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Colombia militarizes violent port city

Buenaventura, Colombia, Mar 22 (EFE).- Colombia's government has deployed 700 additional security force members to this violence-wracked Pacific port city, which has been plagued by killings, dismemberments and forced disappearances. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon accompanied the troop deployment Friday in Buenaventura, where the discovery of so-called "casas de pique" (chop-up houses) - sites in which victims are allegedly dismembered alive - has riled public opinion.

Colombia's Santos slips in poll but still election favorite

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Support for Colombia's center-right President Juan Manuel Santos has slipped in a survey of voters' intentions for May 25 elections, but he remains the clear front runner in a race that will center on how to end the country's five-decade conflict. The Gallup poll published on the website of broadcaster Caracol showed Santos would gain 32.5 percent of votes, down 2 percentage points from the previous survey, and leaving him far short of the support needed to avoid a second round of voting.

Colombian gov't ousts capital mayor

Bogota, Mar 20 (EFE).- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ratified a Dec. 9 decision by the Inspector General's Office to remove this capital's leftist mayor, Gustavo Petro, for alleged mismanagement. The president's decision to oust the former guerrilla came a day after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights instructed Colombia to desist from enforcing the IG office's order, which also bars Petro from public office for 15 years. "I must proceed in accordance with the constitution and the laws," Santos told Colombians in a televised address Wednesday night.

Colombia rebels condemn ouster of Bogota mayor

The FARC guerrilla group Thursday condemned Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' ouster of Bogota's elected mayor, warning it undermined confidence in peace talks underway in Havana. Santos dismissed Gustavo Petro, a leftist former guerrilla, from the high profile position on Wednesday over the objections of international rights monitors. Voicing his outrage, Petro called for a general strike. "The Colombian people should go on general strike, and peacefully so," to reject the move, Petro told a rally of about 1,500 supporters.

Colombian president confirms ouster of Bogota mayor

By Peter Murphy and Monica Garcia BOGOTA (Reuters) - The mayor of Colombia's capital city Bogota was ousted from his post on Wednesday, President Juan Manuel Santos said in a controversial decision that could affect May presidential elections and a peace process with left-wing rebels. Gustavo Petro, 53, a former guerrilla, was dismissed from his post by the inspector general in December last year over mismanagement but stayed pending a run of judicial appeals, the last of which ended on Tuesday and did not reverse the decision.

Colombia's president removes Bogota mayor

Defying international rights monitors, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday dismissed Bogota's elected mayor, Gustavo Petro. Petro claims that the conservative Santos is targeting him, a leftist former guerrilla, for political reasons. Voicing his outrage, Petro called for a general strike. "The Colombian people should go on general strike, and peacefully so," to reject the move, Petro told a rally of about 1,500 supporters.

Colombia should stop Bogota mayor's ouster: rights commission

By Luis Jaime Acosta and Peter Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has called on Colombia to suspend a decision to oust the mayor of its capital, putting pressure on President Juan Manuel Santos to intervene in the sensitive case just as his re-election campaign begins.

Rights body demands Colombia drop bid to oust mayor

An inter-American human rights body demanded Wednesday that Colombia drop an order to oust Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro, and insisted the leftist former guerrilla be allowed to serve out his term. "I just hope the president respects it," Petro said in a radio interview, referring to President Juan Manuel Santos. The intervention by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights came as a months-long legal battle in Bogota over Petro's political status appeared to be nearing a climax.

Rights body demands Colombia drop bid to oust mayor

An inter-American human rights body demanded Wednesday that Colombia drop an order to oust Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro, and insisted the leftist former guerrilla be allowed to serve out his term. The intervention by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights came as a months-long legal battle in Bogota over Petro's political status appeared to be nearing a climax. Judges from Colombia's top court on Tuesday upheld an October 28 order by the country's inspector general removing Petro from office over his handling of the city's garbage collection contracts.

Approval for Colombian mayor's contested dismissal

Colombia's Council of State on Tuesday approved the contested dismissal of Gustavo Petro as mayor of Bogota, the most important elected position in the country after the presidency. The former rebel turned leftist stalwart, 53, lost his job in December, sparking street protests by his supporters in the city of seven million and legal appeals. Maria Claudia Rojas, president of the Council of State, told a press conference it had rejected all appeals and therefore "the decision to dismiss (Petro) should be executed."
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