From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Giuliani Advises Peru’s Fujimori as She Pulls ahead
Conservative Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori contracted former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani this week as an adviser to help design public security programs. The news came as polls indicated that Fujimori has begun to pull ahead of leftwing nationalist Ollanta Humala for the June 5 runoff election. A Datum released Sunday night found Fujimori leading over nationalist Humala by nearly six percentage points, with 46 percent against Humala’s 40.2. Another pollster, Ipsos Apoyo, released a figure the same day that found Fujimori winning by a smaller margin, with 51.1 percent compared to Humala’s 48.9 percent.
Victims Law Reaches Final Debate in Colombian Congress
A law that would provide state compensation to victims of violence in Colombia’s civil conflict reaches its final debate in Congress today. Before passing the law, legislators will debate whether to legally recognize that Colombia faces an internal conflict with enemy combatants or to classify the FARC guerrilla army as a terrorist group for the purposes of the law. Colombian ex-President and FARC nemesis Álvaro Uribe explains to Foreign Policy why he supports categorizing the guerrillas as terrorists rather than combatants. Investigative website La Silla Vacía charts the positions of key Colombian politicians on the issue.
Scandal-tainted Colombian Envoy to Venezuela Resigns
Eight months into his job, Colombia’s Ambassador to Venezuela José Fernando Bautista stepped down Monday after admitting he had ties to a Colombian construction conglomerate involved in bribing politicians for work contracts. He will be replaced by Ricardo Montanegro, who served as the Colombian business attaché in Caracas.
President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia comes back to Washington today—his 13th time here since being elected in 2002—to meet with President Obama following their face-to-face meeting at the April Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s an opportunity to set an agenda looking ahead across the broad range of issues confronting both nations. The pending trade agreement will be discussed, but with Uribe already planning a return trip to Washington in September specifically to lobby, the agenda for the meeting today will be broader, including, no doubt, a joint statement on Honduras.
That’s important, because Colombia has been willfully misrepresented by trade opponents and their allies in Washington as a human rights wasteland. On top of that, for the past several years U.S. policy has been characterized as one dimensional and as supporting a president who his opponents claim is a quasi-autocrat with caudillo, or strong-armed, tendencies, and who, for good measure, was too close to an unpopular U.S. president. The meeting today, together with their discussions in April, will show again that the Colombian president is a serious, thoughtful leader. It will also emphasize that the bilateral agenda with Colombia goes well beyond passage of one agreement, as important as that is, and that the U.S.-Colombia relationship is strong and enduring.