I am a Colombian digital journalist. I usually write for equinoXio digital magazine and used to carry The Colombia Herald, “one of the best examples of a “bridge blog”” David Sasaki “has ever seen” ;) Currently I'm trying to make some room on my busy schedule for Global Voices and for the recently started equinoXio english edition.
Latest posts by Carlos Raúl van der Weyden Velásquez
The ongoing conflict between Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and the Supreme Court continues with new twists, including some leaked information regarding a meeting at the Presidential residence. Colombian bloggers take sides and wonder whether the conflict is an attempt to discredit other branches of government.
Colombian bloggers praise the government for the military operation that rescued 15 hostages held by the FARC, all without a single shot being fired. This has proven to be yet another blow to the guerrilla group. Others analyze the media coverage provided to the event saying that Betancourt's rescue overshadowed the other 14 hostages.
After countless false claims of the death of the FARC's top leader Manuel Marulanda Vélez aka "Sureshot," the Colombian government confirmed that he passed away in March of natural causes. Colombian bloggers were quick to react and provide their thoughts on what this means for the future of the guerrilla group, the future presidential elections, and Sureshot's legacy.
The laptops found in the FARC guerrilla camps were sent to Interpol for independent analysis. The findings, which were leaked to the press, reveal some disturbing ties to foreign governments and some Colombian politicians. However, some Colombian bloggers think that the leaked information has become too political in nature and that one should not necessarily jump to conclusions based on the leaked information.
In Colombia, 14 demobilized paramilitary bosses were recently extradited to the United States to face charges of drug trafficking. Bloggers in Colombia discuss how this might affect the current political situation in the country and how much the jailed individuals might reveal now that they have very little incentive to keep silent.
Many Colombians believe that if charismatic Colombian Liberal Party leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán had not been shot and killed on April 9, 1948, he would have become President of Colombia in 1950, and maybe the fate of this troubled South American country would have been quite different. Colombian bloggers remember the man and observe some of the commemorative events in the capital, Bogotá.
Shortly after the death of FARC leader Raúl Reyes, it was revealed that another high ranking member of the guerrilla forces, Iván Ríos was also killed. It was assumed that the Colombian army also was responsible, but Ríos' bodyguard carried out the killing and sought to claim the reward promised by the government. Colombian bloggers present arguments for and against these rewards. Some are pleased that another criminal has been eliminated, while others think that this reward should only serve for tip-offs and that any criminal should be tried in court.
Reactions continue to emerge regarding the February 4 demonstration against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, for its initials in Spanish). Many bloggers provide their thoughs on why they did or did not march, and the various political interests in play.
Colombia recently held local elections, which were marked by campaign violence. They were also characterized by the influence by current president Álvaro Uribe, who still enjoys considerable popularity around the country. However, Colombian bloggers select their winners and losers beyond the vote counts.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is facing an investigation by the country's Supreme Court following accusations that he ordered the killing of a paramilitary warlord sparking a controversy between the head of state and the top judicial court. Colombian bloggers react to public opinions and the way that Uribe is publicly handling the allegations. The Colombian media is the target of attention from the blogosphere.
A prank was recently played on the entire city of Bogota, in which an individual called several companies indicating that a massive earthquake to strike the capital city. The false alarm sent many scurrying for safety and left the phone lines of the local seismology center at the point of collapse. Some Colombian bloggers and forum members provided the reminder that earthquakes cannot be predicted and lamented the fact that many Bogotans were unprepared in the event of a real emergency.
Pablo Emilio Moncayo was kidnapped by FARC guerrillas in December of 1997. His father, schoolteacher Gustavo Moncayo, decided to walk with his daughter from his hometown to Bogotá to seek a "humanitarian exchange", or a prisoner swap of around 50 kidnapped individuals, including his son. Moncayo entered Bogotá on Wednesday, August 1, where he later met with President Alvaro Uribe. The events that transpired caused many reactions from Colombian bloggers, many of whom felt empathy for Moncayo's plight and humanity.
Following the death of 11 deputies, who were kidnapped by the FARC, Colombians took to the streets to demand the release of the remaining hostages. Several Colombian bloggers were present at the march and they provide firsthand accounts. Others write about the impact of such a show of solidarity and whether this may be the end of apathy.
Colombians awoke on the morning of June 28 to the news that 11 of 12 kidnapped deputies had been killed. The word from the FARC rebel group was that they were caught in the crossfire when the Colombian army staged a rescue attempt, however, many bloggers do not buy their explanation, as contempt for this group continues to grow and grow.
Colombian bloggers react to the testimony provided by paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso, in which he implicated many of the Colombian powerful and elite. Some think he should not be believed, while others would rather give him the benefit of the doubt, as the revelations could be a first step in finding who is responsible.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez started a three-day visit to Washington, seeking support for Plan Colombia and the US Congress' approval of the Free Trade Agreement. Instead of he was met with protestors accusing him of links to paramilitary forces responsible for the death of unionists. Some bloggers criticized the Colombian media for "covering up" the president's poor week.
Colombian bloggers react to a special section in the El Tiempo newspaper devoted to gruesome accounts of human rights abuse at the hands of paramilitary forces. [ Warning: The article contains graphic descriptions of violence and human rights abuse ]
Yesterday finally the long awaited “debate” on paramilitarism in Antioquia department, where President Álvaro Uribe was born and was Governor from 1995 to 1997, was held at the Colombian congress. There was a lot of interest on the topic, because opposition senator and former M-19 guerrilla leader Gustavo Petro had said he would reveal a list of 2,000 figures allegedly involved with paramilitarism.