Colombia´s military spied on international and domestic reporters at peace talks

Colombia´s spy scandal took on an international flavour with news today that the military spied on international and domestic reporters covering peace talks in Havana, Cuba.

Military hackers apparently obtained and read thousands of emails between international and Colombian journalists and FARC public affairs representatives, U.S.-based Univision reported today.

Colombia was rocked with the news last week that its military was spying on its own peace negotiators. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos fired two generals, but the next day did an about-face and said the operation was a legitimate intelligence operation.

AP, Reuters, Notimex, Prensa Latina, and a number of European, Colombian and other Latin American reporters were among the long list spied upon by the military, according to the Univision exclusive.

Some 2,600 emails were obtained by the military.

Talks between the Colombian government and the FARC began in Cuba in November 2012. Agreements have been reached on two of five key areas: agricultural reform and a return to political life by FARC guerrillas. Negotiators now are concentrating on the drug trade that infused Colombian society. The drug trade has been used to finance presidential and other political campaigns, the FARC war effort, paramilitary bands, football (soccer) teams and every other imaginable activity.

The latest spying scandal and persistent threats and assassinations of left-wing candidates and activists have recently diverted the attention from negotiations and fed controversy during Colombia´s current election campaigns.

Former president Álvaro Uribe has criticized Santos for disciplining the two generals and purportedly demoralizing the military. Uribe himself has been the subject of controversy as he has been the recipient of military intelligence about the peace talks, of which he has been a constant critic.

Uribe – now a candidate for the senate and the head of his own political party – attacked Santos for negotiating with the FARC rebels when the talks were only in their exploratory phase and were not publicly known. He also publicized the locations where Colombian military agreed to meet FARC leaders and use helicopters to transport them to peace negotiations.

Critics have called for investigations to determine how Uribe learned and published apparent military secrets.

Members of the Colombian press have often been under attack from all sides, by drug traffickers, by guerrillas, by paramilitaries and by their own security forces.

A report to be released by la Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP) states that 142 reporters were assassinated in Colombia in the last 37 years.

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About Connecting Colombias

Recently retired newspaper reporter with one foot in British Columbia, Canada, the other in Colombia, South America. Fascinated with Colombian culture, Canadian connections, and heroic efforts to return millions of displaced Colombians to lands stolen by paramilitaries, guerrillas and organized crime.

2 responses to “Colombia´s military spied on international and domestic reporters at peace talks”

  1. colombiadiaries says :

    The ‘chuzadas’ scandal expands. Where will it end? Uribe’s behaviour is not compatible with someone who has the nation’s interests at heart. He has endangered lives and tried to sabotage the peace process. Let’s hope the investigations put him where he should be – which is NOT in the senate. The fact that Colombian journalists are threatened and assassinated underlines the importance of foreign journalists covering the situation in Colombia, making the work that you are doing even more important.

    • Connecting Colombias says :

      Government’s and military just cannot seem to resist the temptation to push the limits and find out everything they can, whether it’s legal or not. Uribe’s sure seems to have some high-ranking military sources, but not surprisingly the investigation turned up nothing.

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