Colombia says FARC rebel leader killed

(Reuters) – Colombian forces killed top FARC rebel leader Alfonso Cano on Friday in the biggest blow yet to Latin America’s longest insurgency and a triumph for President Juan Manuel Santos, the Defense Ministry said.

While unlikely to bring a swift end to nearly five decades of war in the Andean nation, his death will further damage the rebels’ ability to regroup and coordinate the high profile attacks that have brought it worldwide notoriety.

There were few immediate details of the killing, which occurred during combat, according to a ministry official.

“It’s true he’s dead,” he told Reuters.

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Colombia Boosts Defense Spending, Raising Peso Program Concerns

–Colombia announces $838 million in new defense spending

–More defense outlays mean less cash to halt peso strength

BOGOTA (Dow Jones)–Colombia is planning a significant increase in defense spending due to a resurgence of guerrilla violence, a budget-bulging move that among other things could limit the government’s ability to keep the peso from getting too strong against a weak dollar.

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An interview with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

By Lally Weymouth, Friday, August 26, 11:45 AM

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos came well prepared for the job: Previously, he served as his country’s finance minister, foreign trade minister and, most recently, defense minister under his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe. But while Uribe centered Colombia’s foreign policy around an alliance with the United States, Santos has maintained good relations with Washington yet also kept some distance, becoming more of an independent player in Latin America. Santos, who has been in office slightly more than one year and enjoys a strong domestic approval rating of 71 percent, sat down last week with Washington Post senior associate editor Lally Weymouth in Bogota. Excerpts of their conversation:

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