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Colombia declares state of emergency

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, center, made the declaration after an emergency cabinet meeting late Sunday in Bogota.
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, center, made the declaration after an emergency cabinet meeting late Sunday in Bogota.  


From Steven Dudley
CNN

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- In an effort to crack down on leftist rebels, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe issued an emergency declaration Monday that will bolster the country's security forces in the South American nation's decades-long civil war.

The move, in effect for at least 90 days, will allow the government to raise tax revenue for more security spending and provide for other measures that could include more searches, seizures and arrests.

The government is planning to levy an $800 million tax that would raise money for 10,000 more police officers, two new mobile army brigades with 3,000 soldiers each, and more investigators for the attorney general's office.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is being blamed for killing 20 people in a mortar attack on Bogota as Uribe was being inaugurated last Wednesday. Since that day, dozens of others have been killed in civil warfare between the government, leftist rebels, and illegal paramilitaries. No one has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack, but police blame it on FARC.

Uribe is a member of Colombia's Liberal Party but is seen by rebels as right-wing because of his perceived support for paramilitary groups.

While Fernando Londono, the country's interior and justice minister, said the decree does not restrict anyone's constitutional rights and won't restrict the media, the measure could result in massive searches, seizures and arrests.

Uribe has pledged to increase military spending by $1 billion and to double the police force, something voters seemed to support.

The civil strife has taken a toll on Colombia's economy over the years, sinking in 1999 into its first recession since the 1930s.



 
 
 
 






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