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.
U.S.-Colombia FTA Takes Effect
Approved by U.S. Congress in October 2011, the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement was implemented at 1 a.m. on May 15. Infolatam reports that 4,200 boxes of flowers were the first Colombian products to enter the United States under the agreement. Colombia’s Portafolio reports on the enthusiasm of Colombian producers to reach new markets in the United States. “We’re preparing ourselves with new technology and adapting our production plants,” says Finance Manager Gloria Suárez of Ritchi, a garment producer. “We’re excited for this important moment to reach a market as large as the United States.”
Read more about the October 2011 approval of the U.S.-Colombia FTA in an AS/COA Congressional Update.
In an AQ blog post, COA’s Eric Farnsworth reflects on the trade pact’s implementation and about what should come next in U.S.-Latin American relations.
Bomb Targets Former Colombian Minister in Bogota
A bomb exploded in central Bogota yesterday, killing two and injuring 54. Police say the target was former Colombian Interior Minister Fernando Londoño Hoyos, who served in ex-President Álvaro Uribe’s administration and was a fierce opponent of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The government believes the FARC carried out the attack.
Ministers Resign after Botched Hostage Rescue in Peru
Peruvian Defense Minister Alberto Otarola and Interior Minister Daniel Lozada resigned this week over the handling of last month’s rescue mission to free 36 gas pipeline workers from the Shining Path guerillas. The purpose of that mission, which cost the lives of nine Peruvian security force members, was called into question when the workers said the insurgents released the hostages beforehand, reports InsightCrime.