Weird vote in Colombia

Last month there was a weird and surprising vote in Colombia.  I’ve been learning myself about it, and let me share the story as I understand it:


click for source

Here is messy, mountainous Colombia.

For some fifty-two years, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, fought the government.  FARC’s origins are Communisty, with their main grievance being rich people have all the best stuff in Colombia.  In their war their crimes are many and so are the government’s.

Nasty would be a mild word for this fight.


If you’re new to Colombian history it’s easy to lump this 52 year war in with the period known as La Violencia, but no, La Violencia was a whole separate ten year time, starting in 1948, in which maybe 200,000 people died.

Here’s how we got to the vote.  The last president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, was what you might call “aggressive” in his tactics towards FARC.


Makes sense: FARC killed his dad.  His efforts severely diminished FARC if not knocked it to the ropes.

Uribe oversaw, for example, Operation Jaque, that freed Ingrid Betancourt from her FARC captors.


Wiki, Justin Hoch

There’s no doubt the USA has been helping the government on this, by the way.  Why shouldn’t we?  The Colombians helped us in our Korean War for some reason.

Colombia entered the Korean War when Laureano Gómez was elected as President. It was the only Latin American country to join the war in a direct military role as an ally of the United States. Particularly important was the resistance of the Colombian troops at Old Baldy.

Camera Operator: SFC. CHARLES M. ROBERTS - DOD ID: HA-SN-98-07069 (old version) Personnel of the Korean service corps unload logs from an M-39 Armored Utility Vehicle at the RHE 2nd US Inf Div supply point on "Old Baldy" near Chorwon, Korea. Logs are for use in the construction of bunkers. A second M-39 is in the background. Korea, 1 Oct 1952.

Camera Operator: SFC. CHARLES M. ROBERTS – DOD ID: HA-SN-98-07069 (old version)
Personnel of the Korean service corps unload logs from an M-39 Armored Utility Vehicle at the RHE 2nd US Inf Div supply point on “Old Baldy” near Chorwon, Korea. Logs are for use in the construction of bunkers. A second M-39 is in the background. Korea, 1 Oct 1952.

By the time Uribe left office, in 2010, FARC was not what it used to be.

Here is Uribe’s successor, Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos:


First secretly, then publicly, his guys negotiated with FARC in Havana.  The two sides reached an agreement that would end what Santos called the last armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

The guy leading FARC is called Timochenko:


from wiki.

According to the United States Department of State, Timoleon Jimenez has set the FARC’s cocaine policies directing and controlling the production, manufacture, and distribution of hundreds of tons of cocaine to the United States and the world, including the “taxation” of the illegal drug trade in Colombia to raise funds for the FARC and the murder of hundreds of people who violated or interfered with the FARC’s cocaine policies

Santos and Timochenko shook hands at a meeting in Havana in June.

All that had to happen to ratify the accord was that Colombia’s people vote on it.  Guess what happened?:


Don’t know where CNN got this number, The Economist says 13m people voted.  Anyway, low turnout in a country of 47 million, partly because there was a hurricane.

Perhaps many NO voters thought it was bullshit that FARC murderers would get to be in parliament and wouldn’t be punished much for their various cruelties.  Says The Economist:

People who live in areas where the FARC has recently been active mostly backed the deal. “We are the ones who’ve had to live with bullets flying around us,” says Freddy Rendón, a cattle rancher in Uribe, a town in Meta, in central Colombia, where Yes won 93.5% of the vote. Those who live in more peaceful parts, including cities, voted No.

After the votes were counted, everybody was apparently surprised and nobody knew what would happen next.

Then, in a funny twist, Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize.


Maybe to give the whole project a peaceward shove from Norway.  Some cynics suggested Santos was a little too thirsty for the prize.   That’s a little vain perhaps but is it so wrong?  There is something funny about how much humans like prizes.

Santos with a bird from The Guardian, click for link.

Santos with a bird from The Guardian, click for link.

What will happen now is unclear.  FARC doesn’t seem dying to go back to fighting.  Maybe they can’t, in which case Colombian’s voters are, collectively, clever if sneaky negotiators who pulled quite a trick.

Me?  I’m rooting for peace in Colombia, a country I very much enjoyed visiting.

Popayan, Colombia, Helytimes photo.

Popayán, Colombia, in a photo taken by Helytimes.

You can read more about Colombia, what little I know of it, written at about this level, in  my book:


Only if you like tales of fun and adventure.

Amazon or your local indie bookstore.  Pick one up at South Congress Books in Austin, TX for example.


I think you’ll enjoy it.



Who is this?


I’ll give you a hint.  She is running for Vice-President of the United States.

It’s Mindy Finn!  Alert reader Dave sends this our way.  Ms. Finn used to work at Twitter, she’s a former reporter for the Waterbury, CT Republican-American, she’s a mother of two and she’s either 34 or 35.

Here’s a ready for primetime interview with her:

She’s running with former CIA operative Evan McMullin.  I gotta say, I’m won over a bit by the homespun nature of this campaign and I wish them well.


She reports she was shocked for “a couple minutes” when she was asked to join the ticket.

Remember this?

first posted here ten months ago.  What a ride.

Stressful job


Bill Belichick’s IT guy.  Lucky Coach says he is happy with Dan Famosi.

Cool job


This woman’s name is Thuli Madonsela, and she just ended her seven year term in the job of Public Protector in South Africa.

Lady Xoc


from wikicommons, photo by Michel Wai

The ruler, Shield Jaguar, holds a torch while his consort, Lady Xoc, pulls a rope studded with what are now believed to be obsidian shards through her tongue in order to conjure a vision serpent.

says Wiki about Lintel 24 from Yaxchilan, a site in far southern Mexico, along the Usumacinta River, the border to Guatemala.

photo by me, Helytimes

photo by me, Helytimes

Yaxchilan is not easy to get to.  You have to take a boat like this:

Photo © 2004 Jacob Russ from Wiki commons


In the river there are crocodiles, in the towers of the ruins there are bats, everywhere there are spiders.

You won’t find Lintel 24 there though.  It’s at the British Museum in London.  It was cut out and sent there by Alfred Maudslay.



What the hell was up with Lady Xoc?  She appears on another lintel, Lintel 25:



her obsidian tongue piercing rope worked, and now she’s seeing the Vision Serpent as she bleeds into a bowl.


Michel wal again

Read more about Yaxchilan, Bonampak, how we figured out how to read Mayan inscriptions, and the mysteries of what the hell Lady Xoc and her friends were up to in my book:


I believe you’ll enjoy it as much as this baby does.  Amazon or your local indie bookstore, perhaps, for instance, at Spellbinder Books, way up in Bishop, CA.


this one from google maps

There’s a lot to like about Bishop.



Five questions about Westworld



  • How many flies, real and robotic, are there in Westworld?
  • Is “I can’t tell who is human and who is a robot” a fair complaint about the show or the dumbest thing you can say because duh that’s the point?
  • What’s Westworld’s policy on hate speech?
  • Anthony Hopkins made Bernard, right?
  • Does the show owe it to Julian Jaynes to shout him out by name if they’re gonna cite the wild inventive theory he made up?


Def worth reading if you are in your twenties and have tons of time on your hands and love Ancient Aliens type stuff and want to take that to the next level

opening of this fantastic article about Jaynes by Veronique Greenwood:

Julian Jaynes was living out of a couple of suitcases in a Princeton dorm in the early 1970s. He must have been an odd sight there among the undergraduates, some of whom knew him as a lecturer who taught psychology, holding forth in a deep baritone voice. He was in his early 50s, a fairly heavy drinker, untenured, and apparently uninterested in tenure. His position was marginal.

Acknowledge me!

Acknowledge me!

Great point by my brilliant friend: