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Venezuela Threatens to Cut US Oil Exports

Chavez says he'll cut off the oil if Colombia attacks

(Newser) - Hugo Chavez has again threatened to cut off Venezuela's oil exports to the US. The Venezuelan leader says he'll stop the flow of oil if his country is attacked by close US ally Colombia, the BBC reports. Chavez has cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia over accusations that Venezuela is...

Colombian Rebels Free Soldier Held for 12 Years

Man reunited with family after ordeal among Colombian rebels

(Newser) - A Colombian soldier held hostage for more than 12 years was freed by rebels yesterday and reunited with his family, ending an ordeal that prompted his father to hike halfway across the country wearing a symbolic chain around his neck to press for his son's release. Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo...

Al-Qaeda Linked to 'Air Cocaine' Network

Rogue trans-Atlantic aviation set-up sparks security fears

(Newser) - A rogue aviation network with links to al-Qaeda has security analysts seriously worried. The network, believed to consist of at least 10 aircraft, including several Boeing 727s, transports huge amounts of cocaine from South America to West African smugglers who slip it into Europe. Islamic militant groups in Africa reap...

Colombian Rebels Kill Governor

Kidnap victim Cuellar found with throat cut

(Newser) - A Colombian provincial governor snatched from his home Monday has been found dumped dead on a country road. Police believe leftist guerrillas cut Luis Francisco Cuellar's throat as they fled from security forces. Rebels dressed in military uniforms killed one policeman and wounded two others when they seized Cuellar from...

A Few Other Nobel Candidates

Tireless campaigners for human rights, long-suffering Chinese dissidents among those passed over

(Newser) - President Obama himself said he was not sure he deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Weekly Standard seems to agree. Mary Katherine Ham invites you to consider some of the luminaries who were passed over:
  • Sima Samar: A Afghan women’s rights activist who kept her schools—

Venezuela Arming FARC Rebels: Stolen Emails

(Newser) - Despite frequent denials by President Hugo Chavez, it seems Venezuela is still arming Colombian rebels on the sly, the New York Times reports. Computer files captured from FARC rebels reveal Venezuela's efforts to get them missiles, sniper rifles, radios, and Venezuelan identity cards. This after Chavez froze relations with Colombia...

As Guerrillas Flee, Bird Watchers Flock to Colombia

(Newser) - Colombia’s guerrilla forces have suffered major setbacks in recent years, and bird lovers are singing a happy tune, the Wall Street Journal reports. Last month saw the return of Steven Hilty, the man who literally wrote the book on Colombian bird watching, after a more than 20-year absence. Another...

FARC Captive Recalls Horror of Jungle Birth

Rojas gave birth in captivity, then had son taken away

(Newser) - Clara Rojas was one of many prisoners who endured the misery of the Colombian jungle during her 6 years as a hostage of the FARC. But in 2003 her ordeal became almost unbearable: She discovered she was pregnant by one of her captors. "I knew I could die,"...

For Afghan Success, Look to Colombia
 For Afghan Success, 
 Look to Colombia 

For Afghan Success, Look to Colombia

Countries face similar troubles—and Colombians know how to fix them

(Newser) - When President Obama reviewed US strategy in Afghanistan, the lessons of Iraq were key. But a better comparison might be Colombia, where parallels abound—and where the government has handled insurgents with a fair bit of success, writes Scott Wilson in the Washington Post. Both Afghanistan and Colombia have faced...

Fellow Hostages Rip Betancourt

(Newser) - Three Americans freed in a daring hostage rescue in Colombia last year were thrilled to  escape their FARC captors—and nearly as happy to be free of fellow hostage Ingrid Betancourt. In a new book, the Americans portray Betancourt as a self-centered and malicious prima donna, the New York Times...

FARC Tortures, Kills 17 Native Colombians

Paramilitary swooped into village, kidnapping pacifist tribesmen

(Newser) - The Colombian paramilitary that held Ingrid Betancourt hostage tortured and killed 17 indigenous people who they believed were aiding the government, human rights groups say. CNN reports that FARC members swept into a remote village in southwest Colombia and kidnapped the pacifist Awa Indians, including two minors. One young man...

FARC Defector Gets Asylum in France, $400K

Former rebel carried 8-year hostage out of the jungle

(Newser) - A commander who deserted Colombia's rebel group FARC has been offered $400,000 and asylum in France alongside Ingrid Betancourt, their former hostage. Wilson Bueno Largo fled the jungle in October after years in FARC, carrying a kidnapped congressman on his back. Bueno's defection from the group dealt a substantial...

Betancourt Back in Colombia for Anti-FARC Tour

Ex-hostage aims to disarm rebels; some see only her ambition

(Newser) - Former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt returned to Colombia yesterday to kick off a tour aimed at getting the rebels to disarm, AFP reports. "I am so very happy to be here," said Betancourt, who has received death threats from FARC and will keep her Colombia visit brief. She...

US Slaps Sanctions on Chavez Aides
US Slaps Sanctions on Chavez Aides

US Slaps Sanctions on Chavez Aides

3 charged with backing FARC drug runners, as tensions mount

(Newser) - Escalating the diplomatic crisis with Venezuela, the US has frozen the assets of three members of Hugo Chavez's inner circle it accuses of having links with drug-running Colombian rebels, the Wall Street Journal reports. The sanctions follow the expulsion by Venezuela and Bolivia of their US ambassadors—a move the...

Betancourt: Pope, Faith Saved Me
Betancourt: Pope, Faith Saved Me

Betancourt: Pope, Faith Saved Me

Ex-hostage thanks pontiff for support during 7-year captivity

(Newser) - Ingrid Betancourt realized her dreams today when she met privately with Pope Benedict, Reuters reports. The freed French-Colombian hostage says she was overcome with emotion after hearing the pope appeal for her release on the radio during her 7 years in captivity. The 46-year-old Catholic had never read the Bible—...

Red Cross Cries Foul Over Colombia Deception

Objects to symbol use in hostage rescue

(Newser) - The Red Cross chided the Colombian government today for its "deliberate misuse" of the Red Cross symbol during a mission to rescue hostages, the BBC reports. “If authenticated, these images would clearly establish an improper use of the Red Cross emblem, which we deplore,” a spokesman said...

1M-Plus March for Colombian Hostages

Cities across the globe show support for captives

(Newser) - More than a million people marched in Bogota, Columbia and other world capitals today demanding the freedom of captives held hostage by leftist rebels in the Columbian jungle, AFP reports. Recently liberated captive Ingrid Betancourt led chants of "No More hostages" in Paris on Columbia's independence day, as famous...

Does al-Qaeda Do the Fist-Bump?
 Does al-Qaeda
 Do the Fist-Bump? 

Does al-Qaeda Do the Fist-Bump?

Forget fist-jabbing, it's hugs that give terrorists away

(Newser) - Terrorists aren’t big on fist-jabbing or bumping—they’re all about kissing and hugging, writes Juliet Lapidos for Slate in the aftermath of the New Yorker's depiction of knuckle-knocking Obamas, a move referred to by Fox News as a “terrorist fist-jab.” Al-Qaeda members, she writes, are likely...

Freed US Hostages Bare Brutal Life With 'Animals'

Captives chained by the neck

(Newser) - Three freed American hostages who spent more than five years as captives of Colombian guerrillas paint a harrowing picture of their treatment in a CNN interview. Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes, rescued last week, spent much of their time in captivity chained by the neck, and were subjected...

Betancourt Bares 'Soul Hell' of Captivity

Death was her 'constant companion' in 6-year ordeal

(Newser) - Freed hostage Ingrid Betancourt lived in "soul hell" for years in captivity under a constant threat of death, she said in a riveting interview on CNN's Larry King Live. "I lived for nearly seven years with the awareness that death was my everyday companion," she said. "...

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