FARC Leader Timochenko Convicted in the Murder of Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino

first_img Archbishop Duarte was 63 when he was gunned down, becoming the oldest of more than 30 Colombian clerics to have been assassinated in an apparently uncontrollable cycle of revenge murders. An outspoken critic of political and drug-related violence, he was appointed archbishop by John Paul II in 1995 after serving several years as bishop of Apartadó, a banana-growing region near the Panamanian frontier. For years, Apartadó had been plagued by guerrillas, paramilitaries, drug-traffickers and arms smugglers. Duarte tried to kick-start peace negotiations, but had little success. Arriving in Cali, the southwestern base of some of Colombia’s most powerful drug-trafficking cartels, Duarte wasted no time in denouncing criminals and guerrillas alike. Within weeks, he accused drug bosses of corrupting the country’s congressional elections by their pouring money into the campaign coffers of local candidates. Unafraid of political controversy, he didn’t pull any punches with the guerrillas either. In 1999, he excommunicated leading members of Colombia’s second-largest left-wing guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), after the group abducted more than 150 people attending Mass in a Cali church. And while maintaining tireless pastoral and educational work, he continued to agitate against all forms of violence and those who carried it out. He goaded the government and blasted then-President Andrés Pastrana, for his peace overtures to FARC, arguing that attempting to negotiate with the country’s main guerrilla army was absurd when it refused to implement a ceasefire while talks were going on. “A rebel who kidnaps and kills, eliminates entire populations and mocks the whole process of peace lacks the virtues proper to a human being and becomes the most miserable of men,” Duarte wrote in 2000. “We ask God that the guerrilla fighters in Colombia may feel deep sorrow in their souls for the evil they commit when they kill an innocent, defenseless brother or sister, that they may understand that theirs is not a just war, but merely a repeating of savage acts of the saddest times of human history.” Duarte’s unrelenting criticism earned him praise from right-wing paramilitary leaders, but he shrugged that off and turned his attention to their killings. The gunshots that killed Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino outside a church in Cali, Colombia, on Mar. 16, 2002, echoed around the world. Swift condemnation followed, including harsh words from Pope John Paul II. “He paid the highest price for his energetic defense of human life, his firm opposition to all types of violence and his dedication to social development according to the Gospel,” said the late pope. Nearly a decade later, a Colombian court has placed responsibility for Duarte Cancio’s murder with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, convicting FARC’s supreme leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (alias “Timochenko”) of involvement in the assassination along with three other FARC luminaries: Noel Mata Mata, Jorge Torres Victoria and Luciano Arango. All four were tried in absentia and sentenced to 25 years each. They also were ordered to pay the equivalent of $543,000 to the prelate’s family. In delivering the judgment, the Cali criminal court said: “There is no doubt that the murder of Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino was related to his religious status and position. As archbishop of Cali, he protested the reprehensible acts constantly carried out by guerrillas in this country.” The judge reiterated calls for the capture of all four convicted rebels. The convictions came seven years after another guerrilla, Alexander de Jesus Zapata (alias “Cortico”) was convicted of the same crime in January 2005 and sentenced to 36 years in prison. Timochenko, 52, took over control of FARC after his predecessor, Alfonso Cano, was killed in a military operation last November. Assassination sparked outrage The archbishop was born in San Gil in the province of Santander and attended secondary school in nearby Bucaramanga before entering a seminary in Pamplona, Spain. He went on to study theology in Rome. On graduation, he returned to Bucaramanga to become a parish priest until 1985 when he was appointed bishop of Germania de Numidia. Three years later, he became the first incumbent bishop of the newly created diocese of Apartadó in northern Antioquía province. It was in Antioquía that Duarte developed a close working relationship with Alvaro Uribe Vélez, then a no-nonsense provincial governor who would later become president. Duarte’s assassination was shocking but in some ways not surprising. It was brutal, and the gunmen made sure the prelate would not survive. The killing came after guerrillas stormed the Good Shepherd church in Aguablanca, one of the poorest districts of his Cali archdiocese. He had just finished officiating at a collective marriage ceremony for 105 couples when armed men broke into the church and fired repeatedly at the archbishop, according to witnesses. A parish priest was wounded also in the assault. Edilberto Ceballos, Duarte’s driver, told Caracol Radio that the archbishop had been shot several times by two of the gunmen. “Two guys came and opened fire and hit him three or four times, maybe even six times,” the driver said. “I saw him dead.” The director of Carlos Holmes Trujillo Hospital in Cali, Ricardo Vanegas, confirmed that the prelate was dead on arrival at the hospital. The government launched a special task force to identify and hunt down the perpetrators. Colombian authorities immediately blamed left-wing rebels, but amid a flurry of accusations, they later said they were working on other theories. One theory was that FARC had not acted alone — that drug-traffickers and narco-linked paramilitaries also had a hand in the assassination’s planning. Bishop Julio Cesar Vidal Ortiz of Monteria, a close personal friend of the archbishop, was persistent in arguing there had been a wider conspiracy behind the murder, basing his allegations on a meeting he had with paramilitary leader Carlos Castano Gil, who himself was killed. The bishop denounced the nature of armed conflict in Colombia “in which Marxist ideologies and their archrivals join together to defend their business, that of cocaine.” But a prosecutor attached to the National Human Rights organization dismissed the wider conspiracy theory and linked the slaying directly to FARC leaders. Following the assassination, the Pastrana administration came under criticism for failing to protect the archbishop. The president said police had offered to provide Duarte with bodyguards but that he had always demurred. However, Duarte’s assistants insisted after his death that they had requested police protection for him but never got a response. Speaking about the archbishop a few days later, John Paul II remarked: “While I lift up my prayers for the eternal rest of the late prelate and express my closeness to the Colombian church that weeps over his tragic demise, I urge Colombians once again to follow the way of dialogue, excluding all types of violence, blackmail and kidnapping and to firmly commit themselves to what are the true roads of peace.”center_img By Dialogo January 20, 2012 Duarte well-known for criticizing FARC violence last_img read more

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Dominican Army Joins Government Agencies in Fight against Zika-carrying Mosquito

first_imgThe ERD’s preventive work, which is part of the National Campaign for the Fumigation, Counseling, and Breeding Site Removal of the Aedes Aegypti, has been providing invaluable support to the civilian population nationwide. The ERD has complemented the campaign by creating the Epidemiological Sickness Mitigation Unit (UMEE, for its Spanish acronym) to support the Ministry of Public Health. Supporting the civilian population By Dialogo April 13, 2016 The Combat Support and Service Support Brigades are conducting their operations in Villa Mella and Los Guaricanos, with the Third Infantry Brigade focusing on the provinces of San Juan de la Maguana and Elías Piña. The ERD’s Fourth Infantry Brigade is conducting its operations in the provinces of Valverde Mao and Dajabón, while the Fifth Infantry Brigade is working in the provinces of Barahona and Jimaní. A month earlier, in February, the ERD supported the Public Health Ministry’s Brigade during visits to preselected homes where the Army focused on areas where water was stored and the insect incubated, such as tanks, planters, tires, and cisterns. The ERD, which also concentrated on patios, alleys, gardens, roofs, and empty lots, counseled civilians on the dangers of these illnesses, their characteristics, symptoms, and steps to follow if someone is suspected of being infected. Authorities launched the public health campaign on January 25th, when Defense Minister Lieutenant General Máximo W. Muñoz Delgado deployed more than 2,000 Military service members to use new fumigation and cleaning equipment in neighborhoods in Santo Domingo and in other cities nationwide to support the Ministry of Public Health and prevent the diseases from spreading. They supported more than 100 specialized doctors from the Military who had joined the National Campaign for the Fumigation, Counseling, and Breeding Site Removal of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Nearly 6,000 dwellings fumigated During the third week of March, the Army’s Third Infantry Brigade, under the command of General Milton de Jesús Frías Gómez, resumed the fumigation campaign that other ERD units had been working on since January. On March 4th, police and the Public Works Ministry’s Military Commission sprayed 5,888 dwellings in Villa Altagracia as a continuation of the Counter Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya Fumigation Program that supports the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance. “The UMEE is working around the clock and is at the service of the Ministry of Public Health as a way of confronting the Zika and dengue viruses, among other illnesses,” Major General José Eugenio Matos de la Cruz stated. center_img “Their assistance consisted of following orders from the Ministry of Defense. First was the creation, equipping, and training of the Epidemiological Unit, [which] is the size of a platoon – 30 personnel – and organically dependent upon the Humanitarian Rescue Unit. The Epidemiological Unit was created, trained, and sustained with resources from the Army,” Col. De la Cruz explained. “Secondly, the Commanders from senior units responsible for different regions throughout the country identify vulnerable communities and possible infection foci with help from their medical personnel and by coordinating with civil authorities in their operational areas. Thirdly, a team from the unit is sent to conduct the fumigation operations and awareness campaigns for those living in the communities where counter-Zika operations are being held.” Fumigation campaign ongoing The Dominican Republic’s Army (ERD) said it attained excellent results from its cooperative campaign with other government institutions in recent months to fight the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for spreading the Zika, dengue, and chikingunya viruses throughout the country. The operations centered on the capital of Santo Domingo and its peripheral areas, as well as the provinces of San Cristóbal, Azua, Pedernales, Independencia, Elías Piña, Dajabón, and Montecristi. In January, the First Infantry Brigade was assigned all Military zones, while the Second and Sixth Brigades was deployed to the nearby neighborhoods of Santiago de los Caballeros and San Pedro de Macorís, which are in the provinces of Santiago and San Pedro de Macorís, respectively. They also carried out preventive operations in the provinces of San Juan de la Maguana under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health and in coordination with the Emergency Operations Center. From January 25th until the end of March, the ERD coordinated with Ministry of Public Health, provincial governors, and mayors to conduct epidemiological monitoring throughout the operation. “[It’s been] a great success for us,” Colonel Puro De la Cruz Arias, the ERD’s public relations director, told Diálogo.“The Army provided an immediate and timely response to the alert declared by the Ministry of Public Health and the [orders] of the government through the Armed Forces to execute an urgent program of prevention, mitigation, and response in the presence of the Zika virus in the country.” The Military will maintain its fight against the diseases. “We will continue with the operations under the instructions of the Ministry of Defense regarding the prevention and mitigation [of the spread and impact of Zika] throughout the national territory,” Col. De la Cruz said.last_img read more

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Brentwood Crash Leaves Pedestrian Dead

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A pedestrian was fatally hit by a vehicle in Brentwood over the weekend.Suffolk County police said Matthew Padilla, 24, of Brentwood, was driving a Toyota westbound on Second Avenue when his vehicle struck a man east of Brentwood Road at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.The victim, who has not yet been identified, was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where he was pronounced dead.Third Squad detectives impounded the vehicle, are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this crash to call them at 631-854-8352.last_img

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Presentation of Croatia for group trips held in Frankfurt

first_imgOn November 15, the Croatian National Tourist Board in Frankfurt, in cooperation with TUI Reisecenter from Nenteshausen (near Frankfurt), held a presentation of Croatia in order to generate a group of travelers who will visit Dalmatia in the spring of 2018.The half-hour presentation was attended by 150 participants, clients of TUI, who were shown the beauties of Dalmatia and the potential for the pre-season in the area from Split to Dubrovnik. In addition, a promotional film about the Makarska Riviera and a new promotional video of the CNTB were shown, and those present were especially greeted by Nicole Nett, owner of TUI Reisecenter, who announced trips and the opportunity to be within the standard program of TUI Reisecenter. .Unfortunately, the tourist offer of continental Croatia was not presented this time either, and I wonder if this is already intentional to omit the offer and promotion of continental Croatia, especially when we talk about the German market because we know that Germans are prone to rural tourism, which shows the development of Bavaria. as tourist destinations.As pointed out by the CNTB, in addition to the presentation, promotional materials of the CNTB were distributed to the audience, and a number of questions were asked which show that Croatia is an increasingly interesting destination for German guests. The great interest of those present was also manifested in the fact that only during the evening about 30 reservations were made for the offered trips to Croatia. In the following period, the sale of arrangements for Croatia is expected to continue and the number of passengers to increase, as well as the generation of more groups.The German CNTB office participated in the event of tour operator Thomas CookThere are about 10 travel agencies in Germany that sell programs of various tour operators, which sell almost 80 percent of their product through them. That is why the improvement of cooperation and acquaintance of agents with the programs is imposed as a key point in the process of presenting to the market all the potentials that are on offer in the German market, point out the CNTB.Thus, the Representation of the Croatian Tourist Board in Germany, in cooperation with tour operators and agencies, seeks to bring agents closer to the stationary sales potentials and advantages of the Croatian tourist offer and through personal contact to get from them as much concrete information on market trends and image of Croatia as a tourist destination. For this purpose, the representative office participated in the event of tour operator Thomas Cook, which was held this month in Frankfurt at the traditional TravelconneXion. TravelconneXion is an annual event of the Thomas Cook Group for agents who sell their product. About 1500 agents gathered at the event.The German representative office of the CNTB also participated in the DER Tourist Campus 2018, within which this group of the same name also gathers agents and presents its own program for the summer season. Partners are also participating in the event, so this year Valamar also participated together with the CNTB. The event took place in France, with the participation of 1400 agents and 500 partners. ”In the conversation with the agents, one got the impression that Croatia is an increasingly sought-after destination in agencies and that the demand for package deals for Croatia is developing in a positive direction. It should be noted that a large number of agents have chosen Croatia for their vacation or are preparing to visit Croatia next year, which confirms the general growth of interest in Croatia.”Point out the representative office of the Croatian Tourist Board in Germany.Thomas Cook and DER Touristik are the second and third tour operator groups in Germany with an extensive sales network in all German cities, and more than seven million Germans travel on holiday with them every year.


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A time of mourning

first_imgWhy didn’t they send out text messages warning all students of the danger? Why did they not spot the warning signs? Do we need stricter gun-control laws? Do we need tighter immigration policies? What does this say about American culture at large, or the Korean-American subculture, in particular, from which Cho Seung-Hui came? IT used to be that, following a tragedy like the one that befell Virginia Tech on Monday, we would get a quiet period of mourning – at least a few days or so – before the inevitable second-guessing, finger-pointing and politicization would take place. That, alas, is no longer the case. Before we even knew the name of Cho Seung-Hui – who killed 32 students and faculty at the college before turning his gun on himself – let alone his motives, we were already demanding to know how this massacre could have been prevented, and why it wasn’t. We were already gearing up for recriminations and the same old political fights. The questions came fast and furious: Why didn’t campus officials call off classes after the first shooting? Chalk it up the 24-7 news cycle, instant expertise of everyone with a computer or cell phone, a politically fractured culture, or the belief that ours can somehow be a danger-free world. Whatever the explanation, we seem more interested in arguing than in mourning – and that’s just unhealthy. It’s unhealthy because the 32 victims of this terrible tragedy deserve our respect, which includes not being made vehicles for partisans or agendas. It’s unhealthy because tragedy ought to be a call for unity, not an excuse for further division. And it’s unhealthy because, even though we can be better prepared for events like these, nothing we can do will ever make them disappear. Ours is a free society in which people can, and will, abuse their freedom horrifically. This is especially so on a college campus, which, by its very nature, should be open, easily accessible and hard to contain. We could turn our campuses – or, for that matter, our communities – into citadels, but would it really be worth it? We still wouldn’t be immune to the depredations of the evil, the deranged or the desperate, and we’d forfeit much of our freedom in the process. The notion of absolute security that drives much of the discussion about what happened at Virginia Tech is a myth. It’s understandable, given the sense of powerlessness and frustration that follows such tragedies, but it’s a myth nonetheless. Yes, better safeguards, better laws, and better responses can and should to be developed to minimize the dangers. But let us not delude ourselves about how safe we can really make the world. And in our haste to right what’s wrong, let’s not neglect to mourn the victims, to celebrate the heroes, to comfort the aggrieved, and to catch our collective breath at a moment of unspeakable pain. Let’s remember that if even a vibrant campus in a peaceful college town can be the site of tragedy, so can any place else. Every day can be our last, which is why no day should ever be taken for granted.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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