- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Colombian rightist gang trains Venezuelan group
BOGOTA, Colombia Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries are helping establish a similar group in neighboring Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, has been accused of aiding Marxist Colombian rebels, paramilitary leader Carlos Castano said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.
The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia has people training in Venezuelan territory, Mr. Castano told El Tiempo daily. He said his group's estimated 15,000 fighters would not fight along with the Self-Defense Forces of Venezuela but "are supporting" creation of the group.
Mr. Chavez has denied assertions from Bogota that he supports the Colombian rebels.

Efforts to integrate Central America gaining
MERIDA, Mexico Central America is littered with 30 years' worth of failed integration plans, but new pressure from Mexico, the United States and the European Union may finally push the region into economic union.
Central American officials who met on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday and Friday said host President Vicente Fox's integration effort dubbed the Puebla-Panama Plan gave impetus for them to move together.
Interest from the European Union and President Bush in negotiating free trade with the region would force them to form a bloc, the officials said. They hope an economically unified Central America could attract more foreign investment.
Income differences plague the region. Nicaragua and Honduras have per capita gross domestic product of less than $1,000, while Panama and Costa Rica have per capita GDP of about $4,200.

Brazil's top medium dies of heart failure
SAO PAULO, Brazil Chico Xavier, the most popular spiritual medium in Brazil and author of 500 books with messages from the deceased, died Sunday of heart failure at age 92, hospital sources said yesterday.
Mr. Xavier was an icon for followers of spiritualism, the belief that spirits of the dead communicate with the living, usually through a medium. He lived in the state of Minas Gerais, was said to have communicated between the dead and the living through writing, and received pilgrims from all over the country. Minas Gerais declared three days of mourning.
His first book in 1932 contained poems he received "spontaneously" from dead poets. It sold more than 20 million copies. Even politicians were drawn to Mr. Xavier. Fernando Collor de Mello, who was elected president in 1989, visited the medium that year.

Weekly notes
A majority of Canadians feel their culture is threatened by that of neighboring United States, according to a poll issued yesterday for the July 1 Canada Day holiday. Nearly 60 percent of the 1,500 people surveyed in the Leger Marketing poll said U.S. culture reigns in Canada and poses a threat to the future of the country's cultural heritage. Peru's President Alejandro Toledo is under court order to submit to a DNA test on Aug. 7 to determine whether he fathered a child out of wedlock. A family court in Piura, northern Peru, ordered last week that he submit to the test to prove whether he is the biological father of Zarai Orosco, born 14 years ago after a purported adulterous relationship with the girl's mother. During his campaign for president last year, Mr. Toledo promised to submit to a DNA test if a court required it.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide