Colombian Government and FARC Reach “Historic” Deal on Disarmament

By: PanAm Post Staff - Jun 24, 2016, 2:25 pm
Main table for the talks.  You can see the delegates from the accompanying countries and the negotiatiors. (YouTube)
Delegates sit at a table during peace talks.  (YouTube)

EspañolChurch bells rung throughout the country as news spread of the announcement that the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the national government had agreed to ceasefire after approximately 60 years of conflict.

El Laguito Hall received 120 guests, among them UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon, Chilean President Michele Bachelet and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

President Juan Manuel Santos and top leader of FARC Timochenko shook hands before entering the room to roaring applause.

Delegates of the participating countries were in charge of reading and signing to the agreements, that would result in the FARC guerrillas relinquishing all of their weapons.

Afterward, it was announced by mistake that there would be 22 demilitarized zones at which the guerrillas could gather to give up their arms. Delegates of Casa de Nariño (the Colombian President’s seat) rectified that there would actually be 23 — a number that was later confirmed by the Ministry of Defense.

To verify the surrender of arms, a commission will be put together, made up of UN delegates and members of the Colombian armed forces.

There will be no civilian access to these areas.

It was also announced that volatile war material would be destroyed before FARC reached the verification zones. Non-volatile weapons will be used to build three monuments, mutually upon agreed by FARC and the government.

It was also agreed that in the concentration zones, demobilized soldiers could take classes in a specific trade and even receive a high school diploma, all in an effort to facilitate reinsertion into civilian life.

Finally, both parts accepted that a referendum would be the ideal mechanism for Colombians to validate the reached agreements between FARC and the government.

The ceremony ended with an emotional speech from President Juan Manuel Santos, in which he spoke of his passing through the Colombian military and his motivation to end the armed conflict that has plagued Colombia almost 60 years.

The full agreement in Spanish

Sources: Revista Semana

Creditors Sue Puerto Rico Fearing Island Will Default on Debt

By: Adriana Peralta - @AdriPeraltaM - Jun 24, 2016, 9:53 am
The lawsuit against Puerto Rico from their creditors was presented this week in New York (Facebook)

EspañolThe government of Puerto Rico is now facing a lawsuit from a group of creditors seeking to void a debt moratorium and fiscal emergency plan passed in April. This comes amid attempts at restructuring a US $70-billion debt and halted negotiations between the Government Foment Bank of Puerto Rico and a group of bondholders. The talks sought to renegotiate the Puerto Rican debt less than two weeks from what would be the biggest bond default in the island's history. Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro García Padilla still hasn't implemented a debt moratorium. Even though it's speculated he won't take long to do it, as Puerto Rico is expected to default on a $2-billion payment coming July 1. This number includes over $700 million in general debt funds that are supposed to be guaranteed by the island's constitution. The suit — presented in New York — confirms that bondholders trusted on this key protection when they acquired said bonds two years ago. "The plaintiffs have the absolute right to be paid first in all obligations of the unincorporated territory, they need to be paid in total and in time," the lawsuit claimed. "When Puerto Rico approached capital markets in the end of 2013 to emit the 2014 general obligation funds, Governor García Padilla announced the bonds would have a guaranteed priority as warranted by the constitution." Read more: Puerto Rico Defaults on $422-Million Debt Payment Read more: Puerto Rico Lurches Toward Default with No Solution in Sight Democrats could block Puerto Rico rescue plan Secretary of the US Treasury Jack Lew met with Democrats in the Senate Tuesday, June 21, who have shown skepticism of a possible rescue package from the US government. "The final question will be: will Congress act to give Puerto Rico the tools, the help, for the 3.5 million Americans that live in Puerto Rico and may be dragged into chaos?" Lewis asked journalists after the closed-door meeting. The package contemplates the creation of a control board and the restructuring of part of its $70-billion debt. Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid said his party has serious concerns about the project, despite support from President Barack Obama. Source: El Caribe, Primera Hora.

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