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Colombia: Ex-President Pastrana Questions Santos over FARC Presence in Venezuela

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Apr 19, 2017, 8:53 pm
Allegations have been made that 4,000 FARC members are currently in Venezuela (
Allegations have been made that 4,000 FARC members are currently in Venezuela (YouTube).

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In the wake of the demobilization of the FARC, many doubts have arisen amongst the Colombian opposition with regard to the actual number of combatants and weapons pertaining to the rebel group. Recently, a new unknown has been added to those doubts, and the fulfillment of the implementation of the peace agreement: the FARC guerrillas who are in Venezuela.

There are several indications that there are a considerable number of FARC guerrilla fighters in Venezuela, which fails to accord with the terms of the agreement, which states that they should already be gathered in the concentration zones arranged in Colombia, in order to initiate the delivery of weapons and define their legal status within the framework of the transitional justice process.

Former President Andrés Pastrana published a tweet in which he questioned the government of Juan Manuel Santos regarding statements made by the governor of Venezuela’s Amazonas state, in which he asserts that there are 4,000 guerrillas in his country, distributed between the FARC and the ELN. Pastrana tells Santos that they are still armed and active.

Likewise, the former Vice Minister of Justice and current dean of the Faculty of Politics and International Relations at the Sergio Arboleda University, Miguel Ceballos, published a column in the magazine Semana in which he refers to an interview with Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado in the program The Hour of Truth in which she talks about the denunciation of the 4,000 guerrillas alleged to be in Venezuela.

In addition, the vice minister contends that while the FARC has accused the government of not complying with the agreements, and acting in bad faith, he suggests that it is in fact the FARC which has acted in bad faith. In the previously mentioned interview, Machado also makes an even stronger accusation, alleging the governor had singled out the Colombian subversive group as responsible for the hijacking of a helicopter. However, the Venezuelan defense minister claimed to know nothing about the incident, and no further action was taken.

Ceballos says that the Colombian government is obliged to go to the verification mechanism of the UN to investigate these allegations and determine whether or not the FARC is acting in bad faith, while the continued presence of the FARC in Venezuela worries the Colombian opposition.

Miguel Ángel Otero, director of the daily El Nacional, adds that the agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, specifically with regard to disarmament, has not taken into account the weapons that are there likely to exist in Venezuela, and which have not been turned over to the UN.

Source: Andres Pastrana, Revista Semana, La Hora de la Verdad, Caracol Radio

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.

How the Sharing Economy Empowers the Working Class

By: David Unsworth - @LatinAmerUpdate - Apr 19, 2017, 6:56 pm
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has come under fire from the left as of late (

There is a fundamental disconnect emerging between the liberal establishment, with the so-called "sharing economy" constantly in their cross-hairs, and the millennials who so often provide them with their victories at the ballot box. The Obama administration, in particular, owes its 8 year reign to the 18-30 year old crowd, who turned out in droves twice for Obama. Yet, within the liberal establishment, a new ideological movement is brewing: one that sees the sharing economy (and many of the businesses that millennials love to patronize) as devious threats to the American economy. The problem is that the liberal establishment, neither in North America nor Europe, fundamentally does not believe in the free market. It does not believe that individuals, acting in a labor market where wages are dictated by supply and demand, have the choice to enter into contracts as employers and employees, free of government interference. Or, for that matter, to rent out their homes or cars at prices dictated by the free market. Read More: The NYT's Strawman Attack on Uber and the Gig Economy Read More: Austin, Texas is Already Regretting its Decision to Force Out Uber and Lyft Case in point: recent revelations that a trio of ultra-liberal senators, in conjunction with the heavily-funded hotel industry lobby, has been investigating AirBNB with an aim to increase regulatory scrutiny of the popular home-sharing website. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Brian Schatz (D-HI), have been leading the charge, alleging that AirBNB properties do not comply with anti-discrimination legislation, fail to heed safety regulations, and present unfair competition to the hotel industry. When Obama discussed increased "choice and competition" as his guiding light for ObamaCare, free market enthusiasts could barely contain their laughter. When Warren and Feinstein team up to fight "unfair competition" it is outright hysterical. At the heart of it, the American Left has never been interested in choice and competition. They, in fact, despise choice and competition. And just wait until the powerful hotel industry lobby starts pouring funding into the campaign coffers of liberal Democrats under the preposterous guise of ensuring "safety", boosting "local tax revenues", and fighting "discrimination." Or, take the recent onslaught of liberal agitation against ride-sharing application Uber, from both sides of the pond. Writing in the Guardian, self-described feminist activist Laurie Penny charges Uber with "spreading social poison," noting that the company "grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment." In the social justice warrior-inspired Marxist milieu of Penny, "taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs." Yes...in the completely ludicrous world of today's liberal activism, taking safe, convenient, and reasonably priced transportation home makes you "filthy" and "guilty". How dare you don't call a black or yellow cab service so that you can pay two or three or five times more...not to mention deal with a service that is notorious for rude drivers who run a side business swindling passengers. You prefer an Uber? You're a MONSTER! Yes, to Ms. Penny the notion that Uber's drivers work as independent contractors, and are thus responsible for their own healthcare, retirement planning, and benefits (like millions of other Americans who work independently) is a grievous affront to human decency. Did it ever occur to Ms. Penny that Uber is, in fact, a liberator of the poor and working and lower middle classes that before could never have conceived of being able to afford to take a car service home? In a major American city today, a mere 15-20 minute ride in an official taxi will set you back $25 to $35. How is that possibly a fair, when factoring in driver pay, insurance, gas, wear and tear, etc? Few poor or working class Americans could ever justify a $30 cab ride to get home after their shift, as more than an occasional luxury. Now in a major American city, such a ride costs half or a third, of the prices charged by official "monopoly" car services. A working class person who earns $25,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 a year, now has private car travel as an economically viable transportation option. The same way that AirBNB now allows those of even modest means to travel the world and stay in a private room, or a furnished apartment, or an entire home, at a fraction of the cost of hotel accommodations. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); The reason that Uber (and other services like Lyft and Cabify) are wildly popular are because they open new doors to precisely the type of people that Penny claims are so oppressed and downtrodden by the sharing economy. Yes, it is indisputable that Uber drivers earn less than unionized cab drivers. If they don't like the earnings, then they can look for other work. No one is forced at gunpoint to work for Uber, or any other American company. In the meantime, the American Left, headed by their patron saint Elizabeth Warren, can take on the "sharing economy" at their own peril. It's readily apparent that the sharing economy is supported broadly by the American public in general, and enthusiastically by millennials in particular. It's curious that Warren's office has repeatedly "declined to comment" on her inquisition into AirBNB. It doesn't seem that she's exactly trumpeting it from the rooftops. Perhaps she realizes that, ultimately, taking on the sharing economy is political suicide. Even libertarians would acknowledge that such outfits as Uber and AirBNB should be subject to a reasonable level of government regulation. For example, it hardly seems totalitarian to require Uber drivers to have car insurance and offer seatbelts for all passengers, or require AirBNB hosts to offer fire extinguishers. But for the socialist crusaders to veil their campaign against "the sharing economy" in protecting working class people is beyond the pale of hypocrisy.

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