April 4, 2012
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.
FARC Releases Military Hostages
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released the last of their security force hostages on April 2. The ten hostages—four soldiers and six policemen—were surrendered to hostage mediators and the Red Cross, and transported by Brazilian military helicopter to the city of Villavicencio. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos praised the release, but called it “insufficient,” saying the FARC must still release hundreds of civilian hostages and renounce all violence.
Colombian World Bank President Nominee Outlines Vision
In an op-ed for Project Syndicate, ex-Finance Minister of Colombia José Antonio Ocampo shared his vision for the World Bank in light of his nomination for the presidency of the institution last month. He explained the need for social inclusion and the importance of incorporating market, state, and society actors. “It is not the role of any international institution to impose a particular model of development on any country—a mistake that the World Bank made in the past, and that it has been working to correct,” he writes. “Because no ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy exists, the Bank must include among its staff the global diversity of approaches to development issues.”
April: Obama’s Latin America Month
Latin America will be U.S. President Barack Obama’s focus this April, reports EFE. Obama kicked off the month meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón at the North American Leaders Summit. April 9 will see a visit from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the White House, followed by a trip to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas a week later. After the summit, Obama will spend an extra day in Colombia meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. This attention serves to shore-up support from the Latino community in the United States, says the article, which also notes that the “renewed relationship” Obama promised with Latin America in 2009 has not materialized.