Colombia

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

South Florida has petal power. Just about all the flowers that enter the U.S. come through Miami, where they're the No. 1 import.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspended ongoing peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) on Monday, after the leftist rebel group killed several police officers in a series of bomb attacks over the weekend. It is the second time this month, negotiations between the government and the last remaining rebel group have been put on hold.

Rodrigo Londoño has been sentenced for taking people hostage, raiding an army base and recruiting children into his guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Now, the former rebel commander is running for Colombia's top office.

On Saturday, the 59-year-old former guerrilla leader waved at supporters from a stage set up outside a community center in Ciudad Bolívar, one of Bogotá's poorest neighborhoods. Amid tight security, a catchy campaign song and confetti blasts, he joined the race for the May 27 presidential election.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

This month, when you walk into a Colombian café in Kendall called La Candelaria, you’re met by música decembrina. December music. Meaning, Colombian Navidad or Christmas music. Old-time cumbia favorites like “El Año Viejo.”

Colombia says it has made the biggest drug bust in its history, after seizing 13.4 tons of cocaine at farms northwest of Medellin on Wednesday. The drugs are worth more than a third of a billion dollars, according to President Juan Manuel Santos.

Santos said the illegal merchandise, "valued at U.S. $360 million, belonged to the Clan of the Gulf and was seized in 4 collection centers in a radius of 6 km [3.7 miles], between the municipalities of Carepa and Chigorodó, Antioquia."

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP via Miami Herald

The official song commissioned for Pope Francis’ visit to Colombia this week is called “Let’s Take the First Step.” It concludes with a paso the 80-year-old pontiff probably isn’t too familiar with: the hip-hop beat called reggaeton.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

When Vice President Mike Pence toured Latin America last week – Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama – it was the Trump administration’s first visit to a region that's wondering if Trump has any interest in it besides building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fernando Vergara / AP

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos went to a small town south of Bogotá Tuesday to mark a major milestone in the country’s peace process – but now the hard part begins in Colombia.

In the central Colombian town of Mesetas, Santos joined leaders of the Marxist guerrilla army known as the FARC. Along with representatives from the U.N., they declared the historic completion of the FARC’s disarmament — including the delivery of more than 7,000 weapons now padlocked away.

Updated at 1:11 p.m. ET

It was a long holiday weekend in Colombia and the El Almirante ferry was filled with tourists.

Soon after the boat began cruising around the reservoir in Guatape on Sunday, survivors described hearing a loud explosion near the men's bathroom that knocked out power, according to The Associated Press.

Shortly after that, the boat carrying more than 150 passengers began sinking. The first two floors went underwater quickly as people rushed to get up to the fourth floor.

A bomb that exploded in a crowded shopping mall killed three people and injured nine more in Bogota, Colombia Saturday.

The bomb exploded in the second-floor women's bathroom of the Andino shopping mall, which contains a number of upscale stores.

Colombian authorities called it an act of terrorism; no one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing. The mall was evacuated after the explosion, which occurred at about 5 p.m. local time.

In the southern Colombian jungle town of San José del Guaviare, construction workers repair a beer warehouse that was partially destroyed by a bomb. There are shrapnel holes in the ceiling and a small crater in the sidewalk out front.

The attack came last month after warehouse manager Javier Montoya refused to hand over large sums of cash to a small group of dissident FARC rebels.

"I'm confused," Montoya says. "I never thought this would happen during a peace process."

I’m looking at a photograph of a shoreline on the wall at the opening reception of "Potente" through my smartphone.

Four little white dots converge in the center and all of a sudden the water begins to crash on the rocks.

How did this happen? For answers I spoke with Felipe Aguilar, creator of "Potente," the installation currently being shown at the Colombian consulate in Coral Gables.

Aguilar, a native of Bogota, Colombia, is a graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in filmmaking.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Last fall Colombia was being called “the Brexit of the Americas.” That’s because, in stunning Brexit fashion, voters there had just rejected a peace agreement to end the country’s half-century-long civil war. Most Colombians felt the accord was too lenient toward the Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC.

Fernando Vergara / AP

The Colombian government has set up several bank accounts to accept donations to help victims of the devastating avalanche that has claimed more than 260 lives in southern Colombia.

The disaster in the small city of Mocoa is considered one of the worst natural tragedies in the nation’s history.

A statement posted on the Consulate of Colombia in Miami website says that the best way to help from outside the country is by depositing directly into a Citibank account, which is serving as an intermediary bank.

Two days after landslides and floods tore through the town of Mocoa, Colombia, and killed more than 200 people, rescuers were desperately searching for survivors in the mud and rubble.

The "sudden avalanche of mud and water" struck on Friday night, as people were sleeping, as NPR reported over the weekend.

The death toll includes at least 43 children, John Otis reports for NPR.

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