September 22, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Montesinos is convicted

Vladimiro Montesinos, who ran Peru's intelligence services under the Fujimori regime, was convicted of orchestrating a deal involving the sale of 10,000 assault rifles to Colombian guerrillas. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. See Montesinos used to be the most feared man in Peru, and he kept a library of incriminating videotapes documenting all of his bribes, blackmailing almost the entire political establishment in Peru. It basically nullified all of the progress that Fujimori had achieved in terms of economic and political stability.

Colombian rebels seek armistice

The National Liberation Army (ELN), the smaller and less brutal of the two main guerrilla movements in Colombia, has expressed interest in discussing terms for laying down their arms. President Alvaro Uribe has drawn criticism for offering conditional amnesty to right-wing paramilitary groups, but he also pledged to offer amnesty on the same terms to the leftist rebels, and they have taken him up on the offer. Negotiations are supposed to begin next month in Cuba. See If this works out, it would be a huge boost in prestige for Uribe, who was just reelected by a large margin last May. It seems doubtful that it will have much impact on the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), however, since they are reaping big profits from the narcotics trade.