Columbia

1:18am

Wed November 21, 2012
Planet Money

How The Government Set Up A Fake Bank To Launder Drug Money

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 11:18 am

Skip Latson marks the fake opening of RHM Trust Bank.
Bill Bruton

In the early 1990s, Colombian drug cartels had a problem: They had more money than they knew what to do with.

"They were having a very difficult time with just the logistics of laundering millions and millions and millions of dollars every week," says Skip Latson, who worked for the DEA at the time.

So Latson and Bill Bruton, who was a special agent with the IRS, hatched a plan: They'd create a fake, offshore bank catering to the needs of the drug cartel.

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11:07am

Tue November 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Talks With Colombian Government Are On A Good Path, Says FARC Negotiator

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 12:53 pm

Colombian members of FARC, commanders Ivan Marquez, center, and Rodrigo Granda, left, arrive at Convention Palace in Havana for the peace talks with the Colombian government on Monday.
Adalberto Roque AFP/Getty Images

We know all eyes are in Egypt today, where negotiations for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas are ongoing.

But there is another set of talks happening in Havana, Cuba that is worth paying attention to. Those negotiations are happening between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's Marxist guerilla.

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7:15am

Tue September 4, 2012
The Two-Way

'Queen Of Cocaine' Is Gunned Down In Colombia

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:18 am

Griselda Blanco, the "queen of cocaine," in a 2004 photo posted by the Florida Department of Corrections.
Fla. Dept. of Corrections

Talk about your just deserts:

"A Colombian drug trafficker, known as the 'queen of cocaine,' has been killed in the city of Medellin," the BBC writes. "Griselda Blanco, 69, was shot dead by gunmen as she was leaving a butcher's."

That rather dry report doesn't do justice to the life and death of Blanco, though. As Miami New Times writes, her assassination on Monday:

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1:40pm

Tue August 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Colombian President Says 'Exploratory Talks' Held With FARC Rebels

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos delivering a speech to the nation at Narino Palace in Bogota.
Cesar Carrion AFP/Getty Images

The president of Colombia admitted today that his government and the country's biggest rebel group have engaged in "exploratory talks." The public admission could set the stage for peace talks to end one of the world's longest armed conflicts.

From Bogota, NPR's Juan Forero filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"President Juan Manuel Santos, in a brief televised address, said talks had taken place with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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2:09am

Thu July 26, 2012
Latin America

Acid Attacks A Rising Menace For Colombian Women

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 8:55 am

Maria Cuervo, 41, poses at her home in Bogota March 5 with a photo of herself before a stranger threw acid at her face in 2004.
Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images

A brutal crime more commonly associated with Pakistan or India is now on the rise in South America: Jealous husbands, spurned lovers and, in a few cases, even perfect strangers are dousing women with sulfuric or nitric acids, literally burning off their faces.

In Colombia, the horrific trend is terrorizing women and alarming officials.

Among those disfigured by such an attack is Consuelo Cordoba, 51, who was assaulted a decade ago by her former partner and lives a life of endless physical and psychological pain.

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