Briefly: Fernandez proposes bill to take over oil company

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It said the plan draws on “Colombia’s established and expanding expertise and capacity for countering this threat and shared U.S. responsibility to address the demand for illicit narcotics.”

Colombia and the United States will conduct “frequent” meetings to coordinate their security operations under the plan, with a focus on drug trafficking, combating crime, strengthening institutions and fostering “resilient” communities.

The expanded coordination, which involves bolstering civilian law enforcement capacity and capabilities, “will support whole-of-government strategies and produce a greater effect throughout the hemisphere and West Africa,” the State Department said.

“Both countries are working to identify new areas for collaboration and [are] committed to coordinate more closely with partner nations throughout the hemisphere.”

The United States and Colombia already operate jointly to help build capacities in the Americas and West Africa.

Under Operation Martillo, a U.S. task force coordinates air and maritime operations with the Colombian Navy and Air Force to detect and disrupt transnational organized crime cells in Central America.


Dissident arrested during pope’s visit freed

HAVANA — A dissident arrested for shouting anti-government slogans during a mass by Pope Benedict XVI has been released from jail, according to a source in the opposition community.

Andres Carrion, 38, was arrested on March 26, as he staged his protest at a Mass held by the pope in the eastern Cuban city of Santiago.

He was released Friday according to noted Cuban dissident Elizardo Sanchez, who said he got the news from Mr. Carrion’s relatives.

Mr. Sanchez said that of dozens of dissidents arrested before and during the papal visit, all now have been released, with the exception of Jose Daniel Ferrer, 41, head of the opposition Cuban Patriotic Union.


Former president hospitalized with heart problems

RIO DE JANEIRO — Former president Jose Sarney, currently leader of Brazil’s Senate, is being treated in Sao Paulo for heart problems.

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