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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:34 AM
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(AP) Colombian Elections Marked by Threats
(AP) Colombian Elections Marked by Threats
Mar 10 2006

Associated Press writer
MAGANGUE, Colombia

You need permission to run for Congress in this steamy northern Colombian town where right-wing militias hold sway _ that is, if you value your life.
Juan David Diaz canceled a campaign stop ahead of Sunday's national elections after receiving a warning that he would be assassinated if he set foot in this town of 160,000.

The opposition candidate says he is under threat for helping expose ties between outlawed paramilitary groups and a powerful businesswoman who is a powerbroker in Magangue. Earlier this month, one of his campaigners was found decapitated.

"Every day I receive death threats for running my campaign, but it's when they don't threaten you that you know they're going to do it," said Diaz, the son of a mayor killed three years ago.

Sunday's elections come amid mounting concerns that paramilitaries are trying to convert military gains into political power.

In January, President Alvaro Uribe ordered an investigation into allegations that paramilitary groups have infiltrated congressional campaigns using illegal drug money. The decision came a month after U.S. Ambassador William Wood said paramilitaries may be corrupting the elections through bribery, threats and possibly even murder.

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:39 AM
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1. I hate rw death squads.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
2. Paramilarities' control of candidates is feared
Paramilarities' control of candidates is feared
In typical Colombian fashion, legislative elections this month mix blood with votes.BY STEVEN DUDLEY

MONTERIA, Colombia - Colombia has the curious historical burden of being both the oldest democracy in South America and the stage for the region's oldest civil war. So it's not surprising when the two mix at election time.

As Colombians gear up to elect a new Congress on Sunday and a president on May 28, one leftist guerrilla group has attacked and killed lawmakers, blocked roads, burned vehicles and dynamited an oil pipeline and electrical towers in an attempt to sabotage the vote. Another leftist rebel group, which is negotiating with the government, has urged voters to take part in the elections.

But the major theme of the current election campaign has been the possible participation of illegal right-wing paramilitaries as candidates in the elections -- and alleged U.S. efforts to thwart their participation.

The paramilitaries were created by ranchers, businessmen and drug traffickers two decades ago to protect them from the guerrillas, and often have massacred civilians suspected of aiding the rebels. Their peace talks with the government since 2004 have led to the demobilization of some 23,000 fighters, under a promise they will not participate in elections.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. It sounds like they are breaking the promice about not participating in
the elections.
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