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Colombian electoral calendar remains unchanged

Tuesday, February 28th 2006 - 21:00 UTC
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Colombian President Alvaro Uribe vowed Tuesday that “terrorist” leftist rebels who are gunning down civilians will not hinder March 12 legislative elections.

In the last three days the Marxist oriented Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas massacred in cold blood eight Councilmen and opened fire on a bus carrying women and children killing nine.

The eight councilmen were machine gunned by a FARC cell when they were meeting at a restaurant.

"These terrorists still have the capability to damage. They have caused terrible tragedies and human suffering such as the indiscriminate firing on innocent civilians, women and children", said Uribe.

The president quoted statements from the founder and top leader of FARC, Pedro Antonio Marin, alias "Manuel Marulanda" or "Sureshot," who over the weekend reiterated he will not engage in any dialogue with the government while Uribe is in office.

"Here we have terrorist Manuel Marulanda, playing another political trick, thinking that he's going to deceive the country again, thinking that he can combine political deceit with murdering Colombians" underlined president Uribe.

The guerrilla indiscriminate killings of civilians are part of what the terrorist rebels call the campaign to oppose Uribe's re-election next May 28 as well as the free trade treaty recently agreed with Washington.

Uribe, who travelled to the southern provincial capital of Neiva to head a security meeting, said that, despite escalation of government operations against the rebels, "it can't be denied" that the guerrillas still have the capacity to damage.

However, Uribe also pointed out that campaign conditions for legislative candidates have considerably improved compared to when he was running for president and suffered several attacks at the hands of the FARC.

"I had to run a campaign from a television studio in Bogotá" recalls Uribe, who was elected in 2002 and was sworn in before Congress amid a rocket attack on the presidential palace, another terrorist operation in which many civilians were killed.

However the Colombian president was confident that "democracy will learn to defend itself and will prevail. In spite of the violent intimidations candidates are travelling all over the country".

Categories: Mercosur.

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