Columbia

1:05am

Thu May 30, 2013
Parallels

Years Of Combat Experience, And Just Turning 20

Luis Bedoya is baby-faced and skinny.

And he looks ever the boy when he puts on an industrial-sized apron, thick gloves and a metal helmet - the tools of an apprentice welder at the Don Bosco center in this city in southern Colombia.

It's a big complex, complete with classrooms, basketball courts, a dormitory and work rooms. It's home to boys and girls, as well as very young adults, who defected from the FARC rebels or were captured by the Colombian army.

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3:31pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Latin America

As U.S. Consumes Less Cocaine, Brazil Uses More

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Juan Forero Getty Images

As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.

And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.

As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.

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4:26pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Sports

Game, Set And Match: U.S. Tennis Tournaments Move Abroad

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:16 am

Pete Sampras returns a forehand against Russia's Marat Safin during an exhibition tennis match at the L.A. Tennis Open tournament in 2009. The tournament, which has been around for decades, is now relocating to Colombia as America's dominance in the sport declines and global appeal surges.
Danny Moloshok AP

Throughout most of its 86 years, Los Angeles' premier tennis tournament attracted the biggest names in the game. But over the years, stars stopped coming, and so did fans.

Now the Farmers Classic, which has been in L.A. since 1927, is headed to Bogota after it was bought by a Colombian sports marketing and entertainment company.

"There's a big hole in my heart. And believe me, this is something we didn't see coming, I'll be honest," says Bob Kramer, longtime tournament director of the Farmers Classic.

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3:24pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Latin America

'Lost Jews' Of Colombia Say They've Found Their Roots

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 10:38 am

Baruj Cano, 4, watches as his father and other men from Bello's Jewish community read from the Torah.
Paul Smith for NPR

They are called "crypto-Jews" or "lost Jews," and in recent years they have emerged in remote places as scattered as India, Brazil, the American Southwest and here in Colombia.

They were raised as Christians but believe they have discovered hidden Jewish roots, prompting many to return to Judaism. Many say their ancestors were Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain more than 500 years ago, as the Spanish crown embarked on a systematic persecution of Jews.

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12:33pm

Thu November 22, 2012
Latin America

Animals Seized From Colombian Narcos Find A Home

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 3:09 pm

Ana Julia Torres cares for hundreds of abused animals at a refuge in Cali, Colombia, including this lion named Jupiter. Many of the animals were previously owned by drug traffickers who have been arrested.
Juan Forero NPR

Villa Lorena, in southwestern Colombia, is an animal refuge like no other.

There are four lions, nine Bengal tigers, jaguars, cougars, a crocodile, a speckled bear and an ostrich. There's a chimpanzee named Jocko, spider monkeys and hundreds of brightly colored birds.

One thing they all have in common — they've been abused, says Ana Julia Torres. Monkeys have been beaten. Birds have had their beaks cut off.

"They're lame, or have lost limbs; they're blind, or can't focus, or have lost an eye," Torres says.

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