President’s re-election boosts peace-talk hopes in Colombia

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Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, won a second term on Sunday with an election victory that allows him to continue peace talks with Marxist guerrillas to end a half-century war.

Santos beat rightwing challenger Óscar Iván Zuluaga with about 50.8% of the vote after a bitter campaign that challenged voters to decide between the incumbent’s pursuit of negotiated peace or a likely escalation of combat under Zuluaga.

Zuluaga trailed with about 45.1% of support. Votes had been counted from more than 98% of polling stations, meaning Santos’s victory was secure.

His re-election comes as a relief to his backers as well as traditional rivals from the left who backed the peace talks and feared they could have been jettisoned by Zuluaga in favour of trying to end the long conflict on the battlefield.

Santos, who hails from one of the country’s most influential families, opened talks with rebel leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) in late 2012 to end a conflict that has killed over 200,000 people and forced millions more from their homes. He made peace hopes a key selling point throughout the campaign.

Although they have shown more progress than previous failed efforts, the peace talks in Cuba have been divisive. Zuluaga supporters fear a peace deal could hand the Farc leaders political power without punishment for their crimes.

Santos sought to capitalise on support for his peace effort this week by revealing preliminary talks had begun with the second biggest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).

A victory for Zuluaga, 55, could have spelled the end of the peace process if the Farc rejected the tougher conditions he vowed to impose to keep talks going.

Colombia’s financial market were not rattled by the campaign because both candidates are considered business friendly. Colombia’s economy is one of the fastest growing in Latin America.

Desde el lunes 19 de mayo comienza la votación anticipada para elegir Presidente y Vicepresidente

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Para facilitar el desplazamiento de los ciudadanos colombianos residentes en el sur de la Florida al puesto de votación, las urnas electorales van a estar abiertas durante siete días: entre el 19 y el 24 de mayo de 2014.
Los votantes deben tener en cuenta que si van a votar entre el lunes 19 y el sábado 24 de mayo, deben acudir directamente al Consulado General Central de Colombia en Miami, (280 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, FL 33134), entre las 8 a.m. y las 4 p.m. En la sede consular estarán habilitadas mesas correspondientes a los 7 puestos de votación autorizados en el Sur de la Florida.
Si van a votar el domingo 25 de mayo, los ciudadanos deben acudir directamente al puesto de votación donde están inscritos, entre las 8 a.m. y las 4 p.m.
La cédula de ciudadanía vigente (versión amarilla con holograma) es el único documento válido para votar.

Para verificar el puesto de votación los ciudadanos colombianos pueden ingresar a: http://www.registraduria.gov.co/-Censo-Electoral-.html

Puestos de votación autorizados:
CONSULADO: 280 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables Florida 33134
KENDALL: MIAMI DADE COLLEGE Gymnasium Gibson Center 11011 SW 104 St. Miami, Florida 33176
HIALEAH: MILANDER CENTER FOR ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT 4800 Palm Ave. Hialeah Florida, 33012
WESTON: RICK CASE HONDA, 15700 Rick case Way, Davie Florida 33331.
PLANTATION: DIECKE AUDITORIUM, 5701 Cypress Road, Plantation Florida 33317
WEST PALM BEACH: EL BODEGON #4, 4481 Lakeworth Road. Lakeworth FL 33461.
SARASOTA: HILTON GARDEN INN, 8270 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota Florida 34243.

Fuente: Consulado de Colombia – Miami, Florida

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