Colombia

FARC stronghold shaken by Colombian farmers revolt

 
Since the very beginning of negotiations between FARC guerrilleros and the Colombian government mid-June, farmers from the north-eastern Catatumbo region have been protesting. Thousands of “campesinos”, as they are called, have demonstrated to denounce their low quality of life in this FARC-held region. Read more...
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The "spilled sandwich tray": a novel way to make money in Bogota

 
On the streets of Bogota, beggars are resorting to imaginative new techniques to get a few pesos out of passers-by. Read more...
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A historic Colombian hospital lies in ruins, squatted by its former nurses

 
It was once hailed as one of the most important hospitals in Latin America. The world's first vaccine for malaria, the first valve to treat hydrocephalus, and the first kangaroo mother care program to prevent the death of premature newborns were all developed at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Bogota. Yet today, this massive hospital complex in the centre of Colombia's capital lies in ruins, inhabited by former employees whose salaries were never paid when it shut down 11 years ago. Read more...
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Colombia’s “internal refugees” struggle to make their voices heard

 
One of the largest groups of victims of Colombia’s longstanding fight between guerillas and the army is also one of its least visible. Poor rural families are often threatened and expropriated by FARC rebels, forcing them to leave their villages and become refugees in their own country. For the past two weeks, these displaced Colombians have been protesting in the capital, Bogotá. Read more.... 
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Insect diet may be the solution for a hungry world

 
Mexicans eat deep-fried grasshoppers. Japanese love wasp cookies. Leafcutter ants are considered a delicacy in Colombia, as are some caterpillars in South Africa. And in Thailand people cook everything from water beetles to bamboo worms. Even though eating insects has often been dismissed as a cultural eccentricity, it might soon become one of the answers to pressing global problems like hunger and environmental destruction. Read more…
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'Ingrid of the Jungle': the wacky comic version of Betancourt's story

What if Ingrid Betancourt had travelled to the Colombian jungle after agreeing to a fake high-profile kidnapping? What if Nicolas Sarkozy had orchestrated her rescue to boost his popularity ratings and to settle an old score with former primer minister Dominique de Villepin? Read more...

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Can cable cars cut crime in Rio’s favelas?

After trying in vain to bring down the rampant crime rate in Brazil's favelas by imposing a heavy police presence, president Lula da Silva is now taking an entirely different approach. His new plan is to build cable cars. Read more...

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Latin America’s most dangerous form of transport

Farmers in the Andes are more than resourceful when it comes to mastering the mountain range's near-impossible terrain. To get from steep hill to steeper hill, they use "garruchas" or "tarabitas" - a prized form of transport in the mountainous regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, but not without its design faults. Read more...

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Burn your president for New Year’s Eve

Travel by car in Colombia, Ecuador or Venezuela during the Christmas holidays and you'll find yourself being stared at by scarecrows holding empty liquor bottles and dummies of world leaders. Stuffed with sawdust and gunpowder, the human-sized creatures known as "Año viejos" (Old years) meet a burning end as the centrepieces of New Year's Eve celebrations. Read more...

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Chavez or no Chavez, they're crossing the border

Worsening relations between Colombia and Venezuela led to a decision on November 3 by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to close the border between the two countries. Instead of giving in to the obstacle, however, residents from either side are finding every way round it. Read more...

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