Colombia

Ivan Valencia / AP

Colombia’s half-century-long civil war was fought mainly in its rural areas. And that’s where implementing the peace process that was signed a few years ago is most urgent. But on Tuesday the U.N. reported that’s in jeopardy — because a new kind of violence is terrorizing those regions.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

MATIAS DELACROIX / AP

Senior Trump administration officials discussed plans to “increase pressure” over the coming year on Venezuela’s embattled ruler, Nicolás Maduro, with top opposition leaders at the State Department this week, Colombian and Venezuelan opposition officials confirmed to McClatchy and el Nuevo Herald.

The State Department hosted four of Venezuela’s largest opposition parties, starting with one-on-one sessions that began earlier this week before all the parties gathered together on Wednesday.

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez is wrapping up a trade mission to Colombia on Wednesday with a delegation that included 19 Florida companies hoping to start or expand trade with the South American country.

NEON

Midway through the new Colombian film “Monos,” there is a haunting moment that illuminates, literally, the evil of using children as soldiers.

Rafael Urdaneta Rojas / AP

Are Venezuela and Colombia headed for war? Believe it or not, that's the big worry in South America right now.

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET Friday

Top rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have announced a "new stage of fighting," despite a peace accord that the leftist guerrilla group signed with the national government almost three years ago.

In a 32-minute YouTube video posted Thursday, more than 20 armed fighters stood in green fatigues and in front of a sign that read, "As long as there is a will to fight there will be hope for victory."

Yuletsy Martinez, 19, and her husband crossed the border into Colombia when she was pregnant with her second child. They left because they couldn't find food or medical care in Venezuela. Martinez gave birth at a hospital in Colombia. "They took good care of me. And they helped me there," Martinez told NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro in a report that aired on All Things Considered.

Ingebjorg Karstad / Norwegian Refugee Council

The U.N. announced last week it has to ramp up humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. But it admits this new effort to deliver more food, medicine and other essentials to Venezuela will be “modest in terms of responding to the scale of needs” there. A new survey shows as much as a fifth of Venezuela's population have fled the country – and that number is rising.

WLRN’s Luis Hernandez spoke with Americas editor Tim Padgett about where the Venezuela crisis is going – especially since the socialist regime critics say is responsible for the mess doesn't look to be going anywhere soon.

Martin Chahin / DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

The U.S. is working with Colombia, Brazil and other regional partners on how to assist Venezuela if the embargo-like sanctions announced by the White House this week ultimately force President Nicolás Maduro to step down, the head of the U.S. Southern Command said.

Navy Adm. Craig Faller, the Miami-based head of U.S. forces in South America, said the nations are working on “planning and discussing what we could do, and will do for the ‘day after Maduro,’ when there’s a legitimate government, when we can go in and really assist the people of Venezuela.”

Fernando Vergara / AP

COMMENTARY

On Local 10’s “This Week in South Florida” last Sunday – a day after the anti-immigrant/anti-Hispanic massacre in El Paso, Texas – I used the term “white Christianist terrorism” to describe the wave of white supremacist violence plaguing the U.S.

Michel Euler / AP

In Paris last week, Egan Bernal became the first Colombian – and the first Latin American – to ever win the Super Bowl of cycling: the Tour de France. At one point during his victory ceremony near the city’s Arc de Triomphe, an NBC sports commentator mused that “the Colombians have taken over” – and he may not have been far off.

Jesús Parra spent four years as a police officer in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. He patrolled the streets, provided security at events and even guarded political prisoners. Now, he parks cars at a funeral home for spare change in the Colombian city of Cúcuta.

This is not what Parra, 27, had in mind when he deserted the police force and sneaked across the Colombian border in March.

Crowds of Venezuelans lined up at two international bridges leading to Colombia on Saturday, as the border between the countries opened for the first time in four months.

Thousands of people crossed over, seeking food, medicine and basic supplies. For months, Venezuelans have been dealing with power outages, hyperinflation and increased violence due to the deepening political and economic crises in the country.

In the northeast corner of Colombia, a few miles from the Venezuelan border, rows of khaki-colored tents rise from the desert sand. Filled with Venezuelans escaping economic disaster back home, the tents make up Colombia's first refugee camp near the border.

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