Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva warned that next year’s presidential elections could become an “objective” for foreign militaries, in an interview published on Sunday.
“I’m worried the electoral process and democracy will become an internal and external military objective,” Silva told El Tiempo.
“We cannot allow terrorism or its allies to interfere in the sovereign expression of popular will,” said Silva, who was appointed defense minister last month.
Elections have been scheduled for next Mayin Colombia, which has had increasingly tense relations with neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez froze relations with Colombia last month and recalled his ambassador to the country. Colombia has accused both Chavez and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa of aiding the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla group.
Venezuela has also been angered by Colombia’s decision to allow the US to use its military bases to conduct anti-drug operations. Chavez last week alleged “a Yankee military force” was planning to invade his country from Colombia.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who has led a popular crackdown on drug groups and armed insurgents, has not ruled out seeking a third term in office, which would require a constitutional amendment.
Former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, an ally of Uribe, is also considered a front-runner, and is popular for his hardline stance against militants.
Chavez has dubbed Santos a “threat to continental peace” because the Colombian has expressed support for military operations against rebels based in neighboring countries, if the countries are offering the militants safe haven.
Correa has accused Colombia’s intelligence service of trying to undermine his government by linking it to the FARC.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable