Capital: Bogotá • Currency: Colombian peso • President: Juan Manuel Santos • Population: 47.12 million (2013) World Bank • Country code: +57
April 04, 2017
Colombia Starts To Bury 273 Landslide Victims, Search Continues
Colombian soldiers evacuate the victims of a deadly avalanche that happened following heavy rains in Mocoa, Putumayo Colombia on April 01, 2017. At least 254 people lost their lives after three rivers in southern Colombia burst their banks early Saturday, creating an avalanche of mud and rocks that has devastated the city of Mocoa.
Scores of decomposing cadavers were being released for burial as rescuers continued to search for victims of weekend flooding and landslides.
Desperate families queued for blocks in the heat to search a morgue for loved ones who died when several rivers burst their banks in the early hours of Saturday, April 1 ,sending water, mud and debris crashing down streets and into houses as people slept.
Bodies wrapped in white sheets lay on the concrete floor of the morgue as officials sought to bury them as soon as possible to avoid the spread of disease. The government has begun vaccination against infection.
"Please speed up delivery of the bodies because they are decomposing," said Yadira Andrea Munoz, a 45-year-old housewife who expected to receive the remains of two relatives who died in the tragedy.
Many families in Mocoa have spent days and nights digging through the debris with their hands despite a lack of food, clean water and electricity.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who made a third visit to the area on Monday, April 03, blamed climate change for the disaster, saying Mocoa had received one-third of its usual monthly rain in just one night, causing the rivers to burst their banks.
March 29, 2017
Colombia Minister In Battle Over
Cajamarca Mining Ban
Colombia's Mining Minister German Arce has questioned whether the result of a referendum held in the town of Cajamarca, where 98% of residents voted against a major gold mining project, will prevail.
Locals fear it will damage the environment and pollute their water sources. La Colosa, in Central Colombia, has the potential to become South America's largest gold mine.
Mr Arce said the town's decision could not be applied retroactively.
The minister added that the South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti had already been issued an exploration licence, which would retain its validity.
Mr Arce also said that while the land was under the control of local authorities, any subterranean riches were under the control of the national government.
The minister said that if AngloGold Ashanti was awarded the environmental licence it needs to proceed with the project, the courts or Colombia's congress would have to decide whether the local or national authorities prevailed.
March 10, 2017
Colombia Still The World’s Number One Producer Of Cocaine
The news comes after clampdowns by the Colombian government which, for a while, seemed to put the brakes on the country’s narcotic output.
However, the US State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy March 2017 Report reveals the latest increase was the largest single-year spike on record.
The State Department report also notes that there “are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability” is increasing in the US for the first time in 10 years.
The Colombian government also reported seizing 421 metric tonnes of cocaine and cocaine base in 2016, which was 124 metric tonnes more than in 2015.
The shocking news harks back to the days of Pablo Escobar.
At the peak of his power, the infamous Medellín cartel boss brought in an estimated £300m a week in revenue making him one of the wealthiest drug lords in history. His cartel spent an estimated £2,000 a month on RUBBER BANDS just to hold stacks of bank notes together.
Nearly 16 months after his escape from La Catedral prison, Escobar died in a shootout on December 2, 1993
There are a few reasons for the surge in coca production, the report reveals. Rebels from the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reportedly encouraged farmers to plant more of the plant.
March 02, 2017
Barranquilla carnival celebrates
A spectacular carnival on the Caribbean coast of Colombia is under way with 1.5 million visitors expected over four days.
The Barranquilla celebration is claimed to be the second largest in the world and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage event.
Spanning more than two centuries, the carnival is a display of elaborate Caribbean customs and traditional dances.
But because of the negative reputation of Colombia during the decades-long conflict between the FARC rebels and government forces - as well as high crime rates - the carnival has only recently started to receive international attention.
February 21, 2017
Bomb Blast Hits Central Bogotá
An explosion Sunday near the Santamaria bullfighting ring in downtown Bogota, Colombia, injured at least 31 people, many of them policemen, according to reports. Details of the cause of the blast were not immediately available, but media images showed a police officer in a shredded uniform walking with support from his colleagues, as well as debris in the road, broken glass and damage to apartment buildings close by.
At least 10 police officers were hurt, according to the Bogota police press office. The stadium is located in the La Macarena neighborhood of the Colombian capital. It was not clear who was behind Sunday's blast. One focus of the investigation was the ELN, a left-wing guerilla group that recently started peace negotiations with the Colombian government after five decades of fighting.
About 1500 people are believed to still be active in the militant group.
Police chief Hoover Penilla said while the motive was still unclear, there was no connection to the bull running. Bullfighting has long been a contentious issue in Colombia. On one side are Colombians who say the events are art, part of the country's culture and tradition. Opponents call it animal abuse, and say they want the city-owned bullring to be converted into a space for cultural and educational events. The ban was lifted by the constitutional court which said it was part of the national heritage, prompting weekly clashes with police.
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