News in brief: May

By bogotapost May 11, 2016
Maria-Teresa Tess Asplund

Maria-Teresa Tess Asplund seen here facing off with a Neo-nazi parade last week in Sweden.

Anti-racism activist

A Swedish woman who stood up to around 300 Neo-nazis on May 1 has quickly been adopted by media in this country as a Colombian. It is true that Maria-Teresa Tess Asplund was born in Cali, although she was adopted by Swedish parents at the age of seven months. Her protest against marchers from the Nordic Resistance Movement in Borlänge has rapidly become a symbol of the anti-racist struggle.

Captive lions freed

Nine lions have been freed from Colombian circuses – either having been surrendered or seized – and flown to South Africa as part of action taken by Animal Defenders International. The lions – which first were flown to Lima, where a further 24 had been rescued – will be cared for at new homes in the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary. The use of wild animals in circuses in Colombia was banned in 2013.

Carcinogenic crop killer

Less than a year after banning the use of glyphosate on coca crops, the government has revealed that the herbicide will once again be used in the fight against cocaine production. The glyphosate will now be applied manually on the ground, rather than by crop dusting aircraft, as had previously been the case. It was initially banned due to cancer concerns, following WHO reports that the herbicide is a carcinogen.

Ambulance response times

After a spate of recent cases where it was claimed people died while they waited for ambulances, the reaction time of Bogotá’s emergency services has been called into question. In response, Mayor Peñalosa said: “In every city in the world people die waiting for ambulances”, before claiming that the problem is that people call them for cases which are not urgent, leaving ambulances unavailable for real emergencies.