian leaders enacted
legislation that nullified the pact. It became effective march 4,
1980 Feb 27, The M-19
revolutionary group took over the embassy of the Dominican Republic
in Bogota, Colombia, for 2 months. After 61 days they were given $1
million and asylum to Cuba in a deal negotiation by Pres. Turbay.
(SFC, 1/7/97, p.A10)(WSJ, 1/8/97, p.A12)(AP,
1980 Sep 12, Authorities in SF
seized 20 tons of Colombian marijuana at Pier 26 along with 2
vessels, that included the Potomac, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s historic
yacht. Gunnysacks of the marijuana were labeled “Crippled Children’s
Society of America." 15 men and a woman were arrested.
(SFC, 9/9/05, p.F2)
1980 Fidel Castano, a wealthy
landowner in Colombia’s Cordoba province, founded the paramilitaries
after leftist guerrillas kidnapped his father and returned him dead
following a ransom payment.
(SFC, 12/18/00, p.A11)
1981 Mar 7, Anti-government
guerrillas in Colombia executed kidnapped American Bible translator
Chester Allen Bitterman, whom they accused of being a CIA agent.
1981 In Colombia Triton Oil
executives singled out Cusiana as the most interesting geological
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-5)
1982 Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(1928-2014), Columbian-born novelist, won the Nobel Prize in
1982 Colombia set up the
National Indigenous Organization (ONIC) as a lobbying group for
legal advice to Indians and for representation before national
(SFC, 3/30/98, p.A10)
1983 Mar 31, A 5.4 earthquake
hit the region of Popoyan, Colombia. It killed about 250 people and
left some 1,500 injured.
1983 Nov 27, In Spain 181
people were killed when a Colombian Avianca Airlines Boeing 747
crashed near Madrid's Barajas airport.
1983 Dec 17, An Economic
cooperation agreement between the Community and the Andean Pact
countries was signed in Cartagena, Colombia.
1983 Colombia’s Cano Limon Oil
Field, operated by Occidental Petroleum, was discovered.
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-1)
1984 Colombia’s Pres. Belisario
Betancur sent emissaries to a FARC stronghold and established a
(SFC, 1/8/99, p.A13)
1984 Colombia passed
legislation giving all rights to the treasure of the San Jose
galleon, sunk by the British navy in 1708. Sea Search Armada (SSA)
reportedly divulged the site of the wreck to the government in 1982.
The government later said the ship was nowhere near where SSA said
(Econ, 12/12/15, p.37)
1985 May, In Colombia FARC
communist guerrillas sponsored the formation of a legal political
party, the Patriotic Union (Union Patriotica). Death squads and the
army carried out a campaign against the UP and in the ensuing decade
3,000 party activists and 2 presidential candidates were
assassinated by right-wing death squads.
1/8/99, p.A13)(SFC, 12/18/00, p.A11)(Econ, 4/10/04, p.71)
1985 Nov 6, Some 35 leftist
M-19 rebels took over Colombia’s Palace of Justice. A military raid
to liberate hostages held by M-19 guerrillas at the Supreme Court
followed and cost more than 100 lives, including 11 Supreme Court
justices and all 30 guerrillas. Intelligence unit soldiers under the
command of Ivan Ramirez escorted 11 people out of the building as
the military stormed the palace. Witnesses, including soldiers from
Ramirez's unit, later said the captives were tortured and killed. In
2008 Ramirez was arrested and faced "forced disappearance" charges.
In Oct prosecutors ordered the arrest of Gen. Jesus Armando Arias,
who led Bogota's army brigade during the assault. In 2010 a
Colombian judge sentenced retired army Col. Luis Alfonso Plazas to
30 years in prison for the disappearance of the 11 people who went
missing after soldiers stormed the palace to retake it from leftist
(WSJ, 1/3/97, p.A6)(WSJ, 1/8/97, p.A12)(SFC,
4/20/98, p.A8)(AP, 5/28/08)(AP, 10/11/08)(AP, 6/10/10)
1985 Nov 13, Some 23,000
residents of Armero, Colombia, died when a mudslide, triggered by
the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, buried the city under 30 feet of mud.
(PacDisc. Spring/’96, p.27)(AP, 11/13/97)(SFEC,
1986 May 25, Virgilio Barco
(1921-1997) was elected President of Colombia. He served from 1986
1986 Dec 17, In Colombia
Guillermo Cano (b.1925), publisher of the Bogota newspaper El
Espectador, was assassinated by drug cartel hitmen hired by Pablo
1986 Colombian cartels shipped
75 metric tons of cocaine into the US.
(SFEC, 1/23/00, Z1 p.2)
1987 In Colombia the remains of
Lord of Sipan, a pre-Columbian ruler believed to have died around
the year 250, were discovered and hailed as one of the country's
most stunning archaeological finds.
1988 Jan. 16, In Colombia an
exploratory oil well sunk by Triton Oil and BP was overrun and put
to fire by local guerillas.
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-6)
1988 May 19, Carlos Lehder
Rivas, co-founder of Colombia's Medellin drug cartel, was convicted
in Jacksonville, Fla., of smuggling more than 3 tons of cocaine into
1988 Conservative Andres
Pastrana (33), son of former Pres. Misael Pastrana, was elected
mayor of Bogota, Colombia.
(SFC, 5/30/98, p.A12)
1988 The direct election of
mayors and town councils was begun to give Colombia’s municipalities
control over a substantial amount of federal funds.
1989 Aug 18, In Colombia,
leading presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galan was assassinated
outside Bogota; the Medellin drug cartel was strongly suspected. On
May 12, 2005, Alberto Santofimio Botero, former justice minister,
was arrested in connection with the assassination. In 2008 a court
overturned the conviction of Alberto Santofimio for lack of
evidence. In 2010 Colombian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for
retired Gen. Miguel Maza Marquez (73), a former domestic security
chief, who they say participated in the assassination of Galan. In
2011 the Supreme Court reinstated Galan’s murder conviction and
reinstated the 24-year prison sentence a lower court imposed in 2007
on Alberto Santofimio.
(AP, 8/18/99)(AP, 12/22/05)(AP, 10/22/08)(AP,
1989 Aug 21, Colombian soldiers
and police raided the estates of drug lords as part of a crackdown
that followed the shooting death of a presidential candidate.
1989 Aug 24, Colombian drug
lords declared "total war" on the government.
1989 Aug 29, Seven bombs
believed set off by drug traffickers exploded in Medellin and
1989 Oct 14, Colombia
extradited three suspected drug traffickers to the United States as
part of a war on the cocaine cartel.
1989 Nov 27, A bomb, blamed by
police on drug traffickers, destroyed a Colombian jetliner minutes
after takeoff from Bogota's international airport. 107 people were
1989 Dec 15, Drug trafficker
Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha was killed in northern Colombia following a
shootout with police.
1989 Drug kingpin Jose
Rodriguez Gacha was killed in Colombia.
(SFC, 4/7/97, p.A10)
1989 A Time Magazine
investigative team that included Tom Quinn (1943-1996) found
evidence indicating that Gen’l. Guillermo Medina Sanchez, Colombia’s
national police chief, had taken money from drug traffickers.
(SFC, 10/21/96, p.A17)
1989 In Colombia the M-19 rebel
group agreed to disarm.
(SFC, 8/23/97, p.A20)
1989 An int'l. accord on coffee
prices was lifted. When entire inventories were sold the market was
flooded and prices dropped.
(SFC, 1/30/99, p.A12)
1989 A bomb leveled Colombia’s
state security headquarters and killed 80 people.
(SFC, 11/12/99, p.A16)
1989-1990 Extreme violence shook Colombia when
guerillas and drug traffickers mounted a brutal anti-government
campaign known as narcoterrorism. Three pres. candidates were killed
including the popular Luis Carlos Galan.
(WSJ, 5/3/96, p.A-11)
1990 Apr 26, In Colombia Carlos
Pizarro (b.1951), a former M-19 rebel leader and presidential
candidate was killed when an assailant opened fire with a machine
gun inside a crowded airliner in midflight. In 2001 fugitive Carlos
Castrano said he organized the killing because Pizarro had links to
a drug lord. In 2014 his remains and those of his assailant were dug
up to see whether bodyguards assigned by the state to protect the
politician also had a hand in his murder.
12/4/01, p.A1)(AP, 11/26/14)
1990 May 27, Cesar Gaviria
Trujillo was elected president of Colombia. Luis Carlos Galan,
Colombia presidential candidate, had been shot and killed while
campaigning south of Bogota. He was so far ahead in the polls for
the presidential elections that he was virtually assured of victory.
His campaign manager, Cesar Gaviria, ran in his place after the
attack and was elected president. Immediately after Galan's
assassination, the president at the time, Virgilio Barco, retaliated
by reinstating extraditions.
(AP, 5/27/00)(AP, 5/13/05)
1990 Jun, Colombia’s Pres.
Cesar Gaviria and FARC held peace talks in Venezuela.
(SFC, 1/8/99, p.A13)
1990 Aug 30, A series of
abductions began with the kidnapping of Diana Turbay, a Bogota TV
news director and daughter of former president Julio Cesar Turbay.
The abductions were by the Medellin drug cartel under Pablo Escobar.
In 1997 Gabriel Garcia Marquez published his documentation of the
events in “News of a Kidnapping."
(SFEC, 6/1/97, BR p.1,6)
1990 Colombia’s Presidential
Program for Reinsertion was founded by the government to help an
estimated 7,500 former rebels integrate into society with a variety
of assistance programs.
(SFC, 11/18/99, p.A17)
1990 US CIA and military
strategist were sent to Colombia to enhance the efficiency
effectiveness of the local military intelligence.
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A14)
1990 An Colombian army
offensive routed the FARC from its rear-guard retreat in Uribe, but
the rebels regrouped and grew to 15,000 fighters.
(SFC, 1/8/99, p.A13)
1990 In Colombia Jacobo Arenas,
FARC political idealogue, died of a heart attack. He was replaced by
(Econ, 2/28/04, p.37)
1991 Jan 15, In Colombia Jorge
Luis Ochoa turned himself in to police during an intense hunt for
leaders of the Medellin drug cartel. The Colombian Constitution of
this year forbade the extradition of its citizens.
(SFC, 7/6/96, p.A10)
1991 Apr, In Colombia Julio
Daniel Chaparro and Jorge Torres, journalists for the El Espectador
newspaper, were killed. In 2011 prosecutors shelved their
investigation in the murders saying the decision was made because
the statute of limitations expired, and because the killers of
Chaparro and Torres were leftist rebels later killed in combat.
1991 Jun 19, Pablo Escobar,
head of Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel, surrendered to authorities.
1991 Jul 4, Colombia’s
Constitution was revised and included progressive legislation
concerning Indian rights. It also provided for 2 additional seats in
Congress for Afro-Colombians and a similar quota for Amerindians.
The Constitution also gave the country’s inspector-general a
remit to discipline not just civil servants, but also elected
officials. Parliamentary immunity was removed.
3/30/98, p.A8)(Econ, 8/1/09, p.34)(Econ, 3/29/14, p.36)(Econ,
10/31/15, SR p.12)
1991 Dec 28, In Colombia Henry
Rojas (36), a correspondent for the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo, was
killed in the northeastern city of Arauca after reporting on alleged
corruption in the mayor's office and military. Wilson Daza, the
soldier who fatally shot Rojas, later pleaded guilty and was
sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1995. In 2009 Colombia’s high
court ruled that the government is to blame for Rojas’ shooting and
ordered it to pay damages to his family.
1991 Colombia enacted economic
reforms and tariffs were lowered.
(WSJ, 12/17/96, p.A18)
1991 Colombia’s government
halted extradition of drug traffickers to the US following a wave of
bombings and assassinations.
(SFC, 11/22/99, p.A12)
1991 Colombia’s office of the
vice-president was created, but it had no assigned duties.
(SFC, 8/30/96, p.A14)
1991 Colombia’s former Pres.
Turbay saw his journalist daughter, Diana, abducted by gunmen
working for drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. She was later killed during
a botched rescue attempt.
1991 In Colombia 17 peasants
were dragged off a bus and killed in Valle del Cauca province. In
1998 3 men were sentenced to 30 years in prison for the killing. the
massacre was allegedly ordered by 2 military majors and their case
was turned over to a military court.
(SFC, 7/11/98, p.A11)
1991 Colombia’s “green war," a
struggle that began in the 1980s for control of the country’s
emerald mines, ended with some 6,000 dead. Victor Manuel Carranza
brokered the peace between the army, drug men and paramilitaries.
(Econ, 4/20/13, p.98)
1991 The US JCET program (Joint
Combined Exchange and Training) was established under a law that
bypassed State Department policy in which military aid is restricted
to foreign units charged with human rights abuses. This resulted in
US Special Forces assignments for training exercises in Indonesia
(SFC, 3/17/98, p.B2,10)
1991 A US intelligence report
said Alvaro Uribe was a Colombian drug cartel ally. Uribe was
elected president in 2002 and in 2004 the US state report disavowed
(WSJ, 8/3/04, p.A1)
1991 In Colombia the homicide
rate in Medellin peaked at 381 per 100,000 people. By 2014 it had
dropped to fewer than 50 per 100,000.
(Econ, 6/7/14, p.41)
1992 Jul 22, Colombian drug
lord Pablo Escobar escaped from his luxury prison near Medellin. He
was slain by security forces in December 1993.
1992 The Colombian government
gave Occidental and Royal Dutch/Shell the right to explore for oil
in the Samore oil block in U'wa Indian territory.
(WSJ, 6/7/99, p.A1,8)
1993 Jan 14, Colombia’s Galeras
Volcano erupted as 15 people gathered at the crater. Only 6
survived. In 2001 Stanley Williams and Fen Montaigne authored
(WSJ, 4/20/01, p.W12)
1993 Jan 30, A car bombing in
Bogota, Colombia, killed at least 20 people.
1993 May 19, A Boeing 727 of
Colombian SAM regional airline crashed into a jungle mountain near
Medellin and killed all 132 on board.
(SFC, 11/1/96, p.A18)
1993 Dec 2, Colombian drug lord
Pablo Escobar (b.1949), number 1 man in drug trafficking, was shot
to death by police Col. Hugo Aguilar in Medellin. Escobar's wife and
children vanished from Colombia in 1995 and were arrested in
Argentina in 1999 for money laundering. In 2001 Mark Bowden authored
“Killing Pablo" a chronicle of the hunt for Escobar. In 2003 Aguilar
ran for governor of Santander province.
(SFC, 7/6/96, p.A10)(AP, 12/2/98)(SFC, 11/17/99,
p.A18)(SSFC, 1/6/02, p.M3)(SSFC, 10/5/03, p.C1)
1993 Colombia granted
collective title rights to black and indigenous groups.
(Econ, 11/8/14, p.40)
1993 Colombia privatized the
Port of Cartagena. By 2014 it was the 4th largest container hub in
(Econ, 5/17/14, p.33)
1993 Colombia introduced
universal, taxpayer-financed health care.
(Econ, 4/11/20, p.23)
1994 Jun 6, A 6.0 earthquake
and avalanche destroyed Toez, Colombia. Some 1000 people were
killed. The earthquake hit the southern state of Cauca.
1994 Jul 2, Colombian soccer
player Andres Escobar was shot to death in Medellin, ten days after
accidentally scoring a goal against his own team in World Cup
competition at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles on June 22. Humberto
Munoz Castro, who had connections to a powerful Colombian cartel,
was later arrested and confessed to the killing. Munoz was initially
handed a 43-year jail term, but served only 11 years.
(AP, 7/2/99)(AP, 5/22/18)
1994 Aug 9, Sen. Manuel Cepeda
was gunned down on his way to work in Bogota. In 1999 Sgt. Justo
Zuniga and Sgt. Hernando Medina were found guilty of participating
in the murder. They acted on orders from Col. Rodolfo Herrera Luna,
commander of the Ninth Brigade, who died of a heart attack in 1996.
In 2010 Colombia's government acknowledged responsibility in the
killing and asked forgiveness.
(SFC, 12/21/99, p.C20)(AP, 1/29/10)
1994 Antanas Mockus,
mathematician, was elected mayor of Bogota.
(SFEC, 10/9/96, p.A8)
1994 Colombia passed
legislation that said all vacant land must be used for family
(Econ, 10/31/15, SR p.11)
1994 In Colombia FARC rebels
killed the police chief of Cartagena del Chaira and blew up the
police station. For the next 9 years no police officer set foot on
the streets there.
(WSJ, 8/10/04, p.A1)
1994 Roberto Pannunzi, Italian
mobster, was arrested in Colombia. He had forged links with
Colombian cartels for transatlantic trade in cocaine. He was
extradited to Italy and released when his detention expired. He was
rearrested in 2004 but disappeared in 2009 when sent to a private
clinic near Rome following a heart attack.
(Econ, 5/8/10, p.54)
1995 Jan 11, A 9-year-old girl
survived a Colombian airliner crash that killed the other 52 people
aboard near the Caribbean resort of Cartagena.
1995 Feb 8, A 6.4 earthquake at
Trujillo, Colombia, killed over 46 people.
1995 Mar, An oil gusher was
struck at Colombia’s Cusiana field.
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-6)
1995 Jun 11, A bomb exploded at
an outdoor music festival in Medellin, Colombia, spraying shrapnel
that killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 200 others.
1995 Jun, Gilberto Rodriguez
Orejuela, Cali drug cartel chief, was arrested in the summer.
(SFC, 10/30/96, p.A10)
1995 Jul, Santiago Medina,
Pres. Samper’s campaign treasurer, testified that $6 million was
solicited from the Cali drug cartel.
(SFC, 6/13/96, p.C3)
1995 Nov 2, Alvaro Gomez
Hurtado, head of the main opposition Conservative Party, was
assassinated. In 1998 former Colonel Bernardo Ruiz was charged with
(SFC, 10/31/98, p.A13)
1995 Nov, Colombia’s President
Ernesto Samper declared a national emergency hours after the
assassination of Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, a conservative party leader
and three-time candidate for the presidency on Thursday.
(V. Sun, 11/3/95, p.A-11)
1995 Dec 20, An American
Airlines Boeing 757, Flight 965 jet crashed in Columbia with 164
people on board. Four survivors were reported. It smashed into a
mountain near Cali enroute from Miami. It was later reported that
pilots had entered an incorrect code for the approach to Cali.
(WSJ, 12/22/95, p.A-1)(SFC, 5/12/96, p.A-14)(SFC,
4/18/00, p.A5)(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1995 Dec, Colombia’s
government said that urban unemployment was up to 9.4% and
that rural joblessness was 5.7%.
1995 Colombia granted
Afro-Colombian communities on the Pacific coast collective titles to
land occupied by their ancestors when slavery was abolished in 1851.
(Econ, 8/1/09, p.34)
1995 In Colombia the metro
system of Medellin opened after years of delays.
(Econ, 6/7/14, p.41)
1995 Gilberto Rodriguez
Orejuela, a leader of Colombia’s Cali drug cartel, was arrested.
(SFC, 10/21/96, p.A17)
1995 Contraband accounted for
as much as a sixth of Colombia’s imports or about $2.34 billion in
(WSJ, 12/17/96, p.A18)
1995 A study by Alejandro Reyes
in Bogota, Colombia, estimated that drug cartels had acquired about
8% of the nation’s best farmland.
(SFC, 4/7/97, p.A8)
1995-1997 Fraudulent insurance claims plagued
Colombia. Criminals bought life insurance policies for unwitting
beggars, prostitutes and peasants and then killed them to collect
the insurance money. Accident insurance was also abused and
indigents were maimed to collect off of policies.
(SFC, 7/22/97, p.A8)
1996 Jan, A top prosecutor was
shot and killed in Cali, Colombia. President Samper had been accused
of accepting money from drug traffickers.
(WSJ, 1/29/96, p. A-1)
1996 Mar 1, President Clinton
slapped economic sanctions on Colombia, concluding that Colombian
authorities had not fully cooperated with the US war on drugs.
1996 Apr 2, Architect Juan
Carlos Gaviria, brother of former pres. Cesar Gaviria, was kidnapped
by a group called Dignity for Colombia.
(SFC, 6/13/96, p.C3)
1996 May, Colombia’s Attorney
Gen’l. Orlando Vasquez Velasquez was arrested on charges of
accepting drug payments.
(SFC, 10/19/96, A12)
1996 Apr 16, Guerillas attacked
a military convoy in Colombia. They killed 31 soldiers and wounded
18 near the border of Ecuador outside the town of Pueres. The
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest and oldest rebel
group (12,000 men) having fought for 34 years, were believed to be
(SFC, 4/17/96, p.A-8)
1996 Jun 12, Colombia’s lower
house of Congress voted to absolve Pres. Ernesto Samper of charges
that his campaign was financed by drug traffickers.
(SFC, 6/13/96, p.C3)
1996 Jun 19, Marco Tulio
Gutierrez, head of Colombia’s secret police, stepped down amid
allegations that his agency was trailing the US ambassador and
taping his phones.
(SFC, 6/19/96, p.A10)
1996 Jun 29, Masked gunmen
killed at least 16 people in Medellin, Colombia. The criminal gang
called Los Victorinos feuding with leftist urban militias was
(WSJ, 7/1/96, p.A1)
1996 Jul 4, In Panama police
arrested Jaime Revello, a top Colombian drug lord, and seized 4.5
tons of cocaine.
(SFC, 7/5/96, p.A13)
1996 Jul 5, In Colombia the
government released Jorge Luis Ochoa, aka The Fat Man, from prison
after 5 1/2 years for drug-trafficking.
(SFC, 7/6/96, p.A10)
1996 Jul, Colombian right-wing
paramilitary forces under Carlos Castanos began kidnapping the
family members of left-wing guerrillas.
(SFC, 3/26/97, p.C2)
1996 Aug 23, It was reported
that British Petroleum signed a 3-year agreement with the defense
ministry of Colombia for $60 mil. for a battalion of soldiers
to protect expansion and construction of new drilling sites.
(SFC, 8/23/96, p.A20)
1996 Aug 30, The Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARQ) guerrillas attacked the army at the
Las Delicias military base in Putumayo province. They captured 60
soldiers and killed 30 others. The 12,000 FARQ have gained income by
collecting commissions on coca leaf harvests.
(SFC, 6/16/97, p.A9)
1996 Aug 31, Colombia’s armed
forces went on alert after a series of rebel attacks on government
targets that killed about 100 people. The attacks were in response
to a US government backed campaign to eradicate coca plots. A rebel
column overran an army base in Las Delicias and killed 27 soldiers.
(SFC, 9/1/96, p.A15)(SFC, 3/6/98, p.A12)
1996 Aug, Journalist Richard
Velez filmed soldiers beating peasants during protests in Colombia’s
southern Caqueta province. He fled the country in 1997 in fear from
death threats by the army.
(SFC, 10/10/97, p.D5)
1996 Sep 4, Colombia’s
government said it will require businesses with a net worth of more
than 85k to buy war bonds to finance the war against leftist rebels.
(WSJ, 9/4/96, p.A1)
1996 Sep 6, In Colombia rebels
blew up a section of the largest oil pipeline and killed 16 police
officers and soldiers.
(SFC, 9/7/96, p.A9)
1996 Sep 10, Humberto de la
Calle, vice-president of Colombia, resigned as a protest to the
presidency of Ernesto Samper.
(SFC, 9/11/96, p.A8)
1996 Sep 12, In Colombia
government officials promised to halt forcible destruction of small
coca plantations for the time being in order to end protests.
(SFC, 9/13/96, p.A13)
1996 Sep 20, Leftist guerrillas
unleashed a wave of bombings that included 4 against banks and
electricity lines in Cartagena, Colombia. 18 coal trucks were
torched in northern Cesar province and a truck with 31 tons of
ammonium nitrate, base material for explosives, was hijacked.
(SFC, 9/21/96, p.A10)
1996 Sep 20, More than 8 lbs.
of heroin were found on Colombia’s Pres. Samper’s presidential jet
as it was preparing for a flight to New York. 11 Air Force personnel
were later arrested.
(SFC, 9/23/96, A12)
1996 Sep 25, Rebels attacked an
oil pipeline in Colombia’s Arauca province and pumping of 220,000
barrels a day was suspended.
(WSJ, 9/26/96, p.A1)
1996 Oct 7, In Colombia
authorities announced the use of Imazapyr, an all-weather herbicide,
to help eradicate illicit drug crops.
(SFEC, 10/8/96, A10)
1996 Oct 9, A heroin processing
complex of four labs near Santander de Quilichao in Colombia’s Cauca
province was destroyed.
(SFC, 10/10/96, p.A14)
1996 Oct 18, Colombia’s Supreme
Court ordered the dismissal of Attorney Gen’l. Orlando Vasquez
Velasquez, who had been arrested on charges of accepting drug
payments. He was also cited for obstruction of justice and abuse of
(SFC, 10/19/96, A12)
1996 Oct 20, In Colombia
fighting in 3 provinces over the weekend left 24 soldiers and
leftist rebels dead.
(SFC, 10/21/96, p.A10)
1996 Oct 29, In Colombia
Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, Cali drug cartel chief, agreed to pay a
$105 million fine and plead guilty to crimes that included illicit
(SFC, 10/30/96, p.A10)
1996 Dec 5, Isidro Gil, a union
leader at Colombia’s Carepa Coca-Cola bottling plant, was killed at
work. It was later alleged that the plant manager hired right-wing
paramilitary to help wipe out union activity. In 2002 the labor
union filed suit against Coca-Cola in Miami.
(SFC, 6/6/02, p.A11)
1996 Dec 24, In Bogota,
Colombia, at least 37 people were killed. Mayor Antanas Mockus
blamed the violence on alcohol consumption.
(SFC, 12/26/96, p.B4)
1996 Dec, Colombia’s defense
minister offered a $1 million reward for the capture of Carlos
Castanos, leader of a right-wing paramilitary group.
(SFC, 3/26/97, p.C2)
1996 In Apartado, Colombia,
death squad members chopped off the head of a primary school student
in front of his class mates. They thus came to be called
“mocha-cabezas" or head-hackers.
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A14)
1996 The US barred contacts
with Gen’l. Hernando Camilo Zuniga, commander of Colombia’s armed
forces, because of suspected ties to drug traffickers.
(SFC, 5/25/98, p.A12)
1996-1997 In Colombia warlord Salvatore Mancuso
oversaw 2 massacres that killed 19 farmers in Antioquia province. In
2006 Colombia’s government said it will pay $1.4 million to
relatives of the 19 farmers, honoring a ruling by the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights.
1997 Jan 17, In Colombia Cali
cartel bosses Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez drew prison terms of
10.5 and 9 years for cocaine trafficking.
(SFC, 1/18/96, p.C1)
1997 Jan 25, Gunmen of the FARC
(Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) kidnapped Fernando
Caballero Argaez, president of the Bogota Stock Exchange, in
(SFC, 1/28/97, p.A8)
1997 Jan 30, Police seized 8
tons of cocaine and shut down a large cocaine processing plant in
Colombia’s state of Guaviare.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.A15)
1997 Feb 2, At least 25
soldiers were killed and scores wounded in fighting with leftist
guerrillas in the mountains east of Bogota, Colombia.
(SFC, 2/3/97, p.C3)
1997 Feb 4, In Colombia the
U’wa tribe blocked Occidental Petroleum from developing an oil field
on their land worth billions.
(SFC, 2/5/97, p.A9)
1997 Feb, Colombia’s state
workers staged a 7-day strike for wage hikes.
(SFC, 9/4/97, p.A12)
1997 Mar 21, Gerardo Bedoya,
executive editor of El Pais, was assassinated in Cali. He was a
former congressman and Colombian representative to the EU.
(SFC, 3/22/97, p.A11)
1997 Apr 7, In Colombia
prisoners took over a 1,200 inmate facility in Bucaramanga, the 3rd
prison to be seized in a week.
(WSJ, 4/8/97, p.A1)
1997 Apr 25, It was reported
that the semi-nomadic U’wa tribe threatened mass suicide to prevent
the Occidental Petroleum Co. from drilling in the Samore field in
(SFC, 4/25/97, p.A3)
1997 Apr, Some 10,000
inhabitants fled paramilitary violence in Riosucio, Colombia.
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A10)
1997 Jun 15, FARQ released 70
soldiers held as prisoners. FARQ regional commander Gen’l. Manuel
Jose Bonett read a communiqué that set preconditions for the start
of peace talks to end 30 years of civil war.
(SFC, 6/16/97, p.A9)
1997 Jul 15-1997 Jul 20, In
Colombia a right-wing death squad under Carlos Castano killed at
least 49 suspected guerrilla sympathizers in Mapiripan, Meta
province. In 1998 2 army sergeants, Juan Carlos Gamarra and Jose
Miller Urena, were linked to the massacre. In 2001 Gen. Jaime
Humberto Uscategui was given a 40-month sentence for failing to
defend the town. In 2009 a court convicted Uscategui of murder and
sentenced him to 40 years in prison for his role in the notorious
(SFC, 2/14/98, p.A8)(SFC, 7/11/98, p.A11)(SFC,
2/14/01, p.A16)(http://tinyurl.com/coyuh)(AP, 11/26/09)
1997 Jul 22, It was reported
that 30,000 violent deaths per year occurred in Colombia, the
world’s most violent country.
(SFC, 7/22/97, p.A8)
1997 Jul, Paramilitaries
threatened a delegation of UN and Colombian judicial officials
investigating the exodus of peasants from Riosucio.
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A14)
1997 Jul, The government passed
a law that made it illegal to sell more than $170,000 worth of
contraband. The annual contraband trade was estimated to be $3
(SFC, 1/24/98, p.A9)
1997 Aug 8, Senator Jorge
Cristo and a bodyguard were killed in Cucuta. Police said leftist
guerrillas were responsible.
(SFC, 8/9/97, p.C1)
1997 Aug 10, Police arrested
drug trafficker Waldo Simeon Vargas, alias “The Minister." He was a
former associate of Pablo Escobar and created his own organization
after the Cali chiefs were arrested in 1995.
(SFC, 8/11/97, p.A8)
1997 Aug 11, Leftist guerrillas
killed at least 9 people in 2 separate incident.
(SFC, 8/12/97, p.A9)
1997 Aug 15, Ten woodcutters
were killed by a gang of hooded gunmen near the town of Retiro in
(SFC, 8/16/97, p.C1)
1997 Aug 26, Mayor Mauricio
Guzman of Cali was arrested for allegedly accepting money from a
(SFC, 8/26/97, p.C3)
1997 Aug, A group of 30
intellectuals issued a plea for UN mediation over the violence in
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A14)
1997 Sep 3, Workers joined
protests across the country to protest government privatization
plans, for better wages, respect for human rights and an end to the
(SFC, 9/4/97, p.A12)
1997 Oct 3, A paramilitary
group hired to protect a cocaine shipment killed 11 judicial
officials near the town of San Carlos de Guaroa.
(SFC, 10/6/97, p.A11)
1997 Oct 4, Rebels of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces killed 17 policemen near San Juan de
Arama. The rebels were staging a growing campaign to disrupt
municipal elections. They had already killed 26 candidates and
forced more than 1,500 to withdraw.
(SFC, 10/6/97, p.A17)
1997 Oct 7, Leftist guerrillas
killed three villagers near San Jose de Apartado, a pilot peace
community that had declared neutrality in the civil conflicts.
(SFC, 10/8/97, p.A10)
1997 Oct 16, Leftist rebels
killed 8 policemen in the town of Caicedo.
(WSJ, 10/17/97, p.A1)
1997 Oct 19, In Colombia
leftist rebels killed Pablo Antonio Hernandez, a mayoral candidate
in Saravena and wounded another in Yumbo.
1997 Oct 23, In Colombia 2
observers from the Organization of American States were kidnapped by
rebels and on candidate of the upcoming elections was killed. Rebels
detonated some 20 bombs across the country and 2 policemen were
killed as they tried to defuse car bombs.
(WSJ, 10/24/97, p.A1)(SFC,10/24/97, p.A10)
1997 Oct 26, In Colombia
municipal elections were scheduled. Leftist guerrilla had forced
nearly 2,000 candidates to withdraw from the elections. Rebels
enforced an election boycott in about 40% of the country, but
affected only a small portion of the population.
(SFC, 10/6/97, p.)(SFC,10/24/97,
1997 Oct, In Colombia
paramilitary gunmen killed 6 people in Miraflores.
(SFC, 2/14/98, p.A8)
1997 Oct, Paramilitary gunmen
under Salvatore Mancuso killed 15 people at El Aro in Antioquia
1997 Nov 12, It was reported
that the high court had recently ruled that the Convivir
associations, right wing vigilante groups promoting security, were
legal. There were an estimated 5,500 employees and 300,000
1997 Nov 21, In Bogota
suspected right-wing paramilitaries killed at least 14 people. Later
near Urrao a suspected death squad killed 7 people including a
(WSJ, 11/24/97, p.A1)
1997 Nov 27, As many as 14
peasants were killed in Dabeiba in Antioquia Province. A 50-member
paramilitary group raided the hamlets of Balsita, Buenavista and
Toconal and riddled the victims with bullets and set fire to their
(SFC, 12/1/97, p.A13)
1997 Nov 29, At least 15 people
were killed during the night. 7 peasants were found dead outside the
town of Pitalito and another 8, including 2 children, in 2 attacks
1997 Nov, Carlos Arturo Quiroz,
the mayor-elect of San Jacinto, was killed by a paramilitary unit.
(SFC, 2/21/98, p.A9)
1997 Dec 15, In Colombia at
least 26 peasants were killed about this time after paramilitary
groups began to "cleanse" the Riosucio region of leftist guerrillas.
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A10)
1997 Dec 21, In Colombia rebels
overran Patascoy, a small military base in Narino province and
killed 22 soldiers. Some 400 rebels overwhelmed 32 defenders. 3
soldiers survived the attack and were found by rescuers after 2
days. In the northwest weekend fighting between rebels and
right-wing paramilitaries left 6 dead. Later reports said rebels
were holding 18-19 soldiers hostage. Pvt. Libio Jose Martinez was
among those captured. Martinez and 3 others were killed by the FARC
during combat on Nov 26, 2011.
(WSJ, 12/22/97, p.A1)(SFC,12/23/97,
p.D3)(SFC,12/24/97, p.A8)(SFC,12/27/97, p.A13)(AP, 11/27/11)
1997 Dec 22, A new wave of
paramilitary attacks began in the Riosucio region and some 500 more
peasants fled to Pavarando for safety.
(SFC, 1/5/98, p.A10)
1997 Colombia’s congress
reinstated extradition with the US under intense US pressure. The
law would was not to be applied retroactively.
(SFC, 10/2/98, p.B3)
1997 Colombia’s constitutional
court decriminalized doctor-assisted dying, but gave no guidance on
when it would be acceptable.
(Econ, 6/27/15, p.17)
1997 Colombia’s FARC commanders
began an urban extortion program. Their demanded payments from
businessmen came to be called la vacuna (vaccine).
(SFC, 11/26/99, p.B8)
1997 In Colombia Chiquita
Brands Int’l. began paying the AUC paramilitaries after it
threatened attacks. In 2001 the US designated the AUC a foreign
terrorist organization. In 2003 Chiquita reported illegal payments
to the AUC to the Justice department, but continued payments to Feb,
(WSJ, 8/2/07, p.A1)
1997-2004 In 2006 Colombia's nonprofit Association
of Relatives of the Disappeared Detained recorded 7,300 cases of
forced disappearances during this period. Only one-tenth of the
bodies have been found, said the group's secretary general,
Esperanza Merchan. She estimated the total number of disappeared at
1998 Jan 30, Paramilitary
gunmen descended on Puerto Asis, Colombia, and proceeded to kill 48
civilians thought to be guerrilla sympathizers. Mayor Nestor
Hernandez warned army commanders at a local garrison but received no
(SFC, 2/14/98, p.A8)
1998 Feb 9, In Colombia rebels
blew up the nation’s main oil pipeline spilling 15,000 gallons and
forcing a suspension of pumping. It was the 7th attack on a pipeline
(WSJ, 2/10/98, p.A1)
1998 Feb 19, In Colombia Jose
Nelson Urrego, aka “El Loco" and the purported head of the so-called
Cartel del Norte del Valle, was arrested.
(SFC, 2/20/98, p.A14)
1998 Feb 20, In Colombia Army
Major Eduardo Santos Vergara and 3 local police commanders were
arrested for allegedly collaborating with paramilitary death squads
in the north. They were accused of being responsible for the Nov.
murder of Carlos Arturo Quiroz in San Jacinto.
(SFC, 2/21/98, p.A9)
1998 Feb 23, Colombia’s Pres.
Samper denied his weekend offer to resign in order to improve
relations with the US.
(SFC, 2/23/98, p.A12)
1998 Feb 24, Victor Manuel
Carranza, aka the “Emerald King," was arrested near Bogota,
Colombia, on charges of financing right-wing paramilitary death
(SFC, 2/26/98, p.A9)
1998 Feb 26, The US waived the
2-year-old sanctions against Colombia. Military and economic aid
were expected to follow.
(WSJ, 2/27/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 2-1998 Mar 3, Rebels
of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said that some 70
government soldiers were killed near the Caguan River. The bodies of
58 were later recovered. Forty soldiers were rescued and 27 were
captured. The fate of 28 was unknown.
(SFC, 3/6/98, p.A12)(WSJ, 3/11/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 8, Colombia elected
new representatives to Congress. Rebels interference forced vote
cancellations in 46 municipalities. 8 guerrillas and 7 soldiers were
reported killed in combat.
(SFC, 3/7/98, p.A10)
1998 Mar 13, It was reported
that Carlos Ardila Lulle, owner of Postobon soft-drink bottling, was
one of the richest men in Colombia.
(WSJ, 3/13/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 24, In Colombia
leftist guerrillas killed at least 9 people, wounded 14 and took 20
hostages when they blocked a major highway 30 miles south of Bogota.
(WSJ, 3/25/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 27, Rebels under
Comandante Romana freed 9 Colombian hostages but held 4 American
birdwatchers and an Italian businessman for ransom.
(SFC, 3/28/98, p.A10)
1998 Mar 30, It was reported
that oil pipeline sabotage in Colombia had spilled 1.5 million
barrels of crude over the last decade.
(SFC, 3/30/98, p.A8)
1998 Apr 2, In Colombia Thomas
Fiore (43), one of the hostages captured Mar 27, escaped captivity
by the FARC rebel group.
(SFC, 4/3/98, p.B5)
1998 Apr 6, Manuel Perez, a
former priest from Spain and leader of Colombia’s National
Liberation's Army (ELN), died at age 62.
(SFC, 4/798, p.A21)
1998 Apr 9, A Catholic priest
and a lay worker died from a toxic cocktail of wine mixed with
cyanide. At least 10 Easter baskets with poisoned wine were
delivered to priests in Colombia’s provinces of Meta and
(SFC, 4/13/98, p.A14)
1998 Apr 12, At least 22
soldiers and leftist rebels were killed in fighting in Restrepo,
(SFC, 4/14/98, p.C12)
1998 Apr 17, Maria Arango (60),
Colombian human rights activist, was killed by multiple gunshots.
(SFC, 4/20/98, p.A8)
1998 Apr 18, Eduardo Umana
Mendoza (50), Colombia’s top human rights lawyer, was killed with 6
bullets to the head.
(SFC, 4/20/98, p.A8)(SFC, 4/21/98, p.A18)
1998 Apr 20, The Goldman
Environmental Awards were presented to six winners in SF. The prizes
were increased to $100,000. Berita KuwarU’wa (44) of Colombia won
for leading the U’wa tribe’s struggle against Occidental Petroleum.
(SFEC, 4/20/98, p.A8)
1998 Apr 20, In Colombia a
Boeing 727 crashed after takeoff from Bogota and all 53 people
aboard were killed.
(SFC, 4/21/98, p.A12)
1998 Apr 24, In Colombia FARC
released kidnapped American Louise Augustine. Two other
bird-watchers were released soon after.
(SFC, 4/25/98, p.A9)(WSJ, 4/27/98, p.A1)
1998 May 4, In Colombia gunmen
killed 21 people in the province of Meta. Some 200 members of a
right-wing paramilitary unit laid siege to the village of Puerta
Alvira for 3 hours. In 2000 4 army generals and a colonel were
accused by the attorney general for allowing the massacre.
(WSJ, 5/6/98, p.A1)(http://tinyurl.com/7rlwt)
1998 May 12, Retired Gen’l.
Fernando Landazabal Reyes, a former defense minister, was shot and
killed in Bogota, Colombia.
(SFC, 5/13/98, p.A13)
1998 May 17, In Colombia at
least 10 people were killed by an alleged right-wing death squad in
Barrancabermeja. Later the United Self-Defense Group acknowledged
that they had kidnapped, killed and burned 25 people. At least 11
other people were shot. In 1999 3 military officers were
dishonorably discharged and 5 police officers were suspended for
failing to halt the kidnappings.
(SFC, 5/18/98, p.A12)(SFC, 6/5/98, p.A14)(SFEC,
1998 May 19, Colombia’s Pres.
Samper disbanded the 20th Intelligence Brigade under US pressure
because of evidence that the unit was responsible for a series of
murders of civilian politicians and human rights activists.
(SFC, 5/25/98, p.A12)
1998 May 25, It was reported
that guerrilla movements were in control of 50% of Colombia. The
FARC troops were estimated at 15,000 and the ELN troops at 5,000.
(SFC, 5/25/98, p.A12)
1998 May 27, The Occidental
Petroleum Corp. agreed to give up the entire Samore block in return
for exploration rights on another 80-square-mile outside the lands
of Colombia’s U’wa tribe.
(SFC, 5/29/98, p.D3)
1998 May, Police in Cartagena,
Colombia, seized 17 metric tons of marijuana bound for Italy.
(SFEC, 7/12/98, p.A12)
1998 May 31, In Colombian
presidential elections conservative Andres Pastrana (43), son of
former Pres. Misael Pastrana, was in a tight race with Hector Serpa
(55) of the ruling Liberals. Serpa led Pastrana 34.6 vs. 34.3 and a
runoff was set for Jun 21. Noemi Sanin, an independent female
candidate, received 27% of the vote.
(WSJ, 5/29/98, p.A1)(SFC, 5/30/98, p.A12)(SFC,
6/2/98, p.A11)(SFC, 6/20/98, p.B1)
1998 Jun 7, Drug cartel leader
Alberto Orlandez Gamboa, alias “the Snail," was arrested in
(SFC, 6/8/98, p.A12)
1998 Jun 15, In Colombia rebels
seized 15 hostages, members of the army backed civic group called
“Girls of Steel."
(SFC, 7/4/98, p.A11)
1998 Jun 21, In Colombia,
former Bogota Mayor Andres Pastrana was elected president, defeating
Horacio Serpa, a key player in the scandal-tainted administration of
President Ernesto Samper.
(SFC, 6/22/98, p.A8)(AP, 6/21/08)
1998 Jun 24, In Colombia rebels
seized Ed Leonard of the Terramundo Drilling Co. of Canada. They
asked for a ransom of $2 million from the Grey Star Resources Co.,
which had hired Terramundo for exploratory work.
(SFC, 11/7/98, p.C1)
1998 Jun 26, The US agreed to
modernize 10 helicopters for Colombia and to provide 6 new ones to
fight drug traffickers.
(SFC, 6/27/98, p.A14)
1998 Jul 3, In Colombia rebels
of the ELN freed 15 hostages, members of the army backed civic group
called “Girls of Steel" in a deal brokered by Jose Ramos-Horta of
(SFC, 7/4/98, p.A11)
1998 Jul 11, Police in
Cartagena, Colombia, seized 7 metric tons of cocaine in cargo
containers bound for Europe.
(SFEC, 7/12/98, p.A12)
1998 Jul 23, Manuel Mejia
Vallejo, Colombian novelist, died at age 75. His work included “It
was Us," “The Marked Day," and “the House of the Two Palms."
(SFC, 7/24/98, p.D5)
1998 Jul 27, In Colombia rebels
kidnapped a congressman and 6 others at a roadblock in Santander
(WSJ, 7/28/98, p.A1)
1998 Jul, Colombia’s Pres.
Andres Pastrana met secretly with FARC and agreed to temporarily
pull army troops out of 5 rural townships that included San
Vincente, Vistahermosa, La Macarena, Mesetas and Uribe, in order to
encourage negotiations by November.
(SFC, 9/10/98, p.A12)
1998 Aug 4, In Colombia over 2
dozen attacks in half of the nation’s 32 provinces left at least 76
(SFC, 8/5/98, p.A10)(WSJ, 8/5/98, p.A1)
1998 Aug 5, In Colombia rebels
overran an antinarcotics base in Miraflores. 30 soldiers were
killed, 50 wounded and 100 were missing.
(WSJ, 8/6/98, p.A1)
1998 Aug 7, Colombia’s Pres.
Andres Pastrana took office. Following his inauguration Pastrana
replaced the top leaders of the military.
(SFC, 8/5/98, p.A10)(WSJ, 8/10/98, p.A1)
1998 Aug 9, Colombia’s
Pres. Pastrana replaced the top leaders of the military.
(WSJ, 8/10/98, p.A1)(WSJ, 8/11/98, p.A1)
1998 Aug 14, Government
soldiers were attacked by some 600 guerrillas near Riosucio in
Colombia’s Choco state. Fighting continued for 2 days. 60 soldiers
and guerrillas were killed.
(SFC, 8/17/98, p.A9)
1998 Aug 19, Colombia’s
Congress named Carlos Ossa to the post of comptroller general. He
had reported links to Pastor Perafan, a convicted drug trafficker,
and was opposed by Pres. Pastrana.
(SFC, 8/21/98, p.D2)
1998 Aug 21, In Bogota,
Colombia, Venezuelan trafficker Fernando "Fatso" Flores was
arrested. He was expected to be extradited to the US for shipping
nearly 8 tons of cocaine to Florida in 1991.
(SFC, 8/28/98, p.D3)
1998 Sep 2, Colombia devalued
its currency by 9% and the peso fell 5.3%.
(SFC, 9/3/98, p.B1)(SFC, 9/11/98, p.D2)
1998 Oct 6, Norbert Reinhart
(49), owner of the Canadian Terramundo drilling Co., exchanged
himself for his employee, foreman Ed Leonard, who was being held for
ransom by rebels in Colombia.
(SFC, 11/7/98, p.C1)
1998 Oct 9, In Colombia tens of
thousands of public employees continued their 3-day-old strike after
the government declared the walkout illegal. The strike was called
against cuts in public spending and a wage increase cap of 14% for
(SFC, 10/10/98, p.A14)
1998 Oct 14, In Colombia Saul
Albaraz (29), a journalist, was shot to death in Medellin.
(SFC, 10/16/98, p.D3)
1998 Oct 15, In Colombia some
200,000 people marched on the 8th day of a strike against the
government’s planned austerity program.
(WSJ, 10/16/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 16, Red ants, called
“crazy ants" by farmers in Colombia’s Santander and Boyaca
provinces, had destroyed some 10,000 acres of crops and threatened
an additional 100,000 acres.
(SFC, 10/17/98, p.C1)
1998 Oct 18, In Colombia the
Ocensa pipeline in Antioquia province near the village of Machuca
exploded. The attack was attributed to the National Liberation Army
and at least 25 people were killed.
(SFC, 10/19/98, p.A13)
1998 Oct 20, Jose Ortega, vice
president of Colombia’s Unitary Workers’ Federation, was shot and
killed. The killing prompted a wildcat strike by thousands of
(SFC, 10/22/98, p.C5)
1998 Oct 23, Jesus Fernandez,
alleged ringleader of Colombia’s Norte del Valle drug cartel, was
arrested in Medellin. He was also wanted by the US.
(SFC, 10/24/98, p.A12)
1998 Oct 28, Colombian Pres.
Pastrana met with Pres. Clinton in Washington and agreed to expand
the fight against drugs.
(SFC, 10/29/98, p.A14)
1998 Nov 1, In Colombia some
1,000 rebels attacked a police base in Mitu, capital of Vaupes
province with missiles shaped from propane cylinders. As many as 60
officers were believed killed. 80 police officers were reported
killed and 45 taken prisoner by the FARC rebels.
(SFC, 11/2/98, p.A14)(WSJ, 11/2/98, p.A1)(SFC,
1998 Nov 4, In Colombia
government forces retook Mitu after refueling in nearby Brazil. 5
guerrillas were reported killed.
(SFC, 11/5/98, p.C3)
1998 Nov 7, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana planned to complete the evacuation of government troops
from a southern guerrilla stronghold for 90 days to facilitate talks
with the rebel FARC. The rebels took control of 5 municipalities
straddling Caqueta and Meta provinces, an area the size of
Switzerland with 90,000 residents.
(SFC, 11/7/98, p.C1)(SFEC, 5/16/99, p.A20)
1998 Nov 9, US customs
officials found 1,600 pounds of cocaine on a Colombian C-130 in
Florida. Colombia’s air force chief resigned the next day.
(WSJ, 11/11/98, p.A1)
1998 Nov 10, From Colombia it
was reported that right-wing death squads had killed at least 17
(WSJ, 11/11/98, p.A1)
1998 Nov, Frank Moreno, a US
Drug Enforcement agent, was killed along with another man in a
Bogota, Colombia, disco. Jorge Figueroa was convicted and sentenced
to 30 years in prison. In 2000 a Superior Court cited legitimate
self-defense and reduced his sentence to 5 years.
(SFC, 6/15/00, p.C4)
1998 Dec 1, It was reported
that a US congressional initiative added $165 million in
counter-narcotics funds to Colombia. The 1999 aid package totaled
(SFC, 12/1/98, p.A10)
1998 Dec 1, In Colombia rebels
stormed 2 towns and killed at least 8 people and wounded 30.
(SFC, 12/2/98, p.A6)
1998 Dec 13, In Colombia an
anti-guerrilla raid at Santo Domingo village in Arauca state killed
a number of civilians. Most of the dead were victims of rockets and
strafing by military aircraft. The US oil-company air attack was
coordinated by 3 American civilian airmen. Later reports said the
rockets and warplanes were bought with US anti-drug aid. In 2002 a
government report faulted a Colombian helicopter pilot and crewman
for dropping a bomb that killed 17 civilians in Santo Domingo.
Charges of involuntary manslaughter were levied in 2003. In 2009 a
judge found two Colombian air force pilots guilty of murder and
sentenced them to 31 years in prison each for the cluster-bombing of
Santo Domingo that killed 17 people, including 6 children.
(SFC, 12/15/98, p.C4)(WSJ, 12/15/98, p.A1)(SFC,
12/22/98, p.C4)(SFC, 6/15/01, p.A1)(AP, 10/25/02)(AP, 12/21/03)(AP,
1998 Dec 27, In Colombia a
natural gas pipeline exploded in Arroyo de Piedra and killed at
least 12-15 people.
(SFC, 12/28/98, p.B1)(WSJ, 12/28/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 29, In Colombia rebels
claimed to have killed a right-wing paramilitary leader, Carlos
Castano, in a weekend capture of his northern stronghold. Other
sources denied the report.
(WSJ, 12/30/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 30, Colombian
officials found at least 11 burned and dismembered bodies in El
(SFC, 12/31/98, p.D2)
1998 In Colombia a group of 52
families acquired the 1,360 acre La Alemania farm in San Onofre. Two
years later illegal right-wing paramilitaries ran the farmers off
the land and set up camp there. In 2006 the peasant farmers
(campesinos) recovered their farm but faced foreclosure and
retaliation from the paramilitaries.
(Econ, 9/18/10, p.51)
1998 Semana, Colombia’s leading
news magazine, named Manuel Marulanda its "Man of the Year."
(SFC, 1/7/99, p.A8)
1998 Shell ceded its oil
exploration rights in Colombia’s Samore block to Occidental Oil,
which then renounced 75% of the original block and planned to drill
on lands outside of official U'wa Indian lands. The Indians
maintained the drill sites still stood on ancestral lands.
(WSJ, 6/7/99, p.A8)
1998 There were 2,226
kidnappings in Colombia during the year.
(SFEC, 3/7/99, p.T14)
1998 Jordan received ok from
the American CIA to sell 50,000 surplus AK-47 assault rifles to
Peru. Many of the rifles went to leftist guerrillas in Colombia and
Vladimiro Montesinos, Peru’s spy chief, was implicated.
(SFC, 11/6/00, p.A12)
1998 The remains of 36 boys
aged 8 through 16 were found in a ravine and overgrown lot in
Pereira, Colombia [see Luis Eduardo Garavito on Oct 29, 1999].
(SFC, 10/30/99, p.A14)
1999 Jan 7, In Colombia Manuel
Marulanda, leader of FARC, was scheduled to come down from the
mountains to talk peace with Pres. Pastrana at San Vicente del
Caguan. Marulanda failed to show but sent 3 top commanders in his
(SFC, 1/7/99, p.A8)
1999 Jan 9, In Colombia The
United Self-Defense Forces, right-wing death squads, killed 27
people in Playon de Orozco, and 14 people in San Pablo. Meanwhile
leftist rebels released Norbert Reinhart, a Canadian mining
executive, and Osmar Brohha, a German tourist.
(SFC, 1/11/99, p.A8)
1999 Jan 10, In Colombia The
United Self-Defense Forces, right-wing death squads, killed 8 people
in Toluviejo, and 20 people in La Hormiga.
(SFC, 1/11/99, p.A8)
1999 Jan 14, In Colombia
right-wing paramilitary groups announced they were willing to begin
(SFC, 1/15/99, p.A15)
1999 Jan 19, In Colombia rebels
suspended peace talks and accused the government of backing recent
massacres by right-wing death squads.
(SFC, 1/20/99, p.A10)
1999 Jan 20, Alfredo Molano, a
journalist for Colombia’s El Espectador, announced that he would
leave for Europe in fear of Carlos Castano, leader of the right-wing
(SFC, 1/21/99, p.A14)
1999 Jan 25, In Colombia a 6.0
earthquake hit in western Valle del Cauca state and at least 273
people were killed and 900 injured. The cities of Armenia, Pereira,
and Calarca were hardest hit. The death toll went up and it was
predicted that 2,000 died in Armenia alone.
(SFC, 1/26/99, p.A1)(WSJ, 1/26/99, p.A1)(SFC,
1999 Jan 27, Colombia’s Jan 25
earthquake death toll went up to 878 with over 3,400 injured and
survivors began looting markets for food.
(SFC, 1/28/99, p.A12)
1999 Jan 28, In Colombia Pres.
Pastrana ordered in 2,700 soldiers and police to restore order. 2
human rights activists were kidnapped by right-wing militia. They
were released Feb 18.
(WSJ, 1/29/99, p.A1)
1999 Jan, In Colombia 75 people
were kidnapped during the month.
(SFEC, 3/7/99, p.T14)
1999 Feb 5, The
demilitarization of southeast Colombia was extended for another 90
days in order to extend talks with FARC.
(SFC, 2/6/99, p.A12)
1999 Feb 15, In Colombia a
right-wing paramilitary group kidnapped 9 officials sent to
investigate reports of a mass grave near Ceja.
(WSJ, 2/16/99, p.A1)
1999 Feb 25, In Colombia 3
Americans were kidnapped. [see Mar 4]
(SFC, 3/6/99, p.A10)
1999 Feb 28, In Colombia 3 US
citizens, Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawatok and Lahe'ena'e Gay,
were kidnapped by FARC rebels. The 3 belonged to a group that worked
to defend the rights of the Uwa Indians in a dispute with Occidental
Petroleum. 3 FARC rebels, wanted for the kidnapping, were captured
Nov 28, 2002. [see Mar 4]
(SFC, 3/1/99, p.A12)(AP, 11/29/02)
1999 Feb, Orlando Garcia was
arrested along with 18 members of the “Los Niches" cocaine smuggling
ring. Garcia was extradited to the US in 2000 for shipping 230
pounds of cocaine into the US.
(SFC, 7/14/00, p.D2)
1999 Mar 1, In Colombia a
far-right death squad killed 8 people and kidnapped 3 in
Barrancabermeja, a stronghold of the National Liberation Army (ELN).
(SFC, 3/2/99, p.A9)
1999 Mar 4, In Venezuela the
bodies of 3 Americans, who were kidnapped Feb 25 in Colombia, were
found shot to death. Ingrid Washinawatok (41), Lahe'ena'e Gay (39)
and Terence Freitas (24) were coordinating a campaign for the U'wa
Indians when they were abducted. Raul Reyes, senior commander of
FARC, later said that local commander Gildardo and 3 rebels seized
and executed the 3 Americans without authorization. In Dec. German
Briceno, a FARC officer, was indicted in absentia on murder charges
along with Gustavo Bogota, a member of the U'wa Indian tribe. In
2000 Nelson Vargas was captured in Saravena and identified as the
guerrilla commander responsible for the kidnap-slayings. Police
later said Gildardo Gomez was the commander suspected in the
killings, but still held Vargas on suspicion of rebel membership.
(SFC, 3/6/99, p.A10)(SFC, 3/11/99, p.A10)(SFC,
12/22/99, p.A18)(SFC, 3/24/00, p.D3)(SFC, 3/27/00, p.A13)
1999 Mar 19, In Colombia
Marxist rebels were reported to have abducted over 90 people in 3
provinces. 25 people were taken in Hormiga, over 50 were taken in
northern Cesar province, and 19 were seized in Cauca.
(SFC, 3/20/99, p.A11)
1999 Mar 25, In Colombia an
arrest warrant was issued for German Briceno, aka Grannobles, for
the kidnapping and killing of 3 Americans. Briceno was the brother
of Jorge Briceno, No. 2 leader of FARC.
(SFC, 3/27/99, p.C1)
1999 Apr 6, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana said that drug traffickers had destroyed an area of rain
forest the size of Delaware to plant illicit drug crops.
(SFC, 4/8/99, p.C3)
1999 Apr 12, In Colombia an
Avianca plane was hijacked with 46 people aboard and flown to a
guerrilla stronghold in Bolivar province.
(SFC, 4/13/99, p.A11)
1999 Apr 13, In Colombia rebels
released 6 of 46 hostages from a commandeered Avianca airplane.
(SFC, 4/14/99, p.A14)
1999 Apr 15, In Colombia rebels
released 3 more hostages as army units fought to free the remaining
32 captured in the hijacking of an Avianca plane.
(WSJ, 4/16/99, p.A1)
1999 Apr 21, In Colombia
retired Col. Bernardo Ruiz was arrested for arranging the 1995
murder of opposition politician Alvaro Gomez.
(SFC, 4/22/99, p.D12)(WSJ, 4/22/99, A1)
1999 Apr 21, Hernando Santos
(76), chairman of Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper, died.
(SFC, 4/23/99, p.D8)
1999 Apr 23, Colombia reported
that Marxist rebels and right-wing death squads had killed at least
371 civilians in the 1st 3 months of this year. 171 were killed by
guerrillas and 179 by paramilitary gangs.
(SFC, 4/24/99, p.C1)
1999 Apr 29, In Colombia a
2,500 member group of the Embera-Katio Indians called for a safe
haven in Europe due to the civil war in their homeland.
(SFC, 4/30/99, p.B1)
1999 May 2, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana and Manual Marulanda Velez, the leader of FARC, agreed to
begin formal peace negotiations with int'l. observers.
(SFC, 5/5/99, p.C5)
1999 May 7, In Colombia ELN
rebels released 7 more hostages from the Apr 12 hijacking.
(SFC, 5/8/99, p.C14)
1999 May 14, In Colombia
Matthew Aaron Burtchell, a US helicopter technician, was kidnapped
by armed men by Yopal, provincial capital of Casanare.
(SFC, 5/17/99, p.A10)
1999 May 21, In Colombia Piedad
Cordoba, an opposition senator, was kidnapped in Bogota by suspected
ELN rebels. They said she would be freed with a message about the
peace process. Carlos Castano, head of the United Self-Defense
Forces later admitted that he ordered the abduction.
(SFC, 5/22/99, p.A16)(SFC, 5/24/99, p.A13)
1999 May 30, In Colombia
suspected ELN rebels kidnapped some 140 churchgoers in Cali and
later abandoned at least 84.
(SFC, 5/31/99, p.A8)(SFC, 6/1/99, p.a6)
1999 Jun 4, In Colombia at
least 2,000 people crossed the border into Venezuela to escape heavy
fighting in northern Santander province.
(SFC, 6/5/99, p.A12)
1999 Jun 5, In Colombia rebels
released 5 Catholic hostages. An estimated 55 were still held from
the May 30 kidnapping.
(SFEC, 6/6/99, p.A24)
1999 Jun 6, In Colombia 150,000
people rallied in Cali to protest the kidnapping or churchgoers by
(SFC, 6/7/99, p.A11)(SFC, 7/12/99, p.A8)
1999 Jun 7, In Colombia a rebel
chief apologized for the abduction of a church congregation as other
rebels kidnapped 11 people on a fishing trip near Barranquilla.
(WSJ, 6/7/99, p.A1)
1999 Jun 15, In Colombia
leftist rebels of the ELN released 33 hostages from the church group
kidnapped 17 days earlier. At least 20 others were kept captive.
(SFC, 6/16/99, p.B3)
1999 Jun 19, Colombia’s
government agreed to start formal peace talks with the 15,000 strong
FARC on July 7.
(SFC, 6/21/99, p.A10)
1999 Jun 21, In Colombia FARC
guerrillas attacked the paramilitary United Self Defense Forces
(AUC) in the Nudo de Paramillo mountain range. At least 68 people
were reported killed in the fighting.
(SFC, 6/24/99, p.A10)
1999 Jun 26, In Colombia
Richard Grasso, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, met with
Paul Reyes, leader of the FARC, to discuss peace and the promise of
(SFC, 6/28/99, p.A10)
1999 Jun 27, Colombia devalued
its currency by lowering its trading band by 9%.
(WSJ, 6/29/99, p.A1)
1999 Jun, Children, residents,
fish and farm animals of Rioblanco de Sotara, a Yanacona Indian
village in Colombia’s high Andes, were affected by a government
spraying campaign to eradicate heroin poppy.
(SFC, 5/1/00, p.A12)
1999 Jul 8, In Columbia heavy
fighting in Gutierrez between the government and FARC killed as many
as 78 soldiers.
(SFC, 7/9/99, p.A14)(SFC, 7/10/99, p.A10)
1999 Jul 10, In Colombia the
government declared a dawn-to-dusk curfew across over 30% of the
country as guerrillas attacked security forces, raided 15 towns and
bombed energy infrastructure. 64 guerrillas, 6 civilians and 3
policemen were reported killed in the last 24 hours.
(SFEC, 7/11/99, p.A19)
1999 Jul 11, In Colombia the
leftist offensive continued. An army statement said 202 guerrillas,
19 policemen, 4 soldiers and 9 civilians had been killed. Rebel
sources said 68 security force members were killed and 32 rebels.
(SFC, 7/12/99, p.A10)
1999 Jul 12, In Colombia
fighting subsided after a 4-day guerrilla blitz.
(SFC, 7/13/99, p.A10)
1999 Jul 17, In Colombia FARC
and government negotiators failed to agree on observers for peace
talks and the talks were put on hold.
(SFC, 7/19/99, p.A12)
1999 Jul 23, In Colombia a US
anti-narcotics reconnaissance airplane crashed with 5 US Army
personnel and 2 Colombians.
(USAT, 7/26/99, p.7A)
1999 Jul 30, In Colombia a
powerful car bomb exploded in Medellin outside an anti-kidnapping
unit that had arrested 7 suspected members of FARC just hours
earlier. At least 10 people were killed.
(SFC, 7/31/99, p.A8)
1999 Jul, Colombia’s military
reported a total of 300 guerrillas killed this month, mostly from
(SFC, 2/19/00, p.A10)
1999 Aug 1, In Colombia a
weekend attack by rebels killed at least 17 people in Narino, 100
miles northwest of Bogota.
(SFC, 8/2/99, p.A12)
1999 Aug 3, In Colombia
fighting died down in Currulao with 15 FARC rebels and one soldier
dead. 2 Pentecostal pastors were reported killed near
(SFC, 8/4/99, p.A9)
1999 Aug 13, In Bogota,
Colombia, Jaime Garzon (39), radio co-host and satirist, was shot
and killed by a motorcycle gunman.
(SFC, 8/14/99, p.A11)
1999 Aug 17, In Colombia
suspected rightist gunmen shot and killed at least 13 villagers in
Zambrano including a girl age 13.
(SFC, 8/18/99, p.C2)
1999 Aug 22, In Colombia at
least 36 peasants were killed by paramilitary fighters near the
(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.A21)
1999 Aug 23, It was reported
that the US was training a 950-man Colombian army counter narcotics
battalion to regain control of guerrilla controlled territory.
(SFC, 8/23/99, p.A10)
1999 Aug 27, In Colombia
Alistair Taylor, an oil engineer for Weathorford Int’l., was
kidnapped by ELN rebels, who demanded a $3 million ransom. He was
released July 5, 2001.
(SSFC, 5/27/01, p.A12)(SFC, 7/7/01, p.A9)
1999 Aug 31, In Colombia rebels
seized a hydroelectric plant near Buenaventura and held 100
employees on the 1st day of a nationwide strike. 1.5 million workers
protested government austerity moves.
(WSJ, 9/1/99, p.A1)
1999 Aug, Colombia’s government
granted the U'wa Indians an expansion of their official reservation
boundaries in an effort to placate the anti oil drilling protests.
(SFC, 2/10/00, p.A10)
1999 Aug, US authorities
intercepted a 1.2 kg package of heroine, valued at $700,000, mailed
by Laurie Hiett (36) in Bogota. She was the wife of James Hiett, a
US Army colonel in charge of the military’s anti-drug operation in
Colombia. In 2000 Mrs. Hiett was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
(SFC, 4/4/00, p.A2)(SFC, 5/6/00, p.A7)
1999 Sep 1, Colombia took
delivery of 6 refurbished Vietnam-era US military helicopters for
use in the drug war.
(WSJ, 9/2/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 16, In Venezuela a
Colombian delegation met with the largest guerrilla group to revive
(WSJ, 9/17/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 21, In Columbia the
government gave approval to Occidental Petroleum to drill a test
well near the boundary of the 3,600 U'wa Indians.
(SFC, 9/22/99, p.A14)
1999 Oct 13, In Colombia drug
police arrested 30 cocaine traffickers including Medellin cartel
leader Fabio Ochoa and reputed distribution boss Alejandro
Bernal-Madrigal. Some 1,290 traffickers were also arrested in
Mexico, Ecuador, the US and other countries over the last 2 weeks in
(WSJ, 10/14/99, p.A1,22)(SFC, 10/14/99,
p.A14)(SFC, 11/22/99, p.A12)
1999 Oct 24, In Colombia the
government began formal negotiations with the Marxist FARC guerrilla
group as millions marched to demand an end to civil war.
(SFC, 10/25/99, p.A11)(WSJ, 10/25/99, p.A1)
1999 Oct 29, In Colombia it was
reported that Luis Eduardo Garavito (42) had confessed to the
abduction and killing of some 140 children over a 5-year period. In
Dec. Garavitor was convicted and sentenced to 52 years in prison for
the 1996 murder of one boy and raping another.
(SFC, 10/30/99, p.A14)(SFC, 12/18/99, p.A20)
1999 Nov 2, In Panama suspected
Colombian rebels hijacked 2 helicopters.
(SFC, 11/3/99, p.C2)
1999 Nov 11, In Bogota,
Colombia, a car bomb killed 7 people and injured 19.
(SFC, 11/12/99, p.A16)
1999 Nov 14, In Colombia the
3rd bomb blast in a week injured a worker at El Tiempo newspaper in
(SFC, 11/16/99, p.E4)
1999 Nov 21, In Colombia Jaimi
Orlando Lara (30) was extradited to the US for smuggling heroine to
the US. He was the first drug offender to be extradited since 1990.
(SFC, 11/22/99, p.A12)
1999 Nov, In Colombia U'wa
Indians purchased 2 farms that covered the proposed Occidental oil
drill site and organized a sit in to prevent drilling.
(SFC, 2/10/00, p.A10)
1999 Dec 13, In Colombia
leftist rebels attacked a naval base at Jurado near Panama and 23
marines were killed and dozens wounded.
(SFC, 12/14/99, p.B2)
1999 Dec 20, In Colombia the
biggest rebel group called a holiday truce through Jan 9. The last
week of fighting killed some 220 soldiers and guerrillas.
(WSJ, 12/21/99, p.A1)
1999 The Plan Colombia program
began as the US under Pres. Clinton deployed a small air force to
Colombia to spray coca plants and help Colombia fight insurgents and
shut down processing plants for cocaine. At this time traffickers
had some 463,322 acres of coca plant cultivation and produced 90% of
the world’s cocaine. By 2009, despite 10 years of eradication
efforts, Colombia had some 575,750 acres under coca plant
cultivation and still produced 90% of the world’s cocaine.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, Insight
1999 Colombia reported 2,945
kidnappings in this year; 7% were children.
(SFC, 5/6/00, p.A10)
1999 In Colombia there were
some 5,000 killings this year in Medellin. Some 220 gangs with 8,500
gang members fought turf battles on a daily basis.
(SFC, 11/23/00, p.A20)
2000 Jan 4, In Colombia Red
Cross work shut down after peasant refugees took 40 hostages in
Bogota and demanded homes.
(WSJ, 1/5/00, p.A1)
2000 Jan 12, In Colombia rebels
ended a holiday truce and 24 people were feared dead in attacks on
southern mountain towns.
(WSJ, 1/13/00, p.A1)
2000 Jan 15, In Colombia the
government military claimed to have killed 44 guerrillas. 6 soldier
and police also died as well as 8 civilians in a town 30 miles
southeast of Bogota.
(SFC, 1/18/00, p.A9
2000 Jan 16, In Colombia at
least 13 guerrillas were killed in Bolivar state. Rebel bombings of
power lines left Medellin out of power for several hours. Rebels
blew up 22 high-voltage pylons that took out power in Antioquia,
Choco and Cordoba provinces.
(SFC, 1/18/00, p.A9)(WSJ, 1/18/00, p.A1)
2000 Jan 26, In Colombia
government soldiers carted off 26 U'wa Indians in helicopters and
militarized a drill site on a farm owned by the U'wa.
(SFC, 2/10/00, p.A10)
2000 Feb 16 - 2000 Feb 21, In
Colombia at least 60 people were killed in the town of El Salado in
northern Bolivar province during this period according to a 2011
report from the National Commission of Reparation and
2000 Feb 18, In Colombia at
least 9 villagers were killed over 3 days near Ovejas by suspected
(SFC, 2/19/00, p.A10)
2000 Feb 18-2000 Feb 19, At El
Salado over 300 right-wing paramilitary executed at least 36 people
whom they accused of collaborating with leftist guerrillas. Nearby
military and police made no effort to stop the slaughter.
(SFC, 7/15/00, p.A12,14)(Econ, 7/23/05, p.33)
2000 Feb 24, In Bogota,
Colombia, an auto-free day was held as declared by Mayor Enrique
(SFC, 2/25/00, p.D3)
2000 Mar 1, In Colombia ELN
guerrillas kidnapped 3 teenagers from a school in Cali.
(SFC, 5/6/00, p.A10)
2000 Mar 21, In Colombia rebel
bombings caused a blackout in most of Bogota and large portions of
the central and northeast regions.
(SFC, 3/22/00, p.A12)
2000 Mar 26, In Colombia Pres.
Pastrana pressured Armando Pomorica, president of the lower house of
Congress, to take responsibility for a corruption scandal.
(WSJ, 3/27/00, p.A1)
2000 Mar 30, In Colombia a
truck bomb exploded in Cachipay. 4 people were killed and at least
14 were injured.
(SFC, 3/31/00, p.A21)
2000 Apr 1, In Colombia leftist
rebels stormed the Modelo jail in Cucuta and freed 74 prisoners.
(SFC, 4/3/00, p.A9)
2000 Apr 3, Leftist rebels of
the national Liberation Army kidnapped 23 motorists in Colombia’s
northern Cesar state after calling for a transportation strike.
(SFC, 4/4/00, p.A12)
2000 Apr 6, In Colombia
suspected rightist paramilitaries killed 21 unarmed residents of
(SFC, 4/7/00, p.D2)
2000 Apr 12, In Colombia police
and US drug agents swept over 4 cities in “Operation Millennium II"
and made 49 arrests in the country’s largest heroin ring.
(SFC, 4/13/00, p.A16)
2000 Apr 24, In Colombia Pres.
Pastrana reached a preliminary agreement with the ELN to withdraw
government troops from a northern region as a condition for peace
talks. Meanwhile FARC rebels announced a campaign to kidnap
millionaires and corporate executives who refuse to pay tribute.
(SFC, 4/25/00, p.A11)(SFC, 4/27/00, p.A11)
2000 Apr 25, Dagoberto Ospina
(9) was kidnapped by gunmen outside of Cali, Colombia. Some 60
children and teenagers were reported abducted in the 1st 3 months of
(SFC, 5/6/00, p.A10)
2000 Apr 27, In Colombia a riot
broke out at Bogota’s El Modelo federal prison after an inmate’s
mutilated body was found in a sewer pipe. 26 people were killed over
the next 24 hours in fighting between paramilitary and common
(SFC, 4/29/00, p.A12)
2000 Apr 29, Colombian police
agents shot and killed one of the alleged kidnappers of Dagoberto
Ospina in a Cali shopping center.
(SFC, 5/6/00, p.A11)
2000 May 15, Near Chiquinquira,
Columbia, Elvia Cortez (53) and Jairo Lopez, a bomb technician, were
killed by explosives placed on her neck by kidnappers who claimed to
be members of FARC and demanded $7,500.
(SFC, 5/16/00, p.A13)(SFC, 5/17/00, p.A14)
2000 Jun 19, In Colombia
Guillermo Valencia Cossio, the brother of peace negotiator Fabio
Valencia Cossio, was abducted. Carlos Castano, head of the feared
Self-Defenses Forces, later confirmed that he ordered the
(SFC, 6/22/00, p.A1)
2000 Jun 23, In Colombia
Guillermo Valencia was freed after 4 days. Luisa Cano (5) was also
freed by guerrillas after being kidnapped Apr 15.
(SFC, 6/24/00, p.A13)
2000 Jul 15, In Colombia 13
police officers were executed by rebels following their surrender to
a missile attack in Roncesvalles.
(SFC, 7/17/00, p.A13)
2000 Jul 29, In Colombia rebels
attacked the town of Arboleda and claimed to have killed nearly 2
dozen police officers. Troops and national police were flown to the
site the next day aboard US-supplied helicopters.
(SFC, 7/31/00, p.A12)
2000 Aug 5, In Colombia
congressman Oscar Tulio Lizcano was abducted by the FARC. He was
freed by a military operation in 2008.
2000 Aug 6, In Colombia
rightist paramilitary killed 6 men in Vilanueva.
(SFC, 8/9/00, p.A14)
2000 Aug 7, It was reported
that another 16 people were killed by rebels in northern Colombia
and that Occidental Petroleum had halted production at its 2nd
largest field due to rebel attacks.
(WSJ, 8/7/00, p.A1)
2000 Aug 7, In Colombia
rightist paramilitary killed 7 villagers in San Diego.
(SFC, 8/9/00, p.A14)
2000 Aug 15, Colombian
authorities and US Secret Service agents captured 10 leaders of a
counterfeiting ring that had sent over $40 million in bogus bills to
the US over the last 2 years.
(SFC, 8/17/00, p.A15)
2000 Aug 15, In Colombia 6
students were killed after they were caught in a cross fire between
leftist rebels and government troops. The students were on a field
trip with teachers. An investigation followed and a military coverup
was suspected. 5 officers and 36 soldiers were suspended for the
(SFC, 8/16/00, p.A18)(SFC, 8/17/00, p.A15)(WSJ,
8/17/00, p.A1)(SFC, 8/19/00, p.A10)
2000 Aug 17, In Colombia a
bomb, planted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces Colombia, exploded
in the village of Carmen de Bolivar and 2 children were killed.
(SFC, 8/19/00, p.A10)
2000 Aug 18, Alberto Orlandez
Gamboa, a drug cartel leader known as “The Snail," was extradited
from Colombia to the US to stand trial for drug trafficking and
(SFC, 8/19/00, p.A10)
2000 Aug 27, In Colombia gunmen
killed at least 17 people in 2 massacres at Cienaga and
(SFC, 8/28/00, p.A12)
2000 Aug 29, A videotape by
Pres. Clinton sought to calm fears over a $1.3 billion aid package
expected to escalate the guerrilla war in Colombia. Pres. Clinton
was scheduled to arrive the next day. Plan Colombia was America’s
3rd largest military aid package after Israel and Egypt.
(SFC, 8/30/00, p.A14)(SSFC, 11/11/07, p.M5)
2000 Aug 30, It was reported
that many professional and entrepreneurs were leaving Colombia due
to the civil war.
(WSJ, 8/30/00, p.A1)
2000 Aug 30, Pres. Clinton
stopped in Colombia and pledged that US aid would not lead to
military escalation in the drug war. The recent $1.5 billion
military aid package was part of a broader $7.5 billion Colombian
plan to fight drugs, help refugees and strengthen government
(SFC, 8/31/00, p.A1)
2000 Aug, US Special Forces
trainers arrived in Colombia to train a 2nd anti-narcotics military
(SFEC, 8/6/00, p.C15)
2000 Sep 2, A US-made warplane
crashed and 7 airmen were killed during heavy fighting with rebels
in Colombia. Another 8 soldiers were killed along with 12 rebels in
the combat on Mount Montezuma, 155 miles west of Bogota. A rebel
assault on a police station at Tomarrazon in Guajira state left 7
police officers dead.
(SFEC, 9/3/00, p.A15)(SFC, 9/4/00, p.A9)
2000 Sep 6, In Colombia police
found a 100-foot submarine under construction by cocaine smugglers
18 miles from Bogota.
(SFC, 9/8/00, p.A1)
2000 Sep 17, In Colombia
government troops engaged FARC rebels at Dabeiba. The offensive had
started Sep 13 and high casualties were reported. ELN rebels
kidnapped about 54 people from roadside restaurants near Cali.
(SFC, 9/18/00, p.A9)(SFC, 11/1/00, p.A17)
2000 Sep 18, In Colombia gunmen
released 23 captives from as many as 80 in the highlands outside
(SFC, 9/19/00, p.A9)
2000 Sep 20, In Colombia ELN
rebels released 12 of 55 hostages seized near Cali. They still held
(SFC, 9/21/00, p.A13)
2000 Sep 26, Colombia’s Mayor
Julio Hernandez Rodriquez Rovelo was shot to death in Rovira.
(SFEC, 10/29/00, p.A22)
2000 Oct 12, In Ecuador
suspected Columbian FARC guerrillas kidnapped 5 Americans and 5
other foreign oil workers, hijacked a helicopter, and crossed back
to Columbia. It was later suspected that the kidnappers were
Ecuadoran criminals rather than Colombian guerrillas.
(SFC, 10/13/00, p.A17)(SFC, 10/20/00, p.D8)
2000 Oct 20, FARC guerrillas
near Dabeiba, Colombia, killed 54 members of the army and national
police. 22 were killed in the crash of a US-made Black hawk
helicopter hit by gunfire.
(SFC, 10/21/00, p.A12)
2000 Oct 24, In Colombia
political abductions rose to 5 over the last 3 days. Rebel and right
wing paramilitaries were suspected in the kidnapping of the
opposition Liberal Party members.
(SFC, 10/25/00, p.A16)
2000 Oct 25, Europe with
support from Canada and Japan announced a $280 million support
package for Colombian efforts to make peace with leftist rebels.
(SFC, 10/26/00, p.D8)
2000 Oct 31, In Colombia ELN
rebels began freeing 24 hostages from the Sep. 17 kidnapping near
Cali. 15 rebels had died and 25 were captured in fighting since the
(SFC, 11/1/00, p.A17)
2000 Nov 10, A car bomb in
Cali, Colombia, injured 11 civilians. The ELN was blamed.
(SFC, 11/11/00, p.C18)
2000 Nov 15, Gustavo Ruiz (39),
a radio reporter, was shot to death in Pivijay, Colombia. The murder
appeared to be in retaliation for reports on local vigilante squads.
(SFC, 11/17/00, p.D6)
2000 Nov 16, Colombian police
and US Secret Service cracked a billion dollar counterfeiting
operation in Versalles. One man was arrested. The operation was
believed to be master-minded by Ramiro Sepulveda.
(SFC, 11/18/00, p.A14)
2000 Nov 19, In Colombia
weekend clashes with leftist rebels left at least 28 dead.
(WSJ, 11/20/00, p.A1)
2000 Nov 28, In Colombia the
mayor-elect of Sibundoy was wounded by gunfire.
(SFC, 11/30/00, p.C7)
2000 Nov 29, In Colombia gunmen
killed the mayor-elect of a town in the Putumayo region.
(SFC, 11/30/00, p.C7)
2000 Dec 5, Fernando Araujo
(44), development minister under President Andres Pastrana, was
kidnapped by FARC rebels while exercising in Cartagena. Araujo
escaped captivity in Jan 2007 during a raid to free him. A marine
and six guerrillas died in the battle to free Araujo.
2000 Dec 6, A FARC attack in
Granada, Colombia left at least 29 dead.
(SFC, 12/9/00, p.A18)
2000 Dec 7, Colombia announced
an imminent prisoner exchange with leftist guerrillas. FARC held
over 500 police and soldiers.
(SFC, 12/8/00, p.A21)
2000 Dec 15, Two people were
killed in Bogota, Colombia, when right-wing paramilitary gunmen
attacked and wounded Wilson Borja, president of the Federation of
State Workers. Borja had been organizing peace talks between the
government and leftist rebels.
(SFC, 12/16/00, p.A20)
2000 Dec 17, In Colombia gunmen
killed 11 people in the village of Chipaque. Leftist rebels were
(SFC, 12/19/00, p.B2)
2000 Dec 18, The mayor of
Quipile, Colombia, became the 19th mayor assassinated this year.
(WSJ, 12/19/00, p.A1)
2000 Dec 23, In Colombia rebels
freed 42 police officers and soldiers.
(SSFC, 12/24/00, p.B4)
2000 Dec 25, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana announced a draft for an agreement with the ELN to pull
government troops from areas in Bolivar state.
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.C2)
2000 Dec 29, In Colombia gunmen
killed Rep. Diego Turbay, a peace envoy, along with 6 other people.
A FARC unit was blamed.
(SFC, 12/30/00, p.A8)
2000 Colombia passed
legislation creating the National Commission for the Seeking of
Disappeared People and authorized it to build a "unified registry"
of the missing.
2000 In Colombia kidnappings
for the year reached a record 3,706.
(WSJ, 12/27/01, p.A1)
2000-2009 In Colombia over 7,000 fell victim to
landmines during this period, most of them planted by the FARC.
(Econ, 8/29/09, p.33)
2001 Jan 4, In Colombia a
right-wing death squad killed 11 people in a northeast town.
(WSJ, 1/05/01, p.A1)
2001 Jan 10, In Colombia
soldiers rescued 56 hostages held by ELN guerrillas outside Barbosa.
(SFC, 1/11/01, p.A14)
2001 Jan 14, In Colombia 8
people were killed by at least 40 gunmen outside Valledupar in Cesar
state. Right-wing paramilitaries were blamed.
(SFC, 1/15/01, p.A15)
2001 Jan 17, In Colombia 25 men
were hacked to death by some 50 AUC right-wing paramilitary at
Chengue. 30 homes were set on fire and 7 men taken as hostages.
Residents had called for protection 23 months earlier.
(SFC, 1/18/01, p.A14)(SSFC, 1/21/01, p.D3)
2001 Jan 28, In Colombia gunmen
killed at least 10 people in Hato Nuevo.
(SFC, 1/29/01, p.A14)
2001 Jan, In Colombia at least
50 suspected guerrilla sympathizers were murdered this month in
Barrancabermeja by paramilitary groups.
(SFC, 2/12/01, p.B1)
2001 Feb 6, In Colombia gunmen
killed 14 people in a northern battle zone.
(WSJ, 2/7/01, p.A1)
2001 Feb 8, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana met with FARC leader Manuel Marulanda at Los Pozos.
(SFC, 2/9/01, p.A16)
2001 Feb 9, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana and FARC commander Marulanda agreed to resume peace
(SFC, 2/10/01, p.A10)
2001 Feb 11, In Colombia 9
young hikers, 6 men and 3 women, were found killed execution style
in southwest Purace National Park. FARC later admitted to killing
the 8 hikers.
(SFC, 2/15/01, p.A12)(WSJ, 3/19/01, p.A1)
2001 Feb 26, It was reported
that Interpol estimated some 25,000 Colombian women were being
trafficked per year in the int’l. sex trade.
(SFC, 2/26/01, p.A10)
2001 Mar 5, In Colombia
rightists vowed to prevent the formation of a 2nd leftist sanctuary
and fought rebels in a battle that left 24 dead.
(WSJ, 3/6/01, p.A1)
2001 Mar 7, In Colombia it was
reported that Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus called on women to take a
night out and leave men at home to do the chores.
(SFC, 3/7/01, p.A9)
2001 Mar 10, In Colombia gunmen
pulled Sintramienergetica union local president Valmore Locarno and
his deputy, Victor Orcasita, off a bus and killed them. The US
Drummond Co. was later charged with paying paramilitaries for the
executions. In 2007 a civil trial before a federal jury opened in
2001 Mar 17, Colombia suspended
meat and livestock imports from Argentina for 60 days due to fears
of foot-and-mouth disease. Only Israel and Russia still imported
(SFC, 3/19/01, p.A9)
2001 Mar 26, In Colombia Juan
Gonzalez, head of the right-wing Calima Front of the United
Self-Defense Forces, was killed with 3 others in a bar shootout.
(SFC, 3/28/01, p.D4)
2001 Mar, Bernardo Velez,
brother of Colombia's education minister, was kidnapped by FARC
rebels. In 2004 leftist rebels killed Velez even though his family
paid a ransom twice.
2001 Mar, In Colombia Valmore
Locarno (38) and Victor Orcasita (37) were killed by members of a
right-wing paramilitary group in La Loma, as they returned from work
at a Drummond Co. coal mine.
(WSJ, 10/6/03, p.A1)
2001 Apr 1, In Colombia weekend
fighting between leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary groups
left at least 35 people dead.
(WSJ, 4/3/01, p.A1)
2001 Apr 10, In Colombia an
arrest warrant was issued for Tomas Medina, commander of FARC.
(SFC, 4/11/01, p.C3)
2001 cApr 15, In Colombia’s
southwest 32 peasant bodies were pulled from a fresh shallow grave
and a right-wing death squad was accused of the killing.
(WSJ, 4/16/01, p.A1)
2001 Apr 16, In Colombia’s
Arauca state a leftist rebel group seized some 100 contract
employees of a US oil firm. All the workers were later released.
(SFC, 4/18/01, p.A13)(WSJ, 4/20/01, p.A1)
2001 Apr 21, Luiz Fernando da
Costa (33), a Brazilian drug lord, was arrested in Colombia after
his plane was forced down by the Colombian air force. He was accused
of selling arms to FARC in exchange for cocaine.
(SFC, 4/23/01, p.A12)
2001 Apr 30, In Colombia Carlos
Alberto Trespalacios (33), information director for the Medellin
sports institute, was slain in the El Poblado district.
(SFC, 5/2/01, p.A9)
2001 May 7, In Colombia leftist
FARC guerrillas used dynamite to free 61 prisoners in Caloto.
(SFC, 5/9/01, p.C5)
2001 May 11, In Colombia an
army offensive against FARC began in 7 states. After 3 days of
fighting 41 rebels and 3 soldiers were dead.
(SFC, 5/14/01, p.A12)
2001 May 15, In Colombia
paramilitary forces kidnapped some 207 workers as they returned home
in the state of Casanare.
(SFC, 5/17/01, p.A10)
2001 May 16, In Colombia Ronald
de Jesus Arrollave, a La Terraza leader, was dragged from his
Medellin home and shot to death by 15 hooded gunmen. FARC rebels
kidnapped Lothar Hintze, a German businessman, at a tourist complex
that he was building in Prado. He was released April 5, 2006.
(SFC, 5/19/01, p.A12)(AP, 4/6/06)
2001 May 17, In Colombia the
United Self-Defense Forces (AUC) freed 201 recently abducted
farmworkers. In Medellin a car bomb killed 7 people and injured 138.
The criminal band “La Terraza" was blamed.
(SFC, 5/18/01, p.A14)(SFC, 5/19/01, p.A8)
2001 May 21, In Colombia a
stolen, US-made MK-82, 500-pound bomb was planted by right-wing
paramilitaries next to a communist newspaper office in Bogota. It
was discovered by a security guard and removed.
(SFC, 5/30/01, p.A10)
2001 May 25, In Colombia 2
bombs exploded in front of Bogota’s National Univ. and 4 people were
(SFC, 5/26/01, p.A9)
2001 May 27-2001 May 28, In
Colombia FARC guerrillas killed at least 24 residents of villages
(SFC, 6/1/01, p.D3)
2001 Jun 1, In Colombia
newspapers speculated that Carlos Castano, head of the right-wing
United Self-Defense Forces (AUC), had resigned over internal
(SFC, 6/2/01, p.A9)
2001 Jun 2, Colombia’s
government and FARC guerrillas agreed to swap sick prisoners
followed later by a swap of healthy prisoners.
(SSFC, 6/3/01, p.A16)
2001 Jun 6, In Colombia the AUC
acknowledged that Carlos Castano had left the 9-man ruling command
council and was reassigned to manage its political affairs.
(SFC, 6/7/01, p.C2)
2001 Jun 11, The Colombia AUC
named a new 9-man command council to lead its fight against rebel
(SFC, 6/12/01, p.A9)
2001 Jun 11, In northern
Colombia, thousands turned out to protest a US-backed program to
aerially eradicate coca crops. They wanted the government to
manually eradicate the plant used to make cocaine instead of
spraying the countryside.
2001 Jun 16, Colombia’s
government and FARC rebels swapped dozens of prisoners.
(SSFC, 6/17/01, p.A20)
2001 Jun 23, In Colombia the
army reported that recent clashes with rebels left 30 soldiers and
26 guerrillas dead. Separately 5 inmates were killed during a FARC
arranged prison escape at the La Picota prison in Bogota.
(SSFC, 6/24/01, p.A20)(SFC, 6/25/01, p.A9)
2001 Jun 28, In Colombia rebels
freed 242 prisoners in a boost to peace talks.
(WSJ, 6/29/01, p. A1)
2001 Jul 1, In Colombia the
body of Alma Jaramillo, an advisor to a peace group, was found in
Morales. She had been abducted Jun 29. Rightwing paramilitary
militia were blamed.
(SFC, 7/5/01, p.A10)
2001 Jul 2, In Bogota,
Colombia, a firefight erupted between rival gangs at the La Modelo
penitentiary and 10 inmates were killed.
(SFC, 7/4/01, p.A12)
2001 Jul 15, In Colombia FARC
guerrillas kidnapped Alam Jara, former governor of Meta state.
(SFC, 7/17/01, p.A7)
2001 Jul 23, In Colombia
retired Gen. Rito Alejo del Rio was arrested on charges of helping
create right-wing paramilitary groups.
(SFC, 7/24/01, p.A12)
2001 Jul 31, In Colombia 4
rebels and 2 soldiers were killed in fighting in southern and
(SFC, 8/1/01, p.A9)
2001 Jul, In Colombia Maria del
Rosario, a regional prosecutor, was shot to death in Cucuta.
(SFC, 11/2/01, p.D5)
2001 Aug 2, Colombia reported a
big victory over rebels at Juan Jose. 60 rebels were killed along
with 13 soldiers.
(SFC, 8/3/01, p.D3)
2001 Aug 7, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana announced that he was suspending talks with the 5,000 ELN
(SFC, 8/8/01, p.A8)
2001 Aug 9, In Colombia an
explosion killed 3 children and injured 35 in the northern town of
San Francisco. Police blamed the ELN.
(SFC, 8/10/01, p.A18)
2001 Aug 11, In Bogota,
Colombia, 3 members of the Irish Republican Army were arrested after
spending 5 weeks training FARC rebels in explosives and terrorist
(SFC, 8/14/01, p.A7)
2001 Aug 16, In Colombia Pres.
Pastrana signed legislation giving the military broad new powers to
wage war with less scrutiny from human rights monitors. Gunmen in
Santo Tomas killed 12 people for being members in the ELN.
(SFC, 8/17/01, p.A12)(SSFC, 8/19/01, p.A16)
2001 Aug 19, In Colombia
thousands of soldiers pursued FARC rebels near San Jose del
Guaviare. 20 guerrillas were reported killed including Urias
Cuellar, a high-ranking commander.
(SFC, 8/20/01, p.A9)
2001 Aug 22, In Colombia Felix
Chitiva Carrasquilla, one of the top men of the North Valley Cartel,
(SSFC, 8/26/01, p.A16)
2001 Aug 23, A suspected ELN
car bomb killed a woman and wounded over 20 people in Marinilla,
Colombia. Separately 15-20 suspected ELN members were killed when
explosives in their truck went off in Santander state.
(SFC, 8/24/01, p.D2)
2001 Aug 25, In Colombia police
in Bogota reported that they had found $35 million stashed in the
walls of 2 Bogota apartments. The apartments had been used as
private banks by the North Valley Cartel.
(SSFC, 8/26/01, p.A16)
2001 Aug 29, In Colombia
Yolanda Paternina (50), a government prosecutor, was shot and killed
while returning home in Sincelejo. She had been investigating a
January paramilitary massacre and 2 of her colleagues were missing
(SSFC, 9/2/01, p.A20)
2001 Aug 30, In Colombia
Salvatore Mancuso was being considered as the new head of the AUC,
though he had not yet accepted the position. Former commander Carlos
Castano said the AUC would operate as a decentralized confederation.
(SFC, 8/31/01, p.D3)
2001 Sep 2, In Colombia Ramiro
Carranza, director of the foreign branch of the secret police (DAS),
was abducted near Quetame.
(SFC, 9/5/01, p.A9)
2001 Sep 6, In Colombia gunmen
killed a congressman who headed a peace commission.
(WSJ, 9/7/01, p.A1)
2001 Sep 7, Fabio Ochoa, former
leader of the Medellin cartel, was extradited from Colombia to the
US to stand trial for shipping cocaine to the US.
(SFC, 9/8/01, p.A8)
2001 Sep 8, In Colombia police
arrested 4 FARC guerrillas who allegedly planned to kill
presidential candidate Alvaro Uribe.
(SSFC, 9/9/01, p.A17)
2001 Sep 10, The Bush
administration designated the Colombian paramilitary group, the
United Self-Defense Forces (AUC), as a terrorist group.
(SFC, 9/11/01, p.B1)
2001 Sep 19, Guambiano Indians
in Colombia’s Cauca state attacked Paez Indians and 7 people were
killed with at least 19 wounded.
(SFC, 9/21/01, p.D3)
2001 Sep 19, In Colombia
Yolanda Ceron, a Catholic nun active in human rights work, was shot
and killed in Tumaco.
(SFC, 9/21/01, p.D3)
2001 Sep 23, In Colombia 2 men
were arrested in connection with a plot to assassinate Pres.
Pastrana in July in the town of Armenia.
(SFC, 9/26/01, p.C2)
2001 Sep 24, In Colombia
Consuelo Araujo (62), the wife of the attorney general, was
kidnapped along with 10 others near Valledupar. Araujo was found
shot to death on Sep 30.
(SFC, 9/25/01, p.A12)(SFC, 10/1/01, p.A8)
2001 Sep 29, In Colombia FARC
used armed road blocks and military attacks to disrupt a planned
march into their territory by pres. candidate Horacio Serpa.
(SFC, 10/1/01, p.A8)
2001 Oct 8, In Bogota,
Colombia, Luis Alfredo Colmenares, a representative from Arauca, was
assassinated by gunmen on a motorcycle.
(SFC, 10/9/01, p.B4)
2001 Oct 10, In Colombia AUC
paramilitary massacred 24 men in the village of (Alaska) Buga. The
bodies of 6 fishermen were recovered near Cartagena, where they had
been kidnapped earlier in the week. A cab driver, who drove outside
news correspondents, was also slain.
(SFC, 10/12/01, p.D2)(WSJ, 10/12/01, p.A1)
2001 Oct 11, In Colombia AUC
paramilitary shot and killed 5 men in the town of Samaniego.
(SFC, 10/13/01, p.C1)
2001 Oct 12, In Colombia AUC
paramilitary shot and killed 5 men and 2 women in the town of
Piamonte. The army reported that it had discovered14 bodies in a
single grave in the town of Albania.
(SFC, 10/13/01, p.C1)
2001 Oct 20-2001 Oct 21, In
Penol, Colombia, a bomb in a hot dog cart killed 5 people in an
apartment where several police families lived. In Alejandria 10
peasants were killed by paramilitary gunmen. In La Guajira province
FARC rebels bombed a gas pipeline and 4 brothers (5-9) were killed.
FARC fighters killed 5 men and a woman in El Habra. In Valle del
Cauca rebels dragged 4 men and a woman from their car and killed
(SFC, 10/22/01, p.B2)
2001 Oct 26, US ambassador Anne
Patterson said the US would provide counter-terrorist aid: “Colombia
has 10% of the terrorist groups in the world."
(SFC, 10/27/01, p.A9)
2001 Oct 30, Colombia
extradited Alejandro Bernal to the US for smuggling up to 30 tons of
cocaine a month to the US in the late 1990s.
(SFC, 10/31/01, p.C12)
2001 Nov 1, In Colombia Carlos
Arturo Pinto (53), a regional prosecutor, was shot to death in
Cucuta by 2 men on motorcycle. Pinto had replaced Maria del Rosario,
who was shot to death in July.
(SFC, 11/2/01, p.D5)
2001 Nov 3, In Colombia FARC
fighters besieged the town of Paujil and killed 3 police officers. 8
truck drivers were abducted in Casanare province at a roadblock and
3 technicians in the same region.
(SFC, 11/5/01, p.A13)
2001 Nov 4, In Colombia gunmen
abducted a judge and 3 lawyers in Antioquia province. Glen Heggstad
(Heregestard) of California was released Dec 7.
(SFC, 11/5/01, p.A13)(SFC, 12/10/01, p.A5)(SFC,
2001 Nov 7, In Colombia FARC
rebels kidnapped Mireya Mejia Araujo, a local peace counselor and
demanded $217,000 in ransom.
(SSFC, 11/11/01, p.A15)
2001 Nov 10, In Colombia AUC
paramilitary killed 12 villagers in El Choco for collaboration with
(SFC, 11/12/01, p.A14)
2001 Nov 16, In Colombia some
300-600 leftist rebels attacked the Andean town of Bolivar. 23
police defended the town until their ammunition ran out. Townspeople
prevented the rebels from taking away 5 captured officers.
(SSFC, 11/25/01, p.A16)
2001 Nov 19, In Colombia the
right-wing AUC militia said that it held 6 mayors hostage in
Antioquia state. The mayors were released Nov 20.
(SFC, 11/20/01, p.A17)
2001 Nov 22, In Colombia At
least 47 people were confirmed dead following a mud slide at a
condemned gold mine site in Filadelfia.
(SFC, 11/23/01, p.A17)(SSFC, 11/25/01, p.A18)
2001 Nov 23, A crew dug for
bodies and survivors under mud after a huge landslide swept over
gold miners illegally digging into the side of a mountain in western
Colombia, killing at least 28 people.
2001 Dec 16, In Colombia a
5-day battle over cocaine-producing plantations left up to 44
leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary fighters dead in
(SFC, 12/17/01, p.A7)
2001 Dec 30, Colombia seized
$41 million in counterfeit US currency.
(WSJ, 12/31/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec, Colombia’s Carlos
Castano published “Mi Confesion" (My Confession), an biographical
account of his rise in the AUC along with details of his “dirty war"
against leftist guerrillas.
(SFC, 2/15/02, p.H2)
2001 Shakira, Colombian pop
star, made a hit with her “Laundry Service" album, mostly in
English, selling 13 million copies. Her previous 4 albums in Spanish
sold some 12 million copies.
(Econ, 7/23/05, p.62)
2001 In Colombia Andres Felipe
Perez (12), who had unsuccessfully pleaded to see his father held by
FARC, died from cancer.
(SSFC, 4/7/02, p.A8)
2001 Colombian courts convicted
Yair Klein, a former lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army, in
absentia for helping train far-right paramilitary groups in the
1980s. The Colombian government made unsuccessful attempts to obtain
his extradition from Israel. Klein was arrested by Russian
authorities in August 2007 as he touched down at a Moscow airport.
He was released to Israel in 2010.
2002 Jan 9, In Colombia Pres.
Pastrana gave FARC 48 hours to retire from their designated safe
(SFC, 1/10/02, p.A8)
2002 Jan 10, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana sent troops to the demilitarized zone occupied by the FARC.
(SFC, 1/11/02, p.A6)
2002 Jan 12, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana rejected a last minute FARC proposal to save the peace
(SSFC, 1/13/02, p.A19)
2002 Jan 14, In Colombia the
government and FARC rebels agreed to salvage peace talks.
(SFC, 1/15/02, p.A9)
2002 Jan 15, In Colombia FARC
rebels staged attacks in Puente Quetame, Ibague, Guayabal and
Cubarral following an accord to continue peace talks. At least 4
people were killed.
(SFC, 1/16/02, p.A8)
2002 Jan 18, Five Colombian
police officers died while protecting a downed UH-1N helicopter. The
US helicopter was destroyed to keep it out of rebel hands.
(SFC, 1/25/02, p.A15)
2002 Jan 21, In Colombia FARC
and government negotiators agreed to a timetable for cease-fire
(SFC, 1/21/02, p.A11)
2002 Jan 25, A bomb in Bogota,
Colombia, killed 4 police officers and a girl (5). FARC rebels were
(SSFC, 1/27/02, p.A19)
2002 Feb 5, US officials
announced plans to train and arm Colombian troops to protect the key
Cano Limon oil pipeline.
(SFC, 2/7/02, p.A12)
2002 Feb 11, In Colombia
suspected FARC rebels sent 2 bombs into a southern army garrison and
killed 10 sleeping soldiers.
(SFC, 2/12/02, p.A10)
2002 Feb 20, In Colombia
guerrillas hijacked a commercial flight and took captive Sen. Jorge
Eduardo Gechem Turbay. In response Pres. Andres Pastrana ended
three-year-old peace talks with the FARC and ordered his military to
retake the southern rebel haven. Gechem was released on Feb 27,
p.A10)(Econ, 12/6/14, p.38)
2002 Feb 21, The Colombia Air
Force dropped 1,500 and 500 pound bombs on FARC rebel sites.
(SFC, 2/22/02, p.A1)
2002 Feb 22, Colombia began to
airlift some 34,000 soldiers of the elite Rapid Deployment Force
into San Vicente del Caguan, the largest town in the FARC territory.
(SFC, 2/23/02, p.A9)(SSFC, 2/24/02, p.A18)
2002 Feb 23, In Colombia FARC
rebels kidnapped Ingrid Betancourt (40), a presidential candidate,
near La Montanita enroute to San Vicente del Caguan. She was the
author of “Until Death do us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia."
Clara Rojas (37) was also kidnapped. Rohas gave birth to a son in
2004 from whom she was separated. Betancourt and other hostages were
freed in a military operation in July, 2008.
(SFC, 2/25/02, p.A6)(Econ, 3/20/04, p.37)(SFC,
2002 Feb 24, In La Macarena,
Colombia, 7 civilians were reported killed by retreating rebels.
(SFC, 2/27/02, p.A7)
2002 Feb 26, In Colombia 7
people were killed in various attacks blamed on the FARC. A rebel
bombing campaign against infrastructure continued.
(SFC, 2/27/02, p.A7)
2002 Mar 2, In Colombia the
bodies of Sen. Martha Catalina Daniels, her driver, Carlos Lozano,
and Ana Maria Medina, the wife of a local politician, were found
outside Zipacon, 35 miles north of Bogota. FARC was suspected.
(SFC, 3/4/02, p.A3)
2002 Mar 10, In Colombia voters
maintained the Liberal Party as the largest force in the 268-member,
2-chamber legislature. Poling in 15 of the nation’s 1,097
municipalities was cancelled due to rebel interference.
(SFC, 3/11/02, p.A10)
2002 Mar 16, In Cali, Colombia,
gunmen killed Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino (63), a critic of
leftist rebels. A hired assassin was arrested in June.
(SSFC, 3/17/02, p.A20)(SFC, 3/18/02, p.A3)(AP,
2002 Mar 18, A US federal grand
jury unsealed a Mar 7 indictment against 7 men that included 3
Colombian guerrillas for smuggling planeloads of cocaine. These
included Tomas Molina Caracas, commander of the FARC 16th Front.
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A6)
2002 Apr 5, A car bomb in
Fuente de Oro, Colombia, injured 13 people.
(SFC, 4/8/02, p.A9)
2002 Apr 6, In Colombia FARC
rebels shot and killed police officers Norberto Perez and Victor
Manuel Marulanda as they tried to escape.
(SSFC, 4/7/02, p.A8)
2002 Apr 7, In Colombia 2 bombs
killed 12 people in Villavicencio and FARC rebels were suspected.
One bomb was used to attract people when the 2nd was detonated.
(SFC, 4/8/02, p.A9)
2002 Apr 9, A bomb killed 2
policemen near Bogota, Colombia.
(WSJ, 4/10/02, p.A1)
2002 Apr 11, In Colombia rebels
kidnapped 13 lawmakers in Cali. A legislator and 4 aides were
rescued and 1 police officer was killed. Sigifredo Lopez, one of the
abducted legislators, survived a mistaken rebel attack in 2007 that
left his 11 colleagues dead. He was released by the FARC in 2009.
(SFC, 4/12/02, p.A9)(AP, 9/13/12)
2002 Apr 14, In Barranquilla,
Colombia, a bomb exploded near the motorcade of Alvaro Uribe (49), a
presidential candidate. 3 bystanders were killed.
(SFC, 4/15/02, p.A10)
2002 Apr 19, In Colombia a
Russian-made Antonov jet, used to transfer inmates, crashed near
Popayan airport and at least 2 prison officials were killed.
(SFC, 4/20/02, p.A15)
2002 Apr 22, Colombia rebels
kidnapped a governor and ex-defense minister during a peace march.
(WSJ, 4/23/02, p.A1)
2002 Apr 30, A US grand jury
indicted Colombia’s rebel FARC army and 6 of its members on charges
of murdering 3 Americans.
(SFC, 5/1/02, p.A10)
2002 May 1, Government soldiers
from Colombia’s Caqueta state were pulled from a bus at a FARC
roadblock. Their bodies were reported found on May 12.
(SFC, 5/13/02, p.A6)
2002 May 3, In Colombia 2 days
of fighting left as many as 60 people dead in the region around
Bojaya after FARC fired mortars into a Bojaya church. The death toll
was soon raised to 119 including 40 children.
(SFC, 5/4/02, p.A11)(SFC, 5/7/02, p.A11)(SFC,
5/8/02, p.A1)(SFC, 5/13/02, p.A6)
2002 May 10, Colombia’s Gen.
Gustavo Socha was removed from his job as head of anti-narcotic
efforts for the National Police after $2 million in US funds was
discovered missing from a special police administrative account.
(SFC, 5/11/02, p.A12)
2002 May 14, In Colombia
leftist rebels attacked army-backed right-wing paramilitaries at
Alto de Minas and left at least 80 people dead 180 miles NW of
(WSJ, 5/17/02, p.A1)(SFC, 5/18/02, p.A13)
2002 May 18, It was reported
that the US-funded Plan Colombia had caused widespread crop damage
in Ecuador. The coca leaf fumigation affected some 10,000
Ecuadorians along the Colombia border where the RoundupUltra
herbicide was spread by Colombian airplanes.
(SFC, 5/18/02, p.A11)
2002 May 21, In Medellin,
Colombia, fighting between security forces and guerrillas left at
least 9 people dead including 2 children.
(SFC, 5/22/02, p.A15)
2002 May 23, Pedro Carmona
(60), CEO of Industrias Venoco CA and Venezuela‘s recent 2-day
president, escaped house arrest and sought refuge in the Colombian
(SFC, 5/24/02, p.A16)(WSJ, 3/10/08, p.A5)
2002 May 25, In Colombia
presidential elections were held. Alvaro Uribe received 53% of the
vote, over 20 more than rival Horacio Serpa.
(SSFC, 5/26/02, p.A1)(SFC, 5/27/02, p.A1)
2002 May 31, Colombia’s Pres.
Pastrana suspended talks with the ELN.
(SFC, 6/1/02, p.A11)
2002 Jun 3, In Chigorodo,
Colombia, 9 people were killed. Police suspected leftist rebels. At
least 49 people were killed in weekend fighting outside a former
rebel-held zone in the south.
(WSJ, 6/4/02, p.A1)
2002 Jun 5, Colombia ratified
the Rome Statute, the treaty that created an Int’l. Criminal Court.
(SFC, 6/6/02, p.A10)
2002 Jun 6, In Colombia a bomb
exploded at the La Churreria restaurant in Bogota and 1 woman was
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.A18)
2002 Jun 8, Colombian police in
Cali arrested John Fredy Jimenez, the alleged hired assassin who
gunned down Roman Catholic Archbishop Isaias Duarte as he left a
wedding March 16.
2002 Jun 14, Colombia's first
female defense minister said Friday she will strengthen the army and
seek more military aid from the United States and other nations to
fight leftist rebels. Protests began in Arequipa over the sale of 2
state utilities to a Belgian company.
(AP, 6/14/02)(SFC, 6/18/02, p.A7)
2002 Jun 17, In Colombia troops
took control of Arequipa to support a new government ban on public
(SFC, 6/18/02, p.A7)
2002 Jun 18, In Colombia
workers at the state oil company declared a two-day strike to
protest the assassination of one of their union officials, who have
allegedly been threatened by a right-wing paramilitary group.
2002 Jun 20, Colombian
President-elect Alvaro Uribe pressed President Bush for more help in
fighting drugs, while Bush cautioned him to respect human rights as
he combats leftist rebels who rely largely on drug trafficking for
2002 Jun 22, The mayors in the
western Colombian state of Antioquia resigned en masse after
receiving threats from FARC rebels that they would be killed if they
did not quit.
(AP, 6/22/02)(SSFC, 6/23/02, p.A22)
2002 Jun 27, In Colombia more
than 100 government officials defied rebel death threats,
withdrawing their resignations and agreeing to go back to work.
Authorities confirmed that Rigo Calvo, mayor of La Sierra, was
(AP, 6/27/02)(SFC, 6/28/02, p.A12)
2002 Jun 28, In Bogota,
Colombia, a Catholic priest, critical of leftist rebels, was gunned
down in front of a church where he had just performed mass.
2002 Jul 11, In Colombia
authorities confirmed that the mayors of 28 cities and towns
resigned this week after leftist rebels threatened to kill mayors if
they didn't step down.
2002 Jul 12, A Colombia army
spokesman said clashes across Colombia this week left at least 52
rebels and government soldiers dead.
2002 Jul 18, In Colombia rebels
attacked a central Colombian town and clashed with police in an
hours long battle, leaving four civilians and four rebels dead and
destroying dozens of houses and government buildings.
2002 Jul 20, Omar Bernal, rebel
commander of the 63rd front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, or FARC, surrendered Saturday to soldiers in southern
Colombia, saying he had lost faith in the decades-old guerrilla
2002 Jul 23, In Colombia a bomb
exploded in front of a Medellin restaurant where politicians and
journalists traditionally gather, killing a former congressman and
injuring nine other people.
2002 Jul 24, A truck bomb
exploded in San Juan de Rioseco, Colombia, and 2 police officers
(SFC, 7/25/02, p.A13)
2002 Jul 25, Some 5,000 women
gathered from all over Colombia, traveling hours by bus, all with
one message: They wanted an end to 38 years of civil war.
2002 Jul 29, In Colombia a
small bomb exploded outside a hardware store in downtown Bogota,
killing a 17-year-old girl and injuring 10 other people.
2002 Aug 1, In Colombia a
helicopter crashed while on an army medical evacuation mission in a
rebel zone killing six people. Also a 14-year-old girl died and five
other people were wounded when suspected rebels threw a grenade at a
bakery in the village of Venecia, 40 miles south of Bogota.
2002 Aug 7, In Colombia a
remote-controlled mortar attack killed 21 people during the
inauguration of Pres. Alvaro Uribe. 69 people were wounded.
(AP, 8/8/02)(SFC, 8/8/02,
2002 Aug 8, In Colombia
President Alvaro Uribe pressed ahead with Plan Meteor to equip 1
million citizens with radios to report on rebel activity.
(AP, 8/9/02)(SFC, 8/9/02, p.A20)
2002 Aug 9, In Colombia
fighting among outlaw groups for control of a gold mine and cocaine
crops in the mountainous north killed 50 fighters. 4 policemen were
killed in a rebel ambush in central Colombia in the town of Paz de
Ariporo. Army soldiers killed two rebels in the southern town of San
Vicente del Caguan.
2002 Aug 9, In central Colombia
hundreds of soldiers attacked the Metro Block right-wing
paramilitary force, killing and capturing dozens of fighters outside
Segovia. Paramilitary commander Rodrigo later said that an army
soldier executed 24 paramilitary men along a roadside near Segovia.
(AP, 8/10/02)(SSFC, 8/11/02, p.A16)(AP, 8/18/02)
2002 Aug 12, In Colombia Pres.
Alvaro Uribe, declared a limited state of emergency to fight what
the government described as a "regime of terror" following an
upsurge of violence that has left 100 people dead since he took
2002 Aug 19, In Colombia rebels
kidnapped over 2 dozen tourists inside Ensenada Utria national park.
The ELN was blamed.
(SFC, 8/22/02, p.A10)
2002 Aug 23, In southern
Colombia a bus veered off a mountain road in Papagayo after one of
its tires burst, plunging 1,000 feet and killing at least 12 people.
2002 Aug 27, In northern
Colombia government forces clashed with rebels, killing eight
guerrillas. The eight were among 14 people killed in scattered
fighting across the insurgency-plagued nation.
2002 Aug, The US resumed aerial
spraying to eradicate coca growing in Colombia and hoped to destroy
some 300,000 acres of coca growth. The US state Dept. said the
spraying does not endanger people or the environment.
(SFC, 9/4/02, p.A13)(SFC, 9/6/02, p.A18)
2002 Sep 4, Colombian
authorities reported the break up of an international kidnapping
ring organized by the nation's second-largest rebel group to fund
its insurgency. The leader of the ring was captured in July, and
authorities have arrested his successor and other rebels within the
last couple of days, said Gen. Reynaldo Castellanos. The crime
network was run out of Bogota by members of the National Liberation
Army. It included leftist groups from Chile, Ecuador, Peru and
Mexico that kidnapped people and stole cars, among other crimes.
2002 Sep 5, In Colombia gunmen
on motorcycles killed Fernando Mancilla, the new chief of secret
police for Antioquia province, as he drove his car in Medellin.
(AP, 9/6/02)(SFC, 9/6/02, p.A17)
2002 Sep 9, The US State
Department cleared the way for giving $41.6 million in arms and
equipment to Colombia, certifying that the country's military has
met human rights requirements in three areas.
2002 Sep 10, Colombia stepped
up its emergency powers to battle growing insurgency violence,
announcing it can detain people without warrants, restrict travel
and impose curfews.
2002 Sep 19, In Colombia Army
troops killed 21 guerrillas on 23 fronts and freed 2 kidnapped
civilians. A 3rd hostage died in the fighting.
(SFC, 9/20/02, p.A12)
2002 Sep 19- 2002 Sep 20, The
Colombian air force bombarded two rebel camps in northwest Colombia,
killing an estimated 200 insurgents.
2002 Sep 26, In Colombia
prosecutors accused 71 police officers, including a former top
anti-drug official, of taking more than $2 million in U.S. aid.
2002 Oct 6, In Colombia Jose
Arroyave, a regional commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC), was among 7 rebels killed in a military offensive.
2002 Oct 8, In Colombia heavily
armed police in tanks and on foot raided one of Medellin's most
dangerous neighborhoods in an effort to regain control from leftist
rebels and their rivals, the right-wing paramilitaries.
2002 Oct 16, In Colombia more
than 1,000 police and soldiers backed by helicopter gunships stormed
Comuna 13, a violence-plagued neighborhood in Medellin, exchanging
heavy fire with leftist rebels. Authorities said at least nine
people were killed, including a 16-year-old boy. In 2009 Diego
Fernando Murillo, a Colombian warlord awaiting sentencing in New
York City after pleading guilty to drug-trafficking charges, said
former army chief Gen. Mario Montoya mounted the joint operation
with his illegal, far-right militia.
(AP, 10/16/02)(SFC, 10/17/02,
2002 Oct 18, In Columbia FARC
rebels shot and killed Luis Antonio Motta (42), the mayor, and two
town councilmen of Campoalegre, after earlier telling them to resign
or face execution.
2002 Oct 21, In Colombia Air
Force planes bombed guerrillas on their way to attack a western
town, killing 70 of them.
2002 Oct 22, In Colombia a bomb
exploded outside police headquarters in Bogotá, killing two people
and wounding nearly a dozen more.
2002 Oct 22, The Colombian navy
seized 2.75 tons of cocaine when officials intercepted a speedboat
on the high seas.
2002 Oct 26, In Colombia 5
civilians were killed by rebels near Bogotá.
2002 Oct 28, In Colombia a car
bomb set in front of a school killed 2 police officers and wounded
11 others, just hours before President Alvaro Uribe visited Arauca.
2002 Oct 29, In Colombia
suspected rebels killed seven people, including a teenage girl, in
scattered attacks over two days.
2002 Oct 31, The US enacted the
Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) as a
replacement for the similar Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). It
granted duty-free access to a wide range of exports from Bolivia,
Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
2002 Nov 7, In Concordia,
Colombia, some 500 men and women sacked the buildings of the local
government offices, political offices, and state phone operations in
response to the murder of mayoral candidate Eugenio Escalante (47)
by the AUC.
(SFC, 11/19/02, p.A12)
2002 Nov 9, In Colombia a
teenager (17) hurled a grenade at a bar in Medellin, killing two
people and injuring 18 others.
2002 Nov 11, Jorge Enrique
Jimenez, one of Latin America's leading bishops, was kidnapped along
with Rev. Desiderio Orejuela as they went to hold a religious
service in central Colombia.
2002 Nov 11, Colombian soldiers
killed 4 members of a right-wing paramilitary group and seven
leftist rebels during fighting in separate incidents.
2002 Nov 15, In Colombia Bishop
Jorge Enrique Jimenez and Rev. Desiderio Orjuela were freed by army
troops in a gun battle that left one rebel captor dead and 2
2002 Nov 24, The Central
Colombian Pipeline, known by its Spanish acronym Ocensa, had to be
shut down after an attack near the town of Aguazul.
2002 Nov 29, In Colombia the
AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary group, announced that it
would begin a unilateral cease-fire Dec 1.
2002 Dec 1, Colombia's largest
right-wing paramilitary group began a unilateral cease-fire in its
long-running battle against leftist rebels.
2002 Dec 4, Jesus Antonio
Nunez, mayor of the western Colombian town of Ambalema, was
assassinated, apparently after going to a meeting with the country's
main rebel group. He was the 13th mayor killed this year.
2002 Dec 8, The Colombian air
force bombed a rebel camp and claimed about 40 guerrillas were
2002 Dec 9, In Bogotá,
Colombia, a car bomb exploded near a police command post, during
lunch hour, injuring at least 58 passers-by.
2002 Dec 10, The Colombian army
reported that at least 8 right-wing militia members were killed by
leftist guerrillas near Tierradentro. A local clinic reported at
least 28 militia members dead along with 2 rebels.
(SFC, 12/11/02, p.A13)
2002 Dec 13, In Colombia 2
bombs exploded in Bogotá, one targeting a senator in his office and
another hitting a luxury residential hotel where lawmakers stay. At
least 16 people were wounded in the bombings.
2002 Dec 20, Colombia's senate
extended a measure that gives the government emergency powers in its
battle against outlawed armed groups. Suspected ELN rebels opened
fire on a police station and set off a car bomb in an attack in
eastern Colombia that left four people dead and 17 wounded.
2002 Dec 22, Suspected
Colombian rebels blew up a bus carrying workers to a U.S.-run oil
field, killing two and wounding 11.
2002 Dec 24, Suspected members
of Colombia's largest paramilitary group (AUC) killed two police
officers and wounded another in southwest Colombia.
2002 Dec 31, In Colombia at
least 12 people, including eight civilians, were killed in attacks
by suspected rebels around the country.
2002 Robin Kirk authored “More
Terrible Than Death," an account of the violence in Colombia.
(WSJ, 1/16/03, p.D8)
2002 The Colombia coffee
federation, set up in 1927, began opening local coffee shops under
the Valdez name. Juan Valdez, an idealized coffee farmer, and his
mule Conchita became the public face of Colombian coffee in the
(Econ, 10/1/05, p.37)
2003 Jan 7, In Colombia rebels
ambushed a police convoy near the capital, killing at least 8
officers and wounding 5 in a bold, daylight attack.
2003 Jan 9, In northeast
Colombia rebels detonated a car bomb that killed 4 people in a 2nd
attack in 2 days.
(WSJ, 1/10/03, p.A1)
2003 Jan 16, In Colombia a car
bomb exploded outside the attorney general's office in Medellin,
killing three people and wounding at least 19. Gunmen entered the
tiny village of Dos Quebradas and killed a dozen people, leaving
surviving villagers terrified and waiting for government forces to
arrive. At least 16 people were killed by FARC rebels in villages
around San Carlos.
(AP, 1/16/03)(AP, 1/18/03)(AP, 1/19/03)
2003 Jan 18, In southern
Colombia FARC guerrillas blew up every home in the hamlet of La
2003 Jan 19, Colombian AUC
gunmen kidnapped three Americans (Robert Y. Pelton, Mark Wedeven and
Megan A. Smaker) just north of the Colombian border in Panama. The
writer and 2 hikers were released Jan 23.
(AP, 1/22/03)(SFC, 1/24/03, p.A14)
2003 Jan 20, In northern
Colombia FARC rebels ambushed a pickup truck carrying policemen,
killing 6 officers and their civilian driver in a hail of gunfire
2003 Jan 20, An Organization of
American States report accused Nicaragua of negligence for
authorizing a deal that allowed 3,000 Kalashnikov rifles meant for
Panama to go to a Colombian paramilitary militia.
2003 Jan 21, Colombian rebels
in Arauca state kidnapped an American photographer and a British
reporter, the first time foreign journalists were abducted in
Colombia's four-decade-long civil war. Scott Dalton and Ruth Morris
were freed Feb 1.
(AP, 2/1/03)(AP, 1/21/04)
2003 Feb 7, In Bogotá,
Colombia, a car bomb tore through the El Nogal social club, killing
36 people, wounding 162. FARC rebels were blamed.
(AP, 2/8/03)(SFC, 2/8/03, p.A12)(AP, 2/7/04)
2003 Feb 11, The private plane
carrying Colombian Minister of Social Welfare, Juan Luis Londono,
was found crashed in the mountains north of the town of Cajamarca,
85 miles west of Bogotá. It had disappeared 5 days earlier.
2003 Feb 13, In southern
Colombia a U.S. government plane carrying 5 people crashed short of
an airport in rebel territory, and those on board may have been
spirited away by leftist rebels. 2 days later an American and a
Colombian were executed at close range.
(AP, 2/13/03)(AP, 2/15/03)
2003 Feb 14, In Colombia a
massive explosion rocked the southern city of Neiva as police
searched a house for explosives. 15 people died and about 30 were
2003 Feb 18, In Colombia
heavy fighting left at least 29 leftist rebels and right-wing
(WSJ, 2/19/03, p.A1)
2003 Feb 26, A Colombian
army Black Hawk helicopter carrying 23 crewmembers and elite troops
crashed in the northern mountains. All aboard were feared dead.
2003 Mar 5, In
northeastern Colombia a bomb set off by suspected rebels ripped
through a shopping center in Cucuta, killing 7 people, injuring at
least 20 and setting the complex on fire.
2003 Mar 18, In Colombia gunmen
killed Luis Eduardo Alfonso Parada (27), print and radio journalist,
outside his office in the eastern state of Arauca. Alfonso had
reported on alleged corruption in Arauca and said he was receiving
death threats. On Dec 30, 2009, prosecutors ordered the preventative
detention of Jose Ruben Pena Tobon, a paramilitary commander of the
right-wing paramilitary bloc that killed Alfonso.
(AP, 3/19/03)(AP, 12/30/09)
2003 Mar 19, Mudslides in a
city in Colombia's mountainous coffee-growing region left at least
11 people dead and destroyed dozens of houses.
2003 Mar 25, A light plane
carrying 3 Americans crashed in southern Colombia while searching
for 3 other Americans captured by rebels last month.
2003 Mar 27, In Colombia FARC
land mines killed 11 soldiers near Aracataca, the birthplace of
Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
2003 Apr 3, The Colombia
government said it is handing over about 14,000 acres of farmland
seized from drug traffickers to poor farmers, marking Pres. Alvaro
Uribe's first effort at agrarian reform. Efforts to cancel the
property rights of drug traffickers were to be stepped up along with
the transfer of some 750,000 acres of their property to peasants.
(AP, 4/3/03)(WSJ, 4/4/03, p.A1)
2003 Apr 7, Juan Emeterio
Rivas, Colombia radio journalist for station Calor Estereo,
was shot and killed by gunmen after he told his police body guards
to take time off. Rivas' body and that of an engineering student
were discovered in a rural area outside Barrancabermeja. Julio Cesar
Ardila, the mayor of Barrancabermeja, was later charged with
ordering the murder. He was among three men convicted in the murder
of Jose Emeterio Rivas. In 2009 Ardila was sentenced to 28 years in
prison for ordering the murder.
(AP, 4/7/03)(AP, 7/12/03)(AP, 1/22/09)
2003 Apr 10, In Colombia the
body of Eudaldo Diaz, mayor of the Sucre state town of El Roble, was
found tortured and killed. Former Sucre Gov. Salvador Arana was
convicted in 2009 of masterminding the murder. He is serving a
40-year prison term. In 2011 fugitive Colombian paramilitary warlord
Rodrigo Mercado was convicted in absentia of kidnapping and killing
2003 Apr 19, In Colombian
rebels kidnapped eight people on Mucura Island.
2003 Apr 20, In Colombia the
army said it killed 16 members of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia) in eastern Antioquia state.
2003 Apr 23, Colombia and
Venezuela agreed Wednesday to build a $120 million pipeline to
deliver natural gas to northeastern Colombia and western Venezuela.
2003 Apr 26, A Colombian school
teacher was found shot to death, days after she was kidnapped,
allegedly by leftist rebels who sought to force her father to kill
an enemy fighter.
2003 Apr 28, In Colombia Rafael
Rojas, a 20-year veteran of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) and the commander of the group's 46th Front,
surrendered and urged his former comrades to do the same.
2003 Apr 29, In Colombia the
high court has stripped President Alvaro Uribe of the emergency
powers he assumed last year to battle leftist rebels.
2003 May 5, In Colombia rebels
killed Guillermo Gaviria, a state governor, Gilberto Echeverri, a
former defense minister and 8 other hostages as army troops tried to
rescue them; three hostages survived. In 2008 a court sentenced 9
rebel leaders in absentia to 40 years in prison for the killings.
(SFC, 5/6/03, p.A3)(AP, 4/9/08)
2003 May 10, In Colombia rebels
in overnight attacks bombed a reservoir and energy towers, killing 3
security guards and cutting water to Cali and power to Buenaventura.
2003 May 22, In Colombia
Government troops killed at least 29 rebels in a two-day battle in
2003 May 24, In Colombia Capt.
Leonardo Moore disappeared while driving from Bogota to the southern
city of Cali. He was freed in 2007 following a skirmish with ELN
2003 May 27, In Colombia police
arrested Saul Nieto, known by the nom de guerre "Ezequiel." He was
in charge of a group of urban fighters of the National Liberation
Army, or ELN, in Medellin. 10 other rebels were also detained.
2003 Jun 14, A Colombian air
force commander said leftist rebel camps were bombarded and that an
estimated 67 insurgents were killed in southern Meta and Cauca
2003 Jun 16, In Colombia Pres.
Alvaro Uribe helped deploy the nation's latest weapon in a nearly
40-year civil war, sending 10,000 peasant soldiers back to their
villages to confront rebels and paramilitary fighters.
2003 Jun 19, Thousands of
Colombians marched on the presidential palace to defend their jobs
against what they described as a drive to turn the country's public
services into multinational corporations.
2003 Jun 24, In central
Colombia the bullet-riddled bodies of industrialist Helmut
Bickenbach (68) and his wife Doris Gil (65), Miss Columbia (1957),
were found by an army patrol lying in a ditch, with their hands
bound. They had been kidnapped 6 months earlier.
2003 Jul 15, The Colombian
government and right-wing paramilitary fighters agreed to begin
2003 Jul 16, Salvatore Mancuso,
head of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, said the largest
paramilitary group agreed to lay down weapons because of the
government's success in retaking control of wide swaths of land from
2003 Aug 8, In eastern Colombia
suspected rebels set off a car bomb near the Saravena airport,
killing five civilians, including two children.
2003 Aug 22, Suspected FARC
rebels killed Carlos Benavidez (25), a journalist and wounded
another, after the vehicle in which the reporters were traveling
failed to stop at a roadblock in southern Colombia.
2003 Aug 24, In central
Colombia a rebel bomb exploded as passengers were disembarking from
a boat, killing six people, including the woman carrying the device.
2003 Sep 4, British and
Colombian authorities said they had seized nearly $7 billion in
securities in London from an international drug and money-laundering
ring. Authorities arrested 14 alleged members of the ring, 10 in
England, two in Colombia and two in Ecuador.
2003 Sep 6, In central Colombia
soldiers killed at least 25 suspected rebels and paramilitary
fighters in three military operations.
2003 Sep 7, Fighting in
northeast Colombia killed seven army soldiers and at least eight
2003 Sep 10, In northeast
Colombia a bomb strapped to a horse exploded in a plaza in a small
town, killing at least eight people, including a toddler, and
injuring 20 others.
2003 Sep 12, In Colombia 4
Israelis, 2 Britons, a German and a Spaniard were kidnapped near
archaeological ruins high in the Sierra Nevada, about 465 miles
north of Bogota. 2 of the tourists were freed Nov 24. The
other 4 were released Dec 22. In 2004 the German government billed
Reinhilt Weigel $17,630 to cover the cost of a helicopter used to
bring her part of the way home, after she was released by rebels. In
2009 she lost her appeal.
(AP, 9/15/03)(WSJ, 11/25/03, p.A1)(AP,
12/23/03)(SFC, 5/29/09, p.A2)
2003 Sep 15, The Colombian army
reported that its forces in Operation Scorpion killed at least 17
suspected members of a rebel special forces unit.
2003 Sep 18, A human rights
group estimated that 11,000 children are fighting in Colombia's
(SFC, 9/19/03, p.A15)
2003 Sep 21, A US DynCorp plane
crashed while fumigating cocaine-producing crops in volatile
northern Colombia, killing the American pilot: "preliminary
information indicates the aircraft was struck by hostile ground
fire." The military contractor said it was the 5th shot down by
(AP, 9/22/03)(WSJ, 9/23/03, p.A1)
2003 Sep 28, In Colombia a
remote-controlled bomb on a motorcycle exploded as revelers left a
disco in a Florencia, killing at least 13 people and wounding 48
2003 Sep 30, In Colombia
assassins riding a motorbike killed Jose Castillo, a candidate for
mayor in Soledad, marking the 15th candidate killed as elections
2003 Oct 6, In southeastern
Colombia FARC guerrillas assassinated two town mayors, Orlando Hoyos
and Jaime Zambrano, after they met with rebels in a mountain
2003 Oct 8, In Colombia a car
bomb exploded in a black-market shopping district in downtown
Bogota, killing at least six people and wounding 12.
2003 Oct 10, Near Genova,
Colombia, suspected leftist guerrillas gunned down two candidates
for upcoming state and mayoral elections. Police found the bodies of
Jairo Gomez, a mayoral contender in the city of Genova, and Julio
Cesar Castennanos, the next day.
2003 Oct 12, In Colombia
government forces battled rebels and right-wing paramilitaries in
several locations in heavy fighting that killed 27 gunmen and two
2003 Oct 16, In northern
Colombia suspected paramilitary gunmen shot and killed Esperanza
Amaris (40), a women's rights activist.
2003 Oct 19, Colombian military
killed Edgar Gustavo Navarro, the No. 2 leader of FARC, along with
10 others. The guerrilla commander was accused of kidnapping 3 US
military contractors and carrying out a string of assassinations and
2003 Oct 21, In Colombia police
and soldiers rounded up at least 29 politicians, ahead of local
elections, with suspected ties to leftist guerrillas in pre-dawn
raids across Arauca state.
(AP, 10/21/03)(WSJ, 10/22/03, p.A1)
2003 Oct 22, In Colombia a bomb
attached to a motorcycle exploded damaging the state prosecutor's
offices outside Medellin.
2003 Oct 25, In Colombia voting
began on a referendum proposed by Pres. Uribe that aimed to cut
government spending, reduce the size of Congress and fight political
corruption. Guerrillas attacked an army base, ambushed police and
launched other attacks, killing 13 people. The referendum was seen
as a test of President Alvaro Uribe's support.
2003 Oct 26, Colombians elected
state and municipal leaders despite the bloody campaign period in
which dozens of candidates were killed. Bogota residents elected
Eduardo Garzon, a former Communist union leader, as their mayor in
municipal elections. The victory was seen as a further headache for
hardline Pres. Alvaro Uribe, coming a day after he suffered a defeat
in a sweeping referendum.
(AP, 10/27/03)(Econ, 11/1/03, p.35)
2003 Nov 2, Colombian troops
killed Luis Alexis Castellanos Garzon a FARC regional rebel
commander, the fifth guerrilla leader slain in less than a month.
2003 Nov 8, In Colombia
Arcangel Clavijo, a member of the Liberal Party, was shot and killed
in a nightclub near Cali.
2003 Nov 9, Martha Lucia
Ramirez, Colombia's first woman defense minister, resigned and she
refused to take questions from reporters.
2003 Nov 11, Colombia's housing
and environment minister stepped down, becoming the 3rd member of
President Alvaro Uribe's Cabinet forced out in a week.
2003 Nov 11, The commander of
the Colombian National Police and five other senior police officers
resigned following evidence that the lawmen in Medellin dined in the
most exclusive restaurants, bought expensive jewelry and staged
lavish parties, all on government money.
2003 Nov 11, In Colombia a
radio talk show host was shot dead outside her home in the coastal
city of Santa Marta.
2003 Nov 12, In Colombia Gen.
Jorge Enrique Mora, commander of the armed forces, became the latest
senior official to quit his post. President Alvaro Uribe chose an
old friend, Jorge Alberto Uribe, as the new defense minister.
2003 Nov 14, In Colombia some
800 members of the Cacique Nutibara block of the AUC paramilitary
said they would lay down their arms on Nov 25.
(SFC, 11/15/03, p.A3)
2003 Nov 15, In Colombia
suspected FARC rebels threw grenades at two crowded bars in Bogota’s
"Zona Rosa," or Pink Zone nightclub district, injuring at least 42
people. In 2004 Arturo Montano (26) was convicted of terrorism by
Bogota's 5th Penal Court for the attacks.
(AP, 11/16/03)(AP, 10/13/04)
2003 Nov 21, In Colombia Rev.
Jose Rubin Rodriguez, a Catholic priest who was missing for a week,
was found shot to death. The army captured a suspected rebel who it
says coordinated the kidnapping of eight foreign backpackers two
2003 Nov 25, In Colombia 800
fighters of a feared right-wing militia piled their weapons and
ammunition on the floor in a disarmament ceremony touted by the
government as a first step toward ending four decades of war. The
army recovered a body believed to be that of a Japanese businessman
abducted more than three years ago.
2003 Nov 25, In Colombia
Abelardo Forero (91), a journalist and politician who tried to
soothe a nation wracked by violence, died. In 1978, Forero launched
a television show, "The Past in the Present," that brought to life
Colombia's tumultuous history. The award-wining program ran for 15
2003 Dec 7, A group of 160
Colombian paramilitary fighters handed over their weapons, becoming
the second faction of outlawed right-wing militias to do so in less
than two weeks.
2003 Dec 15, In northern
Colombia rebel leaders said they will release four Israelis and a
Briton during the next several days, after holding the foreigners
hostage for three months.
2003 Dec 19, Colombia's
attorney general charged the crew of a military helicopter with
involuntary manslaughter for killing 17 civilians with a bomb during
a 1998 clash with rebels.
2003 Dec 22, Colombian rebels
freed four Israelis and a Briton held hostage for 101 days.
2003 Dec 23, In Colombia a bus
explosion that killed at least four people and injured more than 30
others was called an accident.
2003 Dec 30, In northern
Colombia leftist rebels attacked Pozo Azul, a village in Bolivar
state controlled by right-wing paramilitaries, killed 39 militia
fighters and a villager.
2003 Colombia’s Pres. Uribe
launched the “Patriot Plan“ to clear FARC rebels from the mountains
(Econ, 7/17/04, p.36)
2003 The Kankuamo Indians of
northern Colombia, numbering about 6,000, lost 56 members to
paramilitaries, FARC and criminals.
(Econ, 9/18/04, p.44)
2004 Jan 1, In Colombia Luis
Eduardo Garzon took the helm as the first leftist mayor of Bogota.
2004 Jan 3, Ecuadorian
authorities captured Ricardo Ovidio Palmera Pineda, aka Simon
Trinidad, one of the 7 members who make up the ruling secretariat of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. He was arrested
at dawn in a medical clinic in Ecuador.
2004 Jan 7, In Colombia FARC
rebels killed 8 peasant farmers because they refused to sell them
their coca crops.
2004 Jan 9, In Colombia a FARC
rebel, aka Jeremias, suspected of killing a Japanese hostage last
year died in a shootout with the army outside Bogota.
2004 Jan 10, Panamanian
officials arrested Arcangel de Jesus Henao Montoya, a top leader of
the Colombian Norte de Valle drug cartel, in the southern city of
Torti and took him to Panama City. He was soon handed over to US
(AP, 1/11/04)(SFC, 1/15/04, p.A1)
2004 Jan 12, In northwest
Colombia suspected FARC rebels using a grenade launcher and guns
killed at least five paramilitary fighters inside a bar in Anza.
2004 Jan 29, In Colombia gunmen
shot and killed Marta Lucia Hernandez, the director of one of
Colombia's most famous national parks. It was the second
high-profile attack in the coastal city of Santa Marta this week.
2004 Feb 21, Colombian troops
clashed with leftist rebels and outlawed paramilitaries in separate
offensives, killing 38 fighters. Ten soldiers were also killed.
2004 Feb 22, At least 66 people
died in weekend clashes among Colombian troops, leftist rebels and
right-wing paramilitary forces.
2004 Feb, Marc Gonsalves, Tom
Howes and Keith Stansell were captured by the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC), when their surveillance plane went down
in a rebel stronghold in the country's south.
2004 Mar 9, Colombian troops
killed at least 12 leftist guerrillas and captured 40 others in
separate offensives across the country.
2004 Mar 16, In Colombia Luis
Hipolito Ospina, a senior member of the leftist Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was arrested in Bogota.
2004 Mar 19, In southwest
Colombia soldiers searching for rebels accidentally ambushed a
police unit, killing seven police officers and four civilian
prisoners. Investigators looked into all possibilities, including
whether the platoon, the police unit, or both, were involved in
(AP, 3/21/04)(AP, 4/9/04)
2004 Mar 24, In Colombia
warplanes preparing to bomb a paramilitary camp abandoned their
mission after members of the outlawed Central Bolivar Bloc (BCB)
used villagers as human shields. A soldier and 14 paramilitary
gunmen were killed in subsequent firefights.
2004 Mar 25, In Colombia
attackers shot and killed three retired police officers, at least
two of whom were suspected of having links to drug traffickers.
2004 Apr 1, A Colombian man,
Carlos Gamarra-Murillo (53), was arrested for allegedly trying to
buy $4 million in machine guns, grenade launchers and other weapons
for a leftist rebel group. The suspect wanted to pay in cocaine and
2004 Apr 1, In Colombia gunmen
riding a motorcycle killed Carlos Bernal, a regional leader of
Colombia's main left-leaning political party.
2004 Apr 10, In Colombia a
patrol, searching for rebels of the FARC, gunned down a peasant
family carrying a sick baby to hospital. Three youths, aged 14 to
17, and the six-month-old were among the dead.
2004 Apr 12, In Colombia
government soldiers accidentally killed three fellow troops after
mistaking them for outlawed paramilitary gunmen near Puerto Gaitan.
2004 Apr 14, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe launched a campaign to persuade Congress to
amend the constitution to allow him to run for a second term in
2004 Apr 15, Colombian police
seized dozens of estates and homes belonging to reputed drug kingpin
2004 Apr 19, The annual
environmental Goldman Prizes were awarded in SF. Winners included
Libia R. Grueso Castelblanco of Colombia for her work in securing
territorial rights for rural communities.
(SFC, 4/19/04, p.B5)
2004 Apr 28, In Colombia a
construction crew's backhoe tumbled down a hillside onto a school
bus on the highway below, killing 21 children and two adults and
injuring 36 others.
2004 Apr, In Colombia Jesus
Ignacio Roldan killed Carlos Castano, right-wing paramilitary
leader, near the town of Valencia. In 2006 Roldan says he killed
Castano on the order of Castano's older brother, Vicente Castano.
[see Sep 1, 2006]
2004 May 2, In Colombia 2 small
bombs exploded outside the Ministry of Social Affairs in Bogota,
injuring nine people and shattering windows.
2004 May 4, In Bogota Famed
Colombian painter Fernando Botero opened a new exhibition that
graphically depicts the bloodshed of his nation's war and the cruel
crime of kidnapping.
2004 May 13, Colombia's
outlawed right-wing paramilitary groups agreed to move into a
special zone as they negotiate eventual demobilization.
2004 May 18, Colombia, Ecuador
and Peru opened negotiations in Cartagena for a free trade accord
with the United States as anti-riot police clashed with protesters
who say the pact would lead to job losses in the South American
2004 May 18, Colombian troops
near La Salina seized 800 bullets soaked in liquid cyanide after
clashes with FARC rebels left 2 guerrillas dead.
2004 May 20, In Colombia 3
bombs exploded in 2 parts of Medellin, killing at least four people
and wounding 15. A wave of attacks marked the 40th anniversary of
(AP, 5/21/04)(AP, 5/22/04)
2004 May 22, A bomb planted by
suspected rebels exploded in a crowded discotheque in northwest
Colombia, killing at least six people and wounding 82.
2004 May 28, In Colombia Carlos
Mauricio Garcia, also known as "Rodrigo" or "Double Zero," was shot
in the head five times by assassins as he left a Santa Marta
supermarket. The former right-wing paramilitary leader objected to
the militia's involvement in drug trafficking.
2004 Jun 4, In Colombia
Francisco Galan, jailed leader of the ELN, was granted a 1-day
parole to address the Senate. He denounced the problem of landmines
and called for an end to the country’s violence.
(Econ, 6/12/04, p.36)
2004 Jun 15, In Colombia
suspected leftist rebels raided a ranch near La Gabarra in one of
the biggest cocaine-producing regions, tied up 34 coca pickers with
the hammocks they had been sleeping in, and gunned them all down.
(AP, 6/16/04)(Econ, 6/19/04, p.38)
2004 Jun, Chiquita Brands
Int’l., a Cincinnati-based banana company, sold its Colombian banana
(SFC, 3/15/07, p.A5)
2004 Jul 10, In northwest
Colombia suspected leftist guerrillas shot and killed seven rural
peasants in an attack on a small village.
2004 Jul 23, In northwest
Colombia police seized 4 1/2 tons of cocaine with an estimated
street value of $90 million.
2004 Jul 25, Colombia's ELN
rebel group kidnapped Misael Vaca Ramirez, the Catholic Bishop of
Yopal, but planned to set him free bearing a political message for
2004 Jul 28, In Colombia
Marxist guerrillas freed a Roman Catholic bishop. 3 top commanders
of right-wing death squads spoke before Congress under safe-conduct
passes and professed commitments to peace talks.
(AP, 7/28/04)(SFC, 7/29/04, p.A13)
2004 Jul 30, In Colombia Maria
Elena Rios (25) was shot to death in the head and back in a hillside
slum of Medellin. An internal army investigation absolved Capt. Jhon
Jairo Cano and four soldiers of any wrongdoing. The investigation
was reopened in 2007 along with 130 other investigations of killings
of civilians presented as deaths of leftist rebels in action, as the
US Congress refuses to ratify a bilateral trade pact over concerns
about human rights in Colombia.
Aug 3, A car bomb planted by suspected Colombian rebels ripped apart
three passing police vehicles, killing nine officers.
2004 Aug 11, In northeast
Colombia suspected rebel gunmen lined up and killed nine coca
pickers on a remote ranch.
2004 Aug 13, In Colombia 3
outlawed paramilitary factions agreed to disarm immediately.
2004 Aug 26, In Colombia a bomb
exploded in front of a beauty salon in Bogotá as a police car drove
by, killing two officers and wounding two other people.
2004 Aug 27, In eastern
Colombia rebels killed a mayor and a former town council member
after abducting them at a roadblock.
2004 Sep 4, A gunfight broke
out in a church in a cocaine-producing region of southern Colombia,
leaving at least three people dead and 14 wounded.
2004 Sep 6, Colombia’s attorney
general's office ordered the arrest of a military officer and two
soldiers in connection with the killing of three union officials
2004 Sep 14, More than 35,000
Colombian Indians marched in a violence-wracked region to protest
attacks against Indians and a free-trade pact pursued by the US.
2004 Sep 17, Backed by 4,000
police officers, the Colombian government seized control of the
nation's largest pharmacy chain, saying its creation and expansion
had been funded by cocaine trafficking.
2004 Sep 26, Colombia's army
killed at least 13 right-wing fighters during sustained combat with
a renegade paramilitary group that has refused to participate in
government peace talks.
2004 Oct 3, In southwest
Colombia suspected drug dealers opened fire on a rival gang at a
ranch, killing at least 10 people, including a toddler and a
2004 Oct 24, Colombia blew up
its remaining 6,800 stockpiled land mines, winning the praise of
Jordan's visiting Queen Noor who said the move took courage given
that the nation is still fighting an internal conflict.
2004 Nov 12, In southern
Colombia suspected Marxist rebels gunned down Mario Canal (43), a
state attorney, who had been prosecuting captured guerrilla
2004 Nov 22, Pres. Bush
traveled to Colombia following the summit in Chile.
(WSJ, 11/22/04, p.A1)
2004 Nov 22, In southern
Colombia army troops killed Humberto Valbuena, head of the Teofilo
Forero unit of FARC blamed for a string of high-profile attacks and
2004 Dec 4, Colombian drug
kingpin Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela was flown to the US, becoming
the most powerful Colombian trafficker ever extradited to face US
2004 Dec 11, Ramiro Velez,
regional leader of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, the smaller
of Colombia's two rebel groups, was arrested during an operation in
Chachaui. He is suspected of masterminding the May 30, 1999,
kidnapping of an entire church congregation from a Roman Catholic
church in Cali.
(AP, 12/12/04)(SFC, 12/13/04, p.A3)
2004 Dec 13, Rodrigo Granda,
the principle international spokesperson for the most powerful
revolutionary guerrilla group in Latin America, the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was kidnapped in broad daylight
(4pm) in the center of Caracas.
2004 Dec 16, A Colombian court
convicted three IRA-linked men of training Colombian rebels in
terrorist tactics and sentenced them to up to 17 1/2 years in
2004 Dec 17, Colombian
authorities revealed that they had lost track in June of three
IRA-linked men, convicted this week of training Marxist rebels in
2004 Dec 24, A church official
said Marxist rebels in western Colombia had killed Javier Francisco
Montoya, a Catholic priest who disappeared earlier this month on a
pastoral mission in a rebel-controlled jungle region.
2004 Dec 24, Marxist FARC
rebels abducted at least eight Colombian tourists celebrating
Christmas at a lakeside spa in the northwest.
2004 Dec 28, In Colombia police
captured a reputed leader of the Norte del Valle drug cartel.
2004 Dec 31, Ricardo Palmera
(54) became the first leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, or FARC, to be sent to face prosecution in a U.S. federal
2004 Dec 31, In Colombia
suspected Marxist rebels massacred 16 peasants, including women and
children, in a remote area in lawless Arauca province.
2004 Steven Dudley authored
“Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia," a
history of the FARC.
(Econ, 4/10/04, p.71)
2005 Jan 1, Colombia was
forecast for 3.7% annual GDP growth with a population at 46 million
and GDP per head at $2,130.
(Econ, 1/8/05, p.93)
2005 Jan 11, Gunmen on a
motorbike in northern Colombia killed Julio Hernando Palacios, a
radio journalist known for his tough talk against corruption.
2005 Jan 13, A Black Hawk
helicopter crashed during a counternarcotics mission in the jungles
of southwest Colombia, killing all 20 soldiers aboard.
2005 Jan 14, A mentally
disturbed soldier killed five of his fellow troopers during a
shooting spree at an army base in southwest Colombia.
2005 Jan 14, Venezuela’s
President Hugo Chavez said that diplomatic and commercial relations
with Colombia would be put on hold until it apologizes for paying
bounty hunters to abduct rebel leader Rodrigo Granda from inside
(AP, 1/14/05)(Econ, 1/22/05, p.36)
2005 Jan 18, More than 900
right-wing paramilitary fighters surrendered their weapons, but a
leading international rights group criticized the demobilization
process and said the Colombian government is letting war criminals
off the hook.
2005 Jan 28, Colombia and
Venezuela announced a settlement in a bitter dispute over the
capture of a Colombian rebel on Venezuelan soil.
2005 Jan 29, In Colombia
government troops discovered one of the biggest FARC rebel munitions
factories in the jungles of southern Guaviare state.
2005 Jan 30, In Colombia a
126-member unit of the United Self-Defense Forces (AUC) disbanded in
Ciudad Bolivar, 155 miles northeast of Bogota, bringing to at least
4,700 the number of fighters who have demobilized in the past two
2005 Feb 1, In southwest
Colombia leftist rebels attacked a Colombian Marine post with
homemade rockets, killing at least 14 soldiers and wounding about
2005 Feb 2, Marxist rebels in
southern Colombia ambushed an army convoy with explosives and
gunfire, killing 8 soldiers and wounding 4 others.
2005 Feb 8, In northwest
Colombia Marxist rebels killed at least 17 soldiers during clashes,
the military's heaviest battle toll in two years. At least 11
guerrillas also died in the fighting.
(AP, 2/9/05)(Econ, 2/26/05, p.36)
2005 Feb 13, Floods and
landslides in Colombia and Venezuela over the past few days cut a
trail of destruction through small Andean towns and killed at least
(AP, 2/13/05)(WSJ, 2/14/05, p.A1)
2005 Feb 18, Colombia’s army
chief said troops had killed between 70 and 80 Marxist guerrillas
over the past 3 weeks in a region where the rebels operate cocaine
2005 Feb 21, In Colombia deadly
weekend attacks left 9 people dead as rebels blacked out towns, shut
down a highway, blew up a hotel and shattered notions that the
nation's main insurgent group was on its knees.
2005 Feb 21, In Colombia 8
civilians including 3 young children and a teenage girl were
massacred near Apartado. A former mayor and a priest later blamed
government troops for the massacre. UN officials later called for an
2005 Feb 22, In Colombia
government soldiers killed eight rebels over the past 2 days and
discovered a large cache of weapons in dense southern jungles.
2005 Feb 23, Colombia's Supreme
Court authorized the extradition to the US of Miguel Rodriguez
Orejuela, who along with his brother Gilberto helped found the Cali
drug cartel. In central Colombia a leftist rebel deserter killed 7
of his comrades before fleeing his clandestine camp.
2005 Feb 25, President Alvaro
Uribe on authorized the extradition to the US of a female commander
with Colombia's largest rebel group who was allegedly a chief of
finances for the armed organization.
2005 Feb, Sabino Mobile, an
Italian tourist visiting Colombia with his family, was kidnapped and
murdered by paramilitary gunmen. Police later arrested 9 people,
including right-wing paramilitary leader Ruben Oliverio Vera Roldan.
2005 Mar 9, Colombia extradited
to the United States a top member of the South American country's
main rebel group, a woman known by the nom de guerre of Sonia and
accused of running the insurgents' drug trafficking business.
2005 Mar 11, In Colombia Miguel
Rodriguez Orejuela, co-founder of the Cali drug cartel, was sent in
handcuffs on a plane to the US to face trial for drug trafficking
and related charges. The cartel at its peak ruled the world's
2005 Mar 23, In southern
Colombia Communist rebels ambushed a military convoy, killing 10
soldiers in a hail of gunfire and explosions.
2005 Mar 26, A twin-engine
commercial Czech-built Let-410 airplane, crashed while taking off
from the tiny Colombian island of Old Providence, killing 8 people,
including a 3-year-old boy, and injuring six other passengers.
2005 Mar 29, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe sought international help to end 40 years of
civil war in his country, telling the leaders of Venezuela, Brazil
and Spain that the violence is too fierce to confront without their
2005 Apr 6, Colombia's
president met top Chinese leaders during a visit to boost trade,
seek financing for an oil pipeline and to promote sales of Colombian
coal to fuel China's booming economy.
2005 Apr 6, Marxist rebels
ambushed a Colombian military convoy on Wednesday, killing 17
soldiers, the latest in a spate of bloody attacks that have
undermined government claims the rebels are being defeated.
2005 Apr 17, In Colombia FARC
rebels with homemade rockets attacked Toribio, the same town they
bombarded three days earlier, killing at least one police officer.
2005 Apr 22, In Colombia FARC
guerrillas hit the village of Jambalo with mortars and gunfire in
combat that began overnight and ended at dawn. Clashes have spread
across a 14-mile-long strip along the western face of the Central
Cordillera of the Andes.
2005 Apr 29, In Colombia
government troops consolidated their grip on Tacuejo, a mountain
town retaken from leftist rebels, and the town's Indian residents
slowly began to return despite fears of more violence.
2005 May 5, Two American
soldiers accused of arms trafficking emerged from jail and were
handed over to US officials, but a top Colombian official tried to
delay their deportation, saying a treaty granting them immunity
might be invalid.
(AP, 5/5/05)(WSJ, 5/5/05, p.A1)
2005 May 12, It was reported
that Colombia’s Pres. Alvaro Uribe is creating a political party to
formally unite his followers, who until now have been known simply
as "Uribistas." The plan is being resisted by the opposition and
even some of his supporters, who worry about a political party based
on one man's hardline ideals.
2005 May 12, Alberto
Santofimio, Colombia's former justice minister, was arrested in
connection with the 1989 assassination of Luis Carlos Galan, leading
presidential candidate and anti-corruption crusader killed at a
2005 May 12, More than 13.5
tons of cocaine stored in underground chambers was seized near
Colombia's southwest coast.
2005 May 13, John Jairo
Velasquez, the man who directed hit teams for drug kingpin Pablo
Escobar, said that Alberto Santofimio Botero, a former top
politician, was behind the 1989 assassination of Colombia’s leading
presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.
2005 May 19, Colombian rebels
ambushed a police convoy and fought government forces along the
border with Ecuador in separate attacks, killing at least 13 police.
2005 May 24, In Colombia
suspected leftist guerrillas carrying assault rifles swept into a
southern town and attacked government offices, killing six town
councilors and five others.
2005 May 27, In Colombia Diego
Fernando Murillo, a right-wing (AUC) paramilitary leader accused of
killing a state congressman, surrendered after a four-day,
2005 Jun 10, Torrential rains
in northwestern Colombia unleashed mudslides on an impoverished
mountainside neighborhood in Colombia's coffee-growing region,
killing at least 6 people.
2005 Jun 14, Colombia unveiled
its own version of a deck of cards for its most wanted insurgent
leaders. Army officials planned to distribute 5,000 of the decks to
soldiers battling the rebels across the country.
2005 Jun 15, Diego Murillo, a
brutal paramilitary warlord who made a fortune in Colombia's drug
trade, demobilized more than 400 of his AUC fighters at a ceremony
under a peace deal critics say could let him get away with murder.
2005 Jun 22, Colombia’s
Congress passed a bill granting reduced punishments to right-wing
warlords who disarm, a key step in Pres. Uribe's strategy to wind
down a decades-long conflict.
2005 Jun 25, In Colombia
leftist rebels killed at least 25 soldiers in two clashes.
2005 Jun 27, Colombia's main
leftist rebel group offered to swap three kidnapped American defense
contractors for two guerrilla leaders jailed in the United States,
but the US government immediately rejected the proposal.
2005 Jun 28, Colombia began a
2-day operation in which 12 members of Colombia's navy were arrested
in raids that uncovered drug-making chemicals and documents linking
them to cocaine smuggling groups.
2005 Jul 14, In Colombia
commandos acting on a tip seized Jose Aldemar Rendon, as he was
jogging outside Medellin. Rendon was a suspected leader of the Norte
del Valle cartel drug cartel believed to have trafficked half the
cocaine sold in the United States in the 1990s. In Maria la Baja the
local paramilitary group disbanded and handed over its weapons under
a peace agreement with the government.
(AP, 7/15/05)(Econ, 3/24/07, p.41)
2005 Jul 23, The Colombian
government offered to buy farmers' illegal crops of coca, in the
latest effort to stem illegal drug production in this South American
nation. Pres. Alvaro Uribe said in a speech that farmers would have
to sign a document promising to never again cultivate illegal crops
in order to get the money. The government would destroy the
2005 Jul 30, Leaders of a
Colombian right-wing paramilitary faction, believed to be one of the
most heavily involved in drug trafficking, demobilized their troops
and said they wanted to form a political party. Nearly 700 fighters
in the "Southern Liberators" unit of the paramilitary United
Self-Defense Forces turned in their weapons at a ceremony in
2005 Aug 1, In Cristales,
Colombia, more than 2,000 outlawed paramilitary fighters, from the
"Heroes of Granada" faction of the AUC, laid down their arms in
return for amnesty. Commander Diego Murillo, an accused drug lord
indicted on trafficking charges in the US, stood by and watched. In
2008 Murillo (47) was extradited to the US and pleaded guilty to
(AP, 8/1/05)(WSJ, 6/18/08, p.A2)
2005 Aug 1, In northern
Colombia a roadside bomb exploded as a police convoy traveled down a
rural highway, killing at least 15 officers.
2005 Aug 5, It was reported
that 3 men linked to the Irish Republican Army, who were convicted
of training rebels in Colombia, have returned surreptitiously to
Ireland, eight months after going on the run. Colombia demanded
2005 Aug 12, A small boat
overloaded with 113 illegal immigrants capsized and sank in rough
waters off Colombia's Pacific coast. An Ecuadoran fishing boat found
9 survivors 2 days later. In Nov. Ecuadoran police arrested a
married couple for being part of a gang of 11 human traffickers who
charged as much as $12,000 per person for passage to the US.
(AP, 8/18/05)(AP, 11/15/05)
2005 Aug 15, In northeast
Colombia suspected rebels killed two Catholic priests, ambushing
their car with gunfire and explosives as they drove down a country
2005 Aug 18, In rural Colombia
gunmen dragged a Catholic priest out of a classroom and shot him to
death, bringing to 3 the number of clergy killed there this week.
2005 Aug 19, Eleven Colombian
soldiers were ordered arrested in the killing of an Indian tribal
leader who was dragged from his home and later found shot to death.
2005 Aug 20, In Colombia a
leftist rebel group acknowledged that its fighters killed two
Catholic priests earlier this week, but said the killing was a
mistake and promised to punish those responsible.
2005 Aug 24, In northwest
Colombia suspected leftist guerrillas killed at least 14 peasant
farmers who were cultivating coca near Puerto Valdivia.
2005 Sep 5, Suspected rebels
dynamited six energy pylons, leaving more than 2.3 million people in
southwestern Colombia without electricity.
2005 Sep 7, In Colombia leftist
rebels and right-wing paramilitary fighters battled in La Esmeralda
village, leaving 15 people dead, including two children, in a fight
over territory and the cocaine trade.
2005 Sep 12, In Colombia
Porfirio Ramirez (42) and his son, Linsen Ramirez (22),
hijacked a Colombian airline. The father in a wheelchair
dodged a checkpoint and smuggled grenades onto a plane. All
passengers and crew were eventually freed unharmed. The elder
hijacker said he hijacked the plane to bring attention to a case in
which he was partially paralyzed by a police bullet during a raid on
his house some 14 years ago and had unsuccessfully sought government
2005 Sep 13, Julio Cesar Turbay
(89), former Colombian President (1978-1982), died. He negotiated
the release in 1980 of dozens of diplomats held hostage by leftist
rebels for 61 days.
2005 Sep 14, The US Coast
Guard, acting on Colombian intelligence, intercepted a ship towing
an unmanned submarine-like vessel that held more than 2 tons of
cocaine. Separately, 2.5 tons of cocaine were discovered hidden in
the oil tanks of a ship docked in the Colombian Pacific port of
2005 Sep 15, Colombian
authorities seized $4.5 million worth of counterfeit American
currency during a raid on a clandestine printing workshop in south
Bogota. The network had been sending the money to Ecuador and
Venezuela, where the U.S. dollar is widely accepted as legal tender.
2005 Sep 19, Colombian troops
raided a sprawling clandestine drug laboratory run by a paramilitary
group that was capable of producing 10 tons of cocaine a month. In a
separate operation, the military seized six tons of marijuana
allegedly belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
or FARC, the country's main leftist rebel group.
2005 Sep 22, In Colombia
suspected rebels killed 10 police officers driving down a remote
highway outside La Cruz, ambushing their truck with gunfire and
homemade gas cylinder bombs.
2005 Sep 22, Alberto Giraldo
(70), the journalist who spent five years in jail for his role in
the Cali cocaine cartel's funding of former Colombian President
Ernesto Samper's election campaign, died. Viviana Leon, his 2nd
wife, said that before his death Giraldo wrote a book, yet to be
published, detailing how Cali cartel bosses Miguel and Gilberto
Rodriguez Orejuela donated $5 million to Samper's successful 1994
run for the presidency.
2005 Sep 23, Colombia's
2nd-largest rebel group, the ELN, accepted an offer from Venezuela
to host peace talks between the guerrillas and the Colombian
2005 Sep 27, In Colombia
government spraying of coca plant killer was reported to be driving
growers and traffickers out of their usual territory into national
parks where spraying is banned. Here they are burning thousands of
acres of virgin rain forest and poisoning rivers with chemicals.
2005 Sep 28, In Colombia a man
in a wheelchair who hijacked an airliner two weeks ago was ordered
released from jail on a court technicality, a decision that sent
officials scrambling to issue a new arrest warrant. Porfirio Ramirez
and his 17-year-old son Linsen armed with hand grenades, seized the
Aires airliner with 24 people aboard on Sept. 12, surrendering five
hours later at a Bogota airport without injuring anyone. A judge
ordered the release saying that prosecutors had presented
insufficient evidence at a hearing to keep holding the man.
2005 Oct 2, In western Colombia
leftist FARC rebels attacked a police station in an isolated jungle
town, killing at least five police officers.
2005 Oct 2, The US ambassador
urged Colombia to spray weed killer inside the country's spectacular
nature parks to destroy cocaine-producing crops, insisting the
chemicals will not cause widespread damage to the reserves'
2005 Oct 2-2005 Oct 3, In
Colombia suspected leftist rebels (FARC) killed at least 13 coca
harvesters near Vistahermosa as part of a struggle with far-right
paramilitary gangs for control of the lucrative cocaine trade.
2005 Oct 3, In Colombia a bomb
packed inside a pickup truck and apparently meant to target
government forces killed 3 members of a family, including two
children, when it exploded as they passed by in Florida County, a
2005 Oct 4, In Colombia a judge
ordered the re-arrest of a man in a wheelchair who hijacked a
Colombian airliner, but said he could remain under house arrest due
to his failing health.
2005 Oct 4, Colombia granted
political asylum to former Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez, who
has said he faces treason charges in his homeland.
2005 Oct 6, In Colombia
right-wing paramilitary groups suspended their demobilization
process with the government to protest President Alvaro Uribe's
decision to jail a paramilitary leader who is wanted in New York on
drug trafficking charges.
2005 Oct 6, In Colombia an
intense rainstorm triggered a landslide that buried part of Bello, a
shantytown on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Medellin,
killing at least 26 people, many of them children.
2005 Oct 10, Clashes broke
between Colombian police and Indians protesting a planned free trade
accord with the US, leaving one Indian dead and at least 15 wounded.
2005 Oct 11, Colombia's navy
seized $188 million worth of cocaine, believed to have belonged to
rebels, that was hidden in underground chambers next to a river deep
in southwestern jungles.
2005 Oct 12, Tens of thousands
of trade union workers and Indians took to the streets of Colombia's
main cities to protest a proposed free trade pact with the US,
accusing President Alvaro Uribe of selling out the country.
2005 Oct 12, In Costa Rica the
InterAmerican Human Rights court, announced that it has ordered
Colombia to pay damages in the 1997 massacre of dozens of Mapiripan
villagers by right-wing paramilitary fighters.
2005 Oct 19, Colombia's highest
court approved a law allowing presidents to run for second terms.
2005 Oct 21, US and Colombian
authorities shut down a drug trafficking and money laundering
operation that exported about $1 million worth of cocaine every week
to the United States, Europe and Asia.
2005 Oct 23, In Colombia
suspected rebels launched homemade bombs at a police station and
nearby homes in a southwest town near the border with Ecuador,
killing 7 people.
2005 Oct 25, President Alvaro
Uribe accepted the resignation of Colombia's secret police chief and
fired the agency's No. 2 amid reports of bitter infighting between
2005 Oct 26-2005 Oct 27,
Intense fighting between rebels and paramilitary groups for control
of the cocaine trade in the jungles of western Colombia left at
least 20 outlawed fighters dead.
2005 Oct 29, Colombian
authorities captured Jhon Cano, an alleged top leader of the
powerful Norte del Valle cocaine cartel, who is wanted by a New York
court for drug trafficking and money laundering.
2005 Oct 29, Hurricane Beta
battered the mountainous Caribbean island of Providencia, Colombia,
ripping roofs off wooden homes and forcing people to seek shelter in
brick shelters on high ground.
2005 Nov 5, In Colombia police
seized more than 2 tons of cocaine hidden on a beach on the
Caribbean coast and arrested five suspected traffickers who were
apparently preparing to load the drugs aboard a speedboat bound for
Central America or Mexico.
2005 Nov 11, Colombia's highest
court approved a law that clears the way for popular President
Alvaro Uribe to run for a second term next year.
2005 Nov 11, In Colombia a man
in a wheelchair who hijacked a Colombian airliner using hand
grenades was sentenced to eight years of house arrest.
2005 Nov 14, Hundreds of
Colombian television actors and workers marched through the streets
to protest a proposed free trade deal with the US that they claim
could hurt the local TV industry.
2005 Nov 16, Two dozen
Colombian rebels laid down their arms in the 1st group
demobilization ceremony of leftist guerrillas since Pres. Alvaro
Uribe took office 3 years ago.
2005 Nov 18, In Colombia
Indians who have seized control of 18 large farms vowed to stage
protests across the country after land reform talks with President
Alvaro Uribe ended without any agreements.
2005 Nov 20, A helicopter
carrying a Colombian congressman and five others crashed Sunday in a
storm in the mountains north of Bogota, killing all aboard.
Conservative Party congressman Roberto Camacho, Cundinamarca state
deputy Efren Bejerano and former Cundinamarca deputy governor Adolfo
Leon were among those killed.
2005 Nov 23, In Colombia
soldiers near Villa Hermosa captured Arcesio Lamus, leader of the
Bolshevik Front of the National Liberation Army, suspected of
carrying out more than a dozen kidnappings and other terrorist
attacks over the past two decades.
2005 Nov 24, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe met with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to try to
help bridge differences in Latin America.
2005 Nov 24, In southwestern
Colombia the Galeras volcano became active at dawn and dumped heaps
of ash on the city of Pasto, 12 miles away.
2005 Nov 27, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe formally announced that he will run for a
second term in next year's elections, saying he needed four more
years to accomplish his goals of restoring security to the country
and spurring economic growth.
2005 Nov 29, Spain announced it
plans to sell planes and helicopters to Colombia.
(WSJ, 11/30/05, p.A1)
2005 Nov, Colombia announced a
5-fold increase in its aid budget for its “desplazados," refugees
uprooted by internal strife, to over $400 million a year.
(Econ, 2/11/06, p.38)
2005 Dec 2, In Colombia
officials said several hundred members of a right-wing paramilitary
militia that held sway for years over much of Colombia's
coffee-growing region have agreed to lay down their arms in exchange
for a government amnesty.
2005 Dec 12, About 2,000
right-wing paramilitary fighters (AUC), including a warlord
considered a major drug trafficker by the US, turned in weapons and
helicopter gunships in one of Colombia's largest disarmament
ceremonies in years.
2005 Dec 13, A US Navy
helicopter with 3 crew members crashed somewhere off the coast of
2005 Dec 14, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe accepted an EU plan to pull troops from rebel
territories to revive peace talks.
(WSJ, 12/15/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 16, Exploratory peace
talks between Colombia and its second-largest rebel group began in
Cuba with help from the Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia
Marquez and facilitators from Spain, Norway and Switzerland.
2005 Dec 17, Hundreds of
fighters from three rebel armies united to attack the village of San
Marino in western Colombia. The bold assault that killed at least
five police officers.
2005 Dec 25, In Bogota,
Colombia, Jordan Paez (6) fell into a coverless manhole and was
killed. A record 10,000 manhole covers were stolen there in 2005.
2005 Dec 27, Leftist rebels
ambushed a group of soldiers who were protecting civilians in
southern Colombia, killing 28.
2005 Colombia’s Congress
increased the maximum sentence to violators of its ban on abortion
to 4½ years in prison. An estimated 400,000 illegal abortions were
(Econ, 10/8/05, p.46)
2005 In Colombia some 16,350
landowners held 62.6% of all farmland. Drug traffickers and
paramilitaries had seized huge tracts of rural land in the 1980s and
1990s to launder their profits.
(Econ, 9/18/10, p.51)
2006 Jan 5, In Colombia local
TV reported that 2 soldiers had been arrested for giving weapons to
leftist rebels, their main battlefield enemy, in exchange for
cocaine. 14 FARC guerrillas and two soldiers were killed in clashes
in a coca-growing area on the edge Sierra Macarena National Park in
2006 Jan 16, Colombia's
president ordered an investigation into allegations that outlawed
paramilitary groups have infiltrated congressional campaigns using
illegal drug money.
2006 Jan 18, In Colombia some
3,000 armed troops were deployed to the Sierra Macarena National
Park, one of Colombia's most pristine national parks, as part of an
operation to clear the rebel-controlled region of coca plants and
the laboratories used to make cocaine.
2006 Jan 21, In Colombia a
video, released by Colombian guerrillas, showed 12 kidnapped
lawmakers pleading with their government to work with Venezuela's
leftist President Hugo Chavez to help obtain their release.
2006 Jan 26, Colombian
authorities led dozens of simultaneous raids across five cities in
collaboration with US officials and dismantled a false passport ring
with links to al-Qaida and Hamas militants.
2006 Jan 31, In Colombia
thousands of right-wing paramilitary fighters accused of drug
trafficking by the US turned over more than 1,000 weapons in one of
the largest disarmament ceremonies to date.
2006 Feb 1, Colombia's attorney
general charged seven soldiers in the shooting deaths of five
members of a peasant family, including a 6-month-old baby.
2006 Feb 7, Ramon Isaza (65), a
founder of Colombia's anti-rebel paramilitary movement, laid down
his weapon, ending nearly three decades of outlawed, jungle warfare.
Isaza was joined by 990 fighters from his Medio Magdalena Bloc of
the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, handing over 754
weapons, 15 vehicles and abundant munitions.
2006 Feb 13, Testimony
presented in an annual UN human rights report said Colombian
security forces had killed civilians and covered it up by dressing
the bodies as Marxist guerrillas.
2006 Feb 15, In southern
Colombia hundreds of paramilitary fighters handed in their weapons
and renounced violence in a ceremony. Rebels attacked a crew that
was removing coca plants from one of Colombia's national parks and
killed at least six police guards.
2006 Feb 21, The commander of
Colombia's army, Gen. Reinaldo Castellanos, resigned amid a scandal
in which 21 soldiers were allegedly beaten, branded or sexually
assaulted by their superiors.
2006 Feb 24, Colombia suspended
arrest warrants for leaders of the National Liberation Army, the
South American nation's second-largest rebel group, as part of
preliminary peace talks in Cuba.
2006 Feb 24, In northwest
Colombia Pedro Juan Moreno, a leading senatorial candidate and
former adviser to President Alvaro Uribe, was killed along with
three other people in a helicopter crash in a mountainous rainforest
2006 Feb 25, In southern
Colombia leftist rebels killed 9 people in an attack on a passenger
bus that defied a guerrilla-imposed traffic ban.
2006 Feb 27, In southern
Colombia rebels burst into a hotel where local government officials
were meeting and killed eight town councilors.
2006 Feb 27, The US and
Colombia reached a free trade agreement after nearly 2 years of
negotiations. The pact needed approval by the legislatures of both
(WSJ, 2/28/06, p.A6)
2006 Mar 7, In Colombia the
70-member La Gaitana company of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC), handed over 63 weapons and a small aircraft during
a ceremony near Alvarado, a town 50 miles west of Bogota. Various of
the men who posed as guerrillas later testified that they were not
insurgents but rather thieves, indigents and unemployed who were
recruited by a jailed former FARC fighter and paid at least $250
each for participating.
(AP, 3/7/06)(AP, 2/10/12)
2006 Mar 9, The Colombian navy
seized a 60-foot long submarine that likely was used to haul tons of
cocaine out to sea for shipment to the United States.
2006 Mar 12, In Colombia
supporters of President Alvaro Uribe dominated the congressional
elections in which candidates defined themselves by their views of
the Colombian leader. Voters in Sucre re-elected Alvaro Garcia to
the Senate and Erik Morris to the chamber of Representatives. Both
men and another senator from Sucre were later charged with financing
right-wing paramilitary groups.
(AP, 3/13/06)(Econ, 11/18/06, p.40)
2006 Mar 18, A mudslide swept
down on a scouting expedition in central Colombia, killing nine
young hikers and leaving two others missing. The scouts had just
been bathing and practicing knots when they were carried away.
2006 Mar 22, The US government
announced charges against 50 leftist Colombian guerrilla leaders in
connection with shipments of $25 billion in cocaine to the US and
(SFC, 3/23/06, p.A9)
2006 Apr 4, In Colombia
authorities announced the arrests of 7 active and retired police and
army officers working for one of Colombia's largest cocaine cartels,
who used commercial cargo planes to ship drugs to the US.
2006 Apr 6, In Colombia bombs
exploded on two buses in a working class district of Bogota,
injuring two dozen passengers, including three children with burns
over half their body.
2006 Apr 10, Mexican soldiers
seized 128 suitcases packed with 5.6 metric tons of cocaine worth
more than $100 million from a commercial plane arriving from
Venezuela. Smugglers had purchased the DC-9 plane with laundered
funds transferred through US banks Wachovia Corp. and Bank of
America. In 2010 court papers said a gang under Walid Makled
operated the DC-9 and flew the cocaine from Simon Bolivar
International to Campeche, Mexico. Makled was arrested Aug 19, 2010
in Colombia in the border city of Cucuta. In Nov 2010 Colombia
denied an extradition request for Makled by the US, saying that the
suspect will be sent back to face charges in his home country.
(AP, 4/12/06)(SFC, 6/30/10, p.D1)(AP, 11/17/10)
2006 Apr 11, Colombia’s
attorney general said the bodies of more than 30 people had been
found in a series of mass graves in a violent area of Northern
Santander province, home to drug traffickers, far-right
paramilitaries and leftist guerrillas. Most of the villagers blamed
a bloc of far-right paramilitaries that operated there until its
demobilization in 2004.
2006 Apr 12, Authorities said
Colombia's biggest right-wing paramilitary group has disbanded as
part of an ongoing peace process, but some renegade factions
continued to operate.
2006 Apr 13, In western
Colombia mudslides roared down on settlements, killing at least 10
people, leaving dozens missing and blocking a key highway to the
2006 Apr 20, In northeastern
Colombia leftist rebels ambushed a military convoy, killing 16
soldiers and secret police officers in the deadliest attack on
security forces this year.
2006 Apr 22, In Colombia Pedro
Gil Trujillo, a city council member in Rivera, was arrested while
giving a live radio interview by telephone for allegedly
masterminding a guerrilla attack that killed nine of his colleagues
on Feb 27.
2006 Apr 27, Liliana Gaviria
(52), sister of the former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria
(1990-1994), died in a botched kidnapping in the province of
Risaralda, 110 miles west of Bogota. She was real estate agent and
owner of a transport company. On Feb 26, 2010, Beatriz Villalba (25)
was arrested after being under observation for four months. She had
been conducting spying operations for the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia in Bogota. Prosecutors alleged that Villalba was in
charge of buying a building and modifying a vehicle used in the
abduction and transportation of Liliana Gaviria Trujillo. Gaviria's
bodyguard was shot dead during the kidnapping in Pereira.
(AP, 4/28/06)(AP, 2/26/10)
2006 Apr 28, Representatives of
the Colombian government and that nation's second largest rebel
group wrapped up four days of talks in Cuba without resolution, but
agreed to meet again after their country's May 28 elections.
2006 May 2, In Colombia the
entire municipal council of Villavieja resigned and fled to Neiva in
Huila province, fearing for their lives amid a spate of political
2006 May 10, Colombia's top
court voted to legalize abortion in specific cases, easing a
complete ban on the procedure in this majority Roman Catholic
2006 May 12, Gen. Oscar
Naranjo, the head of Colombia's judicial police, said he was shocked
to learn his brother, Juan David Naranjo (29), is suspected of
involvement in a major European drug trafficking ring.
2006 May 16, In Colombia
farmers and members of indigenous tribes clashed with police during
protests against a free-trade agreement with the US and the
re-election of President Alvaro Uribe, and protest leaders said an
Indian farmer was killed.
2006 May 22, Colombia's
Interior Minister Sabas Pretelt said the peace process with
far-right paramilitary gunmen was back on track, following days of
tensions caused by a court ruling that tossed out part of a peace
pact. In Jamundi 10 police officers in a US-trained unit were
ambushed and killed in a ferocious attack by a platoon of 28
soldiers who unleashed a barrage of some 150 bullets and seven
grenades. The attack stunned Colombians and severely embarrassed
President Alvaro Uribe. An 11th man, an informant who led the police
squad to the scene promising they would find a large stash of
cocaine, was also found dead. When investigators removed his ski
mask, they found a bullet hole in his head. In 2008 a judge gave a
54-year prison term to a cashiered army lieutenant colonel who was
convicted of ordering the massacre of the anti-drug police. He also
slapped near-maximum sentences of 52 years on the unit's
second-in-command, and 50 years each on the other 13 soldiers
involved. Senior police believed former Lt. Col. Byron Carvajal and
his troops had been protecting a drug lord.
(AP, 5/22/06)(AP, 6/17/06)(AP, 5/8/08)
2006 May 27, It was reported
that Colombia could become a net importer of oil by 2010.
(Econ, 5/27/06, p.34)
2006 May 28, President Alvaro
Uribe won Colombia's presidential elections with 62% of the vote.
The turnout was 45% of those eligible. Uribe became the first
incumbent to win re-election in Colombia in more than a century,
beating his nearest rival by more than 40 percentage points with
pledges to continue fighting crime and reducing poverty.
(AP, 5/28/06)(AP, 5/29/06)(Econ, 6/3/06, p.34)
2006 May, In Colombia brothers
Arley Vallejo Cardona and Yon Garcia Cardona disappeared in
Medellin. On July 31, 2009, a court sentenced 15 Colombian soldiers
to as much as 30 years in prison for the slaying of the two brothers
falsely identified as guerrillas.
2006 Jun 14, Gunmen killed
seven coca pickers in southwestern Colombia in an attack police
blamed on leftist rebels.
2006 Jun 14, Four Andean
nations (Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru) agreed to chart new
trade plans with the United States without Venezuela.
2006 Jun 20, The UN said
production of the coca plant used to make cocaine had increased by
8% in Colombia, to 330 square miles.
2006 Jun 29, After a two-year
search among more than 300,000 candidates nationwide, Colombia
unveiled the new Juan Valdez, Carlos Castaneda (39), as the
country's iconic coffee ambassador to the world.
2006 Jul 10, The government of
Colombia announced that it was nominating Ernesto Samper as
ambassador to France. This sparked outrage among many Colombians and
allies in Washington in the war on drugs. In a statement, Pres.
Uribe said Samper had declined the France ambassadorship so as not
to harm Colombia's national interests.
2006 Jul 11, Andres Pastrana,
Colombia's ambassador to the United States, resigned in anger over
President Alvaro Uribe's selection of Ernesto Samper, a disgraced
former Colombian leader (1994-1998) as ambassador to France.
2006 Jul 18, The UN said
fighting between the army and leftist guerrillas in western Colombia
has forced hundreds of civilians from their homes and trapped others
in their villages.
2006 Jul 24, In Colombia 13
doctors were abducted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
or FARC. They were on a 10-day mission to remote communities and
Indian tribes in Putumayo province.
2006 Jul 31, In Colombia
suspected rebels ambushed an army patrol, exploded a car bomb in
Bogota and another bomb in the southwest, killing at least 18 people
in a wave of attacks a week before the presidential inauguration.
2006 Aug 2, In southern
Colombia a land mine planted by leftist rebels killed six coca
eradicators and injured seven others.
2006 Aug 4, In Colombia leftist
rebels were blamed for two attacks, a car bomb that killed four
officers outside a Cali police station and an attack that killed two
soldiers in a western province.
2006 Aug 7, Colombia’s
President Alvaro Uribe inaugurated an unprecedented second term,
promising to seek an elusive peace with leftist rebels while
maintaining the hardline security policies credited with a sharp
drop in murder and kidnappings.
2006 Aug 9, Masked gunmen
killed five Indians in Colombia even as UN officials marked World
Indigenous Day with a call for illegal combat groups to keep Indians
out of the country's armed conflict. Colombian rebels kidnapped two
engineers and a helicopter pilot who were part of a seismographic
oil exploration crew in Choco state. The National Liberation Army
(ELN) was believed to be responsible.
2006 Aug 10, Hector Orlando
Martinez Quinto (38) was captured in Costa Rica. He was accused of
participating in a 2002 rebel (FARQ) attack that killed 119
civilians in Boyaya, in one of the worst tragedies in Colombia's
four-decade-old guerrilla war.
2006 Aug 10, In Chile a drug
trafficking network working on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC) was dismantled. Police seized almost a
half-ton of cocaine and arrested 12 people.
2006 Aug 15, In Colombia the
last major paramilitary leader to enter into a peace deal with the
government handed in his weapon, even as the future of that fragile
accord was called into doubt by other ex-militia leaders. Freddy
Rendon Herrera and 745 fighters from the Elmer Cardenas bloc handed
in 447 rifles in a disarmament ceremony in Unguia, a village 370
miles northwest of Bogota.
2006 Aug 16, Colombian police
arrested 14 top paramilitary leaders for violating the terms of a
peace accord that has led to the demobilization of 30,000 right-wing
fighters. Anti-narcotics police said they chemically fumigated the
Sierra Macarena national park last week, clearing its entire 11,370
acres of coca. The spraying destroyed coca capable of producing 17.5
tons of high-grade cocaine and was likely a major blow to the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
(AP, 8/16/06)(AP, 8/17/06)(Econ, 8/26/06, p.28)
2006 Aug, In Colombia the
telenovela “Sin Tetas no hay Paraiso" (Without Breasts There's No
Paradise) premiered. It was based on a best-selling, true-to-life
novel by the same name and became very popular.
2006 Sep 1, In Colombia Jesus
Ignacio Roldan led special prosecutors and investigators to the
alleged grave of Carlos Castano, former right-wing paramilitary
leader, near the town of Valencia. Roldan says he killed Castano in
April 2004 on the order of Castano's older brother, Vicente Castano.
2006 Sep 18, In Colombia
federal prosecutor Mario Iguaran delivered a televised apology for a
scandal surrounding psychic Armando Marti. In 2005 he had hired
Marti, a self-described clairvoyant, to help his staff deal with a
crushing caseload and to improve relations. The operation was
code-named “Mission Perseus of Zeus" and it granted Marti unfettered
access to the institution, as much as $1,800 a month, and a
government-issued armored car.
(SFC, 9/20/06, p.A8)
2006 Oct 12, In Colombia
hundreds of Bari Indians, most clad in loincloths and carrying bows
and arrows, came down from the hills in their first march ever to
demand that the state-owned oil company stop drilling on sacred land
abutting their reservation.
2006 Oct 19, In Colombia a car
bomb left by a person dressed in a military uniform exploded in the
parking lot of a military university in Bogota, wounding at least 23
people, as a top general was at a conference nearby.
2006 Oct 26, The Colombian
government and the country's second-largest rebel group (ELN) agreed
in Havana, Cuba, to launch a formal peace process.
2006 Oct 29, Leaders of
Colombia's second-largest rebel group (ELN) agreed to help de-mine
several rural southern districts, marking their first concrete
action since agreeing to a peace process last week with the
2006 Oct 26, Spanish police
arrested Orlando Sabogal Zuluaga (40), a leading member of one of
Colombia's most feared drug-trafficking cartels, in a shopping
center on the outskirts of Madrid.
2006 Nov 1, In Colombia the
peasant-based FARC killed 16 police officers and a civilian at a
remote outpost in an attack that appeared to be part of a
coordinated national offensive.
(AP, 11/2/06)(WSJ, 11/2/06, p.A1)
2006 Nov 2, In Colombia a jeep
carrying explosives blew up south of Bogota, killing two passengers
and probably preempting a leftist rebel attack.
2006 Nov 9, Colombia's Supreme
Court ordered three legislators arrested for their alleged ties to
the country's far-right paramilitaries.
2006 Nov 22, Authorities in
Italy, Spain, the United States and several South American countries
arrested 76 people as part of a major drug crackdown in which a
restaurant linked to one of Colombia's most feared warlords was
2006 Nov 23, The imprisoned
leaders of Colombia's right-wing militias called for the creation of
a truth commission where they can confess their actions in the
brutal civil war.
2006 Nov 30, In northeastern
Colombia the Gabriel Galvis unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia (FARC) attacked an army patrol, killing 17 soldiers and
injuring four. An air force training helicopter crashed in central
Colombia, killing all five aboard.
2006 Dec 6, Far-right
paramilitary groups pulled out of a peace process with the Colombian
government following a decision by President Alvaro Uribe's
administration to transfer jailed militia leaders to a maximum
2006 Dec 9, Freddy Munoz (36),
a Colombian journalist, was charged with rebellion and terrorism for
a series of bombings in 2002, a move his news channel said was in
response to his reporting on human rights violations. Munoz worked
for the news channel Telesur, which is majority owned by the
Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez.
2006 Dec 15, Ecuador recalled
its ambassador to Colombia, protesting Bogota's decision to resume
aerial coca fumigation along the shared border.
2006 Dec 19, Salvatore Mancuso,
one of Colombia's most feared paramilitary warlords, testified
before a special tribunal. His confession was meant to sharply
reduce his jail time for hundreds of murders and forcing tens of
thousands from their land during a decade-long reign of terror.
2006 Dec 23, In southern
Colombia leftist rebels ambushed an army patrol and killed 14
soldiers from a unit that rushed to the area after being warned of a
possible guerrilla takeover of a remote hamlet.
2006 Dec 24, In southern
Colombia government troops retook control of an area where leftist
rebels ambushed and killed 15 soldiers.
2006 Dec 27, Colombia's
second-largest rebel group (ELN) released two police officers taken
hostage earlier this month, a move that could revive slow-moving
peace talks with the government. Gunmen shot and killed Jaime Andres
Angarita (33), a paramilitary leader, as he was dining at a
restaurant in the western city of Medellin. Angarita was considered
the right-hand man of warlord Salvatore Mancuso, the architect of a
2003 peace deal with the government that has led to the
demobilization of 31,000 militia fighters.
(AP, 12/27/06)(AP, 12/28/06)
2006 In Colombia 60 trade union
members were murdered this year. From 1991 to 2006 there were some
2,000 unsolved killings of trade unionists.
(Econ, 5/19/07, p.39)
2006 In Colombia Astrid
Hurtado, confidential US informant was convicted of money
laundering, sentenced to 7½ years in prison and fined the equivalent
of $1.6 million. In 2013 Hurtado (52) sued the US for abandoning her
and sought $15 million in damages.
2007 Jan 9, Freddy Munoz, a
reporter for a state-controlled television network in Venezuela, was
released from a Colombian jail, 52 days after his arrest on
accusations of plotting bomb attacks with leftist rebels.
2007 Jan 15, In Colombia
Eugenio Montoya Sanchez (37), believed by authorities to be a leader
of the Norte del Valle drug cartel, was captured following a
shootout, ending a years-long hunt for a man wanted by American
officials for allegedly smuggling tons of cocaine into the US. 2
cold-storage tanks owned by a Nestle supplier outside the town of
San Vicente de Caguan were blown up in an attack also attributed to
the FARC. Salvatore Mancuso became the 1st senior paramilitary
leader to make a voluntary confession of his involvement in
kidnappings and mass murders. Sanchez was later extradited to the US
and in 2009 pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. He was sentenced to
30 years in prison.
(AP, 1/16/07)(AP, 1/19/07)(Econ, 1/20/07,
p.48)(SFC, 4/29/09, p.A4)
2007 Jan 16, Colombian police
found about $19 million belonging to a drug trafficking group buried
under a house in the southwestern city of Cali. On Jan 12 police
found $16 million hidden in a modest house in Cali.
2007 Jan 17, In southern
Colombia a pickup truck carrying 660 pounds of explosives destroyed
a dairy plant owned by Swiss food giant Nestle SA, an attack police
attributed to leftist rebels.
2007 Jan 30, Colombia’s Supreme
Court opened preliminary investigations into four more politicians
for alleged ties to illegal right-wing militias after it was
revealed they signed a 2001 letter of understanding with the
2007 Feb 1, In Colombia
President Alvaro Uribe ordered the seizure of assets belonging to
demobilized paramilitary leaders after the killing of a woman who
was leading a campaign to reclaim land stolen by the illegal
2007 Feb 3, Police said they
found $19 million in cash under the floorboards of a house in Cali.
The loot likely belonged to Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, among a
dozen alleged top drug kingpins whom US authorities targeted for
arrest using a $5 million reward for information. In the
northeast an explosion tore through a makeshift coal mine, killing
2007 Feb 6, An underground
explosion in a central Colombia coal mine killed eight workers, just
days after a similar blast in the nation's northeast killed 32
2007 Feb 7, Colombia's top
court ruled that gay couples, who have lived together for more than
2 years, should have the same rights to shared assets as
heterosexual couples. The decision by the Constitutional Court
marked the first recognition of gay couples' rights in Colombia.
(AP, 2/9/07)(Econ, 3/10/07, p.34)
2007 Feb 8, Cuba deported
reputed drug kingpin Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante to Colombia,
which plans to extradite him to the United States to face
trafficking and money laundering charges.
2007 Feb 15, Five Colombian
congressmen, including the brother of the foreign minister, were
arrested in a widening scandal linking the country's political class
and far-right militias drew closer to the president.
2007 Feb 19, Maria Consuelo
Araujo, Colombia’s foreign minister, resigned as a growing scandal
linking the political establishment and far-right paramilitaries
claimed its first member of President Alvaro Uribe's Cabinet. 4 days
earlier her brother, a senator, was jailed on charges of colluding
with the paramilitaries and the kidnapping of a potential political
rival. 2 clowns were shot and killed by an unidentified gunman
during their performance of Circo del Sol de Cali, a traveling
circus, in the eastern town of Cucuta.
(AP, 2/19/07)(Reuters, 2/22/07)
2007 Feb 21, A land mine killed
five Colombian soldiers after a patrol chasing leftist rebels
stumbled in to a mine field.
2007 Feb 22, In Colombia Jorge
Noguera, a former director of the secret police under President
Alvaro Uribe, was arrested and charged in connection with the
murders of labor leaders and academics while collaborating with
far-right militias responsible for some of Colombia's worst
massacres. In Cali, Colombia, confused hit men on the lookout for
two men in a white sedan gun down the wrong people. Then they spot
their intended targets, in the same traffic jam 20 yards away. And
killed them, too. It was all caught on a traffic camera.
(AP, 2/23/07)(AP, 2/24/07)
2007 Mar 1, In Colombia a car
bomb exploded in the southern city of Neiva, injuring 8 people in an
apparent assassination attempt of the town's pro-government mayor by
2007 Mar 2, In Colombia
prosecutors ordered the arrest of Alvaro Araujo Noguera, a prominent
political boss, for alleged involvement in a kidnapping at the heart
of a scandal tying the country’s political elite to right-wing
2007 Mar 3, In Colombia 4
police officers and a civilian were killed as officers moved a
powerful bomb allegedly planted by leftist rebels as part of an
attempt to kill a city mayor.
2007 Mar 10, In Colombia the US
Embassy confirmed that American and Colombian soldiers had conducted
a joint operation in the southern stronghold of leftist rebels who
are holding three US military contractors, captured in Feb, 2004.
2007 Mar 11, In Colombia about
150 protesters attacked riot police with rocks and metal barriers
and ripped down lampposts Bogota, just moments after President Bush
landed for a six-hour visit. Bush put fighting poverty at the top of
his agenda in Colombia and promised more aid and a trade deal for
(AP, 3/11/07)(WSJ, 3/12/07, p.A1)
2007 Mar 12, Interpol launched
an international call for the arrest of Alvaro Araujo Noguera (74),
former Colombian congressman and father of Colombia’s former Foreign
Minister Maria Consuelo Araujo. He was believed to have fled to
Venezuela after being accused of colluding with right-wing
paramilitaries to kidnap a political rival.
2007 Mar 13, In Colombia Trino
Luna, the governor of Magdalena province, surrendered to federal
prosecutors, becoming the first opposition politician arrested as
part of the widening scandal over links between the country's
political elite and far-right militias.
2007 Mar 14, Chiquita Brands
Int’l., a Cincinnati-based banana company, agreed to pay a $25
million fine after admitting that it paid a Colombian terrorist
group (AUC) for protection in a volatile farming region. Chiquita
sold it Colombian banana operations in June, 2004.
(SFC, 3/15/07, p.A5)(WSJ, 8/2/07, p.A1)
2007 Mar 15, A UN report said
Colombian security forces killed civilians in several states last
year and falsely labeled many as leftist rebels slain in combat.
2007 Mar 23, In Colombia Jorge
Noguera, Pres. Alvaro Uribe's former spy chief, was freed from jail
after a judge ruled his imprisonment for alleged links to far-right
militias was illegal on procedural grounds.
2007 Mar 29, Robert Marshall
Vignola (50) of Hamden, Conn., an American entrepreneur who
introduced foreign men to "young, sexy, exotic and beautiful Latin
Women" via the Internet, was killed in the western city of Cali by
gunmen on a motorcycle.
2007 Apr 3, Colombian
authorities captured Ever Veloza, a fugitive right-wing warlord
accused in massacres and of running a murderous criminal band
involved in drug trafficking and extortion. He was arrested in the
banana-growing Uraba region on the Caribbean coast. Veloza already
faces charges in the April 11, 2001, massacre of 26 peasants in the
southwestern town of Naya.
2007 Apr 3, Interpol issued an
international arrest warrant for three Israelis accused of training
private armies of Colombian drug cartels and right-wing death
squads. Yair Klein, Melnik Ferri and Tzedaka Abraham were being
sought on charges of criminal conspiracy and instruction in
2007 Apr 5, A bus carrying
passengers on the start of the Easter holiday crashed in northern
Colombia, igniting a blaze that killed 27 people, including six
2007 Apr 12, Tens of thousands
of people marched through the streets of Cali to protest the bombing
of the city's police barracks, blamed on Colombia's largest leftist
2007 Apr 16, A top rebel leader
of Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group (ELN) said the group is
ready to "immediately" begin talks to reach a cease-fire with the
2007 Apr 18, In Colombia
thousands of people were evacuated after a long-dormant volcano
erupted, provoking avalanches and floods that swept away houses and
bridges. The Nevado del Huila volcano's eruptions were its first on
record since Colombia was colonized by the Spanish 500 years ago.
2007 Apr 26, Colombia's
electrical grid collapsed, causing a nationwide blackout that
briefly halted stock trading, trapped people in elevators and left
authorities struggling to determine the cause.
2007 Apr 29, Colombia's navy
made the largest drug seizure in the nation's history as it
uncovered up to 27 tons of cocaine buried along the Pacific coast.
2007 Apr, In Colombia the
soldiers in Antelope Company's Third Platoon killed Leonardo Montes,
a civilian and brother to one of the platoon’s soldiers, and
registered the murder as a guerrilla kill. The brother’s pleas
failed to prevent the killing. The platoon hadn't registered a
guerrilla kill in months, and without results, they feared they
wouldn't be let off base for Mother's Day. 5 soldiers faced a
criminal probe in the murder, joining some 480 soldiers under
investigation for about 1,000 extrajudicial killings during the
presidency of Alvaro Uribe.
2007 May 5, Colombian officials
reported that forensic teams have unearthed 211 bodies buried in
dozens of mass graves near La Hormiga in southern Colombia in the
past 10 months, a legacy of fierce fighting in this coca-rich land.
2007 May 10, In southwestern
Colombia A roadside bomb planted by leftist rebels killed 10
soldiers on patrol, the deadliest attack on security forces this
2007 May 14, In Colombia
judicial authorities ordered the arrest of 20 politicians and
business leaders, including five congressmen, on criminal conspiracy
charges for signing a 2001 pact with illegal right-wing militias. In
the biggest shake-up in years of the security forces, Colombia's
police chief and the head of police intelligence were forced to
retire as the government alleged that police illegally tapped calls
of opposition political figures, journalists and members of the
government for the past two years.
2007 May 16, In northern
Colombia Diana Patricia Pena (36) was abducted by armed men with her
husband, Roland Erik Larson (68), at their farm. Pena soon escaped
but Larson was still missing.
2007 May 17, A Colombian
warlord, accused of spearheading civilian massacres, claimed that
some US companies who buy Colombia's bananas had made regular
payments to his illegal right-wing militias.
2007 May 18, President Alvaro
Uribe lashed out at US lawmakers for treating Colombia like a
"pariah" by refusing to pass a trade agreement amid a scandal
linking his government to murderous right-wing paramilitaries.
2007 May 23, Colombia announced
capital controls on some foreign investments to try to curb the
soaring peso, which has made greater gains against the dollar this
year than any other currency.
2007 Jun 4, In Colombia Rodrigo
Granda, the highest-ranking jailed member of the country's main
guerrilla group, was freed by the government as part of a wider
prisoner release intended to help secure the freedom of 60 hostages,
including three Americans, held by the guerrillas. There is no
explanation for why these particular captives are to be freed.
Police officer Guillermo Solorzano was seized by the FARC.
(AP, 6/4/07)(AP, 12/23/10)
2007 Jun 6, Colombia’s Pres.
Uribe arrived in Washington DC for his 2nd lobbying trip in a month.
A US congressional sub-committee had voted to cut aid by 10% and
shift it from military to social programs.
(Econ, 6/9/07, p.44)
2007 Jun 10, In southern
Colombia 2 drunken soldiers shot and killed six civilians, including
a nine-year old boy, after arguing with guests at a party.
2007 Jun 14, Colombia’s
Congress passed a bill to give established gay couples full rights
to health insurance, inheritance and social security. This would
make it the first Latin American country to provide such rights.
2007 Jun 18, In Colombia 11
kidnapped former state lawmakers held hostage for five years were
killed after a military attack on the jungle camp where they were
being kept. The Web site of the left-wing news agency ANNCOL carried
the statement on June 28.
2007 Jun 20, Otto Roberto
Herrera Garcia, a man accused of turning Guatemala into a corridor
for US-bound cocaine, was arrested in Bogota, two years after
escaping from a Mexican prison. He offered agents $700,000 each in
bribes to let him go when he was seized.
2007 Jun 22, In Colombia a wave
of bombings in Bogota wounded 23 people. Marines defused another two
bombs the next day. Authorities blamed the bombings on rebels
seeking revenge for the killing of a regional guerrilla commander.
2007 Jun 26, Colombia’s navy
captured Edwin Alexander Torres, an alleged rebel suspected of
masterminding a wave of recent bombings that killed 3 people and
wounded dozens in Bogota.
2007 Jul 5, Over a million
people marched in Bogota, Colombia, to protest kidnappings and the
recent killing of abducted politicians.
(SFC, 7/6/07, p.A10)
2007 Jul 25, Human Rights Watch
said the escalating use of land mines by Colombian rebels is killing
and mutilating hundreds annually, making this nation the world
leader in mine victims.
2007 Aug 5, Colombia's navy
seized a 65-foot submarine that likely was used to haul tons of
cocaine on part of its journey to the United States. The
blue-colored, diesel-powered vessel had sophisticated communications
systems and was capable of carrying up to 11 tons of cocaine.
2007 Aug 7,
Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia (44), an alleged Colombian drug kingpin
wanted by the United States, was arrested in a luxury condominium on
the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
2007 Aug 8, In southwest
Colombia families confirmed that two military officers kidnapped
four months ago by leftist rebels have died in captivity. Army Sgts.
Alexander Cardona and Jesus Sol were taken hostage by the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), while on patrol near
2007 Aug 23, More than 800
Colombian refugees crossed over the border to Ecuador from the
violence-ravaged department of Narino. The UN estimated that about 3
million Colombians have been driven from their homes by violence
without leaving the country, making it the largest internal refugee
population in the world after Sudan.
2007 Aug 27, In Colombia the
Bogota stock exchange launched the sale of up to 20% of state-owned
(Econ, 9/1/07, p.31)
2007 Aug 30, Hundreds of
Colombian peasants returned home from Ecuador after the government
promised to protect them from leftist rebels trying to sabotage a
coca eradication campaign.
2007 Aug 31, Colombia's Alvaro
Uribe and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez agreed to allow a
representative of Colombia's largest guerrilla group to travel to
Caracas for talks aimed at freeing dozens of rebel-held hostages,
including three U.S. defense contractors.
2007 Sep 1, In Venezuela more
than two dozen Colombian prisoners arrested three years ago in an
alleged plot against President Hugo Chavez were freed in a goodwill
gesture he hopes will help facilitate a prisoner exchange in
2007 Sep 2, In western Colombia
10 soldiers were killed in a clash with leftist FARC rebels. Five
more were missing.
2007 Sep 8, In Colombia the Red
Cross said it has recovered all 11 bodies presumed to be lawmakers
who were killed in a shootout while held hostage by leftist rebels.
2007 Sep 10, In Colombia
soldiers swarmed onto a farm and captured Diego Montoya, one of the
world's most wanted drug traffickers hiding in bushes in his
underwear. He led the Norte del Valle cartel and was captured along
with an uncle and three other cartel members. He was extradited to
the US in 2008 and in 2009 was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
(AP, 9/11/07)(Reuters, 10/22/09)
2007 Oct 2, Colombia's navy
seized 2 tons of cocaine, most destined for the United States, in
small packages labeled with the British flag from a truck on the
country's Caribbean coast.
2007 Oct 5, Colombia’s
Constitutional Court ruled that gays may add their partners to
health insurance plans.
(SSFC, 10/7/07, p.A5)
2007 Oct 10, In Colombia police
clashed with hundreds of protesters who blocked roads and burned
trucks in demonstrations called by unions, farmers and indigenous
groups who accuse the government of ties to right-wing militias.
2007 Oct 8, In Colombia a plane
carrying 15 soldiers and three civilians disappeared. The wreckage
was spotted Oct 11 high in the Andes and the armed forces chief said
there was no chance of survivors.
2007 Oct 13, In Colombia a
landslide triggered by local residents digging for rumored deposits
of gold in an abandoned mine near Suarez killed at least 21 people
and injured another 26.
2007 Nov 8, John Walters, the
White House drug czar, said American-backed counter-narcotic
programs in Colombia and Mexico are disrupting the flow of cocaine
into the United States, driving up prices 44 percent on US streets
2007 Nov 17, In Iran officials
at Niloofar Publications, which published the first edition of a
novel by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, known in the West
as "Memories of My Melancholy Whores," confirmed they have been
forbidden to put out a second edition. The Persian translation was
titled "Memories of My Melancholy Sweethearts."
2007 Nov 21, Colombia's
government said it was canceling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's
mediation role with leftist rebels in a possible hostage swap,
dealing a blow to efforts to free three kidnapped US contractors and
a former presidential candidate.
2007 Nov 30, Colombian
officials released newly obtained videos of rebel-held hostages,
among them three US defense contractors and a former presidential
candidate, the first images in years providing evidence the captives
may be alive.
2007 Dec 12, In Colombia 3
young highway bandits set fire to a bus during a botched robbery
near Bogota, burning to death 10 people including 2 assailants and
the bus driver. The 3rd assailant (23) was arrested.
2007 Dec 15, Jean Oviedo (37),
a US woman, was shot and killed as she vacationed with her Colombian
husband in Bucaramanga, Colombia, in a robbery that netted $200 and
a laptop computer.
2007 Dec 25, In Colombia an
elite anti-kidnapping force in Neiva rescued a 9-year old boy, who
was snatched seven months ago by leftist rebels. Captors had
demanded a $50,000 ransom for his safe return, an amount his family
was unable to pay.
2007 Dec 27, Bayron Jimenez
Castaneda (44), suspected Colombian cocaine trafficker, was arrested
in Orlando, Florida, for the kidnapping of an undercover US agent.
Three other suspects in the kidnapping of a US Immigration and
Customs Enforcement agent on Dec. 14, 2005 remain at large.
Traffickers initially demanded a $2 million ransom, but released him
after half a day when they realized he was a US government agent.
2007 Dec 29, A series of
explosions ripped through an army base in the Colombian city of
Medellin, killing at least two people and forcing nearby residents
to flee. The first of at least six large blasts was apparently
triggered by a grenade that detonated inside a weapons arsenal.
2007 Dec 31, A Venezuelan-led
mission to rescue three hostages, including a 3-year old boy, from
leftist rebels in Colombia's jungles fell apart as the guerrillas
accused Colombia's military of sabotaging the promised handoff.
2008 Jan 7, Colombia’s army
captured Carlos Marin Guarin, who uses the nom de guerre "Pablito,"
a senior commander of the ELN, Colombia’s second largest rebel
2008 Jan 10, Helicopters sent
by Venezuela's president picked up two hostages freed by Colombian
rebels in the jungle and flew the women across the border. Clara
Rojas was an aide to Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid
Betancourt in February 2002 when the two were kidnapped on the
campaign trail. Rojas gave birth in captivity to a boy fathered by
one of the guerrillas. Betancourt is still being held. The other
freed hostage, former congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo,
had been abducted in September 2001. FARC, in a statement published
on a pro-rebel Web site, said the unilateral release demonstrated
the group's "unquestionable willingness" to engage the government in
talks over the release of remaining hostages. The Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia is thought to still hold more than 700
(AP, 1/11/08)(Econ, 1/19/08, p.39)
2008 Jan 17, In southwestern
Colombia the Galeras volcano erupted violently, spewing ash miles
into the sky and prompting the evacuation of several thousand people
2008 Jan 28, A US District
judge in Washington, DC, sentenced Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian
rebel leader, to 60 years in prison. Palmera admitted serving as
FARC’s chief negotiator during discussions over the release of 3
American hostages captured in 2003.
(SFC, 1/29/08, p.A4)
2008 Jan 30, Wilber Varela, one
of Colombia's most-wanted drug lords, was found slain in Merida,
Venezuela. Varela's war with his rival within the Norte del Valle
cartel, Diego Montoya, plagued the city of Cali and much of
southwestern Colombia, killing more than 1,000 people in several
2008 Feb 4, Hundreds of
thousands of Colombians wearing white T-shirts marched in their
homeland and abroad to demand that FARC, the country's largest rebel
group, stop kidnapping people and release those it holds. Marchers
used Facebook, a social networking website, to help organize the
(AP, 2/4/08)(Econ, 2/9/08, p.41)
2008 Feb 13, In Colombia a
delegation of visiting US union leaders expressed alarm at what its
members called a steady erosion of labor rights in the world's
deadliest country for organized labor.
2008 Feb 18, In Colombia a
cashiered army lieutenant colonel and 14 soldiers were convicted of
murdering 10 elite counternarcotics police agents in an ambush that
showed how deeply drug corruption threatens Colombia's security
2008 Feb 27, Two Venezuelan
helicopters left for Colombia on a mission to pick up four hostages
held by rebels for more than six years. Rebels turned over four
ex-lawmakers to representatives from Venezuela in the same region
where they released two others on Jan 10.
(AP, 2/27/08)(AP, 2/28/08)
2008 Mar 1, Colombia's defense
minister said security forces killed Raul Reyes (59), a leading
commander of the FARC rebel group, in combat and air strikes in
neighboring Ecuador. Reyes was the nom de guerre of Luis Edgar
Devia. 23 other rebels were also killed and a laptop computer was
seized with documents indicating a close relationship between the
rebels and Venezuela’s Pres. Chavez. Colombia later acknowledged
that an Ecuadorean was killed during the raid. It was later reported
that a computer memory stick was acquired in the raid that held the
names, aliases and identity numbers of 9,387 rebels, including some
(AP, 3/1/08)(AP, 3/5/08)(Econ, 3/8/08, p.43)(AP,
2008 Mar 2, Venezuela and
Ecuador ordered troops to their borders with Colombia, sharply
raising tensions after Colombia killed a top rebel leader on
Ecuadorean soil. Ecuadorean troops recovered the seminude bodies of
15 rebels in their jungle camp. Soldiers also found three wounded
women at the camp, a Mexican philosophy student injured by shrapnel
and two Colombians, who were evacuated by helicopter to be treated.
2008 Mar 3, Ecuador's president
said that his government was in "very advanced" talks with Colombian
rebels to free 12 hostages, including former presidential candidate
Ingrid Betancourt and three US contractors, but was thwarted by
Colombia’s military raid. Venezuela and Ecuador expelled Colombia’s
diplomats and cracked down on trade across the border.
2008 Mar 5, The
Washington-based OAS declared Colombia’s attack on rebels in Ecuador
a violation of Ecuador's sovereignty and called for OAS
Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza to lead a delegation to both
countries to ease tensions. But the resolution stopped short of
explicitly condemning the assault. Pres. Chavez said Venezuela will
search for other countries like Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina to
replace products imported from Colombia.
2008 Mar 6, In Colombia Pedro
Pablo Montoya, a guerrilla known as Rojas, came to government troops
with the severed right hand of FARC rebel leader Ivan Rios (46), a
laptop computer and ID, saying he had killed his boss three days
earlier. Rojas handed himself over to the soldiers. The US State
Department had a bounty of $5 million for Rios' capture. In 2011
Rojas was sentenced to 40 years for his role in a 1999 attack on the
northwestern town of Narino, in which 9 police and 7 civilians were
killed. A march protesting the Colombian government and paramilitary
death squads drew tens of thousands of people and 6 organizers were
(AP, 3/7/08)(AP, 3/14/08)(AP, 11/10/11)
2008 Mar 6, Nicaraguan
President Daniel Ortega announced that he is breaking off relations
with Colombia because of his country's opposition to the Colombian
raid on a guerrilla base in Ecuador.
2008 Mar 6, Viktor Bout, a
suspected Russian arms dealer, was arrested at a five-star hotel in
downtown Bangkok on allegations that he supplied Colombian rebels
with arms and explosives. He had been accused of flouting UN
embargoes and was wanted by Interpol.
2008 Mar 7, At a summit in the
Dominican Republic the presidents of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador
agreed to end a bitter dispute triggered by a Colombian cross-border
raid with testy handshakes and an apology.
2008 Mar 8, In Colombia a
stadium brawl at a soccer rivalry game left about 80 people wounded
in the city of Cali, 18 of them with stab wounds.
2008 Mar 26, Manuel "Sureshot"
Marulanda (78), co-founder and commander of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC), died of a heart attack. On May 24
President Alvaro Uribe announced he is willing to offer rebels who
free hostages "conditional liberty" and passage abroad. Marulanda,
whose real name is Pedro Antonio Marin, and had led the
peasant-based FARC since its founding in 1964. Alfonso Cano
(Guillermo Leon Saenz), the FARC’s chief ideologue, was expected to
(AP, 5/25/08)(Econ, 5/31/08, p.42)(AP, 3/26/09)
2008 Apr 4, Interpol issued a
"red notice" for the capture of Colombian rebel leader Rodrigo
Granda, wanted in connection with the 2004 high-profile kidnapping
and killing of Cecilia Cubas (31), the daughter of former Paraguay
Pres. Raul Cubas.
2008 Apr 8, A Colombian court
sentenced nine rebel leaders to 40 years in prison for killing a
state governor, a former defense minister and eight others during a
botched hostage-rescue operation in 2003. Six Colombian soldiers
were killed after they walked into a mine field while pursuing a
column of leftist guerrillas.
(AP, 4/8/08)(AP, 4/9/08)
2008 Apr 15, Colombia's Nevado
del Huila volcano erupted in a shower of hot ash, prompting
thousands of people to leave their homes.
2008 Apr 19, Alfonso Lopez
Trujillo (b.1935), Vatican enforcer and former archbishop of
Medellin, died. In 1995, as head of the Pontifical council for the
Family, he published a “Lexicon of Ambiguous and Debatable Terms."
2008 Apr 22, In Colombia former
Sen. Mario Uribe, a 2nd cousin and close political ally of President
Alvaro Uribe wanted for allegedly backing illegal militias,
surrendered to police after Costa Rica denied him political asylum.
Charges included seeking support from right-wing paramilitary gunmen
in 2002 and buying land that was illegally obtained by them.
(AP, 4/23/08)(Econ, 4/26/08, p.55)
2008 Apr 29, Colombia police
killed Victor Manuel Mejia in a raid at his ranch hideout. The
government initially said it was his brother Miguel Angel. Both were
wanted for extradition to the United States, with US$5 million
rewards for their capture. In 2009 Miguel Angel Mejia was extradited
to the US on drug trafficking charges.
(AP, 4/30/08)(SFC, 3/5/09, p.A2)
2008 May 2, Colombian police
captured Miguel Angel Mejia, the second of two drug-trafficking
twins who were among the country's main cocaine shippers.
2008 May 7, Colombia extradited
Carlos Mario Jimenez, one of the country's most feared paramilitary
warlords, to the US to face drug trafficking charges.
2008 May 9, A newly disclosed
set of documents that Colombia's government says were recovered on
March 1 from a slain rebel's computers indicate senior Venezuelan
officials tried to help arm Colombia's main guerrilla army. The
price of crude rose above US$126 a barrel for the first time as
investors questioned whether a Wall Street Journal report regarding
the documents could lead to a confrontation between Washington and
2008 May 13, Colombia
extradited 14 top paramilitary warlords, many of them wanted on
drug-trafficking charges, to the United States, saying they failed
to comply with the peace pact under which they demobilized. They
included Ramiro Vanoy Murillo and Francisco Javier Zuluaga. In
October Murillo (60) and Zuluaga (38) pleaded guilty to cocaine
conspiracy charges and faced at least 2 decades in prison.
(AP, 5/13/08)(SFC, 10/10/08, p.A4)
2008 May 14, Colombian police
seized US$25 million (euro16 million) in properties from a
paramilitary warlord extradited to the U.S. on drug-trafficking
2008 May 18, In Colombia
Eldaneyis Mosquera, also known as "Karina," a wanted leader of Latin
America's largest guerrilla army, handed herself over to Colombian
2008 May 23, In Brazil 12 South
American leaders gathered in Brasilia to set up the Union of South
American Nations. UNASUR was expected to replace the South American
Community, declared in 2004, and unite the Mercosur and Andean
Community free trade areas. Members included Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname,
Uruguay and Venezuela.
2008 May 24, In Colombia a
moderate earthquake shook Bogota, killing at least six people and
injuring more than 10.
2008 Jun 1, In Colombia a
mudslide following rains buried several dozen homes in a poor
district of Medellin and at least 23 people were killed.
2008 Jun 6, Colombia's
presidential spokesman said Colombia and Ecuador are restoring
diplomatic ties at the charge d'affaires level following mediation
by former US Pres. Carter.
2008 Jun 7, Canada said it had
wrapped up free trade negotiations with Colombia and reached
agreement on related labor and environmental issues.
2008 Jun 8, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez urged Colombian rebels to lay down their
weapons, unilaterally free dozens of hostages and end a decades-long
2008 Jun 19, Colombia's chief
prosecutor ordered the arrest of a cashiered navy rear admiral on
charges he helped drug traffickers. Rear Adm. Gabriel Arango was
fired in August over accusations that traffickers paid him for
information on the movements of drug patrols off Colombia's
2008 Jun, Colombia’s government
created the 25,000 acre Orito Ingi-Ande Medicinal Plants Sanctuary
to protect plants, which the native Cofan people depend on for
medicinal and spiritual purposes.
(SFC, 7/8/08, p.A6)
2008 Jul 2, Colombian spies
tricked leftist rebels into handing over presidential candidate
Ingrid Betancourt (kidnapped in 2002), three US military contractors
(captured in 2003), and 10 other hostages in a helicopter rescue so
successful that not a single shot was fired. In 2009 Keith Stansell,
Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves authored "Out of Captivity," a
memoir of their 5 ½ year captivity by Colombia's leftist rebels.
(AP, 7/2/08)(AP, 2/26/09)
2008 Jul 4, Colombia's military
found more than a ton of explosives in a house in a rural area
outside the capital.
2008 Jul 7, In Colombia a
rose-laden US cargo plane headed for Miami crashed before dawn near
Bogota, killing a father and son in their home on the ground. It was
the second time in six weeks that a Boeing 747 flown by Ypsilanti,
Michigan-based Kalitta Air has crashed.
2008 Jul 11, Venezuela's Hugo
Chavez and Colombia's Alvaro Uribe mended relations after months of
sniping that threatened trade and unleashed a diplomatic crisis.
2008 Jul 17, Six prominent
members of Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC met this day with
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega according to Nicaragua’s La
Prensa newspaper. The members of the guerrilla organization arrived
in Nicaragua in a Cessna airplane from Venezuela. Both Ortega and
Venezuela denied the newspaper report.
2008 Jul 19, In Bogota the
presidents of Brazil and Colombia vowed to boost trade and
investment between their nations ahead of crucial world trade talks
2008 Jul 20, Well over a
million Colombians, clad in white and shouting "No more kidnapping,"
marked their independence day with marches and concerts demanding
freedom for hostages still held by leftist rebels.
2008 Jul 25, In Colombia police
arrested Sen. Carlos Garcia, the head of one of Colombia's main
governing parties, for alleged ties with far-right paramilitaries.
2008 Jul 26, In Spain Maria
Remedios Garcia Albert (57) was arrested in San Lorenzo de el
Escorial on suspicion of belonging to Colombia's FARC rebel group.
2008 Aug 12, Spanish officials
said local police acting on a tip-off from US authorities have
seized 1.4 tons of cocaine and arrested eight South American
suspects, 6 from Colombia and 2 from Venezuela.
2008 Aug 14, A bomb exploded
during a crowded street fair in northwestern Colombia, killing seven
people and wounding 17.
2008 Aug 22, Brazil extradited
Colombian drug lord Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia to the United States
to face racketeering charges.
2008 Sep 1, In Colombia a car
bomb has exploded in front of the palace of justice in Cali, killing
at least four people and injuring 20 others.
2008 Sep 4, Spanish police
arrested Vallejo-Guarin (47), a suspected Colombian drug trafficker,
listed among the most wanted by the US Drug Enforcement
2008 Oct 1, US officials said
they have seized almost two tons of cocaine from a Panama-flagged
cargo ship in international waters off Puerto Rico. The cocaine was
hidden on a ship, which was loaded with coal and had launched from
2008 Oct 19, In Colombia
Vladimir Vanoy (32), the son of a warlord extradited to the US on
drug charges, was murdered by unidentified assailants at the gate to
his condominium outside Bogota. Earlier this month a Miami judge
sentenced Ramiro Vanoy to 24 years in prison on drug-trafficking
2008 Oct 23, Colombia's
director of domestic intelligence resigned after her agency was
caught spying on a prominent political opponent of President Alvaro
Uribe. At least six small explosive devices left in trash cans
detonated in Bogota, wounding 18 people and frightening residents.
2008 Oct 24, Colombia's army
chief fired three colonels in the case of 11 men who disappeared
from Soacha, a poor district just south of Bogota. They were found
dead in August and September, months after their abduction in a war
zone hundreds of miles away. The young men appeared to have
been kidnapped and murdered to inflate the body count of dead
guerrillas. On Oct 29 President Alvaro Uribe's government fired 25
soldiers, including three generals and four colonels, over the
killings of the 11 civilians.
(AP, 10/24/08)(AP, 10/29/08)(Econ, 11/1/08, p.47)
2008 Oct 26, In Colombia former
congressman Oscar Tulio Lizcano (62) walked to freedom in a
western along with the young guerrilla commander, who had been
his jailer, after eight years of captivity in the hands of leftist
2008 Oct 28, Amnesty
International urged the United States and other nations to halt
military aid to Colombia until it stems a rise in killings of
noncombatants by security forces and heeds other UN prescriptions
for ending its long-running internal conflict.
2008 Nov 4, Gen. Mario Montoya,
the commander of Colombia's army, resigned abruptly in a widening
scandal over the killing of scores of civilians, allegedly spurred
by promotion-seeking officers to inflate rebel body counts.
2008 Nov 12, In Colombia the
investment company Proyecciones DRFE (Dinero Rapido Facil Efectivo -
Easy Money, Fast Cash) collapsed in Narino state leaving investors
in the pyramid scheme with losses estimated at some $270 million.
Investors took to the streets on rumors that owner Carlos Alfredo
Suarez had fled the country. At least 2 people died in ensuing
riots. A week later Panama extradited David Murcia Guzman, the
president of DMG Group, suspected of running the country's biggest
pyramid scheme. On Mar 13, 2009, the government announced it had
recovered just $20.5 million, which would be distributed equally
among some 214,000 investors, who would receive about $96 each. On
Dec 16 Murcia was sentenced to 30 years and 8 months in prison for a
money-laundering conviction and was fined $12.5 million. He is
expected to be extradited to the US soon on money-laundering
p.A9)(Econ, 11/22/08, p.49)(SFC, 3/14/09, p.A2)(SFC, 10/14/09,
2008 Nov 20, In southwestern
Colombia the Nevado del Huila volcano erupted and loosed avalanches
of mud and ash that injured nine, destroyed bridges and trapped
people in their towns. At least 10 people died in landslides
triggered by the eruption.
(AP, 11/22/08)(SFC, 11/29/08, p.B6)
2008 Nov 21, Canada and
Colombia signed a free trade agreement, hoping to boost investment
and trade flows at a time of global economic instability.
2008 Nov 28, Tens of thousands
of Colombians marched to demand leftist rebels free hostages they
have held for as long as a decade or more.
2008 Dec 5, In northeast
Colombia suspected leftist rebels attacked a small police convoy
with explosives and automatic weapons, killing eight police officers
and wounding one. Police blamed the attack on the National
Liberation Army (ELN), which operates in the oil-producing region
2008 Dec 12, Colombia
extradited Diego Montoya, one of its most notorious drug trafficking
suspects, to the United States to stand trial. Colombian authorities
said he sent tons of cocaine to the United States and is responsible
for at least 1,500 killings in a two-decade career.
2009 Jan 8, In Spain Leonidas
Vargas (60), a convicted Colombian drug baron with links to two
major smuggling cartels, was shot dead in a Madrid hospital.
2009 Jan 15, Togo agreed to
extradite to the US Solano Cortez Jorge, an alleged druglord from
Colombia, who was arrested trying to smuggle hundreds of pounds
(kilograms) of cocaine through this West African nation last year.
2009 Jan 23, Colombia's
national police chief said that fugitive drug boss Daniel Rendon,
the country's leading drug lord, has offered assassins a bounty of
$1,000 for each police officer they kill. The defense minister said
another 10 Colombian soldiers have been fired for negligence in
connection with the killings of civilians to inflate guerrilla
casualty figures. A major was the highest ranking of the 10
cashiered soldiers from the Popa Battalion in the northern city of
2009 Feb 1, Colombia's battered
FARC rebels freed three police officers and a soldier held hostage
for more than a year, handing them over to the International Red
Cross. A car bomb exploded near a police post in the city of Cali,
killing at least one person and injuring at least 18 others after
officers were lured to the scene by a bogus fire alarm.
2009 Feb 3, In Colombia leftist
rebels freed their fifth hostage in three days. Ex-governor Alan
Jara (51), held for 7½ years, said that President Alvaro Uribe and
the guerrillas are equally to blame for the country's
2009 Feb 17, Colombia's main
leftist rebel group said that it "executed" eight Indians in the
country's remote southwest, accusing them of acting as paid
informants for Colombia's military. The communique posted on a Web
site sympathetic to the rebels followed widespread but unconfirmed
reports that as many as 27 Awa Indians had been killed.
2009 Feb 26, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe said he's no longer allowing wiretapping by
the scandal-ridden domestic intelligence agency. The announcement
followed allegations that the spy agency, or DAS, has continued
illegal wiretapping of prominent journalists, Supreme Court justices
and opposition politicians. By the end of April 33 people were
dismissed from Colombia’s Dept. of Administrative Security in the
(AP, 2/26/09)(SFC, 4/29/09, p.A2)
2009 Mar 5, A Colombian warlord
who has cooperated closely with prosecutors was extradited to the
United States despite human rights groups' objections that sending
him away could leave hundreds of murders unsolved. Heberth Veloza
(41), alias "HH," has admitted to personally killing more than 100
people and acknowledged that fighters under his command killed
2009 Mar 6, Colombia’s
anti-narcotics police seized 5.7 tons of cocaine and cocaine base in
a jungle laboratory reportedly run by the Black Eagles, the largest
of a new generation of paramilitary groups.
(SFC, 3/7/09, p.A4)
2009 Mar 17, In Colombia Erik
Roland Larsson (69), a partially paralyzed Swede, was released by
leftist rebels after nearly two years of captivity. He was the last
known foreign hostage held in Colombia by the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC).
2009 Mar 18, Colombia
extradited former Maj. Julio Cesar Parga Rivas to the US on drug
2009 Mar 23, In southeastern
Colombia a mortar attack by leftist rebels killed 4 soldiers from an
elite counter-guerrilla unit and left 6 others missing in the
cocaine-producing jungle area of Guaviare state known as Cano
(AP, 3/24/09)(SFC, 3/25/09, p.A2)
2009 Mar 27, In Honda,
Colombia, Arcebio Alvarez (59), a farmer and widower, was arrested
on charges of incest and sexual abuse. He was accused of incest for
allegedly fathering eight children with his daughter. He denied
being the woman's biological father.
2009 Mar 30, Banking officials
meeting in Colombia said Argentina and China have tentatively agreed
to swap $10 billion worth of their currencies to enable South
America's second-largest economy to avoid using dollars in trade
between the nations.
2009 Apr 12, In Colombia a
caravan of some 500 motorcycles completed a three-week ride
dedicated to hostages held by FARC rebels, but fell short of
securing the release of captives. At least 22 Colombian soldiers and
police were held by the FARC as political bargaining chips.
2009 Apr 15, Colombia's most
wanted drug lord was captured in a jungle raid involving hundreds of
police officers. Daniel Rendon Herrera (43), a far-right warlord
known as "Don Mario," was taken in shackles to the capital to await
possible extradition to the United States.
2009 May 8, In Colombia Jorge
Noguera, former director of the civilian intelligence service, DAS,
was charged with conspiracy and murder. He was accused of colluding
with paramilitaries and helping to plan the murders of opposition
(Econ, 5/16/09, p.43)
2009 May 11, Colombian
authorities arrested a senator closely allied with President Alvaro
Uribe for alleged collusion with illegal far-right militias. Sen.
Zulema Jattin (39) had been under Supreme Court investigation for
allegedly benefitting politically from ties with militia boss
Rodrigo Tovar. Jattin called her arrest a "kidnapping" by the
2009 May 19, Colombian
lawmakers approved a proposal for voters to decide in a referendum
whether to change the constitution and let President Alvaro Uribe
seek a third term.
2009 May 26, Wilmer Ignacio
Guerrero Ibanez (40), a suspected trafficker accused of smuggling
cocaine through Venezuela was deported to Colombia, where officials
took him into custody at an international bridge linking the
2009 May 30, In Colombia 3
computers were seized in the Bogota home of a Adela Perez (36), a
suspected FARC operative. One computer, finally decrypted in July,
contained an hour-long video that appeared to confirm that
Colombia's largest rebel army gave money to the 2006 election
campaign of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador.
2009 Jun 19, The UN said
Colombia's coca crop shrank by nearly a fifth last year while
cultivation of the bush that is the basis of cocaine rose for a
third straight year in Peru and Bolivia, the world's two other
2009 Jun 22, In Colombia rebels
killed at least seven members of a police counterinsurgency unit in
an ambush in the country's southwest.
2009 Jul 12, Colombia’s
President Alvaro Uribe delivered reparations totaling nearly $1
million to 279 victims of Colombia's long-running conflict.
2009 Jul 16, Colombian
authorities extradited to the United States Gerardo Aguilar (50),
alias "Cesar," a FARC rebel "jailer" captured in last year's July 2
rescue of three US military contractors and ex-presidential
candidate Ingrid Betancourt. He faced drug-trafficking charges,
kidnapping and other charges on an indictment in Washington, D.C.
2009 Jul 25, In Colombia at
least 16 suspected FARC guerrillas and one soldier have been killed
in clashes over the last 24 hours.
2009 Jul 27, In Colombia three
soldiers and two civilians were killed in a rifle and grenade attack
on a boat carrying coca eradication workers on the San Juan river in
Choco state. Six people were wounded and six more were missing.
2009 Jul 27, Sweden said it was
demanding an explanation as to why Swedish-made anti-tank rocket
launchers, sold to Venezuela years ago, were obtained by Colombia's
main rebel group. Three launchers were recovered in October in a
FARC arms cache belonging to a rebel commander known as "Jhon 40"
and Colombia only recently asked Sweden to confirm whether they had
been sold to Venezuela.
2009 Jul 28, Venezuela’s Pres.
Hugo Chavez recalled his ambassador from Bogota and threatened to
halt Colombian imports after the neighboring country said anti-tank
weapons found in a rebel arms cache came from Venezuela.
2009 Jul 31, In Colombia at
least eight former officials of the domestic intelligence agency
surrendered to face criminal charges for allegedly spying illegally
on opponents of President Alvaro Uribe including judges, journalists
and human rights workers.
2009 Aug 5, In Colombia David
Murcia Guzman, a Colombian businessman, was convicted in a notorious
pyramid scheme that authorities say bilked investors out of more
than $2.4 billion. Guzman was convicted of money laundering and
illegal wealth accumulation through the company he founded, DMG
Group Holdings SA. A New York court has sought his extradition.
Murcia was extradited to the US on Jan 5, 2009.
(AP, 8/5/09)(AP, 1/5/10)
2009 Aug 8, Venezuela’s
President Hugo Chavez said he's returning his ambassador to
Colombia, moving to resolve rising diplomatic tensions after weapons
sold to Venezuela were found in a rebel cache.
2009 Aug 10, Leaders of the
Union of South American Nations (UNASUL), a 12-member group inspired
by Brazil, met in Quito, Ecuador, in an attempt to further
integration. Colombia’s Pres. Uribe did not attend, in part because
Ecuador broke of ties with Colombia last year.
(Econ, 8/15/09, p.31)
2009 Aug 22, Colombian
authorities said police have captured Jose Armando Cadena Cabrera, a
guerrilla suspected of killing a US military contractor and a
Colombian soldier after their surveillance plane crashed in the
jungle in 2003.
2009 Aug 26, In Colombia hooded
men in uniforms without insignias shot and killed 12 members of the
Awa indigenous group, including five children, on a reserve in a
region plagued by the cocaine trade.
2009 Aug, Colombia’s Supreme
Court suspended further extraditions of paramilitary leaders arguing
that the gravity of the drug charges they face in the US pales in
comparison with the mass murders and other enormities that they are
accused of in Colombia.
(Econ, 10/31/09, p.46)
2009 Sep 4, Thousands of
opponents of Hugo Chavez marched against the Venezuelan president
across Latin America, accusing him of everything from
authoritarianism to international meddling. The protests,
coordinated through Twitter and Facebook, drew more than 5,000
people in Bogota, and thousands more in the capitals of Venezuela
and Honduras. Smaller demonstrations were held in other Latin
American capitals, as well as New York and Madrid.
2009 Sep 5, In Colombia a
grenade exploded in a crowd celebrating a national soccer team win
in Medellin, killing one person and wounding at least 30. Police
thought a reveler may have accidentally detonated the grenade by
2009 Sep 8, Colombia’s
President Alvaro Uribe signed legislation calling for a national
referendum on amending the constitution to allow him to seek
re-election for a second time.
2009 Sep 9, Colombian customs
agents said they seized $11.3 million in cash from a shipping
container in the nation's largest cargo port. Ret. Gen. Francisco
Pedraza was captured at the installations of the IV Brigade in
Medellin, Antioquia. He is being investigated for homicide, forced
displacement and terrorism as part of an investigation into the 2001
massacre of at least 26 people in Naya, Cauca state.
(AP, 9/9/09)(AP, 9/10/09)
2009 Sep 10, Colombia’s police
said they have seized $55 million in properties and assets from drug
traffickers in a 2 day operation in five cities in Antioquia state
and six cities in Cundinamarca state. The assets included shares in
a popular soccer team.
2009 Sep 11, In Colombia two
bombs being carried by donkeys exploded, killing two
coca-eradication workers and wounding six soldiers in Norte de
2009 Sep 13, Costa Rican
authorities detained 54 US-bound migrants from Africa and Nepal
after their boat arrived on the country's coast. Authorities also
took into custody three suspected Colombian smugglers who were
traveling with them.
2009 Sep 18, Colombia’s spy
chief, Felipe Munoz Gomez, said the domestic spy department will be
dismantled and a new agency will be set up to focus on intelligence
and counterintelligence work involving national security. This
followed a recent wiretapping scandal.
2009 Sep 19, Colombia
extradited Nancy Conde Rubio (37), a captured leftist rebel who
unwittingly helped officials rescue 15 hostages, including three
American military contractors. She was bundled aboard a plane to
Florida to face charges of terrorism in a US federal court. Colombia
also sent back another woman and eight men to face charges in the US
related to drug trafficking.
2009 Sep 24, The Colombian
military discovered a mass grave holding 16 rebels believed killed
in combat, including a nephew of a top guerrilla commander. the FARC
fighters were believed killed during fighting in July and included a
nephew of the rebel band's No. 2 leader, Jorge Briceno.
2009 Sep 25, In Colombia the
chief prosecutor's office said it has unearthed the remains of 17
peasants tortured and killed at a ranch that belonged to the
since-slain, far-right militia leader Carlos Castano in Colombia's
northwest. The peasants were believed slain 10 to 12 years ago by
men under the command of Jesus Ignacio Roldan, alias "Monoleche," a
Castano lieutenant who later participated in the 2004 murder of the
right-wing militia leader.
2009 Sep 30, Colombian
authorities said a gunman on horseback killed German Herrera (41), a
town councilman in Castillo, and wounded an 11-year-old boy. Herrera
had been threatened by leftist FARC rebels active in the area. The
national councilman's federation said nine town councilmen have been
killed in Colombia this year, compared to 13 in all of 2008.
2009 Oct 7, In Colombia machine
gun-firing rebels on motorbikes attacked a prison, springing ELN
guerrilla rebel chief Gustavo Anibal Giraldo. One guard was killed
and another suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the daring midday
raid, which ended with Giraldo fleeing on the back of a motorcycle.
Giraldo was charged with kidnapping two journalists in 2003 on
assignment for the Los Angeles Times. Giraldo was also charged in a
US indictment unsealed in December with the 15-month kidnapping of a
US helicopter mechanic.
2009 Oct 22, Venezuela deported
Luis Cediel to the US. The Colombian man had links to a pyramid
scheme that bilked Colombians out of hundreds of millions of
(SFC, 10/23/09, p.A2)
2009 Oct 11, In Venezuela 12
men were kidnapped from a field where they were playing soccer. On
Oct 25 the bodies of 10 of the men, most of them Colombians, were
found with multiple spots in western Tachira state. A single
survivor, Manuel Cortez (19) of Colombia, was shot in the neck.
2009 Oct 27, Venezuela’s
President Hugo Chavez said two Colombian spies have been captured
and will go on trail for conducting espionage within his country.
Colombia's security agency denied sending any agents into Venezuela.
2009 Oct 30, In Colombia the US
ambassador and three Colombian ministers signed a pact in a private,
low-key ceremony, to expand Washington's military's presence, a deal
that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has called a threat to the region's
2009 Nov 8, Colombia said it
will appeal to the UN Security Council and the OAS after Hugo
Chavez, the fiery leftist president of neighboring Venezuela,
ordered his army to prepare for war in order to assure peace.
2009 Nov 9, In Colombia at
least nine soldiers were killed and four wounded in combat with
leftist rebels in a mountainous western region.
2009 Nov 10, Colombian
authorities said they have seized $19 million in forged US currency
so far this year, five times the amount confiscated last year. A
statement from the Presidency's press office said 16 people have
been arrested in Colombia and the US in connection with the seizures
and seven illegal counterfeiting print shops have been dismantled.
2009 Nov 14, Colombia’s
government 4 soldiers from Venezuela's National Guard captured in
Colombian territory will be repatriated in a bid to ease tensions
between the South American neighbors. The Colombian navy intercepted
the men Nov 13 in El Aceitico along the border.
2009 Nov 15, In Colombia DAS
intelligence agency director Felipe Munoz said Ivan Danilo Alarcon,
wanted for rebellion and drug trafficking, was detained by
intelligence agents near a university in the city of Cali. Alarcon,
who posed as a human rights activist, cried out that he was being
kidnapped and 100 people surrounded and detained the agents for over
an hour, threatened them with death and took their weapons and
armored vests. They freed Alarcon from handcuffs, and he fled.
2009 Nov 19, Venezuelan
authorities captured Magally Moreno (39), a former Colombian
official, wanted for collaborating with outlawed right-wing
paramilitary fighters. Moreno was wanted by Colombian authorities on
charges of aggravated homicide and Interpol had called for her
2009 Dec 21, In Colombia at
least 10 men in military uniforms abducted Gov. Luis Francisco
Cuellar (69) from his home in Florencia, capital of the southern
state of Caqueta, killing a police guard and blasting open the
governor's door with explosives. FARC was believed to be
responsible. Cuellar’s body, still clad in pajamas, was found lying
at the top of a steep hill on Florencia's outskirts the next
morning. President Alvaro Uribe soberly told Colombians that
kidnappers had slit the throat of the southern governor.
(AP, 12/22/09)(AP, 12/23/09)
2010 Jan 1, In Colombia a New
year’s Eve dessert, distributed to the homeless in Bogota’s El
Calvario neighborhood, contained ground glass and poison that caused
one death and sickened 44 others. Air and ground assaults on two
rebel camps killed 18 insurgents and captured 13, 112 miles south of
Bogota. An attack by guerrillas a few hours earlier killed a soldier
and a teenage girl at a boardinghouse 164 miles southwest of Bogota.
2010 Jan 14, Colombia
extradited William Suarez (42), a suspect in the nation's most
notorious pyramid scheme, to face trial in the United States. Suarez
was the principal partner of his brother-in-law David Murcia,
creator of the company DMG, which offered investors interest rates
far above what banks offer, but was actually a pyramid scheme that
bilked Colombians out of millions of dollars.
2010 Jan 27, Panama's national
police force killed three guerrillas from a Colombian rebel group in
a confrontation along the sparsely populated frontier between the
two countries. Two others were captured while and one escaped.
2010 Feb 24, In Colombia Mario
Uribe (60), a former senator and second cousin to President Alvaro
Uribe, was arrested by authorities on charges of colluding with
far-right death squads. Mario Uribe was imprisoned for four months
in 2008 on charges of colluding with paramilitaries, but he was
released in August of the same year after Colombia's No. 2
prosecutor said there was insufficient evidence to hold him.
2010 Feb 26, In Colombia a
Constitutional Court ruling blocked a referendum on whether Alvaro
Uribe should be allowed to seek a third consecutive term. The high
court ruled, in a 7-2 decision that is not subject to appeal, that a
law passed by Congress to set up the referendum was
2010 Mar 14, In Colombia
candidates from parties allied with outgoing President Alvaro Uribe
dominated elections to replace a Congress tarnished by lawmakers'
links to far-right criminal bands. Voters made the Party of National
Integration (PIN), new party accused of ties to far-right criminal
bands, Colombia's fourth-strongest party. Former Foreign Minister
Noemi Sanin (60) defeated Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's
hand-picked successor for the Conservative Party's presidential
nomination in a close primary.
(AP, 3/15/10)(AP, 3/16/10)(AP, 3/19/10)
2010 Mar 19, In Colombia
Clodomiro Castilla (50), a reporter and announcer at La Voz de
Monteria radio, was gunned down on his front porch. Castilla, a
father of four, had reported on far-right drug-funded militias known
as paramilitaries and their friendly ties to the area's business
2010 Mar 21, In Colombia 4
gunmen entered the town of San Juan in Cordoba province and opened
fire without warning killing 7 people including 3 children.
2010 Mar 23, Colombian forces
rescued 5 subcontractors of Occidental Petroleum, who were kidnapped
near the Venezuelan last week by suspected leftist guerrillas.
(SFC, 3/24/10, p.A2)
2010 Mar 24, In Colombia a car
bomb ripped open cars and storefronts in the administrative center
of the Pacific port of Buenaventura, left 9 people dead and 56
wounded. The FARC was suspected.
(AP, 3/25/10)(Econ, 4/10/10, p.38)
2010 Mar 25, In Colombia a
package bomb killed a 12-year-old boy who may have been given it to
take to a police station after school in the coca-growing southwest.
2010 Mar 28, Colombian rebels
handed over Pvt. Josue Calvo (23) to the International Red Cross in
their first release of a captive in more than a year. The insurgents
are promising to soon free a second soldier they've held for far
(AP, 3/28/10)(SFC, 3/29/10, p.A2)
2010 Apr 1, Colombia's largest
rebel group, FARC, turned over the remains of police Maj. Julian
Guevara, who died while being held captive. This was the guerrillas'
latest gesture aimed at prodding the government into negotiating a
prisoner exchange. Guevara was captured by the FARC in November 1998
and he died in January 2006 while still a prisoner.
2010 Apr 6, In central Colombia
Hector Jose Buitrago (71), a veteran paramilitary leader and reputed
founder of a bloody right-wing militia faction, was arrested after
more than a decade on the lam.
2010 Apr 6, Venezuela’s
President Hugo Chavez said that eight Colombians have been arrested
as suspected spies and charged that several carried identification
indicating they are members of neighboring Colombia's military. He
said the suspects, who were detained more than a week ago, had
computers and satellite telephones and were using cameras to take
photographs of Venezuela's power plants.
2010 Apr 9, Antanas Mockus,
Colombian presidential candidate and popular former mayor of Bogota,
revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Mockus
said he is in the earlier stages of the degenerative disease and it
would not affect his ability to be president.
2010 Apr 12, In Argentina Luis
Caicedo Velandia was arrested as he walked near a Buenos Aires
shopping mall and placed under extremely high security. the
suspected Colombian drug trafficker, who operated under the radar
for years in Argentina, was later described as a ringleader capable
of giving direct orders to Colombia's most-wanted cocaine kingpins
and with close ties to Mexico's feared Sinaloa cartel.
2010 Apr 16, Brazil arrested
Nestor Caro Chapparro, said to be one of Colombia's top four drug
traffickers. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has
accused Chapparro of smuggling more than 5,000 kg of cocaine from
Brazil to the US in the late 1990s.
2010 Apr 20, Colombian Gen.
Fernando Joya and five other members of the military died in a
helicopter collision at a base in the nation's southwest.
2010 Apr 25, Colombian police
said they have captured Danit Doria Castillo, a leading figure in a
drug trafficking, right-wing militia group.
2010 Apr 29, Colombian
authorities detained Congressman Luis Carlos Restrepo Orozco on
allegations of receiving drug money.
2010 May 4, In Mexico two
Colombians were arrested at Mexico City's international airport as
they allegedly prepared to board a flight to Panama trying to
smuggle out more than $350,000 in cash in various currencies.
2010 May 18, In Colombia
Rogelio Martinez (51) gunmen intercepted a mototaxi and shot
him at least three times near his residence in San Onofre, Sucre
province. Martinez lived with 52 displaced families locked in a
dispute with a paramilitary group over a 556-hectare (1,374-acre)
farm called "La Alemania."
2010 May 23, In Colombia
leftist rebels killed nine marines and wounded two in a firefight.
The marines were attacked when they entered a rebel camp in Solano,
a municipality in the southern state of Caqueta.
2010 May 24, In Colombia a
retired police major said that President Alvaro Uribe's younger
brother, Santiago Uribe, commanded a right-wing death squad in the
early 1990s from the family's cattle ranch. He estimated the militia
killed at least 50 people.
2010 May 30, Colombia held
presidential elections. Juan Manuel Santos (58), who helped craft
the wildly popular security policies of outgoing President Alvaro
Uribe, won 47 percent of the vote to top a field of nine candidates.
Antanas Mockus (58), the son of Lithuanian immigrants who stressed
clean government and promised a tax increase, got 22 percent. A
former two-time mayor of the Colombian capital, he catapulted into
contention in pre-election polls only to falter at the ballot box. A
run-off was set for June 20. Insurgents killed 10 policemen and
soldiers on election day.
(AP, 5/30/10)(AP, 5/31/10)(Econ, 6/5/10,
p.43)(Econ, 6/26/10, p.39)
2010 Jun 13, Colombian soldiers
freed two high-ranking police officers and an army sergeant who were
among the longest-held rebel captives during a raid in the nation's
southern jungle. The rescue operation freed police Gen. Luis
Mendieta and Col. Enrique Murillo, both captured by leftist FARC,
guerrillas in a November 1998 siege of the eastern provincial
capital of Mitu. Sgt. Arbey Delgado and Lt. Col. William Donato were
taken in August of the same year during a rebel attack on an
anti-drug outpost in the southern jungle town of Miraflores. Donato
was found the next day.
(AP, 6/13/10)(AP, 6/15/10)
2010 Jun 16, In Colombia a gas
explosion at the San Fernando coal mine in Antioquia province,
left at least 34 people dead, with dozens of miners still trapped.
(AP, 6/17/10)(AP, 6/21/10)
2010 Jun 16, Ruben Dario
Granda, the brother of a top Colombian guerrilla leader, arrived in
Managua, where president Daniel Ortega had granted him political
asylum earlier this month. Granda is the brother of Rodrigo Granda,
known as the "foreign minister" of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, or FARC.
2010 Jun 20, In Colombia polls
showed a huge lead for former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos
(58). Santos won 69% of the vote, the largest margin in modern
(AP, 6/20/10)(AP, 6/21/10)
2010 Jun 29, A Colombian court
handed down the first prison sentences to leaders of the illegal
far-right militias that demobilized under a peace pact with
President Alvaro Uribe's government. Edward Cobos, better known as
"Diego Vecino," and Uber Banquez, alias "Juancho Dique," each
received the maximum of eight years in prison dictated by the
Justice and Peace law under which they surrendered. A Colombian
court said Luis Caicedo Velandia, arrested in April in Argentina,
has agreed to be extradited to the US on drug-trafficking and
2010 Jun 30, In Colombia former
hostage Ingrid Betancourt filed a request with Colombia's Defense
Ministry to pay her $6.8 million for damages she suffered during six
years in rebel captivity. She sought the payment for herself, her
two children, mother and sister. Betancourt later said that despite
seeking damages, she has no intention of suing Colombia for the
(AP, 7/10/10)(AP, 7/12/10)
2010 Jul 8, The curator of the
Nieman Foundation at Harvard, which has offered mid-career Nieman
fellowships since 1938, said that a consular official at the US
Embassy in Bogota told him that Colombian journalist Hollman Morris
has been ruled permanently ineligible for a visa under the
"Terrorist activities" section of the USA Patriot Act. Hollman has
been highly critical of ties between illegal far-right militias and
allies of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe.
2010 Jul 10, In Colombia 3
soldiers were killed after entering a minefield in the northeastern
province of Arauca.
2010 Jul 11, In Colombia 10
soldiers were killed after entering a minefield in the northeastern
province of Arauca. Pres. Uribe said 12 rebels, part of the security
cordon for rebel leader Alfonso Cano, were killed in the
2010 Jul 22, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez broke diplomatic relations with neighboring
Colombia, accusing the close US ally of fabricating reports that
Colombian rebels find safe haven inside Venezuela.
2010 Aug 2, In Colombia Orlando
Sigifredo Ibarra Sarmiento, an Ecuadoran businessman (37), was
seized in the border city of Ipiales. In 2012 a deserter from a
guerrilla army led the hostage to freedom.
2010 Aug 3, British oil giant
BP said it will sell its Colombian business for a total of 1.9
billion dollars (1.4 billion euros) to national oil company
Ecopetrol and Talisman of Canada.
2010 Aug 10, The leaders of
Colombia and Venezuela re-established diplomatic relations, saying
they are starting to repair confidence undermined by years of
recriminations between the two countries. The announcement came
after a four-hour meeting between Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez and
Colombia's new leader, Juan Manuel Santos.
2010 Aug 12, In Colombia a car
bomb exploded outside a major radio station and banks in Bogota,
shattering windows and injuring at least nine people. No deaths were
2010 Aug 16, A Boeing 737
jetliner with 131 passengers aboard crashed on landing and broke
into three pieces at Colombia’s at San Andres Island in the
Caribbean. The region's governor said it was a miracle that only one
person died. On Sep 1 a girl (11) died from her injuries raising the
death toll to two.
(AP, 8/16/10)(AP, 9/1/10)
2010 Aug 17, Colombia’s
Constitutional Court ruled that last year's agreement giving the US
military access to more Colombian bases is unconstitutional because
it wasn't approved by legislators.
2010 Aug 19, Venezuelan Walid
Makled Garcia (43), a prominent drug trafficking suspect who has
been branded a major kingpin by the US government, was arrested in
Colombia. He was implicated in Venezuela in two killings.
2010 Sep 1, In southern
Colombia suspected leftist rebels killed 14 police officers and
wounded seven in an ambush of a five-truck convoy.
2010 Sep 2, In Colombia two
separate mine blasts over the last 24 hours killed four soldiers and
wounded six more.
2010 Sep 10, In Colombia
leftist rebels firing homemade mortars killed at least eight police
officers and wounded four in a pre-dawn attack on a police barracks
near the country's border with Ecuador.
2010 Sep 14, Colombian
authorities reported the arrest of Javier Caceres (52), a veteran
lawmaker and former president of Congress, on criminal conspiracy
charges for alleged collusion with far-right militias.
2010 Sep 19, Colombia's
military killed at least 27 rebels in an air raid and ensuing ground
assault near the border with Ecuador. The dead included FARC
commander Sixto Cabana and Domingo Biojo (55), who had spent half
his life in the FARC. The next day Colombia's national police chief
said three informants will divide a reward of up to $500,000 for
leading authorities to the rebel camp.
(AP, 9/19/10)(AP, 9/20/10)(SFC, 9/21/10, p.A2)
2010 Sep 22, Colombian
government forces staged a bombing raid in the eastern La Macarena
mountains that killed Victor Julio Suarez (aka Mono Jojoy), the
senior commander of FARC. 20 guerrillas died in the attack. Computer
hard drives and memory sticks were seized that later revealed data
on gold mines under FARC control.
(Econ, 10/2/10, p.42)(Econ, 1/29/11, p.36)
2010 Sep 23, Colombia's
military killed Jorge Briceno (57), the field marshal and No. 2
commander of FARC, the country's main leftist rebel group in the
country's eastern plains. Briceno died in an operation in the rebel
stronghold of La Macarena that began the previous night and involved
special forces, air force and police intelligence.
2010 Sep 27, Colombia's
inspector general ousted Sen. Piedad Cordoba (55), an outspoken
opposition senator, barring her from public service for 18 years for
allegedly "promoting and collaborating" with Latin America's last
remaining rebel army.
2010 Sep 27, In Colombia a
mudslide swept over people changing from one bus to another because
an earlier slide was blocking a mountain road, and at least 20
people were buried.
2010 Oct 4, Colombia's defense
minister Rodrigo Rivera said authorities have seized $29 million and
17 million euros in cash in a home in a poor district south of the
capital, Bogota. Rivera said the money belonged to drug traffickers
including Daniel "El Loco" Barrera. Authorities were offering a $2.7
million reward for Barrera's capture.
2010 Oct 12, At the United
Nations Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa were
elected to join the big guns on the UN Security Council for two
years, starting in January.
2010 Nov 2, In Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel
Santos signed a string of accords seeking to improve relations
despite ideological differences and recent bitter disputes.
(AP, 11/2/10)(AFP, 11/3/10)
2010 Nov 7, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez said on Cuban television that Colombia will
extradite Walid Makled, known as "The Turk," a businessman accused
of being a major drug kingpin back to his native Venezuela to face
justice. Makled has said in a television interview that he poured $2
million into a 2007 Chavez political campaign and in return got a
concession at Venezuela's Puerto Cabello, his alleged shipping point
2010 Nov 20, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos said a top FARC rebel leader who
oversees major cocaine production may have been killed in the
bombing of a guerrilla camp in the country's southern jungles.
Fabian Ramirez's pistols, rucksack and computers were found at the
scene of a pre-dawn bombing. At least six bodies were found.
2010 Nov 20, Yair Klein, an
Israeli wanted in Colombia for training militias that killed
hundreds of people, returned home after he was released from a
Moscow jail. Klein has denied working with Colombia's cocaine
cartels and said he only instructed paramilitaries in defense
2010 Nov 25, Colombian
prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for retired Gen. Miguel Maza
Marquez (73), a former domestic security chief, who they say
participated in the Aug 18, 1989, assassination of presidential
candidate Luis Carlos Galan.
2010 Dec 4, The Colombian Red
Cross said the toll from weeks of heavy rains across Colombia has
risen to 174 people dead and over 1.5 million homeless.
2010 Dec 5, Colombian officials
said a landslide following weeks of drenching rains has buried more
than 50 homes in the northwest. Rescue workers soon recovered 47
bodies. As many as 80 people remained missing and feared dead.
(AP, 12/5/10)(AP, 12/6/10)(AP, 12/8/10)
2010 Dec 20, In Colombia
another mudslide caused by weeks of rains destroyed 52 makeshift
mountainside homes. Two people were missing.
2010 Dec 23, In southwestern
Colombia a landslide caused by weeks of rains buried 4-5 houses
killing at least 12 people. The government and Red Cross said the
year's heavy rains have killed at least 312 people in the country.
(AP, 12/24/10)(Econ, 1/15/11, p.40)
2010 Dec 24, Colombia’s police
and air force began an anti-drug operation in Meta state.
2010 Dec 25, In Colombia a 120
helicopter-borne commandos raided the camp of drug lord Pedro
Oliverio Guerrero, head of the so-called Popular Revolutionary
Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia. Officials on Dec 29 confirmed that
they had found the body of Guerrero, also know as "The Knife," near
Puerto Alvira in Meta province. 2 police officers also died in the
(AP, 12/30/10)(SFC, 12/30/10, p.A5)
2011 Jan 3, Colombian
authorities said that they have accused an army major and four other
soldiers of killing three civilians and then falsely presenting
their bodies as those of guerrillas slain in combat. Maj. Juan
Carlos Del Rio Crespo and four other troops were charged in the 2002
killings of three members of the Agudelo family in Antioquia state.
2011 Jan 12, Colombian police
assisted by US drug agents captured Julio Enrique Ayala Munoz, the
chief go-between linking the country's cocaine suppliers and
Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. Munoz was wanted for extradition to New
York on drug trafficking-related charges.
2011 Jan 26, In northern
Colombia an explosion at coal mine killed at least five workers and
trapped 16 more.
2011 Jan 26, Venezuela's top
security official and Colombia's defense minister signed an accord
to strengthen cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking
along the extensive border separating the South American neighbors.
2011 Jan 27, Colombia asked
Israel to extradite former Israeli army Lt. Col. Yair Klein, who was
convicted by a Colombian court and sentenced in absentia to nearly
11 years in prison for training drug lords' assassins in the late
2011 Jan 27, In Colombia
priests Rafael Reatiga and Richard Piffano were found shot to death
dead in a car in southern Bogota. In 2012 prosecutors said the
priests had paid 15 million pesos or about $8,500 to be shot after
at least one of them was diagnosed with AIDS. Two of the four
assassins were later arrested.
2011 Jan 29, In Costa Rica
raids were carried out in San Jose and in the Pacific coast
city of Puntarenas. Five Colombians and a Costa Rican national were
arrested. The Security Ministry says in a June 30 statement that a
Colombian-run network paid fishermen to haul cocaine to Guatemala
2011 Feb 4, US federal
authorities said they are charging 23 people with moving drugs and
illicit money through the Caribbean on behalf of a major Colombian
drug cartel. 21 of the suspects have been arrested so far in
Colombia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, New York, Miami and
the US Virgin Islands.
2011 Feb 9, In Colombia Marcos
Baquero (35), a town councilman taken hostage in June 2009, was
released by FARC rebels, the first of five captives they promised to
free this week. He was the 15th captive released by the FARC since
early 2008 in what was widely seen as good-faith gestures seeking a
2011 Feb 11, Colombian rebels
released to the International Red Cross two more captives, a young
marine they captured eight months ago and a town councilman (48)
seized in 2009.
2011 Feb 13, Colombian rebels
released a fourth captive, police patrolman Carlos Ocampo (340) held
since December, but a planned handover of two others did not occur.
The government said police Maj. Guillermo Solorzano (35), who was
captured in June 2007, and army Cpl. 1st Class Salin Antonio San
Miguel Valderrana (27), captive since May 2008, were not at the
location designated for the helicopter retrieval by the
International Red Cross.
2011 Feb 13, Colombian soldiers
for the first time seized a fully submersible drug-smuggling
submarine capable of reaching the coast of Mexico. The 99-foot-long
(30-m) fiberglass boat, powered by two diesel engines, could carry a
crew of six in an air-conditioned interior.
2011 Feb 16, Colombian rebels
released to the International Red Cross the last two captives of a
batch of six after a confusing weekend delay that bred ill will.
FARC freed a 35-year-old police major seized in 2007 and an army
corporal captured in 2008.
2011 Feb, In Colombia ELN
guerrillas kidnapped 11 men in Casanare, who were building the new
(Econ, 3/17/12, p.46)
2011 Mar 1, In Colombia over a
dozen attackers firing assault rifles killed four police officers
and two other people in robbing a cash shipment that had just
arrived by helicopter in the southwestern city of Caloto. Presumed
rebels killed a soldier and a civilian motorcycle rider in an attack
on a military checkpoint just minutes before a convoy carrying US
and UN officials passed by in the Uraba region of Antioquia.
2011 Mar 7, Two Colombian air
force helicopters crashed during a training exercise, killing four
Colombian soldiers and a Mexican lieutenant participating in the
2011 Mar 8, In Colombia
suspected leftist rebels released 22 of 23 Colombian contractors
abducted a day earlier while doing exploratory work in a remote
jungle region for the Canadian oil company Talisman.
2011 Mar 14, Colombian troops
killed Olidem Romel Solarte Ceron (39), alias "Oliver Solarte," in a
joint forces operation near San Miguel, a town bordering Ecuador.
The top FARC rebel had supplied Mexican traffickers with cocaine and
managed finances and arms dealings for the guerrillas' powerful
2011 Mar 17, Colombia’s Chief
Prosecutor's Office said it has convicted Vicente Castano, head of
Colombia's paramilitary umbrella group. He was sentenced to 40 years
in prison for the 2004 slaying of his brother.
2011 Apr 3, In Colombia Walid
Makled, the reputed Venezuelan drug kingpin who Colombia has decided
to extradite back home rather than to the US, said in a TV interview
that he has videos proving Venezuela's ruling elite is deeply
involved in cocaine trafficking.
2011 Apr 11, Venezuela deported
two suspected Colombian rebels, sending a positive message to other
nations that want President Hugo Chavez to ensure suspected
terrorists do not find haven in Venezuela.
2011 Apr 13, Colombia's
interior minister approved the extradition to Venezuela of Walid
Makled, a reputed drug kingpin who has publicly accused his home
country's ruling elite of deep involvement in cocaine trafficking.
It will take at least five days to extradite Makled, in order to
give him a chance to appeal the decision.
2011 Apr 13, In Colombia a
river swollen with heavy rains swept a passenger bus off a highway
in the mountainous northwest, killing at least 16 people and leaving
4 others missing.
2011 Apr 20, Israeli police
arrested two Israelis in connection with a seizure of over $60
million worth of cocaine smuggled into Israel aboard a Colombian
2011 Apr 23, Venezuela detained
Joaquin Perez Becerra as he arrived in Caracas on an airline flight
from Frankfurt, Germany. He was described him as an alleged member
of the international front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
2011 Apr 26, In Colombia 5
police officers were killed and two wounded when suspected leftist
rebels attacked two police posts in different regions.
2011 Apr 28, Authorities in
Colombia arrested Sen. Ivan Moreno, the brother of Bogota Mayor
Samuel Moreno, on corruption charges for his alleged role in a
bid-rigging scandal involving road construction.
2011 Apr 28, In Peru the
leaders of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru agreed to launch the
Pacific Alliance in the declaration of Lima.
2011 May 3, Colombia's
solicitor general suspended Bogota's Mayor Samuel Moreno from office
for three months for alleged negligence in overseeing public
2011 May 9, Colombia extradited
Walid Makled to Venezuela to face drug smuggling and murder charges.
(SFC, 5/10/11, p.A2)
2011 May 12, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos singed a law creating incentives for soccer clubs
to become limited companies and attract new investors and to report
to the finance ministry’s money-laundering unit.
(Econ, 5/21/11, p.38)
2011 May 17, In Colombia 8
miners were trapped at the Loma Gorda coal mine.
(SFC, 5/18/11, p.A2)
2011 May 24, In Colombia‘s
Congress approved legislation to of offer compensation to some 4
million people who have suffered in its armed conflicts. A Colombian
judge issued an arrest order for the former head of the secret
police over her alleged involvement in a domestic spying scandal.
Former domestic intelligence chief Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who says
she is innocent. She has been living in exile in Panama since
November 2010 and that country has said it will maintain her asylum.
(Econ, 6/4/11, p.46)(AP, 5/24/11)
2011 May 26, Colombia's
government said it has identified the remains of almost 10,000
people buried in unmarked graves across the country. An official
said at least that many more bodies are still to be identified.
2011 May 30, In Venezuela
Guillermo Torres (56), aka "Julian Conrado," a top commander for the
FARC rebels, was captured in a collaboration between Colombia and
2011 Jun 4, Colombia's army
said it has killed Alirio Rojas Bocanegra, the security chief for
Guillermo Leon Saenz, the head of the country's main rebel group.
Saenz took over the top job in 2008.
2011 Jun 7, Colombian
authorities said 4 police officers were killed and 16 injured in an
alleged rebel attack in the southwestern province of Cauca.
(SFC, 6/8/11, p.A2)
2011 Jun 22, In Colombia women
of Barbacoas announced that they would deny their partners sex until
authorities began paving a 35-mile (57-km) road linking the town of
35,000 people with the provincial capital of Pasto. Army engineers
began work on Oct 11 and the sex strike was declared over.
2011 Jun 28, Colombia
extradited Phanor Arizabaleta (73) to the US. He has been charged
with drug trafficking by a court in Washington, DC. Arizabaleta was
alleged to have been a key figure in the now-defunct Cali cartel.
Colombia's Supreme Court also approved the extradition of Ramon
Quintero Sanclemente (52) to face money laundering and drug charges
2011 Jun 29, In Colombia
guerrillas erected a road block between Medellin and the Caribbean
coast. When police arrived they detonated a bomb killing a police
(Econ, 7/9/11, p.34)
2011 Jun, In Colombia 3 Chinese
staff of the Emerald Energy, a British subsidiary of China’s
Sinochem, were kidnapped along with their translator by FARC
guerrillas from the Ombu field in Caqueta. The company had refused
to pay $10 per barrel in extortion.
(Econ, 3/17/12, p.44)
2011 Jul 8, In Colombia
President Juan Manuel Santos asked for forgiveness from victims and
survivors of a 2000 massacre by right-wing paramilitaries that is
considered one of the bloodiest chapters in Colombia's long internal
conflict. A report from the National Commission of Reparation and
Reconciliation says at least 60 people were killed in the town of El
Salado in northern Bolivar province between Feb 16 and Feb 21, 2000.
2011 Jul 9, In Colombia nearly
simultaneous attacks in three towns killed three people and wounded
more than 20. President Manuel Santos blamed the FARC rebel group.
2011 Jul 30, A Colombian judge
ordered the arrest of Bernardo Moreno (51), former President Alvaro
Uribe's chief of staff, for alleged involvement in spying on judges,
journalists and politicians by the domestic security agency.
2011 Aug 8, In Colombia
Muhammad Nazarruddin (32), the ex-treasurer of Indonesian President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's party, was reported arrested in Cartagena
after weeks on the run over corruption allegations. Nazaruddin has
been on the run since May when anti-graft investigators linked him
to a bribery scandal involving contracts on a 23-million-dollar
athletes' village for the Southeast Asian Games scheduled in
(AFP, 8/9/11)(Econ, 2/25/12, p.51)
2011 Aug 10, A Colombian court
ordered a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church to pay $220,000 in
restitution to two youths who were sexually abused by one of its
priests in 2007. The Rev. Luis Enrique Duque was already serving an
18-year prison sentence for the crime.
2011 Aug 17, In Colombia
suspected FARC rebels ambushed and killed five police officers and
wounded two in the southwestern coastal town of Tumaco.
2011 Sep 2, Officials announced
a joint US-Colombian operation against a major trafficker, in which
police arrested 30 people and seized 21 small planes that were
ferrying cocaine to Central America. Most of the planes were seized
this past week in Guatemala and Honduras. Officials also announced a
$2.7 million reward for trafficker Daniel "Loco" Barrera.
2011 Sep 5, Authorities in
Panama arrested 80 Panamanians and Colombians breaking up a major
cocaine trafficking organization that moved drugs from Colombia to
Panama and then north to Mexico and the United States.
2011 Sep 7, In Colombia a
leftist congressman presented video testimony from a jailed
far-right militia chief who accuses former President Alvaro Uribe of
sponsoring his illegal armed group in the mid-1990s. In the video
Pablo Hernan Sierra says he organized a militia that operated from
the Guacharacas ranch owned by Uribe's family in the northwestern
state of Antioquia in 1996 when Uribe was the state's governor.
2011 Sep 14, Colombia's Supreme
Court convicted Jorge Noguera (47), a former director of the
country's domestic intelligence agency, for colluding with illegal
far-right militias and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. He was
chief of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) under
then-President Alvaro Uribe from 2002 to 2005.
2011 Sep 19, In Colombia Samuel
Moreno (51), the suspended mayor of Bogota, was charged with crimes
including embezzlement and extortion in the awarding of public
contracts. If convicted he could be sentenced to at least six years
2011 Sep 19, Venezuela deported
six suspected drug traffickers wanted in Colombia and the United
States. They also included US citizen Lionel Scott Harris (67), who
is suspected of smuggling drugs, and five Colombians wanted on
2011 Sep 20, Colombian police
seized 301 properties, including houses, vehicles and estates, that
belonged to alleged front men for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman (56),
the head of Mexico's powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. The assets were
valued at $250 million.
2011 Oct 11, Palestinian leader
Mahmud Abbas, on a Latin American swing to drum up support for his
bid to gain UN state recognition, failed to secure support from
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos. Abbas continued on to
Venezuela to meet with Pres. Chavez.
2011 Oct 12, The US Congress
approved free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and
Panama, ending a four-year drought in the forming of new trade
partnerships and giving the White House and Capitol Hill the
opportunity to show they can work together to stimulate the economy
and put people back to work.
2011 Oct 21, In southwest
Colombia 10 soldiers were reported killed and six wounded in an
overnight attack, the deadliest guerrilla attack on security forces
in more than a year.
2011 Oct 21, Pres. Obama signed
free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
2011 Oct 22, In northeast
Colombia 10 government soldiers were killed in an attack blamed on
leftist rebels, the second such loss in less than three days.
2011 Oct 30, In Colombia voters
elected former leftist rebel and anti-corruption crusader Gustavo
Petro (51) as mayor of Bogota, the first time an ex-guerrilla has
won the country’s second most important elected office.
2011 Oct 31, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos dissolved the scandal-plagued DAS
domestic intelligence agency, saying its employees will be
transferred to other state offices.
2011 Nov 2, An Argentine court
convicted Colombian model Angie Sanclemente (31) of trafficking
cocaine from Argentina to Europe. She was sentenced to six years and
eight months in prison. Her Argentine boyfriend, Nicolas Gualco, and
his uncle were given the same sentence following the guilty
2011 Nov 4, In Colombia Alfonso
Cano (63), FARC leader from Bogota's middle class, was felled by
three bullets. Cano, born as Guillermo Leon Saenz, was killed in a
remote area of the southwestern state of Cauca along with three
other rebels, two men and a woman, hours after his hideout in
forested hills was bombed. Troops recovered seven computers and 39
thumb drives belonging to Cano as well as a stash of cash.
2011 Nov 5, The ruling junta of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) designated
Timoleon Jimenez (52) as its new chief. The announcement was made
public 10 days later. The US government has offered a $5 million
reward for Jimenez, and Colombia's government is offering another
$2.6 million for his capture.
2011 Nov 5, In northwest
Colombia a landslide caused by heavy rains left at least 29 people
dead and 20-40 more missing in the city of Manizales, Caldas state.
(AP, 11/5/11)(AP, 11/6/11)
2011 Nov 10, In Colombia tens
of thousands of students marched in Bogota in an ongoing struggle
over the future of higher education. The government was offering
reforms, known as Law 30, which would ad $3.5 billion for higher
education over a decade.
(SFC, 11/11/11, p.A4)
2011 Nov 16, Student leaders in
Colombia called off a monthlong boycott of classes at public
universities after the government met their demand to withdraw
educational reform legislation.
2011 Nov 21, Colombia’s
National Police Director Oscar Naranjo said 14 members of a gang led
by Daniel Barrera (aka Loco), one of the country's most wanted drug
trafficking suspects, were detained over the weekend in Bogota,
Barranquilla and Cartagena.
2011 Nov 26, Colombia's main
rebel group executed four captives, held hostage for between 12 and
13 years, during combat between guerrillas and soldiers searching
for the men. Sgt. Luis Alberto Erazo (48), held by the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for nearly 12 years, survived.
2011 Dec 2, In Colombia
flooding over the last 3 months has caused 114 deaths with another
21 people missing.
(Econ, 12/10/11, p.42)
2011 Dec 6, In Colombia Samuel
Moreno (51), a former mayor of Bogota, was charged with receiving
illegal kickbacks for public works contracts.
2011 Dec 6, Tens of thousands
marched across Colombia to repudiate last month's execution of
soldiers and police by leftist rebels, who had held them for more
than a decade as political bargaining chips.
2011 Dec 7, In Colombia a
hillside loosened by heavy rains collapsed on a bus, killing five
adults and a boy. Rains since Sept. 1 have caused at least 140
2011 Dec 9, In Venezuela
officials said floods and mudslides unleashed by torrential rains
have caused at least eight deaths. Neighboring Colombia has also
been coping with floods and President Juan Manuel Santos, touring
flooded areas south of Bogota, promised assistance to those whose
houses have been damaged.
2011 Dec 12, Colombia
extradited Ramon Quintero, a top Norte del Valle cartel trafficker,
to the United States. His organization was accused of exporting more
than 50 metric tons of cocaine a year to the US and Europe.
2011 Dec 14, Colombia's
government and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime released a new study
that said more than 3,000 square miles (800,000 hectares) of
Colombia's woodlands have been cleared since 1981 in the planting
and destruction of drug crops. According to the UN, Colombia had 240
square miles (62,000 hectares) of coca under cultivation last year.
2011 Dec 15, A Colombian judge
sentenced three construction moguls to more than seven years in
prison each for embezzlement in a kickback scandal that also
involved Bogota’s ex-mayor Samuel Moreno. Each of the four was also
fined $5 million.
2011 Dec 20, Colombia's
President Juan Manuel Santos approved details of a plan to pay
compensation to an estimated 4 million victims of the country's
long-running civil conflict. Santos signed five decrees laying out
regulations under the so-called Victims Law. The Congress approved
the law in May, and Santos signed it in June.
2011 Dec 23, Colombian crime
boss Jose Lopez Montero (40), alias "Caracho", surrendered in the
city of Villavicencio. A total of 283 other members of his group
also turned themselves in over the last 2 days. More than 200
members of the crime ring were soon freed because there were no
charges pending against them.
(AP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/26/11)
2011 Dec 23, In Colombia a fuel
pipeline exploded in the central province of Risaralda, killing at
least 7 people, injuring 45 others and destroying homes.
2011 Dec 26, In Colombia
officials in Medellin inaugurated a giant, $6.7 million outdoor
escalator for residents of one of its poorest neighborhoods. It
provided the 12,000 residents of Comuna 13 a free ride up and down
their steep hillside.
2011 Dec 27, Colombian FARC
rebels announced plans to release six hostages who have been held
captive for more than a decade. They included police officers Jorge
Trujillo, Jorge Romero and Jose Libardo Forero, who were kidnapped
in southern Colombia on July 11, 1999.
2011 Dec 28, Colombian
authorities said seven soldiers have been charged in the killing of
a comrade who had deserted. In 2006 the troops reported they had
killed a rebel in combat near the northern town of Majagual.
Investigators determined the victim wasn't a rebel but rather a
soldier who had deserted from the same infantry unit.
2011 Dec 30, In southern
Colombia a bomb exploded at a police station in Orito, killing the
wife and son of a police officer and injuring at least six other
2012 Jan 1, Colombian police in
Chaco state killed crime boss Juan de Dios Usaga. Police have said
Usaga led a major crime ring involved in drug trafficking and was
once a right-wing paramilitary fighter. Pamphlets soon appeared
calling on the region's residents to protest the killing of Usaga.
2012 Jan 5, In Colombia a
criminal band called the Urabenos began a 2-day shut down of a
northern swathe of the country in retaliation for the Jan 1 death of
their leader, Juan de Dios Usaga.
(Econ, 1/14/12, p.37)
2012 Jan 21, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos said that Manuel Marulanda, the late
leader and co-founder of FARC, the country's main leftist rebel
group, had owned 57 ranches in two states alone. Marulanda had lived
a simple life and died a natural death in 2008.
2012 Feb 1, In Colombia a bomb
exploded outside a police station in the Pacific port city of Tumaco
just as lunch hour ended, killing 9 people and wounding 76. Tumaco
is in Narino state, which borders Ecuador, and is laced with dozens
of rivers popular with drug traffickers, who include the FARC.
(AP, 2/2/12)(AP, 2/2/12)
2012 Feb 2, In Colombia
assailants in pickup trucks fired homemade mortars at a police
station in Villa Rica, killing at least six people and wounding more
than 20. Among the dead were police post's commander, a 3-year-old
girl and a 19-year-old woman.
2012 Feb 4, In Venezuela the
Colombian far-tight paramilitary warlord known as "Martin Llanos"
(aka Hector Buitrago) was captured along with his brother, Nelson
Buitrago (aka Caballo), in the eastern town of El Tigre.
2012 Feb 9, Colombia’s chief
prosecutor's office obtained an arrest warrant for Luis Carlos
Restrepo, ex-President Alvaro Uribe's peace commissioner, for
allegedly choreographing the March 2006 bogus surrender of a column
of leftist guerrillas. Restrepo departed Colombia on Jan. 8 and his
whereabouts was unknown.
2012 Feb 26, Colombia's main
rebel group said it is abandoning the practice of kidnapping and
will soon free its last remaining "prisoners of war," 10 security
force members held for as long as 14 years.
2012 Feb 28, A Colombian high
court unseated Viviane Morales, the country's chief prosecutor, on
the grounds that she was improperly elected. Her marriage to an
ex-congressman tied to drug lords had cast a shadow over her tenure.
2012 Feb 28, In Colombia 7 oil
workers were seized in Arauca, on the border with Venezuela. The
FARC and the ELN were active in the area.
(Econ, 3/3/12, p.48)
2012 Mar 7, In Colombia an
accident at a small coal mine, named "El Desespero" (Desperation),
killed at least four miners and five others were still missing.
2012 Mar 13, In Colombia oil
tankers carrying oil from the Ombu field in Caqueta came under fire
from guerrillas leaving 2 civilians dead.
(Econ, 3/17/12, p.44)
2012 Mar 14, Colombia's
ambassador to Peru resigned after prosecutors ordered his arrest for
alleged criminal association with far-right militias. Jorge Visbal
(59) is wanted for criminal conspiracy for activities from
1998-2004, when he was president of Colombia's National Ranchers
Federation, the chief prosecutor's office said in a communique.
2012 Mar 17, In Colombia 11
government soldiers were killed in Arauca state in an attack blamed
on the FARC.
2012 Mar 21, Colombian troops
killed 39 FARC rebels, most of them in a bombardment of a guerrilla
camp in northeastern Arauca state. Other rebels were reported killed
in the past two days in operations in Arauca and other parts of the
country. 12 alleged rebels were also captured during the military
2012 Mar 21, Colombian police
captured FARC midlevel leader William Alberto Asprilla (62) in
neighboring Venezuela. He was said to be wanted for his role in the
kidnapping and killing of three Americans in 1999. Asprilla, also
known as "Marquetaliano," was detained while on the road between
Caracas and the nearby port of La Guaira with the alleged
cooperation of Venezuelan authorities.
2012 Mar 26, Colombia's
military killed 36 rebels in a pre-dawn bombing of a guerrilla camp
in the Meta state municipality of Vista Hermosa, a traditional
stronghold of the FARC.
2012 Mar 29, In Colombia a
10-year-old ethnic Wayuu girl gave birth via Caesarean section.
Under Colombian law, any sexual relations with a child age 14 or
younger is a crime punishable by at least 9 years in prison. Under
Colombia's 1991 constitution the Wayuu have jurisdiction.
2012 Apr 2, Colombia's main
rebel group (FARC) freed what it says were its last 10 military and
police captives, a goodwill gesture that President Juan Manuel
Santos praised but called insufficient to merit a peace dialogue.
2012 Apr 7, In Colombia six
government soldiers were killed in an attack that it blamed on the
country's main rebel movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC). Return fire by troops killed three guerrillas and
2012 Apr 13, Colombia's Jose
Antonio Ocampo withdrew from the race to lead the World Bank,
endorsing Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's challenge against the
favored US candidate.
2012 Apr 13, Pres. Obama
arrived in Cartagena, Colombia, for meetings with 33 other regional
leaders for the Summit of the Americas this weekend. 11 US Secret
Service agents, sent to provide security for President Obama, were
reported to have visited prostitutes in Cartagena. At least 20 women
were in hotel rooms with US agents and military personnel just
before President Barack Obama arrived for the summit.
(AP, 4/14/12)(AP, 4/17/12)(SFC, 4/19/12, p.A5)
2012 Apr 14, In Colombia the
Summit of the Americas for 33 Western Hemisphere leaders opened with
the United States and Canada standing firm, but alone, against
everyone else's insistence that Cuba join future summits.
2012 Apr 15, Pres. Obama and
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said at a joint news
conference that the US-Colombia free trade deal will go into effect
May 15. Obama returned from Colombia to his familiar agenda of
righting the US economy and winning a second term, wrapping up 3
days of Latin American summitry that yielded mixed results and were
clouded by a Secret Service scandal. The 6th Summit of the Americas
ended without a joint declaration due to divisions over Cuba and
Argentine claims to the Falkland Islands.
2012 Apr 28, In Colombia French
journalist Romeo Langlois (35) went missing along with five
Colombian security force members following combat with leftist FARC
rebels that claimed the lives of three soldiers and a police
officer. Langlois was freed on May 30.
(AP, 4/29/12)(AP, 5/31/12)
2012 May 10, Colombian
authorities said 7 antinarcotics police were killed in North
Santander province by suspected FARC guerrillas.
(SFC, 5/11/12, p.A3)
2012 May 14, Colombia’s free
trade agreement with the US went into effect. It was initially
signed in 2006 under George Bush and Alvaro Uribe.
(Econ, 5/19/12, p.44)
2012 May 15, In Colombia a
midday bombing killed two bodyguards of an archconservative former
interior minister and injured at least 39 people in a busy
commercial district of Bogota.
2012 May 21, In Colombia 12
soldiers were killed in an ambush by alleged FARC rebels near the
(SFC, 5/22/12, p.A2)
2012 Jun 6, Colombia’s military
bombed a FARC rebel camp in Antioquia state. 8 rebels were reported
(SFC, 6/7/12, p.A2)
2012 Jun 6, Chile, Colombia,
Mexico and Peru formally established their Pacific Alliance (Alianza
de Pacifico). The goal was free trade and economic integration with
a clear orientation toward Asia.
2012 Jun 13, Colombia’s bank
began issuing new coins in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and
1,000 pesos, all featuring pictures of native animals. The
bimetallic 1,000-peso (US$0.55) coin depicts a loggerhead sea
2012 Jun 20, Colombia’s
Congress approved a government-sponsored constitutional reform of
the judicial system. It stripped the Supreme Court of the power to
investigate allegations of crimes committed by legislators. Pres.
Santos called Congress back into session on June 27th urging it to
reverse its vote.
(Econ, 6/30/12, p.37)
2012 Jun 20, In Colombia 4
people were killed and 11 injured in an attack on a bus in Narino
province. Authorities blamed FARC rebels.
(SFC, 6/21/12, p.A2)
2012 Jul 3, In Colombia retired
police general Mauricio Santoyo surrendered himself to US agents and
was flown to the US to face drug trafficking charges. He allegedly
received some $5 million for betraying counter-narcotics operation
dating from 2002-2008.
(SFC, 7/4/12, p.A2)
2012 Jul 19, In Colombia farmer
Mauricio Largo was killed as Nasa Indians and other locals clashed
with police in the southwestern Cauca region. Residents, tired of
being caught in a 48-year conflict, demanded that the military and
leftist rebels leave the area.
(SFC, 7/21/12, p.A2)
2012 Aug 1, In Colombia unions
and greens held marches across the country demanding stricter
environmental safeguards regarding mining.
(Econ, 8/4/12, p.34)
2012 Sep 3, In Colombia
Griselda Blanco (69), a convicted drug trafficker who was once known
as the "Godmother" and the "Queen of Cocaine," was shot to death by
an unidentified gunman at a butcher shop in Medellin.
2012 Sep 4, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos announced an accord with the
peasant-based FARC to seek "a definitive peace." The pact, signed
Aug. 27 after six months of secret exploratory talks in Cuba, called
for talks to begin in Norway the first half of October, then return
2012 Sep 6, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos rejected a proposal by the FARC rebel
movement to observe a cease-fire during peace talks that are to
begin next month in Norway.
2012 Sep 18, Daniel Barrera,
one of Colombia's most wanted drug traffickers, was captured in
neighboring Venezuela with the help of Caracas as well as British
and US intelligence agencies. He had a $5 million bounty on his head
from the United States and $2.7 million from Colombia's government.
2012 Sep 20, In Colombia a
judge revoked the 2008 acquittal of Angelo Caceres, alias “El
Piloso," and ordered his arrest. Caceres was accused in 2006 as a
co-author of the 1999 killing of 3 Americans. His whereabouts were
(SFC, 9/21/12, p.A2)
2012 Oct 14, In Colombia a FARC
bomb killed a man and his 3-year-old son.
(Econ, 10/20/12, p.35)
2012 Oct 17, Colombian
government and rebel negotiators met for their first set of talks
outside Oslo, Norway.
2012 Oct 30, Colombia's
most-wanted reputed drug trafficker, Henry de Jesus Lopez (41), aka
"Mi Sangre," was arrested outside a restaurant in suburban Buenos
Aires after Colombian police spent months chasing him around South
2012 Oct 31, In Colombia a
suitcase bomb exploded near a town square where 5,000 children were
celebrating Halloween, killing two suspected FARC bombers and
injuring 37 people, including two boys who were hospitalized in
2012 Nov 14, Venezuelan
authorities deported Daniel Barrera, a prominent drug-trafficking
suspect, to Colombia, nearly two months after his capture at a
payphone in an operation aided by Colombian and US authorities.
2012 Nov 19, Colombia's main
rebel group announced a unilateral cease-fire as it began
much-anticipated peace talks, but the Bogota government responded
that it would continue military operations.
2012 Nov 19, The International
Court of Justice ruled that a group of tiny islands in the western
Caribbean belongs to Colombia, but also granted Nicaragua control of
a large swath of the surrounding sea and seabed that could hold oil
reserves. The ICJ awarded Nicaragua fishing and oil rights in waters
that Colombians have considered theirs since 1928.
(AP, 11/20/12)(Econ, 11/9/13, p.43)
2012 Nov 19, In Cuba the rebel
former seminarian known as Ivan Marquez and government
representative Humberto de la Calle, a sage veteran of Colombian
politics, sat down in Havana to negotiate in earnest an end
Colombia's stubborn five-decade-old conflict. Their talks were
inaugurated in Norway last month.
2012 Nov 21, Colombia's main
leftist rebel group released at midnight four Chinese oil workers in
the same southern jungles where it kidnapped them on June 8, 2011.
They had been engaged in oil exploration work.
2012 Nov 27, Colombia withdrew
from a 1948 treaty th bound it to the UN in response to the Nov 19
by the ICJ granting Nicaragua control of a large swath of sea.
During the 1948 Conference of American States, nations in the region
signed the "Bogota Pact," which required signatories to find
peaceful solutions to conflicts.
(SFC, 11/29/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 2, Colombia’s military
killed at least FARC fighters in the pre-dawn attack near the town
of Ricuarte, Narino state.
2012 Dec 27, In Colombia Lorena
Henao, the sister of Orlando Henao (d.1998), founder of the Northern
Valley drug cartel, was shot to death by gunmen on the outskirts
Armenia. 4 suspects were arrested in the attack.
(SFC, 12/28/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 31, In Colombia 5 men
and 4 women were shot to death on a farm outside Medellin. Rival
drug traffickers were believed to be involved.
(SFC, 1/1/13, p.A2)
2012 Colombia reduced its area
under coca cultivation by 25% this year.
(SFC, 8/9/13, p.A2)
2012 In Colombia coffee
production dropped to 7.7m bags compared to 12.6 m 60kg bags in 2007
due to “coffee rust" fungus or roya.
(Econ, 7/26/14, p.32)
2013 Jan 2, Colombia's chief
prosecutor's office opened a preliminary criminal investigation into
former President Alvaro Uribe over allegations he sponsored a killer
far-right militia as a regional governor in the 1990s.
2013 Jan 18, In northern
Colombia leftist ELN rebels kidnapped five gold prospectors doing
exploratory drilling for Braeval Mining Corp., a Canadian company.
2013 Jan 25, A Colombia judge
convicted Jaime Blanco, a former contractor for US-based Drummond
Coal, of murder for being the mastermind of the killing of two union
leaders on March 12, 2001. Blanco was sentenced to nearly 38 years
(SFC, 2/7/13, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/d6szsex)
2013 Feb 7, In Colombia over
5,000 workers at the Cerrejon coal mine went on strike. Negotiations
began on Feb 26.
(Econ, 3/2/13, p.38)
2013 Feb 22, Pope Benedict XVI,
who steps down Feb. 28, named Monsignor Ettore Balestrero
ambassador, or nunzio, to Colombia. Balestrero was head of the Holy
See's delegation to the Council of Europe's Moneyval committee,
which evaluated the Vatican's anti-money laundering and anti-terror
2013 Feb 25, In Colombia
thousands of coffee workers began blocking roads in 10 provinces
over falling incomes from leaf rust and falling coffee prices.
(Econ, 3/2/13, p.38)
2013 Mar, Bogota, the capital
of Colombia, began compensating its 15,000 waste pickers for their
services, paying 82,860 pesos ($44) per ton of garbage collected.
(Econ, 11/2/13, p.65)
2013 Apr 4, In Colombia Victor
Manuel Carranza (77), aka the “Emerald King," died of cancer.
(Econ, 4/20/13, p.98)
2013 Apr 9, In Colombia tens of
thousands marched in Bogota to show their supoort for peace talks
with FARC guerrillas.
(Econ, 4/13/13, p.42)
2013 Apr 15, The annual Goldman
Environmental Prize was awarded to six activists for their efforts
to protect the world ecosystem. They included Nohra Padilla (50) of
Colombia, who began organizing waste pickers in Bogota in 1990 into
the Bogota Recyclers’ Assoc.; Rossano Ercolini (57) of Italy for
setting up a trash collection and conservation system; Kimberly
Wasserman (36) of Chicago her grassroots campaign to close polluting
coal-fired power plants; Aleta Baun (50) of Indonesia for organizing
villages on west Timor against mining companies clearing forests for
marble; Azzam Alwash (54) of Iraq for his efforts to restore
Mesopotamian marshland; Jonathan Deal of South Africa for his
efforts against hydraulic fracturing in Karoo.
(SFC, 4/15/13, p.A10)
2013 May 1, In Colombia gunmen
attacked but failed to hurt magazine editor Ricardo Calderon, head
of the investigative unit of Semana newsmagazine.
(SSFC, 5/5/13, p.A4)
2013 May 17, An Organization of
American States (OAS) study was released calling for a serious
discussion on legalizing marijuana. The study was presented by
outgoing OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza in Bogota.
2013 May 22, In Colombia at
least 10 soldiers were killed in an attack with homemade
explosives by the ELN in Norte de Santander state.
(SFC, 5/23/13, p.A2)
2013 May 26, Colombia and the
FARC rebel group announced an agreement on land reform.
(SFC, 5/27/13, p.A2)
2013 Jun 4, Brazilian police
said they have dismantled an international drug trafficking ring
that for almost two years sent cocaine from Colombia and Bolivia to
Portugal hidden in crates containing frozen fish.
2013 Jun 20, In Colombia
American DEA agent James Watson (43) died in a robbery attempt as he
got into a Bogota taxi. On June 25 police said 5 men were arrested
in the case. On July 1, 2014, seven Colombian taxi drivers were
extradited to stand trial in Virginia for the murder of Watson.
(AP, 6/21/13)(SFC, 6/26/13, p.A2)(SFC, 7/2/14,
2013 Jun 20, In Colombia the
Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) caught a US soldier, identified as
Kevin Scott Sutay, in a jungle region in the south of the country.
They reported his capture on July 19 and described him as a mine
clearance expert from New York who has served in Afghanistan. Sutay
was reported released on Oct 27.
(Reuters, 7/19/13)(AFP, 10/28/13)
2013 Jul 5, Colombia’s
state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol said two explosions over the
last 24 hours have shut down the 80,000 barrel-per-day Cano
Limon-Covenas oil pipeline. A military source describing them as
attacks carried out by leftist rebels.
2013 Jul 6, In Colombia Roberto
Pannunzi, a suspected Italian mafia boss, was arrested and deported
to Italy. He was described as Europe's most wanted drug trafficker
and the world's biggest cocaine importer.
2013 Jul 10, Colombia expressed
concern after revelations the United States had spied on the Andean
nation, its closest military ally in Latin America, and called for
2013 Jul 20, In Colombia 19
soldiers were killed in two clashes blamed on the Marxist FARC
guerrillas, the heaviest casualties the armed forces have suffered
since the government began peace talks late last year.
2013 Aug 24, In Colombia FARC
guerrillas killed 14 soldiers in an ambush in Arauca state. 2
guerrilas were left dead.
(AP, 8/24/13)(AFP, 8/25/13)
2013 Aug 28, Colombia
extradited Diego Perez Henao to the US on charges of cocaine
trafficking. He was captured in Venezuela last year posing as a
(SFC, 8/29/13, p.A2)
2013 Aug 30, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos ordered troops to provide security in
Bogota and patrol the nation’s highways after violent protests in
support of striking farmworkers left two dead in Bogota.
2013 Sep 1, Dominican Rep.
officials uncovered an underground lab for processing cocaine near
Saban Toro. 2 Colombians faced drug charges.
(SFC, 9/3/13, p.A2)
2013 Sep 2, Sixteen members of
Colombia's Cabinet presented their resignations to President Juan
Manuel Santos o pave the way for changes he may want to make after a
protest in the farming sector turned violent last week.
2013 Sep 6, In Colombia alleged
drug don, Claudio Baez, was arrested as he headed to a football
match in Barranquilla.
2013 Sep 9, Chilean press
reported that the US has spied on communications from Brazil,
Colombia, Venezuela and Uruguay from the island of Ascension
according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
(SSFC, 9/15/13, p.A6)
2013 Sep 16, Nicaragua’s
government petitioned the Int’l. Court of Justice to define the
maritime border between Nicaragua and Colombia and to include an
eastward extension of its continental shelf deep into the Caribbean.
Colombia has refused to recognize a November ruling by the court and
called Nicaragua’s claims excessive.
(SFC, 9/21/13, p.A4)
2013 Sep 30, Canadian oil
company Pacific Rubiales said it is acquiring Colombia’s
Petrominerales for around 1.6 billion Canadian dollars ($1.55
2013 Oct 5, In northern
Colombia a twin-engine turboprop plane crashed while on
a US counter-drug mission, killing 3 American contractors and a
Panamanian aboard. It had been tracking a suspected smuggling vessel
over the western Caribbean when it lost radio contact.
2013 Oct 7, Colombia imposed
temporary tariffs and quotas on imports of potatoes, onions, beans,
tomatoes, powdered milk, fresh cheese, milk and whey to help
alleviate protests by farmers over expensive fertilizers and free
(Econ, 10/26/13, p.44)
2013 Oct 7, Colombia's state
oil company Ecopetrol said its second most important oil pipeline,
the Cano Limon-Covenas, has been temporarily shut down after three
bomb attacks. Security forces attributed the attacks to leftist
2013 Oct 12, In Colombia a
22-story apartment building collapsed in Medellin. 11 people were
reported missing. The building was evacuated after cracks appeared a
(SFC, 10/14/13, p.A2)
2013 Oct 19, Colombia’s army
said government troops have captured six rebels including Freddy
Chona Payare, a member of the security team of the leader of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
2013 Nov 3, Colombia police
said US and Colombian anti-drugs agents cooperated in a massive bust
in the southern Caribbean that led to the confiscation of 1,450
kilos of cocaine. Four Venezuelans and a Colombian were detained in
2013 Nov 28, The Colombian
government and leftist FARC rebels resumed peace talks amid
differences over coca cultivation, blamed by political leaders for
drug-linked violence and killings.
2013 Nov 29, Colombia's FARC
rebels acknowledged that they collected taxes from coca cultivators
but rejected accusations of "narco-terrorism."
2013 Dec 7, In Colombia 8
people were killed in a bombing blamed on FARC rebels currently
engaged in peace talks with the government. 6 soldiers and 2
civilians died when a vehicle loaded with explosives blew up in the
small town of Inza.
2013 Dec 9, In Colombia Gustavo
Petro (53), the leftist mayor of Bogota, was removed from his post
for the mismanagement of garbage collection and banned from holding
office for 15 years, a blow to the nation's left as peace talks
continue with Marxist FARC rebels.
2013 Dec 15, Colombia's FARC
rebels begin a 30-day unilateral ceasefire as peace talks continue
with the government to try to end Latin America's longest
2013 Dec 28, In Colombia the
bodies of 5 men were found at the mouth of the Atrato River. Police
believed the men had traveled from a Caribbean island in an attempt
to reach Central America.
(SFC, 12/30/13, p.A2)
2014 Jan 19, Colombia’s army
said at least 9 Marxist FARC rebels have been killed in a clash in
Tame even as peace talks were being held between the two sides in
2014 Jan 27, In Colombia a fire
at a prison in Barranquilla killed at least 10 inmates.
2014 Jan, Colombia’s government
began exploratory talks with the rebel National Liberation Army.
(SFC, 6/11/14, p.A2)
2014 Jan, Colombia halted coal
exports from a port operated by Drummond, an American miner.
Environmentalists in 2013 had photographed an incident in 2013 in
which 500 tons of coal were dumped into the Bay of Santa Maria to
stop a barge from sinking. Drummond operations generated $66 million
a month in royalties and taxes to the government. Exports were
resumed in March, 2014.
(Econ, 3/15/14, p.61)
2014 Feb 17, In Colombia 5
policemen were killed by FARC guerrillas.
(Econ, 2/22/14, p.32)
2014 Mar 9, Colombia held
congressional elections. Voters showed lukewarm support for peace
talks with guerrillas by giving the country's president a majority
in Congress, but also electing his conservative rival, ex-president
Alvaro Uribe, to the senate.
2014 Mar 27, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos said Venezuela’s government has accepted the
political opposition’s conditions for dialogue.
(SFC, 3/28/14, p.A2)
2014 Mar 29, German magazine
Der Spiegel reported that the US National Security Agency kept more
than 300 reports on Chancellor Angela Merkel in a special databank
about scores of foreign heads of state. Other leaders listed in the
databank include the heads of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala, Colombia and
2014 Apr 9, In Colombia
Alejandro Correa (22) died after an unidentified person threw acid
over 90% of his body. More than 900 such attacks have been
documented in Colombia since 2004.
(SSFC, 4/13/14, p.A4)
2014 Apr 17, Gabriel Garcia
Marquez (b.1927), Colombian author, died in Mexico City. His
beguiling stories of love and longing brought Latin America to life
for millions of readers and put magical realism on the literary map.
His "One Hundred Years of Solitude," a dream-like, dynastic epic
helped him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
2014 Apr 23, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel said he would heed a court order to reinstate ousted
Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro. The mayor had been removed from office
in March for alleged administrative missteps.
(SFC, 4/24/14, p.A2)
2014 Apr 28, It was reported
that small farmers in Colombia have launched a nationwide strike
less than a month before the presidential election. They accused the
government of failing to adhere to agreements reached after a
violent work stoppage last year.
2014 Apr 30, In Colombia an
illegal gold mine in Santander de Quilichao in southwestern Cauca
province collapsed just before midnight. 10 bodies were soon pulled
from the rubble and six were still believed to be buried.
2014 May 2, Colombia's
constitutional court ruled that applying a decision by the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) that granted Nicaragua a
disputed area of Caribbean waters could not take effect without a
treaty between the countries.
2014 May 16, Colombia's
government and main rebel group (FARC) announced an agreement to
jointly combat illicit drugs in the South American country, which
was long the world's leading cocaine producer.
2014 May 18, In Colombia 32
children were killed when an overcrowded bus they were traveling in
caught fire in Fundacion.
2014 May 25, Colombia held
presidential elections. Former Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga
finished first in the opening round with 29%, but failed to win the
majority of votes needed to avoid a runoff ballot in three weeks
against incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos.
(AP, 5/26/14)(Econ, 5/31/14, p.30)
2014 Jun 7, Colombia's leftist
FARC rebels declared a ceasefire for a three-week period covering a
tight presidential election race on June 15. FARC accused opposition
candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga of making inflammatory statements and
trying to foment more war.
2014 Jun 15, Colombian voters
went to the polls in a runoff between President Juan Manuel Santos
(62) and right wing rival Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (55). President Juan
Manuel Santos won re-election with almost 51% of the vote. Zuluaga
trailed with 45%.
(AP, 6/15/14)(Reuters, 6/16/14)
2014 Jul 29, Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos met with Japan's PM Shinzo Abe, calling
for accelerated bilateral trade talks and more investment by the
Asian economic powerhouse.
2014 Aug 7, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos took the oath for his 2nd term and promised to
redouble his efforts to end the nation’s half-century war with FARC.
(SSFC, 8/10/14, p.A4)
2014 Aug 11, Venezuela began
nightly closures of its border with Colombia in an effort to plug
smuggling, estimated to cost the government several billions a year.
Some 17,000 troops were deployed to enforce the blockade.
(Econ, 8/16/14, p.28)
2014 Aug 14, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos said he is endorsing the legalization of
marijuana for medical and therapeutic use.
(SFC, 8/15/14, p.A2)
2014 Aug 26, In Colombia John
Jairo Velasquez (52), better known by his nickname "Popeye," was
paroled this evening despite protests from relatives of his many
alleged victims. He has confessed to hundreds of murders as head of
drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's army of assassins. He spent 22 years
behind bars for plotting the 1989 murder of former presidential
candidate, Luis Carlos Galan.
2014 Oct 2, Prosecutors in
Colombia said they have detained 33 soldiers suspected of killing
farmworker John Jeiber Mina Guaza last week.
2014 Oct 24, The US Justice
Department said Alexander Beltran Herrera (38), a former commander
of Colombia's leftist FARC rebels, was jailed for 27 years for his
role in the 2003 kidnap of three US citizens held captive for five
2014 Oct 25, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos unveiled new details of a $400 million
development strategy for the Pacific coast, including a pldege of
$12 million to provide drinking water for every resident of
(Econ, 11/8/14, p.39)
2014 Nov 7, Venezuelan
authorities said Leiva Padilla Mendoza, the purported leader of a
Colombian paramilitary group who they allege masterminded the
October slaying of socialist Venezuelan lawmaker Robert Serra, has
been captured in Cartagena, Colombia.
2014 Nov 9, Colombia's FARC
rebels captured soldiers Paulo Cesar Rivera and Jonathan Andres
Diaz, in the eastern department of Arauca during a military
2014 Nov 13, Colombia police
arrested Peru's No. 1 fugitive. Businessman Rodolfo Orellana was
accused of amassing a fortune through money laundering of over $200
2014 Nov 16, In western
Colombia Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate was surveying a rural energy
project along the remote Atrato River when he and two others were
snatched by armed men. The surprise capture by leftist rebels
prompted President Juan Manuel Santos to suspend two-year-old peace
2014 Nov 17, In Colombia an
11-year-old girl was in critical condition after doctors removed
from her stomach 104 cocaine-filled capsules her father made her
swallow to smuggle drugs to Europe.
2014 Nov 21, Navarrete Beltran,
an accused member of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, was extradited to the US to face charges of hostage-taking
and terrorism targeting Americans.
2014 Nov 25, Colombia's FARC
rebels freed two captured soldiers partially meeting a condition to
resume peace talks that the government has suspended until the
guerrillas release hostages seized over the last two weeks,
including an army general.
2014 Nov 30, Colombia's largest
rebel group (FARC) freed Gen. Ruben Alzate and his two companions
whose capture led President Juan Manuel Santos to suspend peace
2014 Dec 19, In Colombia a
clash between the army and FARC rebels left 5 soldiers dead and five
wounded. On Dec 26 FARC released captured soldier Carlos Becerra
2014 Dec 20, Leftist rebels in
Colombia began a unilateral ceasefire hailed as a key step in peace
negotiations -- but uncertainty marred the truce.
2014 Dec 24, In northern
Colombia a small passenger plane crashed, killing all six passengers
and the pilot, who had warned air traffic control of a mechanical
fault moments before.
2014 In Colombia some 600
people were killed in guerrilla conflicts. FARC guerrillas were
estimated at around 7,000 fighters.
(Econ, 1/31/15, p.30)
2015 Jan 31, Panama expelled a
former Colombian intelligence chief, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, to
face charges at home of illegally intercepting phone calls from
opposition Colombian lawmakers.
2015 Feb 5, It was reported
that protection rackets in Colombia have ballooned into an estimated
$1 billion-a-year industry.
(SFC, 2/5/15, p.A4)
2015 Feb 18, In Virginia two
Colombians were sentenced to prison for the 2013 kidnapping and
murder of US Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent James
Watson in Bogota. Edwin Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda (39) and Wilson
Daniel Peralta-Bocachica (31) were among seven Colombians in a
robbery-and-kidnapping ring extradited to the United States in July
2014 to face charges stemming from Watson's killing.
2015 Feb 27, Colombia's Supreme
Court convicted the country's former intelligence chief Maria del
Pilar Hurtado and a presidential chief of staff Bernardo Moreno of
spying on judges, journalists and politicians during the presidency
of Alvaro Uribe.
2015 Mar 7, Colombia's
government and Marxist FARC rebels announced in Cuba that they had
reached a deal on demining, a stride forward on a key issue to
negotiate peace after decades of conflict. Over 11,000 Colombians
have been killed or wounded by mines in the last quarter-century.
(AFP, 3/8/15)(Econ., 3/28/15, p.40)
2015 Mar 10, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos said air raids on Marxist FARC rebels
will stop for a month. Santos also announced the creation of a peace
commission made up of politicians from the right and left, former
guerrillas, religious figures, business people and indigenous
2015 Mar 12, In Colombia five
police and two civilians were injured after a bomb exploded in
Bogota. Leftist ELN guerrillas were suspected.
2015 Mar 19, The International
Agency for Research on Cancer, a French-based research arm of the
World Health Organization, reclassified the herbicide glyphosate as
a result of what it said is convincing evidence the chemical
produces cancer in lab animals and more limited findings it causes
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans. The glyphosate-containing
herbicide Roundup has been a mainstay of industrial agriculture.
This raised more questions for an aerial spraying program in
Colombia that is the cornerstone of the US-backed war on drugs.
2015 Mar 31, In Colombia a
truck lost its brakes and smashed into at least four cars, killing
10 people and injuring 14 more on the highway linking Bogota with
2015 Apr 15, In Colombia 11
soldiers were killed and 20 injured in an apparent overnight attack
by leftist FARC guerrillas, a possible violation of the rebels'
pledge of a unilateral cease-fire that could jeopardize the future
of peace talks.
(AP, 4/15/15)(AP, 4/17/15)
2015 Apr 18, In Colombia 2
suspected members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC) died in an operation to destroy an explosives factory in the
2015 May 9, Colombia’s Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos said he is halting the use of an herbicide that
has been a key part of US-financed efforts to wipe out cocaine crops
following a WHO decision to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen.
(SSFC, 5/10/15, p.A3)
2015 May 9, Two Colombian
soldiers were killed in clashes with leftist ELN rebels in the
northeastern town of Cubara. The soldiers were trying to dismantle
oil infrastructure that the ELN is building in the area.
2015 May 13, In Colombia an
accident at El Tunel mine in the northwestern town of Riosucio was
likely triggered by an explosion or power outage that disabled pumps
used to extract water and supply oxygen to crews. 6 bodies were soon
recovered from the flooded gold mine, with 9 people still missing.
(AP, 5/15/15)(AFP, 5/16/15)
2015 May 18, In Colombia a
deadly flood and mudslide swept through the mountain town of Salgar
leaving at least 62 people dead. As many as 100 remained missing.
2015 May 21, Colombia’s
military raided a FARC guerrilla camp in Cauca province killing 26
fighters. Jairo Martinez, a member of the FARC's peace delegation in
Havana, was among those killed.
(SFC, 5/23/15, p.A5)(AFP, 5/27/15)
2015 May 22, In Colombia the
FARC guerrilla group called off a unilateral cease-fire in response
to a government raid in Cauca province a day earlier.
(SFC, 5/23/15, p.A5)
2015 May 25, The Colombian
government and FARC guerrillas resumed peace talks in Havana amid
heightened tensions following air strikes that killed dozens of
2015 Jun 4, Colombia and FARC
rebels agreed on the terms of an 11-member Truth Commission as peace
talks continued in Havana.
(Econ, 7/4/15, p.28)
2015 Jun 11, Colombia's FARC
rebels attacked an energy pylon in southern Caqueta province,
leaving 500,000 people without electricity amid stumbling peace
2015 Jun 12, Colombia’s
government said FARC rebels killed two police officers and a
civilian in the country's southwest.
2015 Jun 20, Colombia said it
has sent a letter of protest to neighboring Venezuela after the
government of President Nicolas Maduro decreed maritime borders in a
disputed area of the Atlantic Ocean.
2015 Jun 20, In Colombia a
twin-engine Cessna crashed into the thick jungle shortly after
taking flight from Quibdo. The pilot was killed but Maria Nelly
Murillo and her one-year-old son survived and were rescued four days
2015 Jun 22, Colombia's FARC
rebels reportedly killed 4 soldiers and wounded six others in an
attack in the northeast of the country, as the Marxist group steps
up attacks amid unraveling peace talks. 10,000 barrels of oil
spilled into the Mira River, leaving some 150,000 people without
drinking water following a rebel attack on a pipeline. On June 26
President Juan Manuel Santos called this the worst environmental
disaster in Colombia's history. An army helicopter was downed in the
northern department of Norte de Santander and 8 troops were killed.
The National Liberation Army (ELN) later claimed responsibility.
(AFP, 6/23/15)(AP, 6/26/15)(AFP, 6/27/15)
2015 Jul 7, Cuba and Norway
called for restraint in Colombia as they helped facilitate peace
negotiations in Havana between Colombia and FARC rebels.
2015 Jul 8, Colombia's largest
guerrilla army declared a month-long, unilateral cease-fire as of
2015 Jul 25, Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos ordered a halt to air strikes against
FARC rebels, giving a major boost to stop-start peace talks.
2015 Jul 31, In Colombia 11
military personnel were killed when their Airbus CN235 transport
plane suffered motor failure and crashed in the northern province of
Cesar, killing all on board.
2015 Aug 3, In Colombia Genaro
Garcia, a community leader and activist for those forced to flee
their homes by the five-decade guerrilla war, was gunned down in
Tumaco. On August 24 FARC guerrillas admitted to the killing and
said it would punish all commanders and fighters involved.
2015 Aug 8, Spain's Guardia
Civil police force said they have arrested 34 suspected members of a
gang based in Colombia that smuggled drugs between the two
2015 Aug 19, Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro ordered a 72-hour closure of a major border
crossing with Colombia in western Tachira state after three soldiers
were attacked while looking for smugglers.
2015 Aug 20, Colombia's Marxist
rebels indefinitely extended a month-old ceasefire as peace talks
resumed in Havana, with the government still pledging not to conduct
air raids on rebel camps.
2015 Aug 21, Venezuela's
President Nicolas Maduro indefinitely closed his country's border
with Colombia and declared a state of emergency in part of the
frontier region, following an earlier attack that wounded four
2015 Aug 23, In Venezuela Gov.
Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora of Tachira state said that 791 Colombians
living in Venezuela illegally had been handed over to Colombian
authorities as a result of a now five-day crackdown against
smugglers and criminal gangs operating along the 1,400 mile (2,200
2015 Aug 24, Venezuela
announced a 60-day extension of its partial closure of the border
(SFC, 8/25/15, p.A2)
2015 Sep 7, Venezuela's
President Nicolas Maduro said he has ordered more of his country's
vast border with Colombia closed amid a diplomatic crisis over
deportations and smuggling.
2015 Sep 10, US authorities
charged three Colombian nationals with helping to run a global money
laundering network that processed billions of dollars in drug
trafficking profits through bank accounts in China and Hong Kong.
2015 Sep 11, In Colombia 2
people died when a plane carrying crew members from a film starring
Tom Cruise crashed in San Pedro de los Milagros. The film was based
on the life of American pilot Barry Seal, who worked for drug
kingpin Pablo Escobar, who was killed in Medellin in 1993.
2015 Sep 12, The foreign
ministers of Colombia and Venezuela agreed to renew diplomatic
contacts that had been interrupted by an ongoing border crisis
between the two neighbors.
2015 Sep 23, Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos announced a surprise trip to Cuba for a
key meeting with government negotiators and the rebels' top military
commander. A joint statement said they have overcome the last
significant obstacle to a peace deal by settling on a formula to
punish belligerents for human rights abuses.
(AP, 9/23/15)(SFC, 9/24/15, p.A5)
2015 Sep 25, In Colombia
American tourist John Mariani (65) was shot to death during an
apparent robbery attempt after leaving his hotel in a wealthy
enclave of Medellin.
2015 Oct 2, Colombia’s
President Juan Manuel Santos congratulated his armed forces for
killing cocaine warlord Victor Navarro (36), aka Megateo, for whom
the US had been offering a $5 million bounty. Megateo had been first
reported killed in August.
(AP, 10/2/15)(AFP, 10/2/15)
2015 Oct 8, Colombia's Supreme
Court ordered a Roman Catholic diocese to pay $220,000 to the
families of two children molested by a priest. It would be the first
time the church has paid a financial penalty in Colombia for abuse
committed by one of its priests. Father Luis Enrique Duque was
serving time for abusing two boys aged 7 and 8 in 2007 in a town
northwest of Bogota.
2015 Oct 25, Colombians went to
the polls to elect provincial governors and hundreds of local
officials who will have a crucial role in implementing any peace
agreement reached with leftist FARC rebels.
2015 Oct 26, In Colombia a
rebel National Liberation Army (ELN) ambush on poll workers killed
12 members of the security forces in the Andean highlands. Two
soldiers remained missing.
(AP, 10/27/15)(SFC, 10/28/15, p.A2)
2015 Oct 28, Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos offered to declare a bilateral
ceasefire with the FARC guerrillas from January 1, which would mark
a major breakthrough in peace talks.
2015 Nov 6, President Juan
Manuel Santos apologized for Colombia's actions during a 1985 army
raid on the Supreme Court in which nearly 100 people were killed
after the building was taken hostage by guerrillas.
2015 Nov 12, Colombia's justice
minister said the country plans to legalize the cultivation and sale
of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Colombian courts had already
decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for
personal use. The new rules will allow for commercial production.
2015 Nov 13, Colombia said it
plans to legalize medical marijuana in a further shift in drug
policy after suspending aerial fumigation of illicit crops. Current
law allows possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana or 20 marijuana
plants for personal use.
2015 Nov 26, It was reported
that the United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of
Colombian mercenaries to the conflict in Yemen. 450 Latin American
troops also included Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers.
(SFC, 11/26/15, p.A8)
2015 Dec 11, Spanish police
said they have seized 40 pallets made out of 1.4 tons of compressed
cocaine that was made to look like wood that arrived on a shipping
container from Colombia. Authorities arrested 12 people in Spain,
Dubai and Britain as part of the operation, including two Colombian
experts in using chemicals to process cocaine into different
2015 Dec 12, Spanish police
arrested Hector Albeidis Arboleda Buitrago, a suspected former
combatant in the Colombian rebel force FARC, who they say carried
out more than 500 forced abortions on female guerrillas.
2015 Dec 14, The Colombian
government and leftist FARC rebels said they have reached a deal on
reparations for war victims and could be near a pact on the terms of
confinement for ex-combatants who would be tried in special
tribunals once a definitive peace agreement is reached.
2015 Dec 19, Polish police
seized a record amount of cocaine worth around $27 million that
arrived via Belgium in a shipment of bananas from Colombia.
2015 Dec 20, In Nevada
Colombian contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was already wearing
this year's Miss Universe crown when host Steve Harvey returned to
announce on live television that he had mistakenly read from a cue
card, and that Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, the contestant from the
Philippines, was actually this year's winner.
(AP, 12/21/15)(SFC, 12/22/15, p.E6)
2015 Dec 25, Colombia's top
security official said authorities have captured eight members of
the National Liberation Army (ELN) and rescued a minor who also
belonged to the guerrilla group.
2016 Jan 21, Colombia said it
has freed 16 FARC guerrillas pardoned in peace negotiations with the
leftist rebels, as the two sides move toward a deal to end their
2016 Jan 21, Colombia arrested
two men for drug trafficking out of Cartagena to supply New York
City-based dealers. They reportedly ran a major heroin and cocaine
smuggling operation to New York aboard the Royal Spanish Navy’s
official training ship, paying thousands of dollars in bribes to
midshipmen on the vessel.
2016 Jan 30, Colombia announced
that more than 2,000 pregnant women have been infected with Zika,
amid growing concern about the spread of the virus suspected of
causing irreversible brain damage in newborns.
2016 Feb 4, US President Barack
Obama announced a $450 million plan to fund Colombia's peace
process, shaking up a controversial military aid program that
defined relations for 15 years.
2016 Feb 8, In Colombia an
attack early today on a military brigade was blamed on the leftist
National Liberation Army (ELN). President Juan Manuel Santos vowed
to step up the fight against the second-biggest rebel group, despite
claims it was ready to join in a peace drive to end decades of
2016 Feb 16, In Colombia Sen.
Carlos Ferro resigned as deputy Interior minister as soon as a
video, in which he discusses sexual encounters with other men, went
viral. Ferro denied any wrongdoing or abuse of his political
2016 Feb 17, Colombia's
national police chief resigned, a day after the investigator general
said he would investigate whether he was involved in the creation of
a male prostitution ring that allegedly served lawmakers and was
aided by police officials. Gen. Rodolfo Palomino resigned over
allegations of misconduct that included a subaltern's accusation
that the chief, high-ranking officers and even members of congress
abused their positions to demand sexual favors with young cadets.
(Reuters, 2/17/16)(AP, 2/18/16)
2016 Feb 18, Colombia suspended
permits for rebel leaders negotiating a peace deal in Cuba to visit
guerrilla camps after top commanders showed up with weapons in a
town's main plaza in what the government said was a flagrant
violation of the ground rules for such missions.
2016 Feb 19, The Colombian
military killed 7 ELN leftist guerrillas and captured an eighth in
an operation near the Venezuelan border.
2016 Feb 23, Ericson Vargas
Cardona, the one-time leader of La Oficina de Envigado, a
Colombia-based drug trafficking organization, was sentenced in
Manhattan federal court to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty
to criminal charges last year.
2016 Mar 4, In Colombia Ruben
Dario Avila (alias Lorenzo), the top leader of the powerful Clan
Usuga gang, was killed when police launched a raid on a ranch in
Arboletes, Antioquia province.
2016 Mar 23, Colombia’s
government and the FARC rebel group missed their self-imposed
deadline to sign a peace agreement. The main sticking points were
how to demobilize the FARC’s 6,500 fighters and how the deal would
(Econ, 4/16/16, p.28)
2016 Mar 30, The Colombian
government said it will announce the start of peace negotiations
with the country's second-biggest guerrilla group, the left-wing
ELN, broadening the push to end a half-century conflict.
2016 Apr 2, In Colombia tens of
thousands of people protested in more than 20 cities across the
country against President Juan Manuel Santos and his government's
peace process with the FARC guerrillas.
2016 Apr 28, Colombia became
the fourth South American country to allow same-sex marriage when
the constitutional court definitively legalized it.
2016 Apr 30, Colombian
officials in Medellin arrested top Peruvian crime lord Gerson
Galvez, also known as Caracol (Snail), dangerous enough to be
compared to Mexico's Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman. Galvez was extradited
to Peru within 24 hours.
(AFP, 5/1/16)(SFC, 5/3/16, p.A2)
2016 May 1, In South Africa 33
lions arrived at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary after being flown from
Colombia and Peru, where they were freed after the use of wild
animals was outlawed. 24 of the lions were rescued during surprise
raids on Peruvian circuses, while nine were "voluntarily
surrendered" by a Colombian circus.
(http://tinyurl.com/hma9hg2)(SFC, 5/2/16, p.A2)
2016 May 4, Colombian
authorities in Bogota arrested Nidal Waked (46), a prominent Panama
businessman sought by the United States, and dismantled an empire of
businesses that the US says were part of a top worldwide
money-laundering organization for drug traffickers.
2016 May 5, Colombia authorized
the use of all military force, including air strikes, against the
country's three biggest criminal gangs in a major escalation against
"organized armed groups."
2016 May 15, Colombian
authorities reported the biggest cocaine seizure in the history of a
country long plagued by traffic in the drug. 50 commandos backed by
helicopters seized about 8 tons of cocaine on a banana plantation in
the northwestern department of Antioquia.
2016 May 21, In Colombia
Spanish journalist Salud Hernandez (59) disappeared while reporting
a story in Norte de Santander province. She was known for opinion
columns highly critical of Colombia's insurgent groups.
2016 May 27, In Colombia rebels
identifying themselves as members of the National Liberation Army,
or ELN, handed Salud Hernandez-Mora over to a delegation led by
Ramon Catholic clergy in the volatile Catatumbo region. Hours later,
two other journalists from Colombian network RCN were also freed by
2016 May 27, The European Union
said it has committed to provide Colombia with a package of 575
million euros ($645 million) to help the nation recover from a half
century of civil war.
2016 Jun 18, Colombian
authorities said that farmer Jaime Ivan Martinez (44), being
investigated for the disappearance of a woman, has confessed to
killing 20 people, including the missing person.
2016 Jun 22, The Colombian
government and leftist FARC rebels announced that they have reached
a deal on a bilateral cease-fire that would be the last major step
toward ending one of the world's longest wars.
2016 Jun 23, In Cuba FARC
leader Timoleón Jiménez signed a cease-fire pact with Colombian
president Juan Manuel Santos, seen as a final step before sealing a
permanent peace and disarmament deal in coming months.
2016 Jun 30, Colombian, Italian
and US police seized 11 tons of cocaine and arrested 33 people today
and over the last few days from a mafia-linked ring which refined
the drug in the jungles of Colombia and smuggled it out in
containers of tropical fruits.
2016 Jul 25, Colombia’s Health
Ministry said the number of cases of the virus have been falling
steadily to as few as 600 per week compared to more than 10 times
that amount at the outbreak's peak in February.
2016 Aug 13, Thousands of
Venezuelans were welcomed to Colombia by a military band early today
as the two countries' borders were officially reopened after being
closed by Venezuela a year ago.
2016 Aug 24, Colombia's
government and Marxist FARC rebels reached a final peace deal in
Havana to end a five-decade war which once took the resource-rich
country to the brink of collapse. It will now go to a plebiscite
vote on October 2.
2016 Aug 26, In Colombia a
judge ordered the arrest of the top ELN leaders for crimes that
include their role in the destruction of oil pipelines. ELN rebels
have yet to meet the government's precondition for peace talks of
releasing all of their hostages and stop all kidnapping.
2016 Aug 29, In Colombia a
ceasefire between the FARC and the government went into effect,
ending 52 years of warfare.
2016 Sep 17, Colombia's Marxist
FARC rebels said they will continue their fight for social justice
under a peace deal with the government at the opening of the group's
final congress as an armed group.
2016 Sep 26, Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos and Marxist rebel leader Timochenko
signed an agreement ending a half-century war that killed a quarter
of a million people and made their nation a byword for violence.
2016 Sep 30, Authorities in
Colombia said a nationwide police raid has nabbed 238 suspected
narcotics dealers and hitmen and dismantled 15 criminal gangs
suspected of enlisting minors and homeless people to sell illegal
2016 Oct 1, Hurricane Matthew
drenched coastal Colombia and moved on a course that threatened
Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba.
(SSFC, 10/2/16, p.A6)
2016 Oct 2, Colombians voted in
a referendum on whether to ratify a historic peace accord to end a
52-year war between the state and the communist FARC rebels. With
more than 99.9 percent of votes counted Colombians voted 50.21
percent to 49.78 percent against the accord.
(AFP, 10/2/16)(AP, 10/3/16)
2016 Oct 7, Colombian President
Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts
to help end the long-running conflict in his country. The Colombian
government and FARC rebels said they have agreed to discuss
"adjustments" to a contested peace deal and continue a bilateral
(AP, 10/7/16)(AFP, 10/7/16)
2016 Nov 12, Colombia’s
government and FARC leaders came up with a revised agreement for the
rebels to disarm.
(Econ, 11/19/16, p.30)
2016 Nov 13, In Colombia two
fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) died
in a clash with the army. Rebels later cast doubt on whether
fighting had taken place.
2016 Nov 17, Argentina
extradited suspected Colombian drug boss Henry Lopez Londono (45) to
the United States to face cocaine trafficking charges. The leader of
the "Urabenos" gang was arrested on the outskirts of Buenos Aires in
2016 Nov 24, Colombia's
President Juan Manuel Santos signed, for the second time in under
two months, a historic peace accord with leftist rebels. The accord
will be sent to congress where a solid pro-peace majority is
expected to easily ratify it in the coming days. After that, the
FARC's 8,000-some fighters will begin concentrating in rural areas
where they will turn over their weapons to United Nations-sponsored
monitors over the next six months.
2016 Nov 28, In Colombia a
plane carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense team soccer team crashed killing
71 people. Six survivors suffered severe trauma injuries. 21
journalists were among the 77 people onboard the British Aerospace
146. The Bolivian plane ran out of fuel moments before slamming into
the Andes mountains.
(AP, 11/29/16)(AP, 11/30/16)(SFC, 12/2/16, p.A2)
2016 Nov 30, Colombia’s lower
house voted unanimously in favor of a revised peace deal with the
2016 Dec 1, The Bolivian Civil
Aviation Authority indefinitely suspended permission for LaMia
airline to operate following the deadly crash of one its charter
planes in Colombia.
2016 Dec 10, In Sweden
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos accepted the Nobel Peace
Prize, saying it helped his country achieve the "impossible dream"
of ending a half-century-long civil war.
2016 Dec 13, Colombia's FARC
rebels said they have expelled five commanders for refusing to
demobilize and join a peace process with the government aimed at
ending more than five decades of war.
2016 Dec 16, At the Vatican
Pope Francis brought Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and his
main political opponent right-wing predecessor, Alvaro Uribe,
together to discuss the country's rebel peace deal.
2016 Dec 28, Colombia's
Congress passed a law granting amnesty to Marxist FARC rebels as
part of the country's peace deal.
2016 Dec 31, Colombia's
National Liberation Army, which has been fighting the government for
more than five decades, freed businessman Octavio Figueroa. He had
been held since March.
2016 Colombia’s cocaine output
reached an all-time high of 710 tons this year.
(Econ, 3/25/17, p.28)
2016 The population of Colombia
was about 48 million.
(Econ, 8/27/16, p.23)
2017 Jan 27, Colombian rebel
leader Pastor Alape warned that criminal gangs are attempting to
take over coca-growing regions being abandoned by the guerrillas to
expand cultivation of the plant used to make cocaine.
2017 Jan 29, An American
Airlines flight arrived in Miami from Bogota, Colombia. It was
flagged for maintenance and sent to Tulsa where seven bricks of
cocaine were found in the nose gear.
(SFC, 1/31/17, p.A5)
2017 Jan 31, Colombian FARC
rebels gathered in demobilization zones to start a historic
disarmament process to end Latin America's last major armed
2017 Feb 3, Colombia’s police
said they have arrested a teenager nicknamed “Frijolito" (17)
accused of carrying out more than 30 killings. He was picked up last
week after a four-month manhunt.
(http://tinyurl.com/gnc4u8q)(SSFC, 2/5/17, p.A4)
2017 Feb 7, Colombia opens
peace talks with its last active rebel group, the ELN, seeking to
replicate its historic accord with the FARC guerrillas and deliver
"complete peace" after 53 years of war.
2017 Feb 8, Colombia's chief
prosecutor said that suspicions of illegal campaign contributions to
President Juan Manuel Santos are based on testimony of a rancher
Otto Bula, connected to the leader's opponents, who has been jailed
for allegedly channeling bribes on behalf of the Brazilian Odebrecht
2017 Feb 19, In Colombia a
bombing in Bogota killed a police officer and seriously wounded
several others. ELN rebels later claimed responsibility.
2017 Feb 28, Chinese
authorities said that Ismael Arciniegas (72), a retired Colombian
journalist, was killed by lethal injection after a last-ditch
diplomatic effort by Colombia to save his life failed. He was
arrested in 2010 trying to smuggle four kg of cocaine into China in
exchange for $5,000.
2017 Mar 1, Colombia's FARC
rebels begin disarming under a historic peace deal, beginning the
delicate transition from guerrilla army to political party after
more than half a century at war.
2017 Mar 3, Colombia’s human
rights watchdog said a total of 120 civil leaders have been killed
in Colombia in the past 14 months.
2017 Mar 4, Spanish police
arrested 24 members of a Colombian drug ring seeking to establish a
network for the wholesale distribution of cocaine.
2017 Mar 8, The UN warned that
fighting in Colombia in recent weeks has displaced some 913 families
in areas formerly dominated by leftist rebels in four provinces
along the Pacific Ocean.
(SFC, 3/9/17, p.A2)
2017 Mar 14, The former
campaign manager for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
acknowledged for the first time that Odebrecht, a scandal-tarred
Brazilian construction company, illegally paid costs related to
Santos’ 2010 campaign.
2017 Mar 20, Some 60 Venezuelan
soldiers crossed the border into Colombia and raised their national
flag in a camp they set up. They withdrew on March 23 after Pres.
Juan Manuel Santos called his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro
2017 Mar 31, In southern
Colombia mudslides late today claimed at least 16 lives and injured
some 65 people following recent torrential rains. The mudslides were
caused by the rise of the Mocoa River and three tributaries. On
April 7 Colombian officials formally abandoned the search for
survivors as the death toll stood at 314.
(AFP, 4/1/17)(AP, 4/2/17)(AFP, 4/5/17)(AP,
2017 Apr 8, In Colombia a
soldier was killed late today by an explosive device attributed to a
dissident wing of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The 1st Front of the FARC is heavily involved in drug trafficking
and illegal mining and has opposed a peace accord reached last year
with the FARC.
2017 Apr 19, In Colombia at
least 11 people were killed after intense overnight rains provoked
several landslides in Manizales. About 20 people remained missing in
the mountainous, coffee-growing region.
2017 Apr, Colombia’s
constitutional court ruled that Venezuelan sex workers are entitled
to work visas.
(Econ 7/22/17, p.28)
2017 Apr, In Colombia Arsen
Voskanyan, a Russian-Armenian citizen held hostage for six months by
the ELN, was killed while trying to escape. The admission was made
public in September and risked throwing current peace talks with the
government into jeopardy.
2017 Apr, In Colombia two FARC
guerrillas and five relatives of FARC members were murdered in four
(Econ 5/20/17, p.28)
2017 May 3, In Colombia UN
official Arley Lopez, a member of a team working on a project to
substitute illegal crops with legal ones, was kidnapped by dissident
former FARC rebels who have rejected the peace process. On July 5
the government announced that Lopez has been released.
(Reuters, 5/4/17)(Reuters, 7/5/17)
2017 May 17, In Colombia two
explosions at a shipyard in Cartagena killed four people and injured
(SFC, 5/18/17, p.A2)
2017 May, Colombian criminal
gangs killed 11 officers this month, mostly in gang-dominated
regions. The Gulf Clan has distributed leaflets that call for
killing police. Police intelligence officials say the gang members
are offering would-be assassins up to $600 per death — nearly triple
the nation's monthly minimum wage.
2017 Jun 7, Greek authorities
said Colombian organized crime rings were behind a string of heists
involving costly medical diagnostic equipment stolen from hospitals
in Greece and another 11 European countries. Police said three
suspects are being sought in Colombia in connection with four thefts
in Greece last month.
2017 Jun 15, Colombia's Marxist
FARC rebels pledged to honor its commitment to completely disarm by
June 20 after a UN monitoring mission said it had received fewer
weapons than expected.
2017 Jun 17, In Colombia a
homemade bomb placed rocked a busy mall in Bogota filled with
Father's Day shoppers, killing three people, including a French
woman (25), and wounding nine others.
2017 Jun 23, Colombia's FARC
rebels completed their historic disarmament.
2017 Jun 23, In central
Colombia an explosion at an illegal coal mine killed at least eight
people, as rescuers scrambled to find five others still missing.
2017 Jun 25, In north-central
Colombia the El Almirante tourist boat sank in the Penol-Guatape
reservoir, killing at least nine people.
(AP, 6/26/17)(SFC, 6/27/17, p.A3)(AP, 6/29/17)
2017 Jun 26, The UN certified
that all FARC individual firearms and weapons, except for a small
number needed to safeguard the soon-to-disband camps, have been
2017 Jul 28, In central
Colombia six people were killed after an explosion at an illegal
gold mine in the Buritica municipality, Antioquia province.
2017 Aug 15, In Colombia UN
observers removed the last of more than 8,000 guns once carried by
(SFC, 8/1617, p.A2)
2017 Aug 24, Colombia’s Caracol
Television said President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government has
pulled its channel from Venezuela's airwaves, slamming the move as a
crackdown on media. The signal for RCN was also pulled.
(Reuters, 8/24/17)(SSFC, 8/27/17, p.A5)
2017 Aug 27, Colombia's leftist
FARC rebel group debuted its political party at a conference, a key
step in its transition into a civilian organization after more than
50 years of war. A six-day meeting in Bogota of FARC members is
expected to conclude September 1 with a platform that the party,
still officially un-named, will campaign on in elections next year.
2017 Aug 31, Colombian security
forces killed Roberto Vargas, one of its most-wanted drug fugitives,
along with a dozen gunmen as they watched a soccer match. He was the
alleged No. 2 leader of the Golf clan, a ruthless criminal network
that arose from disbanded right-wing paramilitary groups to become
the nation's largest drug-trafficking organization.
2017 Sep 1, In Colombia
thousands members and supporters of FARC gathered in the central
square of Bogota to hail the launch of its new political party.
(Econ, 9/9/17, p.32)
2017 Sep 4, Colombian President
Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that the government has agreed to a
bilateral ceasefire with the ELN rebel group that will last 102 days
after months of talks in the Ecuadoran capital Quito.
(Reuters, 9/4/17)(AFP, 9/4/17)
2017 Sep 6, Pope Francis
arrived in Colombia with a message of unity for a nation deeply
divided by a peace deal that ended a five-decade war with Marxist
FARC rebels but left many victims of the bloodshed wary of the
national healing process.
2017 Sep 10, In Colombia Pope
Francis wrapped up his visit with a deeply personal final day
honoring St. Peter Claver, a 17th century fellow Jesuit, who
ministered to thousands of African slaves who passed through
Cartagena during Spanish colonial times.
2017 Sep 13, US President
Donald Trump threatened to decertify Colombia as a partner in the
war against drugs unless the South American nation reverses a record
surge in cocaine production.
2017 May 27, Charles Chen
Yidan, Chinese tech entrepreneur, announced the launch of the Yidan
Prize with the mission to create a better world through education.
The first two winners, announced in September, included Carol Dweck
of Stanford and Vicky Colbert of the Fundacion Escuela Nueva in
(http://www.yidanprize.org/en/tp-the-founder.php)(SFC, 9/20/17 p.D3)
2017 Oct 1, Colombia and the
Marxist ELN rebels began a ceasefire aimed at generating goodwill
during complicated talks to end a half-century war that has killed
hundreds of thousands.
2017 Nov 15, Colombia’s Senate
backed a law to regulate transitional justice under the country's
peace deal with Marxist FARC rebels, including special tribunals
that will try guerrilla leaders for war crimes.
2017 Nov 17, Colombian
authorities said Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma (62),
who was detained in 2015 on allegations of coup-plotting but had
been under house arrest in Caracas, has fled over the border to
2017 Dec 12, California and
Washington state joined five nations (Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica,
Colombia and Chile) on the Pacific coast of the Americas to agree to
step up the use of a price on carbon dioxide emissions as a central
economic policy to slow climate change.
2017 Dec 30, Colombia said it
has shipped around 55 tons of ham to Venezuela after protests broke
out over shortages of the traditional holiday staple.
2017 In Colombia 84 human
rights activists were killed this year. The UN said they were
targeted by drug traffickers, right wing death squads and smaller
rebel groups following the 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary
Forces of Colombia (FARC).
(SSFC, 3/18/18, p.A4)
2018 Jan 10, Colombia's Marxist
ELN rebels resumed attacks on oil installations and the armed
forces, just hours after the expiration of a ceasefire with the
government that had reduced the intensity of the conflict. Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos announced that he had suspended peace
talks with National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels in response to what
he said were guerrilla attacks earlier today.
(Reuters, 1/10/18)(AFP, 1/10/18)
2018 Jan 25, Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos said his country will not recognize the
validity or the result of forthcoming presidential elections in
neighboring Venezuela, adding he expected other countries would
share the view that the vote is illegitimate.
2018 Jan 27, In Colombia at
least three police officers were killed and 14 wounded by an early
morning bomb attack outside a police station in Barranquilla. Crime
gangs were blamed and one person was taken into custody.
2018 Jan 28, In Colombia
unidentified assailants attacked a police station with explosives in
the city of Barranquilla. Four police officers and a civilian were
injured in the latest attack.
2018 Jan 29, Colombia's defense
minister said ELN rebels are responsible for three bomb attacks
against police stations that killed seven and wounded dozens more
over the weekend.
2018 Feb 3, Colombia's
government opened its first shelter for Venezuelans who are pouring
across the border in ever-larger numbers to escape their nation's
2018 Feb 7, Colombia's ELN
rebel group said it would hold a three-day national blockade
beginning over the weekend to protest the government's suspension of
peace negotiations, and urged Colombians to avoid travel.
2018 Feb 7, London-based Aon
Securities said the World Bank has launched a $1.4 billion
catastrophe bond covering Latin American earthquakes, the largest
earthquake catastrophe bond on record. The multi-tranche bond would
provide earthquake relief for Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
2018 Feb 9, Colombia's former
FARC rebel group, now a political party, temporarily suspended its
presidential and legislative election campaigns due to security
concerns after angry protests disrupted their campaign stops.
Official figures showed that 51 FARC members have been killed since
the peace deal was signed in late 2016.
2018 Feb 18, The UN Commission
on Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said
violence by criminal gangs battling over drug trafficking areas has
displaced more than 800 people in northwestern Colombia.
2018 Feb 24, Colombia
extradited suspected drug chief Washington Edison Prado to the US.
Prado has been accused of shipping more than 250 tons of cocaine to
(SFC, 2/26/18, p.A2)
2018 Feb 27, At least five
Colombian soldiers were killed and more than 10 wounded early in a
bomb attack by the Marxist ELN rebels near the border with
2018 Mar 11, Colombians went to
the polls to elect a new Congress with a resurgent right, bitterly
opposed to a peace deal that allows leftist former rebels to
participate, expected to poll strongly.
2018 Mar 12, Police in Colombia
arrested Raul Gutierrez, a Cuban man suspected of plotting to kill
American diplomats in the name of the Islamic State.
2018 Mar 20, In Colombia an
attack by guerrilla faction once linked to the FARC left three
soldiers dead in Esmeraldas province.
(SFC, 3/22/18, p.A2)
2018 Mar 20, The United States
said it would provide $2.5 million for food and medicine to help
Venezuelans fleeing their economically crippled country to
2018 Mar 23, Meeting in
Colombia the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported that mankind's
voracious consumption of biodiversity has unleashed the first mass
species die-off since the demise of the dinosaurs. Scientists issued
four regional reports on how well animal and plants are doing in the
Americas; Europe and Central Asia; Africa; and the Asia-Pacific
area, concluding that Earth is losing plants, animals and clean
water at a dramatic rate.
(AFP, 3/23/18)(AP, 3/23/18)
2018 Mar 26, In Ecuador three
journalists working for El Comercio were kidnapped and transported
to Colombia by a holdout faction of the FARC. On April 13 Pres.
Lenin Moreno confirmed that the three journalists had been killed.
On June 21 their bodies were found in a restless border region of
(SFC, 3/28/18, p.A2)(SFC, 4/14/18, p.A2)(AP,
2018 Apr 20, Bolivian Foreign
Minister Fernando Huanacuni said that Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Paraguay and Peru had decided to temporarily leave the
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), given differences over
choosing the secretary general of the group. UNASUR was promoted by
late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana,
Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela remained in the bloc.
2018 Apr 23, The Goldman
Environmental Prize was awarded to seven recipients at the San
Francisco War Memorial Opera House. The honors went to: LeeAnne
Walter for exposing the 2015 water crisis in Flint, Mich.; Manny
Calonzo of the Philippines for helping to persuade the government to
ban lead paint; Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid of South Africa for
exposing a secret government deal with Russia that would have
increased their country's nuclear power production; Francia Marquez
of Colombia whose work helped end water pollution form illegal gold
mining in her hometown; Claire Nouvian of France for her public
awareness campaign against a supermarket chain that relied on
deep-sea bottom trawling for catching fish; and Khanh Nguy Thi of
Vietnam for her work to stop the expansion of coal-fired power
plants and helping her country chart a plan for sustainable energy
(SFC, 4/23/18, p.C3)
2018 May 25, Colombia's
President Juan Manuel Santos said that his country's entry into the
NATO military alliance's global partnership program will take place
next week in Brussels.
2018 May 25, Colombia's chief
prosecutor's office said that Jhon Jairo Velasquez, a former hit man
for the late drug lord Pablo Escobar, has been re-arrested in
Medellin. Velasquez, known by his nickname Popeye, was paroled in
2014 after confessing to hundreds of murders and spending 22 years
in jail for plotting the assassination of a former Colombian
2018 May 27, Colombia held
presidential elections. Conservative front-runner Ivan Duque has
vowed to rewrite an accord he sees as too lenient on the FARC. His
main challenger Gustavo Petro, a leftist former Bogota mayor, backed
the deal. A runoff on June 17 was likely.
2018 Jun 15, The Colombian
government and the ELN guerrilla group ended their fifth round of
peace talks in Havana without reaching an agreement for a bilateral
ceasefire, but vowed to continue their dialogue.
2018 Jun 17, Colombians voted
in a deeply divisive presidential runoff with one candidate wanting
to alter a fragile peace deal and the other promising to overhaul
the economic model. Ivan Duque (41), a conservative protege of
powerful ex-president Alvaro Uribe, defeated former guerrilla
fighter Gustavo Petro.
(Reuters, 6/17/18)(AP, 6/17/18)(SFC, 6/18/18,
2018 Jun 21, In Colombia the
bodies of three kidnapped Ecuadorean press workers were found killed
in a restless border region. The journalists of Ecuador's El
Comerico newspaper were kidnapped in Ecuador on March 26 and
murdered in Colombia.
2018 Jul 4, Colombia's
ombudsman said a human rights activist has been killed every three
days since January 2016 despite the peace accord signed with FARC
2018 Jul 6, Thousands of
Colombians gathered in cities across the country this evening to
demand an end to a wave of activist killings that threatens to
undermine a fragile peace process.
2018 Jul 10, The UN said at
least 16,000 people have been displaced from their homes by armed
conflict in the border region between Colombia and Venezuela.
2018 Aug 10, Colombia's
state-run oil company Ecopetrol SA halted pumping on its Cano
Limon-Covenas pipeline because of a bomb attack late today. The
pipeline has been attacked nearly 60 times this year by the National
Liberation Army (ELN), the country's remaining active guerrilla
2018 Aug 16, It was reported
that Venezuela's opposition-run supreme court in exile in Colombia
has sentenced President Nicolas Maduro to 18 years in prison over
the infamous Odebrecht corruption scandal, a move dismissed by the
2018 Aug 26, Colombians voted
on seven anti-corruption measures in a referendum, including a
reduction in lawmakers' salaries and term limits for public posts,
as graft scandals continue to spark outrage. Colombians failed to
approve the rules that hardened punishment for corrupt officials.
(Reuters, 8/26/18)(AFP, 8/26/18)
2018 Aug 31, Colombian
authorities said that two former rebel leaders of the FARC
(Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) have abandoned their camps,
raising fears they could abandon a fragile peace process that ended
five decades of internal conflict.
2018 Aug 31, Colombian
prosecutors said that they have traced payments made by a local
Chiquita affiliate to a paramilitary group that operated in
Colombia's volatile Uraba region from 1996 to 2004. Some of the
money was allegedly used to buy hundreds of machine guns. 13
Chiquita Brands International employees were charged with aiding a
right-wing death squad that murdered hundreds of people.
2018 Aug, In Colombia three
victims associations delivered 2,000 documented cases of sexual
abuse during five decades of civil war to the Special Peace Tribunal
2018 Sep 5, In Colombia one
engineer of Canadian miner Continental Gold died and another was
wounded after they were shot at while traveling near the company's
2018 Sep 7, In Colombia ELN
guerrillas abducted a girl (15) from her home in Orupa, in the
jungle region of Choco.
2018 Sep 13, Colombian drug
kingpin Victor Hugo Cuellar-Silva was extradited from Colombia to
the US to face federal trafficking charges. Prosecutors said he was
a high-ranking member of the drug ring headed by Mexican fugitive
Angel Humberto Chavez-Gastelum, one of the most-wanted drug
traffickers in the world.
2018 Sep 19, A new UN report
indicated that Colombian coca cultivation increased 17 percent in
(SFC, 9/20/18, p.A2)
2018 Sep 20, In Colombia three
geologists of Canadian miner Continental Gold were killed in the
northern Antioquia province in an armed attack attributed to
dissident members of the former FARC rebel group. More than 1,200
former FARC fighters did not lay down their arms and instead founded
new groups dedicated largely to drug trafficking and illegal mining.
2018 Sep 24, ELN Marxist rebels
in Colombia said they will not suspend their insurgency until
President Ivan Duque names a new team of peace negotiators to
restart Cuban-hosted talks.
2018 Oct 18, The US Treasury
Department designated Pedro Luis Zuleta Noscue as a drug kingpin.
The Colombian man with ties to the South American country's largest
rebel group allegedly controls a narcotics trafficking corridor in
2018 Nov 2, The World Bank
reported that it will cost Colombia upward of $1 billion to tend to
the surge of Venezuelan migrants fleeing their nation's economic and
2018 Nov 23, Two Colombian
soldiers were killed and another two wounded along the country's
border with Venezuela in a bomb attack blamed by the military on
rebels from the National Liberation Army.
2018 Dec 3, UN official Michel
Forst called on the Colombian government to step up measures to
protect human rights defenders following an upsurge in the number
murdered since the signing of a peace agreement with former FARC
2018 Dec 7, Former Colombian
President Belisario Betancur (95) died in Bogota. He had attempted
to broker peace with leftist rebels during his 1982-1986
2018 Dec 17, Colombia's armed
forces rescued Melissa Martinez Garcia (34), a relative of late
Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez who won the 1982 Nobel Prize
for literature. She was seized at the end of August by a group of
armed men who intercepted her vehicle near the northern city of
Santa Marta. They demanded a ransom of $5 million for her release.
2018 Dec 17, Colombia's ELN
Marxist guerrilla group announced a Christmas ceasefire as peace
talks with the country's government have been on hold since August.
2018 Dec 17, In Colombia six
men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a rural area of
Mapiripan, southeastern Meta province, an area known for cocaine
2018 Dec 21, In Colombia Walter
Arizala, a former leftist rebel who terrorized residents of southern
Colombia after abandoning the country's peace process to plunge
headlong into drug trafficking, was killed during an operation after
a months-long, US-backed manhunt that followed the kidnapping and
murder of three Ecuadorian press workers in the turbulent border
2018 Dec 29, Colombian Foreign
Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in a video message that there
was intelligence indicating "credible" plans to target the
right-wing Pres. Ivan Duque, who took office in August. He said
three Venezuelans were arrested in recent days with "weapons of
2019 Jan 4, Colombia's
government said it has asked Venezuela to verify whether certain
members of the ELN rebel group are living in the country and to
detain them under Interpol red notices if they are.
2019 Jan 11, Thousands of
Colombians staged protests in several cities to demand the
resignation of the country's chief prosecutor. Nestor Humberto
Martinez is a key US ally in the war on drugs, but his critics at
home say he has withheld information that links local politicians
and business groups with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
2019 Jan 17, In Colombia at
least eight people were killed and another 10 injured in a car
bombing at a police academy in Bogota. Jose Aldemar Rojas (59)
rammed a 1993 Nissan loaded with 175 pounds of pentolite through a
checkpoint The death toll from the bombing soon rose to 21.
Authorities blamed Jose Aldemar Rojas (56), a longtime member of the
National Liberation Army (ELN).
(AP, 1/17/19)(AP, 1/18/19)(SFC, 1/18/19, p.A2)
2019 Jan 18, Colombian
authorities arrested Ricardo Carvajal for his alleged role in the
previous days car bombing. They said he showed up on intercepted
phone calls boasting of having participated in the attack. Pres.
Ivan Duque pressed Cuba to arrest 10 peace negotiators from the
National Liberation Army (ELN) for the car bombing that left 21 dead
and dozens more wounded.
(AP, 1/18/19)(SFC, 1/19/19, p.A2)(AP, 1/20/19)
2019 Jan 20, Thousands of
Colombians dressed in white poured into the streets to repudiate
terrorism after the Jan. 17 car bombing at a Bogota police academy
killed 21 people and left dozens more wounded.
2019 Feb 2, Colombia's armed
forces clashed with FARC dissident rebels, killing 10 from the group
that split from the 2016 peace process.
2019 Feb 8, Colombia's
migration office said it has canceled over 300 daily entrance passes
for Venezuelan politicians and their families who support Pres.
2019 Feb 13, President Donald
Trump hosted his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque at the White House
to discuss their campaign to pressure Venezuela's far left
president, Nicolas Maduro, from power.
2019 Feb 23, A convoy of trucks
carrying humanitarian aid for Venezuela left warehouses in Colombia
headed for the nearby border crossing, despite President Nicolas
Maduro's insistence they would not be allowed to cross. Opposition
leader Juan Guaido said a first aid shipment has entered Venezuela
from Brazil. Three members of the Venezuelan national guard deserted
their posts early today. Venezuelan troops blocking a border bridge
with Colombia fired tear gas to repel dozens of opposition lawmakers
and activists walking toward the frontier to receive humanitarian
aid from the Colombian side. At least two protesters were killed
near the Brazilian border. Two aid trucks went up in flames. Some 60
members of security forces defected into Colombia, but the National
Guard at the frontier crossings held firm.
(Reuters, 2/23/19)(AP, 2/23/19)(Reuters, 2/24/19)
2019 Feb 26, Colombian
immigration officials said over 320 mostly low-ranking soldiers fled
Venezuela in a span of four days.
2019 Feb 27, Human Rights Watch
denounced the government of Colombia for appointing at least nine
officers to key army positions despite credible evidence of
implicating them in serious human rights violations during the
country's long civil conflict.
(SFC, 2/28/19, p.A5)
2019 Mar 1, Colombian
authorities announced that Carlos Bermeo, a prosecutor with the
special peace tribunal, was detained along with a senator and two
other suspects for taking a $500,000 bribe in exchange for swaying a
controversial ruling over the extradition of Seuxis Hernandez, a
rebel peace negotiator, to the US on drug charges.
(SSFC, 3/3/19, p.A4)
2019 Mar 8, Colombia said it
will allow Venezuelans to cross the border using expired passports
in view of the difficulty of renewing travel documents in the
neighboring country in the midst of its economic crisis.
2019 Mar 9, In Colombia 14
people were killed in a DC-3 plane crash in Meta province.
2019 Mar 19, In Colombia former
Southampton and Portsmouth midfielder Jhon Viafara (40) was arrested
near Cali on a US drug warrant. A month ago, former national team
defender Diego Leon Osorio was convicted for distributing narcotics.
2019 Mar 22, In Chile a group
of South American presidents formed Prosur, a new regional bloc to
replace Unasur, founded in 2008. The new bloc included Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.
(SSFC, 3/24/19, p.A4)
2019 Mar 31, Police in
Colombia's second-largest city said they have arrested Thomas Renno
of California for allegedly offering cash over Facebook to girls as
young as 13 in exchange for sexual acts.
2019 Apr 12, In Colombia a
bombing damaged a section of the Trasandino pipeline. State-run
company Ecopetrol soon began investigating crude spillage from the
Cano Limon pipeline to determine if it was also caused by an attack.
2019 Apr 26, A special peace
tribunal in Colombia for the first time ordered the arrest of Hernan
Velasquez, a former FARC rebel, for failing to contribute to
reconciliation efforts mandated by the country's peace deal.
2019 May 10, In Colombia four
people died and 29 were injured, including 17 children, following an
explosion at a factory where gunpowder is handled in Bogota.
2019 May 17, In Colombia Jesus
Santrich (52), aka Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, a former left-wing
guerrilla leader wanted by the US for drug trafficking, was arrested
on his release from prison on an arrest warrant related to the
drug-trafficking investigation. He was suspected of participating in
the trafficking of 10 tons of cocaine to the US between June 2017
and April 2018, crucially after the peace accord was signed in
2019 May 30, Colombia's Supreme
Court ordered the "immediate release" of Jesus Santrich (52), a
former rebel leader accused of drug trafficking, and shot down
revisions to the country's peace accord in a double blow for
President Ivan Duque.
2019 Jun 5, The head of
Colombia's army, Gen. Nicacio Martínez, was promoted amid an outcry
over an order he issued that has stirred fears of a return to
serious human rights violations.
2019 Jun 7, Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro announced a partial opening of the
country's border with Colombia, which his government closed in
February as opposition leaders prepared an ultimately failed effort
to bring aid into the country.
2019 Jun 20, It was reported
that Marxist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia are
recruiting Venezuelan migrants to strengthen their ranks.
2019 Jun 27, The Organization
of American States (OAS) began two days of meetings in Medellin,
Colombia. Latin American leaders planned to seek to increase
pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and further isolate
the embattled leader.
2019 Jun 28, In Colombia
members of the Organization of American States (OAS) ended two days
of meetings without a clear plan for increasing pressure on
embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, despite a majority
vote to recognize a representative from the country's opposition.
Specialists affiliated with the OAS said Venezuelans fleeing their
nation's crisis should be granted refugee status.
(Reuters, 6/28/19)(SSFC, 6/30/19, p.A4)
2019 Jun 29, Venezuela's
government deported 59 Colombian citizens who had been "arbitrarily"
detained there almost three years ago.
2019 Jul 12, United Nations
Security Council ambassadors got a firsthand look at the challenges
of peace nearly three years into Colombia's historic accord with
leftist rebels as they visited with Pres. Ivan Duque, politicians
and former rebels at a time of mounting concern.
2019 Aug 2, The UN said illegal
coca plantations in Colombia reduced slightly in 2018 but the
country remains the world's biggest producer of the primary
ingredient in cocaine production.
2019 Aug 11, Two Colombian air
force members were killed when a cable hanging from a helicopter
snapped while they were performing a mid-air stunt at the Medellin
(SFC, 8/13/19, p.A2)
2019 Aug 22, Interpol issued a
red notice for Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, a fugitive Colombian
lawmaker and former FARC rebel commander who the United States wants
extradited for alleged conspiracy to export 10 tons of cocaine.
Colombian President Ivan Duque has said Hernandez may have fled to
2019 Aug 29, In Colombia a
group of former rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) said in a video posted overnight that it will launch
a new offensive, threatening to resume their five decades of armed
conflict in the South American nation. Colombia's peace tribunal
soon ordered the arrest of Luciano Marin and top allies, who
appeared in the video.
(Reuters, 8/29/19)(SFC, 8/31/19, p.A2)
2019 Sep 6, In Colombia leaders
of several South American nations gathered in Leticia to boost
protection for the Amazon region. Their meeting ended with little
concrete action. Since the start of the year some 95,500 fires have
hit Brazil, up 59% from a year earlier.
(SFC, 9/7/19, p.A4)
2019 Sep 10, Colombia
threatened to denounce Cuba at the UN unless it immediately turns
over two guerrilla commanders believed to be living on the communist
2019 Sep 21, Colombia's Pres.
Ivan Duque compared Nicolás Maduro to Serbian war criminal Slobodan
Milosevic as he went on a diplomatic offensive to corral the
Venezuelan socialist, warning that he would be making a "stupid"
mistake if he were to attack his US-backed neighbor.
2019 Sep 26, In Colombia Luis
Antonio Quintero (49), the top leader and founder of the Los Pelusos
crime gang, was killed in an operation led by the national police.
Quintero, known by his alias Pacora, was a former leftist rebel who
commanded some 440 gang members.
2019 Sep 30, Authorities in
Colombia doubled down on their claim that guerrilla troops are
operating in Venezuela with the support of President Nicolás Maduro
a week after similar allegations presented at the United Nations
were marred by erroneous photographs.
2019 Nov 21, In Colombia more
than 250,000 people marched to express growing discontent with
President Ivan Duque's government. Three people were killed in
events following marches across the country.
2019 Nov 22, In Colombia three
police officers were killed in a bomb blast late today at a police
station in the town of Santander de Quilichao, Cauca province, after
thousands gathered for renewed protests and sporadic looting erupted
in the capital Bogota. Pres. Ivan Duque ordered a curfew in Bogota
to contain ongoing clashes.
(Reuters, 11/22/19)(SSFC, 11/24/19, p.A4)
2019 Dec 4, Colombian unions
and student groups held a third national strike amid fraught talks
between protest leaders and the government over President Ivan
Duque's social and economic policies.
2019 In Colombia 107 human
rights defenders were killed this year despite a peace accord aimed
at improving conditions in poor, rural areas. The first two weeks of
2020 saw at least ten more activists killed.
(SFC, 1/15/20, p.A4)
2020 Jan 27, Venezuelan special
police detained a fugitive Colombian former senator who had
illegally crossed the border. Aida Merlano, a former Conservative
senator who was imprisoned last year for vote buying, made her
theatrical escape in October.
2020 Feb 6, In Colombia inmate
Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, aka Popeye, died. He had worked for
drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and said he participated in some 300
2020 Feb 10, Defense Minister
Carlos Holmes Trujillo said Colombia hopes this year to eradicate
130,000 hectares (321,237 acres) of coca, the base ingredient in
2020 Feb 14, It was reported
that the Howard G. buffett Foundation has committed to spending $200
million over the next few years to transform the impoverished
community of Tibu, Colombia, into a model of comprehensive state
(SFC, 2/14/20, p.A3)
2020 Feb 24, Colombia said it
will create a special military unit to protect its national parks
and step up operations against illegal armed groups who burn
vegetation to clear space to plant coca.
2020 Mar 17, In Florida
Colombian brothers Pedro Nel Rincon-Castillo (53) and Omar
Rincon-Castillo (50) were sentenced to about 20 years and 17-1/2
years, respectively, on cocaine-trafficking charges by a federal
judge in Fort Lauderdale.
2020 Mar 22, It was reported
that Colombian authorities were trying to quell riots in several
jails across the country amid fears that the coronavirus could
spread in overcrowded conditions. 23 prisoners died and another 83
were injured in a riot and attempted escape attempt at the La Modelo
jail in Bogota. Colombia has confirmed 231 cases of coronavirus.
(Bloomberg, 3/22/20)(SFC, 3/23/20, p.A2)
2020 Mar 24, It was reported
that death squads in Colombia are taking advantage of coronavirus
lockdowns to murder rural activists. The virus has now claimed three
lives in Colombia amid 277 confirmed cases.
(The Guardian, 3/24/20)
2020 Mar 26, Cliver Alcalá, a
retired Venezuelan army general indicted alongside Nicolás Maduro,
surrendered in Colombia and was flown with US Drug Enforcement
Administration agents to New York for arraignment.
2020 Mar 30, The National
Liberation Army (ELN), the largest active guerrilla group in
Colombia, said it will observe a unilateral cease-fire for one month
from April 1 in an effort to help stem the spread of coronavirus.
Colombia has reported 702 cases and 10 deaths of COVID-19.
2020 Apr 7, Colombia extended a
nationwide quarantine due to the coronavirus until April 27.
2020 Apr 17, It was reported
that Bogota, Colombia, has joined Panama this week in instituting a
gender-based virus protection measure designed to limit the number
of people in the streets. Men can leave the house for essentials on
odd-numbered days and women on even-numbered days. Exceptions were
made for people in critical industries.
(SFC, 4/17/20, p.A5)