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Cuba Offers Former Colombian FARC Guerrilla 500 Medical School Scholarships

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Mar 16, 2017, 4:21 pm
FARC Guerrilla 500 Medical School Scholarships
Jose Luis Ponce, Cuban ambassador in Bogota, made the offer through a letter addressed to Ivan Marquez, chief negotiator of the guerrilla. (La libertad)

EspañolCuba has offered both the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas one thousand scholarships to study medicine in the island — their way of “contributing” to the peace agreement.

Jose Luis Ponce, Cuban ambassador in Bogota, made the offer in a letter addressed to Chief Guerrilla Negotiator Ivan Marquez.

The letter, dated March 14th, offers 500 scholarships to be distributed by the government and another 500 to be distributed by FARC over the next five years.

The war against guerrilla groups in Colombia has left at least 260,000 dead, 60,000 missing and 6.9 million displaced.

Cuba has been both an intermediary and host to the dialogues since 2012.

On March 9, it was announced that guerrillas will have other benefits.

 

A bill is reportedly being drafted that would allow FARC members to create create and participate in private security companies.

In addition, the Colombian government approved 1,200 FARC members to work as bodyguards.

Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo signed a series of decrees that were approved by President Juan Manuel Santos creating a security guard program for FARC members and members of Voices of Peace, which represents the guerrilla group in Congress.

The program creates 1,200 positions for body guards in the National Protection Unit, which is responsible for assessing the risks of each person and ensuring their protection.

Source: El Nuevo Herald

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

How Trump’s Budget Cuts Can End Up Harming Venezuelan Democracy

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Mar 16, 2017, 3:01 pm
oea-donald-trump

EspañolPresident Donald Trump has proposed that US contributions to international organizations be reduced, and that includes the Organization of American States leading regional efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela. This could cause the institution to close down, as it would lose 50 percent of its US contributions. The cut would reportedly be part of a 37-percent budget reduction to the State Department. Meanwhile, Trump has asked Congress to increase military spending by $54 billion. Many consider the OAS the best option to solving Venezuela's crisis, as Secretary General Luis Almagro took the initiative to ask Latin American countries to implement the organization's Democratic Charter against Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro's  authoritarian administration. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   Early this week, Almagro asked member countries of the OAS to give Maduro a 30-day ultimatum to hold a general election as well as to release political prisoners. If he does not comply, OAS member countries will suspend Venezuela from the organization. The OAS is reportedly already operating with a minimum budget after a 12-percent cut last year, and so Trump's budget plan would all but incapacitate the organization. Read More: Guillermo Lasso Denounces Lilian Tintori’s Expulsion from Ecuador Read More: Lilian Tintori: The Opposition Have Won Venezuela’s Election Currently, the United States contributes US $50 million a year to the OAS budget, followed by Brazil with $11 million and Canada with US $9 million. However, the United States' monthly installments are low compared to the almost US $3 billion in annual contributions from peacekeepers as well as UN agencies. "It is true that the OAS has its own contradictions," wrote Andrés Oppenheimer in an op-ed for El Nuevo Herald. "I find it hard to understand, for example, why Almagro proposes the suspension of Venezuela from the organization and at the same time asks for the readmission of Cuba, a dictatorship that has not allowed free elections in almost six decades. But, beyond its contradictions, under Almagro, the OAS has become a very positive political actor for the defense of democracy on the continent." Source: El Nuevo Herald 

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