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Ex-Colombia rebel admits kidnapping Americans

A former commander of Colombia's FARC rebels faces up to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from the kidnapping of three US citizens in 2003, US justice officials said. Alexander Beltran Herrera, 37, admitted three counts of hostage-taking during an appearance in federal court in Washington following his extradition to the United States in 2012. Beltran Herrera had been a member and commander in FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, during a 15-year spell with the group between 1994 and 2009.

In Colombia war zone, peace talks raise new fears

By Helen Murphy TORIBIO, Colombia (Reuters) - For farmers like Angel Escue, Colombia's bid to end half a century of war with Marxist rebels may come at too high a price. Stripping leaves from an illegal coca bush at his small plot in the mountains of central Cauca department, Escue says a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, could sink him deeper into poverty even if it ends almost daily firefights in the area.

Colombian left forms united front for presidential contest

Bogota, Mar 14 (EFE).- The standard-bearers of Colombia's main leftist parties, the Alternative Democratic Pole and Union Patriotica, on Friday registered their candidacies for president and vice president on a unity ticket. The Pole's Clara Lopez and Aida Avella of UP made the alliance official a day after their respective parties agreed to join forces.

Uribe's party charges irregularities in Colombia vote

Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe's party charged Wednesday that its showing in Sunday's legislative elections was affected by what it said were serious irregularities in the vote count. Uribe's opposition Democratic Center party said it had evidence that 250,000 votes in its favor were not counted, "which would substantially change the election results and the composition of the Congress." The conservative party won 19 of 102 Senate seats, making it the second force in Congress after a coalition that supports President Juan Manuel Santos.

Four soldiers killed in Colombia

Four Colombian soldiers were shot dead Monday in in a suspected attack by leftist rebels, police in the south of the country said. A suspected rebel commando targeted the soldiers on a highway in La Montanita, Caqueta department, killing four, local police said. There was no report of any additional injuries. Local media have blamed a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) active in the area. The FARC, with about 7,000 troops, has been fighting Latin America's longest insurgency, spanning almost five decades.

Colombia congress vote almost assures Santos lead in presidential ballot

By Helen Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos heads into presidential elections for a second straight term with his lead all but certain, even while seats for his ruling coalition were trimmed in a congressional vote that cemented his fiercest rival as the main opposition, results showed on Monday.

Colombia's Santos loses Senate majority

Bogota, Mar 10 (EFE).- The Colombian legislative elections cost President Juan Manuel Santos' coalition its majority in the Senate, where former head of state Alvaro Uribe looks likely to make life uncomfortable for his successor. Sunday's vote came a little more than two months before Santos will face the voters in his bid for a second four-year term. The president's Party of the U lost seven Senate seats to end up with 21.

Colombia's Santos loses Senate majority

Bogota, Mar 10 (EFE).- The Colombian legislative elections cost President Juan Manuel Santos' coalition its majority in the Senate, where former head of state Alvaro Uribe looks likely to make life uncomfortable for his successor. Sunday's vote came a little more than two months before Santos will face the voters in his bid for a second four-year term. The president's Party of the U lost seven Senate seats to end up with 21.

Colombia voters give lukewarm support for peace process

Colombian voters showed lukewarm support for peace talks with guerrillas Sunday by giving the country's president a majority in Congress, but also electing his conservative rival, ex-president Alvaro Uribe, to the senate. President Juan Manuel Santos, who took office in 2010 after serving as the popular Uribe's defense minister, is engaged in talks with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels aimed at ending their half-century insurgency.

Colombia voters give lukewarm support for peace process

Colombian voters showed lukewarm support for peace talks with guerrillas Sunday by giving the country's president a majority in Congress, but also electing his conservative rival, ex-president Alvaro Uribe, to the senate. President Juan Manuel Santos, who took office in 2010 after serving as the popular Uribe's defense minister, is engaged in talks with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels aimed at ending their half-century insurgency.
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