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Colombian president vows to pursue FARC despite talks

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday said government troops killed a finance officer with the FARC and vowed to press ahead with offensives against the guerrilla group despite peace talks. John Hernandez, alias "Fabian," who was head of finance for Front 17 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was killed by government soldiers in a hamlet in the south of the country, Santos said.

EFE celebrates 75th anniversary with stress on LatAm ties

Bogota, Mar 28 (EFE).- Agencia EFE inaugurated in the Colombian capital a photo exhibit recounting the agency's 75 years of operation through images of the modern history of Spain and Latin America. The exposition is "a reflection of the agency's wager on Latin America as a fundamental pillar," Alfredo Aycart, EFE's director-general for the Americas, said. The images recall conflict and tragedies, but also many "brilliant and passionate moments" from the realms of sport and culture, he told distinguished guests at Thursday night's opening.

Spain's Sacyr to invest $1.5 bn in Colombia road projects

Bogota, Mar 23 (EFE).- Sacyr expects to invest around $1.5 billion in road projects in Colombia, the CEO of the Spanish construction company, Manuel Manrique, said at the end of a visit to the South American country. Sacyr views Colombia as a country that offers opportunities and is a "key to its international growth process," Manrique said in a statement.

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.
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