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The Deterioration Of Security In Colombia Brings The Duque Government To The Brink Of A Political Crisis


Two years after the arrival of Iván Duque to the presidency of Colombia , the constant assassinations of social leaders, the massacres and now the denunciations of abuses by the Loved Forces of civilians have the Executive on the brink of a political crisis. The president won the elections thanks also to the security flag that his party, the Democratic Center, founded by former president Álvaro Uribe. His strategy, however, has failed.

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo was summoned by a dozen senators to give explanations for the more than 60 massacres that have taken place so far this year. Meanwhile, the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, has criticized the government’s lack of empathy with the victims of police violence and the Supreme Court of Justice ordered Duque’s cabinet to offer an apology for the excesses of the Police during the social mobilizations of 2019.

The controversy escalated after the minister’s elusive response to the court’s order . Trujillo said that “the Public Force, in particular the Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad), does not institutionally incur excesses” and that, if there were any, they correspond to “individual actions.”

His words were interpreted by different political sectors as contempt. Now, in addition to the debate over the killings, a group of congressmen are promoting a motion of censure against him to force his resignation and the opposition wants to return to the streets.

The environment of insecurity extends to political leaders. On Wednesday night, the bodyguards of the former leftist senator Piedad Córdoba were attacked with bullets and she announced that she fears for her life. The Government has insisted that behind the September protests in Bogotáthere are the National Liberation Army (ELN), the dissidents of the extinct FARC guerrilla and other criminal organizations that “threaten Colombian society taking advantage of the protection of the dictatorial regime of [Nicolás] Maduro.”

But that version does not convince analysts or political leaders such as the mayor of Bogotá, who has publicly confronted Minister Trujillo. “Does the defense minister candidate recognize that as a result of his incompetence, he gave the ELN and FARC dissidents re-entry to the cities? Do you recognize that you failed as Defense Minister? By chance, did you only realize your failure along with the systematic police abuse? ”López replied on Twitter, referring to his presidential aspirations.

“There is an undoubted deterioration in security, the Government is cornered by police violence and its response is to show the flag of fear to make itself indispensable for the next elections,” explains analyst Ariel Ávila, deputy director of the Fundación Paz y Reconciliacion (Pairs). The reappearance of Márquez Added to the complexity of the panorama is the reappearance of the FARC dissidents and former peace agreement negotiators, Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich, who represent a minority group that departed from the peace accords that are now four years old. . After a year of the launch of the so-called Nueva Marquetalia, this dissident group reappeared with a statement requesting the resignation of President Duque.

The image of Márquez, Santrich and Hernán Darío Velásquez Saldarriaga, alias El Paisa,with long weapons and new uniforms with some bushes behind them caused outrage in the citizens. “The statement of the members of the self-proclaimed Nueva Marquetalia, with their threatening weapons, is cynical and offensive. They betrayed the peace agreement, their 13,000 comrades who are meeting today, and the country.

They must be persecuted with the entire military force of the state, “said Juan Fernando Cristo, former Interior Minister of the Government of Juan Manuel Santos. However, according to a report by the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, despite the fact that in the last two years the post-FARC or dissidents groups, as well as the ELN and the so-called Organized Armed Groups “have almost doubled their territorial armed presence” , analysts consider that the Nueva Marquetalia is the least strong. “It is the one that causes the most media and political impact because its members were negotiators, but it is the one with the least power,” Avila adds.

Authorities believe their commanders are on the Venezuelan side of the border. According to Pares, the FARC dissidents are 28 groups divided into three isolated sectors: a group made up of alias Gentil Duarte , which operates in Putumayo and Vichada; another of the so-called isolated groups, such as the Oliver Sinisterra and the Contadores groups, located in Nariño, in the south of the country, and dedicated to drug trafficking; and the dissent of the Nueva Marquetalia, which has not been successful, according to analysts, in wanting to unite these factions.

On the other hand, there is the National Liberation Army, the last active guerrilla in Colombia, which according to this report “went from being in 99 municipalities to more than 160 in 2020”; and the Clan del Golfo, a neo-paramilitary group that “currently operates in more than 200 municipalities.”

All are financed by drug trafficking. The Government has not yet provided detailed information on the dimension of the presence of these groups, but the debates in Congress will be the opportunity to learn about the magnitude of the deterioration of security in the Andean country.

“We want the minister to tell us what is happening with security, why it has gotten out of hand; and on the other hand, what is happening with the armed forces, why are you acting so erratically and shot 10 people in Bogota , “he told the program Week Live and l Congressman Party of the U Roy Barreras, one of the speakers of the debates.

Death Sentences In The United States Drop To Lowest Level Since 1976


The death penalty continues its decline in the United States due to a combination of court decisions and logistical problems. The Justice imposed in 2016 the lowest number of death sentences in the modern era, since in 1976 the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment. Twenty people have been executed this year, the lowest number since 1991. But that data hardly alters the sentiment of the street: three states (California, Nebraska and Oklahoma) supported capital punishment in citizen votes in November.

Although citizen support has declined in recent years, there are still more supporters (49%) of executions than those who oppose them (42%), according to a Pew Research survey. Still, it’s the first year in 45 that support is less than 50%.

The social gap is visible in politics. The outgoing US president, Democrat Barack Obama, supports the death penalty in extreme cases; the entrant, Republican Donald Trump , supports it without nuances. While some states in November appointed prosecutors who oppose the executions, others did the opposite.

In the DPIC they are optimistic. “The United States is in the midst of a big change regarding capital punishment. Although there may be occasional adjustments and backsliding, the long-term trend remains clear, ” writes Robert Dunham, the center’s executive director , in the report. “Every year the public is more uncomfortable with the death penalty.”

The organization estimates that some 30 people will have been sentenced to death this year, 39% less than the previous year. And it highlights that, for the first time in more than 40 years, no state imposed ten or more death sentences. Only five states have imposed more than one.

The 20 executions in 2016 represent a decrease of more than 25% compared to the previous year. Only five states legally killed prisoners, the lowest number since 1983.

One of the factors behind the decline is legal changes in some states. The Supreme Court ruled illegal practices that disproportionately promoted the death penalty in Arizona, Oklahoma and Florida, where for example a judge could override the judgment of a jury.

Also contributing to the decline is the difficulty of accessing substances used in lethal injections as a result of the growing boycott of European and American pharmaceutical companies. The 32 states that allow the death penalty have been forced in recent years to turn to drugs in alternative markets or abroad to carry out executions.

But that lockdown also leads to unwanted consequences. In the absence of drugs, states experiment with new substances to kill. Two weeks ago, a prisoner was dying for 13 minutes during his execution in Alabama when a sedative that had already caused seizures in 2014 was given to an inmate in Oklahoma.

Precisely, the citizens of Oklahoma approved in a referendum in November, with 66% of votes in favor, an amendment that allows the State to use drugs in lethal injections that have not been authorized by the Supreme Court due to the fear that the Justice could consider unconstitutional the new substances currently used.

Kuwait Executes A Member Of Its Royal Family For The First Time


Kuwait executed for the first time this Wednesday a member of the ruling royal family, along with six other inmates, the Public Prosecutor’s Office reported . Sheikh Faisal Abdullah al Sabah was convicted in mid-2011 for killing another prince in a dispute the previous year. They are the first death sentences since 2013, when the emirate dropped a six-year moratorium.

According to local press accounts, Sheikh Faisal, then a captain in the Kuwaiti Army, shot his nephew, Sheikh Basil Salem al Sabah, during a visit to him at Masilah Palace without the cause will be revealed. Basil was the nephew of the former emir, Sheikh Sabah (who ruled from 1965 to 1977), but he had no official position and the authorities ruled out political motives. Faisal was arrested and sentenced to death; the sentence was ratified in 2013.

Even so, his execution was a surprise. On a previous occasion when the courts have convicted a member of the royal family, the emir has commuted the sentence. The Al Sabah have ruled for two and a half centuries.

Along with the prince, a Kuwaiti woman, two Egyptian citizens, a Filipina, an Ethiopian and a Bangladeshi have also been hanged in the Central Prison. All of them were convicted of premeditated murder, except the last one, convicted of kidnapping and rape. The most notorious case was that of the Kuwaiti woman, Nasra al Enezi, who caused the deaths of 57 women and children by setting fire to one of the tents where her husband’s wedding to a second wife was being held. After the ratification of the verdicts in individual courts of appeal and cassation, the death penalty has been confirmed by the emir , according to the state news agency, Kuna.

Human rights organizations condemned the resumption of executions in Kuwait in 2013 . That year, five inmates were executed. Since the introduction of the death penalty in the mid-1960s, the emirate has executed 74 men and 6 women, according to a Reuters count. Currently, fifty people are on death row.