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Obama and Castro Regime Agree to Fight Drug and Human Trafficking

By: Karina Martín - Jan 17, 2017, 3:21 pm
The US and Cuba have recently signed an extensive agreement to cooperate on transnational issues (
The US and Cuba have recently signed an extensive agreement to cooperate on transnational issues (Diario Digital).

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On Monday, January 16, Cuba and the United States signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against transnational crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, cybercrime, and money laundering.

In the memorandum, both countries recognized the “negative impact of transnational crimes on national security” and “express their intention to cooperate in prevention, confrontation, surveillance, investigation, and prosecution” as well as the “need to establish cooperation between law enforcement and judicial bodies of both nations to effectively address these challenges.”

Likewise, the text establishes the objectives of the cooperation and defines the scope of the crimes in which they will work together.

It also includes the production, distribution, and trafficking of narcotics, counterfeit documents, trade security, and pornography.

Anticipated actions planned include officials exchanges of information, coordinated operations, and the designation of specific liaison officers in order to improve bilateral communication.

This agreement is in addition to several recent bilateral agreements signed between Cuba and the United States. The US Cuba thaw included reestablishment of diplomatic relations on December 2014, followed by reopening embassies in 2015.

US Cuba relations could be put on temporary freeze if Donald Trump, as expected, keeps his promise to reverse the thaw, taking a harder line against the Castro regime, while seeking to negotiate a “better agreement” with the Cuban government.

Trump has suggested that Obama gave the Cuban regime too much leeway in negotiations, and has promised tough talk and action, a move that has been cheered by many in the Cuban diaspora in the United States, but criticized by Democrats.

Florida’s large Cuban community is considered to have played a large role in delivering the state to the outspoken Republican businessman in the 2016 presidential election.

Sources: Cubanet, El Siglo de Torreon

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.

FARC Guerrillas to Participate in Politics, Despite Crimes Against Humanity

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Jan 17, 2017, 2:07 pm
Plans to allow guerrillas to participate in upcoming elections have created an uproar in Colombia (

Español Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which is responsible for managing the Andean nation's transitional justice period following a peace agreement between the government and the FARC, has confirmed that guerrillas who have committed crimes against humanity will be allowed to participate in the 2018 Congressional and presidential elections. The Minister of the Interior, Juan Fernando Cristo, spoke about this issue, seeking to downplay its importance, noting that there is nothing new in this initiative since this was always a part of the final text of the agreements between the government and the FARC. He added that this was always the purpose of the dialogues in Havana: that the subversive group move from armed struggle to political participation. Read More: Colombian Army Says FARC Violated Ceasefire Read More: Santos Denies FARC Still Keeping Hostages, Despite Outcries from Victim Families However, Colombian deputy Angélica Lozano, who is heading the project that seeks to amend the Constitution in order to implement the JEP, said she is concerned that the text's current form leaves open the possibility that any guerrilla could participates in politics if approved by a judge under the auspices of transitional justice. In addition, she notes that they could even get involved in electoral contests before serving their sentences. "Unfortunately they have now disregarded Article 67 of the Constitution, which says that they can only participate in politics after having served their sentence. Instead they have adopted an irresponsible course, and left the issue of political participation open, ambiguous, and free to interpretation of each judge," Lozano said in statements recorded by RCN Radio. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); This development was also confirmed by Hernán Penagos of the center-right Party of the U, who is also working on the transitional justice project, and who assured that "According to the two legislative acts that have been presented, especially the JEP, these guerrillas, whether leaders or not, who commit this type of crimes, may participate in politics, and may participate in the elections that are coming up in 2018," which implies that they participate in political campaigns without having served their sentences, which will be between five and eight years depending upon the seriousness of the crime. If the initiative is approved, which appears likely given the government's majorities in the  Colombian legislature, the guerrillas will be cleared for return to political life in approximately March or April of this year (2017) and will be able to campaign for the 2018 elections. Thus far they have expressed that they will seek to form a coalition to support a candidate that guarantees the continuity of the agreement, rather than running one of their own candidates. If this measure is approved by Congress it would run counter to the Constitutional Court ruling in 2014, which said that guerrillas found guilty of crimes against humanity could not participate in politics. Source: RCN Radio

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