Rebel video hounds Ecuador’s Correa

first_imgBy Dialogo July 21, 2009 BOGOTA (AP) 7/17/2009 — An hour-long video police found in a computer of an alleged rebel appears to confirm that Colombia’s largest rebel army gave money to the 2006 election campaign of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. The video shows the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reading the deathbed manifesto of founding leader Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda. The manifesto states that the FARC made contributions to Correa’s campaign, but it’s possible that Correa wasn’t aware of them. The video, given to The Associated Press by a government official on condition of anonymity due to political sensitivity, adds weight to evidence found in a half-dozen electronic documents recovered at a rebel camp destroyed in a cross-border raid last year. Correa has accused Colombia of fabricating the documents, despite an investigation by the global police agency Interpol that determined they were not altered. The same rebel manifesto turned up on a different rebel computer recovered in October. But in the video it is read aloud by Jorge Briceno, a member of the FARC’s ruling secretariat and No. 2 commander, which will make it harder to deny. Ties between Colombia and neighboring Ecuador are deeply frayed, and the video is sure to complicate relations further. Colombia is outraged that the FARC, a leftist group on the U.S. State Department’s terror list, was operating out of Ecuador, allegedly with the support of that country’s leftist government. The State Department had no comment on the video. Ecuador broke diplomatic ties after Colombia crossed into its territory last year to raid the rebel camp. Attempts by the Organization of American States and the Carter Center to mediate the dispute have been stymied. Told of the video Friday, Ecuador’s security minister, Miguel Carvajal, denied that Correa’s government had “any relation in the campaign or has any relation with or contributions from groups such as the FARC, and certainly no type of accord.” Correa himself has repeatedly denied any ties to FARC. The video was found on a computer seized May 30 in the Bogota home of a suspected FARC operative, and finally decrypted last week. A senior Colombian prosecutor, anti-terrorism unit chief Hermes Ardila, confirmed that the video was found on one of three computers seized in the arrest of Adela Perez, 36 — “the secretariat’s key player in Bogota.” It shows Briceno reading from a laptop perched on a roughhewn shelf to about 250 somber-looking rebels in a jungle clearing. Briceno first informs the troops of Marulanda’s death and of changes in the rebel leadership. He reads from a missive from someone present when Marulanda died on March 26, 2008, at age 78, of an apparent heart attack. “We awake today with an immense solitude, so very sad. The comrade died yesterday, the 26th, at 18:20 hours,” Briceno reads. The faces of his young audience are grim. They look dumbstruck, distressed. At one point, Briceno pauses briefly and says, “What was that sound? A bomb?” He gets a negative reply from off camera. Briceno then turns to the sobering letter Marulanda wrote just days before his death. The letter stresses the strategic importance of “maintaining good political relations, friendship and confidence with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.” It is a grave reflection on devastating blows the FARC has suffered at the hands of the military in Colombia, which has received more than $4 billion in U.S. aid since 2000. It describes the “trophies of war” Colombia obtained when it killed the rebels’ foreign minister, Raul Reyes, and 24 other people in a March 1, 2008 raid on his jungle camp inside Ecuador. Marulanda laments that Colombia seized a trove of electronic documents that badly compromised the rebels and their foreign friends — namely, Correa and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. “The secrets of the FARC have been lost completely,” Briceno reads. Among those secrets is “assistance in dollars to Correa’s campaign and subsequent conversations with his emissaries,” the letter said. It mentions “some agreements, according to documents in the possession of all of us, that are very compromising regarding our ties with friends.” Marulanda’s letter does not say whether Correa personally knew of the money, and does not mention an amount. But it supports four other documents the Colombian government says it found on Reyes’ laptop that were allegedly written in late 2006 by FARC leaders discussing rebel payments of at least $100,000 to Correa’s campaign. It appears unlikely that the video could be fake. AP video experts found no signs of tampering. Also, Briceno is a known FARC leader with whom AP reporters had frequent contact from 1999-2002, and it is clearly him in the video. The Ecuadorean minister, Carvajal, told the AP that if the video is proven to be authentic, his government will want to know who the supposed emissaries are that established ties with the FARC “in the name of the (Correa) electoral campaign.” Late Friday, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Fander Falconi, announced the formation of a commission to investigate the allegations. Correa strongly denies receiving money from the FARC. He has argued that Reyes’ computer equipment could never have survived bombs that ripped apart his jungle camp. Despite revelations about ties to FARC, Correa was re-elected in April by a comfortable margin. Correa this month imposed stiff import tariffs on a broad range of Colombian goods including autos and beef, which will seriously affect Bogota’s $500 million in annual exports to Ecuador. The video, separated into 20 files on a Sony Vaio laptop, took more than a month to decrypt before the code was cracked July 10, said several government officials who spoke on condition they not be identified due to the matter’s sensitivity. The laptop’s owner, Perez, is jailed on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, as the alleged leader of an urban cell engaged in extortion and bombings in the capital, Ardila said. The other two laptops found in her home contained intelligence on senior government officials, including Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, national police director Gen. Oscar Naranjo and Juan Manuel Santos, who as defense minister managed the raid into Ecuador, the officials added. An Ecuadorean prosecutor last month issued an arrest warrant for Santos on murder charges. Interpol refused, however, to circulate the warrant. Colombia’s government says it has no intention of handing over Santos. The Marulanda letter also was found on a laptop seized in a raid on a rebel camp in Putumayo state near the Ecuadorean border on Oct. 31, according to Colombian authorities. The AP obtained a copy of the letter the following month.last_img read more

‘If I stay’ will be played this weekend at Wellington Regent

first_imgThis week at the Regent Theater: “If I Stay.” (Movie trailer is below).When: Friday 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Sunday 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.Rated: PG-13. Time: 1 hour and 46 minutes.Movie Synopsis: Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley). But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. “If I Stay” is based on the best-selling novel of the same name. (c) Warner Bros Rotten Tomatoes rating (movie critics collective approval ratings): 37%. Audience review: 67% approval.Movies ahead at Regent Theater:Oct. 3-5 – DolphinTale 2.Oct. 10-12 – The Maize Runner.Coming soon:No Good Deed.Halloween weekend – The Rocky Horror Picture Show!Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Electric cars will be cheaper than gas models but Canada lags in

first_imgOTTAWA – A Canadian energy think tank says the world is less than a decade away from the tipping point at which electric cars will cost the same as conventional gas-powered vehicles.But in a report released Thursday, Clean Energy Canada says this country is lagging on the government polices that elsewhere are helping spur consumers to adopt the new technology despite reservations about everything from price to reliability to the distance they can travel on a single charge.“The only way we will get to a point where an electric car is an equivalent or cheaper price than a gas car is if we can achieve a certain scale of production and to achieve that production we need to do more to make it easier for consumers to choose electric vehicles,” said Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at the think tank.Canada also doesn’t produce any mass-market electric vehicles, fewer than half of Canadian dealerships of car makers that have electric vehicle models even sell them and supply is so limited here it can take months for a Canadian who wants an electric vehicle to actually drive it off the lot.The waiting list to get a Chevy Bolt, the most popular electric vehicle sold in Canada, is about eight months. While there are 97 electric vehicle models available worldwide, only 27 of them are sold in Canada, and most dealers don’t even have a single model on site so people can test drive it, said Woynillowicz.Cutting emissions from cars is a big part of Canada’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet its international commitments. Road transportation is currently responsible for about one-fifth of all of Canada’s emissions.Transport Minister Marc Garneau plans to release a national zero-emission vehicle strategy in 2018 to help increase the number of sales. Canada is currently one of only two G7 nations without such a strategy.Norway, which leads the world in electric vehicles, with almost 30 per cent of cars sold there being electric, plans to bar the sale of combustion-engine vehicles in 2025 and already doesn’t charge any taxes on the sale of electric cars.In Canada, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia offer cash rebates for buying electric vehicles; 97 per cent of electric car sales in Canada are in those provinces, compared to about 90 per cent of all new car sales.Quebec is to launch a policy in 2018 requiring dealers to sell a certain percentage of electric cars.Despite that, sales in Canada are barely a blip, representing about one in every 100 new cars sold.According to FleetCarma, an Ontario-based tech company helping to enable the adoption of electric vehicles, September was a record-setting month for electric car sales in Canada.That month’s total EV sales? Just 2,240 cars, out of a total of 186,800 cars sold.Clean Energy Canada says electric vehicles represent a number of economic opportunities for Canada, including for auto parts manufacturers and the mining sector, spurred on by demand for the minerals and metals needed to make the lithium-ion batteries.If Canada doesn’t jump on board more quickly, the rest of the world is going to snap up those opportunities and we’ll lose out, says the report.In addition to addressing price gaps, a national strategy could also make policy recommendations or provide funding for additional charging networks, and encourage municipalities and provinces to break down barriers for people to charge their cars at home and at work.Anxiety that electric cars can’t get far on a single charge, won’t work for long distances or are unreliable are among the biggest barriers for consumers. There have also been reports of condo dwellers or apartment renters being unable to charge their vehicles.Ontario’s new building code standards, as of January 1, will require any new condo building to include an electric car charger for at least 20 per cent of onsite parking, and the rest will have to be equipped so the chargers can be installed later. But that will not affect existing buildings.last_img read more